With sales being one of the oldest professions in the world, it’s not surprising to more content around new ways to invent the sales cycle. We are definitely acquiring goods and services in different way but the sale aspect is still the same, we give something valuable in exchange for a good or service.

So similar to movies, whilst there are untold thousands of movies - they all roughly follow a similar set of rules. Sales qualification is similar. There are thousands of ways we can qualify prospects, however the set of rules is roughly the same. I’ve always spent time to find ways to streamline this process, find better ways to qualify and give me an ‘edge’ when it comes to making this an autonomous process that leads to building and closing more pipeline. I’ve tried various methods but I’ve found the B.A.N.T method has served me well. That is qualifying prospects according to their Budget, Authority, Need, Timeline.

There are thousands of ways we can qualify prospects, however the set of rules is roughly the same.

The rules are simple, answer all four questions in a way that aligns with your company sales process and you move into pricing out a proposal and moving the prospect down the pipeline towards closing.


  • It’s lightweight. Four questions. That’s it. This forces you away from scripts and moves you into a more natural conversation.
  • It forces you to listen. You don’t have a zillion questions or opportunities to cut off the prospect when they’re speaking. In a way it leaves you naked because you’ve got nothing to say (which is counterintuitive for sales people I know) and have to allow the prospect to do the talking for you to find where the opportunity really lies.
  • It allows for internal collaboration. It allows you to look at more creative ways you can propose a sales solution and shifts you from a salesperson to a point of credibility.
  • Faster way to qualify out. Buyers are liars (something Ruby, a former colleague always said to me). If they can’t answer all of them, you need to move on or get the prospect to direct you to the right person. This leads into more strategic directions.

So here we’ll look into the different areas and how to ask these questions.


This is often the hardest question to ask - I almost feel like it’s asking someone you work with how much they get paid. Also, prospects aren’t able to give you a definitive answer on the budget because they lose leverage over you. Instead, you can ask how their budget process works for projects they work on. Asking that type of question moves away from ‘how much money do you want to spend with us’ to ‘depending on how much money you have available (read: risk on the prospect) we can find a smarter procurement method’.


This is figuring out where the prospect fits within the big picture, if they are leading the project or if they’re looking for information in general. The most important thing to note in this context is who they need to impress above them. This helps angle yourself into a point of credibility and moves you into more of a ‘teammate’ role with a prospect with your solution.


What do they need? Important to note in this area, if you’re a hardware store and someone comes in asking for 10,000 nails - they’re not asking to purchase the nails, they’re looking to build something. I find if you can move the conversation to a higher step, it helps move the conversation away from price and more into value. We can quantify price in dollars and cents but it’s difficult to quantify value if you’re moving your prospecting conversations in this direction.


I always feel this is the most important question because it helps to determine where the prospect is in their sales cycle. You’re not looking to ask, ‘how long until you want to buy stuff’, you’re more looking to ask ‘what is the process in procuring something’. This helps to double check if it needs sign off from someone, it needs to go to a different department and how long they take or if you can move quickly with the sales person.

Answers to all four questions help you to methodically find your ‘next step’ with the prospect from further qualification, opportunity creation, demo’s or escalating to the right person internally to help you. This is quite a distilled version of what I normally do but I hope it helps to ease your conversations with your prospects and move them from tacky sales conversations to the nirvana of helping people and providing them with something that is valuable.

More than happy to where I can - feel free to shoot me an email on davis@marketingbh.com