🔭 Lead Qualification Methodologies
Lead qualification is critical to determine whether you are talking to a potential customer. You can qualify prospects in several ways, each based on a different logic and reasoning.
1. ANUM - Authority, Need, Urgency, Money
The ANUM framework puts authority first. Making sure decision makers are involved early is crucial in sales. After you know you've got the right person, you need to find out what the prospect needs and whether there's any urgency. Then, after establishing a relationship with prospects, the framework suggests qualifying money / budget.
2. BANT - Budget, Authority, Need, Timeline
BANT has been around for a while. The framework is quite similar to ANUM. It is based on four factors - budget, internal influence/ability to buy, need for the product, and purchase timeline. By now, BANT is a bit dusty, as it does not put the prospect's needs first.
3. CHAMP - Challenges, Authority, Money, Prioritisation
Other than ANUM and BANT, CHAMP qualifies the buyer's challenges first. After discussing the challenges and uncovering the needs, you'll quickly be able to determine if your solution will solve anything. If so, the budget often becomes a less sticky subject.
4. CRAKIT - Competition, Requirement, Authority, Knowledge, Identify, Timescale
CRAKIT is another, less well known qualification framework for BDRs (Business development representatives). It's quite exhaustive and also looks at competing solutions.
5. FAINT - Funds, Authority, Interest, Need, Timing
FAINT is like BANT, but it doesn't focus on budget. Instead, the framework considers if a prospect has the required financial capacity to buy. FAINT reflects that many purchase decisions are unplanned and thus won't be associated with a set budget (think e.g. solutions that create a new category).
6. MEDDIC - Metric, Economic Buyer, Decision Criteria, Decision Process, Identify Pain, Champion
The MEDDIC sales qualification framework is super popular. It focuses on identifying and solving the need of a buyer with the goal to find internal champions. Thus, it's almost the opposite of BANT. We love MEDDIC, however it's not straight forward to implement and track.
7. NEAT - Need, Economic impact, Access to authority, Timeline
NEAT puts the prospect's needs first, as its name suggests. Like MEDDIC, NEAT suggests you show the economic impact of your product. Doing this convincingly will open doors, help you get to the person with buying power, and shorten the implementation timeline.
🚨 Objection Handling Methodologies
Objections come up in almost all sales processes. The answer is not to give up - rather, to reemphasise the value of your product. Listed below are 7 objection handling techniques that'll make you an ace in your field.
1. ARC - Acknowledge, Respond, Close
ARC stands for three straight forward steps that help overcome objections: Acknowledge the prospect's concerns, provide a concise and clear response, and conclude by resolving their objections. Rather than dwelling on the concern, acknowledge, respond, and move on.
2. FFF - Feel, Felt, Found
FFF is a classic objection handling technique. Here's how it works: First, you let the prospect know you understand what they feel. After that, you explain that you've had other prospects and customers feeling the same way. Finally, you tell the prospect what worked for you or other customers.
You offer empathy and a possible solution at the same time. Using FFF when handling objections, you'll understand where the prospect is coming from, put the prospect at ease, then overcome the objection.
3. LAARC - Listen, Acknowledge, Assess, Respond, Confirm
LAARC is a standard objection mitigation strategy used today. An objection should be carefully dissected BEFORE handling. You guessed it, "L" is for Listen! You can then examine the objection by asking more detailed questions. Then, respond to the prospect. Before moving on, make sure you've solved your prospect's concern. Repeat the loop if the prospect still has the same objection.
4. LACE - Listen, Accept, Commit, Explicit Action
Just like LAARC, LACE starts with Listening and Acknowledging. LACE suggests, however, that you do a trial close after you have understood and acknowledged an objection. Get a commitment from your prospect to purchase if you resolve the objection. This will also reveal other objections. After you have gotten commitment, agree on explicit actions (such as a mutual action plan) to move the deal forward.
5. LAER - Listen, Acknowledge, Explore, Respond
LAER is quite similar to LACE. However, the framework puts special emphasis on exploring the objection at hand before moving to a response, just like LAARC.
