Interest vs. Intent

Brian Onorio
Brian Onorio
January 8, 2019

You’ve successfully used BANT to qualify your lead but have you looked between the lines? Sometimes, your lead may have shown plenty of interest, but is there intent to move forward?

Let’s face it, many of us in the sales industry are self-confident, ambitious, and at times, we can look at a potential opportunity with rose-colored glasses. It’s because we know we can close this deal. However, not every deal can be closed, even if you’ve fully qualified your opportunity. One of the tell-tale signs that you’re chasing a lead that has little opportunity to close is understanding the difference between interest and intent and where your prospect stands on that spectrum. Just because you have an interested buyer doesn’t mean that you have a buyer with intent to close.

On the other end of the spectrum, you may find yourself with contacts who may feign interest because they don’t want to say “no”. Your job is to get them to say no so that you can close the book on this one and move on. On the other hand, having an interested contact may be a tool for them to get some expert, free consulting. While you should always have the mindset of “sell by helping“, you should rarely find yourself in the situation where you’re giving away valuable thinking for free.

Finding Intent

It may be difficult to ascertain between interest and intent before you’ve fully qualified your deal. As you get to know the opportunity and the players on the buying side, all parties should be considered interested but intent is unknown. Your job is to move them from interest to intent through your sales process which coincides with your due diligence in qualifying the lead for your own benefit.

At the end of the qualifying process, you should know if they’re merely interested or if they have actual intent. A few questions you can ask to understand where they are:

  1. We’ve talked about your goals and budget. If I come back with a proposal that achieves these goals within your budget, are we able to move forward together?
  2. How painful are these challenges we’re looking to solve for your organization? Is it worth the considerable time and money it will take to solve them and is your company ready to commit to solving them?

Shaky answers, or non-answers to these questions will tend to show that you have an interested buyer without intent. It’s not to say that this is a dead end lead, but you’ll have to judge how best to move forward and how much of your time it is worth to move them from interest to intent.

Strong, resolute answers should give you enough confidence to move forward with confidence.

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