6. LAIR - Listen, Acknowledge, Identify, Reverse
LAIR recommends that you - after listening and acknowledging the objection - pinpoint the objection and make sure that this is their only reason for not buying. Try a Trial Close so that if you handle the objection you will get the sale. Then, try to turn around the objection using "yes, but" or similar methods.
7. SOLVE - Support, Obtain, Listen, Validate, Explain
SOLVE stresses that you have to "S"upport the prospect when they raise an objection. Acknowledging the objection not only eases any initial awkwardness, but also builds trust and credibility. It is imperative to find out why the buyer objected ("O"btain). You can open or reopen discussions about products or services, like features, benefits, pricing, etc. Actively "L"isten to the buyer's answers to fully understand the objection. You want the buyer to tell you the real story behind the objection. This will enable you to understand if you can resolve it at all. "V"alidate with the buyer that you understand the issues exactly. Lastly, "E"xplain the options available depending on the type of objection.
💫 Even More Sales Methodologies
There are even more frameworks that are part of the standard sales toolbox. From AIDA to TED - we've got you covered.
1. AIDA - Attention, Interest, Desire, Action
The AIDA model is helpful to understand your buyer's journey. This term is commonly used in marketing and sales to describe what happens from the very first moment a customer learns about a product or brand to the moment they buy it.
2. FAB - Features, Advantages, Benefits
FAB stands for features, advantages, benefits and how they work together to help differentiate a product.
3. FUD - Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt
Fear, uncertainty, and doubt is a marketing tactic used to dissuade customers from buying competing products and solutions. It involves using information that triggers fear or uncertainty, or sows seeds of doubt about customers' current thinking. It's also a propaganda tactic.
4. RAIN - Rapport, Aspirations & Afflictions, Impact, New Reality
Using the RAIN method of selling, you uncover the buyer's whole set of needs and desires. Create trust by building rapport first. Next, ask future-seeking and problem-solving questions. A seller who focuses on aspirations in addition to afflictions can inspire buyers with new possibilities. Then, determine how important it is for the decision-maker to buy from you by asking "so what" questions. Lastly, you need to establish a new reality benchmark, quantify the impact, and paint a before-and-after picture.
5. SMART - Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-bound
SMART is a standard goal setting methodology and can come in handy when setting goals in sales as well.
6. SNAP - Simple, iNvaluable, Align, Priorities
You can read a whole book about the SNAP sales methodology. To keep it short, SNAP Selling is a framework for selling with an understanding of today's buyers. According to SNAP, you need to make the buying process as "S"imple as possible, ensure that you stand out and become i"N"valuable to your buyers, "A"lign with the prospects motives or objections, and make sure that your solution aligns with your buyer's "P"riorities.
7. SPIN - Situation, Problem, Implication, Need
SPIN is also known as a 'hurt and rescue' sales technique. Discover the prospect's pain points and 'hurt' them by pointing out potential consequences. Next, come to the rescue with your solution. Instead of telling prospects about a product or service's value, SPIN is designed to help them realise it on their own.
8. TED - Tell me, Explain for me, Describe for me
Remember the TED acronym when you're asking open-ended questions. Start your questions with statements like “Tell me”, “Explain for me” and “Describe for me.” These statements help to drive a two-sided conversation. Dialogues like that will help you uncover high-level problems.
Bonus 1: ABC - Always be closing
ABC was made famous by Alec Baldwin in the classic sales film "Glengarry Glen Ross", and has been associated with hard sell, aggressive salesman stereotypes since then.
New salespeople are often taught "always be closing" as a mantra. In fact, I was surprised when a sales rep immediately replied "always" after I said it.
Bonus 2: TOFU —> MOFU —> BOFU
Top of the funnel (TOFU) refers to the first stage of the buyer's journey.
Middle of the funnel (MOFU) refers to activities that are carried out to align the solution with the prospects' problems and needs.
The bottom of the funnel (BOFU) is where prospects are making the final decision to buy from you or a competitor.