At some point in our lives, we are all faced with a tricky situation. We won’t go as far as calling it ‘difficult.’ No, that’s not an angle that I’ll be taking here. The difficulty of a situation is a relative thing, and it mostly depends on how we perceive it. A different perspective can change the perception of the overall problem and, ultimately, the result.

We are all under such time pressures at work and in life, in general, that we tend to solve problems based on what has worked in the past. This approach precludes us from finding new and effective solutions. Instead, we look for “quick fixes.” Well, that’s easy, right? But is it good in the long run?

Considering a problem from a different perspective helps us solve it creatively and permanently. And that’s what we all want, I know. It’s tricky to take a different perspective, or to consider it, even. How do you know which is the right one?

If you only consider problems from one perspective, you may be overlooking relevant information that can affect the solution. Think about the context surrounding the problem. Is there anything else that is affected by or could affect the problem?

If you look beyond the isolated incident, you may find a more effective solution. For example, suppose a police officer pulls someone over for speeding and cannot look at the situation from more than one viewpoint. They may focus entirely on the driver while the passenger may be suffering a heart attack or is about to have a baby!

So, in short, looking at a situation from a different angle can sometimes even save lives! When it comes to social selling in the B2B world, I have a few tips and tricks that I would love to share. Care to listen?

Take your reading glasses and continue scrolling!

Sales process basics

Before we dig into the sales process, it is crucial to figure out where and why the meetings were booked in the first place.  Feels silly, but I found that it is one of the most important things in sales. A meeting booked on our website should be treated completely differently than a meeting referred from a satisfied client. I learned this the hard way. These are completely different sales channels.

Based on the channel, the prospects have a different mindset, so they are entering the meeting with varying states of readiness. And when it comes to sales KPI’s, this is the starting point. It is easy to measure how many clients you have won in a certain period.

But you need to be also aware of which sales channel they came from. Did they book on your website, or your Sales Development Representative (SDR) took care of them? When you take this into consideration, you’ll be able to evaluate each sales channel, and the monetary contribution each channel brings. It is the foundation to understand where to focus your energy and resources.

There are plenty of B2B sales channels out there. And new ones emerging as we speak. If only there was a framework so we could evaluate each channel, and better understand their advantages, disadvantages and uniqueness.

We’ll discuss several types of meetings in this blog article and their background.  Let’s take a look at the sales channels from a different perspective:

Prospect’s pre-meeting mindset: Every lead comes on the call with some expectations. Expectations can vary based on the sales channel the prospects booked from. A prospect that has read your book, will come to the meeting expecting to talk to an expert. And having such credibility and advantage will make things so much easier for you. You won’t have to convince your prospect of your expertise, since they’ve already been sold on that. You will be focusing only on their actual problem.

On the other hand, a prospect that found you on a freelance platform, will come to the meeting, expecting lower prices, as they’ve already received 50+ proposals to choose from. It is excruciatingly difficult to maintain a price when so many other service providers offer it for much less. But instead of worrying about that, your focus should be on building your credibility and standing out.

So based on the sales channel they booked the meeting from, you can predict your prospects’ expectations before they even come to the meeting.

Diagnostics: As a high-ticket B2B service provider, I really think we need to spend more time analysing whether the prospect that booked the meeting is a good fit for our solution.

There are two key questions that we have to answer, in all honesty, of course.

  1. Does the prospect really have a problem?
  2. Can we really help them achieve the desired results?

Answering these two questions will lead you to your ultimate destination. You will know whether you are talking to your right fit.

It is not rare that we realise that this prospect we are talking to has a completely different problem during the meeting. One that we can’t possibly solve. Or maybe they simply don’t fit the firmographics of your ideal client profile.

The sales channel also play an important role here. Chances are, a lead from your outreach will be pre-qualified due to the characteristics of the campaign. So you know the type of companies you are reaching out to, and they are well aware of the type of problems you are trying to solve. In comparison, a website lead, could just turn out to be an informative meeting.

Credibility: The amount of effort you need to put in to show that you have the expertise and the know-how, and that your solution can best solve your lead’s problem.

Prospects need assurance. Are you really good at what you do? Can you really deliver the promised results? Why should they work with you and not with some of your competitors? The Internet is a place full of scams, so you cannot blame people for being too cautious. It’s getting harder to tell real from fake, quality from scam.

Online meetings are no different. People will try to convince prospects that they can solve their problem when, in fact, they cannot. And this is how the vicious circle of distrust starts. If the prospect gets convinced to buy the service of this service provider, they will end up being disappointed, because they will fail to meet their expectations, of course. And then, based on this bad experience, they will start questioning everything and everyone.

That’s why I keep emphasizing the credibility factor. And different sales channels bring different credibility. A prospect that found you on a freelance platform, needs some serious convincing. They will look at your client history and portfolio, and will have higher demands. You will need to tick many boxes before you convince them that you are the right person for the job. A prospect that read your book, or heard your public speaking engagement, is far more predisposed to your proposed solution, as they already consumed a lot of your content, and they trust you.

Solution tailoring:  What kind of a tweak do you need to make to your existing solutions so that you can serve the client properly?

Even if you tick every box I’ve mentioned above, one question remains. Probably the most important one – ‘Do you want to work with this prospect?’ And from here, the list of questions goes on. ‘Will they be worth the effort?’

‘How will your communication go?’

‘How much customisation is needed to solve that particular problem?’

Especially if you offer a pre-packed solution and encounter a prospect that requires a fully tailored service that will take a lot of additional energy and resources. Will that be worth it?

This angle is also greatly affected by the sales channel. A prospect that has a referral from a satisfied client, would probably like precisely the same solution. Actually, what they want are the same results. They don’t care about the solution that much. You are the one that should care about that.  

As you can see, when evaluating the sales channel, you should consider all these angles. And that’s not all. Your approach depends greatly on the sales channel that your lead is coming from. That’s how you know whether you should be focusing more on diagnostics or on building credibility. 

You may want to check out: 3 Key Factors That Can Impact Your B2B Sales

Meeting types

Inbound meeting

Ding!🔔

You’ve received an email. You have a new meeting booked. Congrats!

What makes this meeting even more special is that you didn’t put any direct effort to book that meeting yourself. Or did you? Well, what happened is that a lead has found you. And when a lead finds you, that’s called an inbound lead.

Nowadays, if you want to get noticed on the Internet, you really got to try and put in some serious effort. Okay, maybe not you directly, but your marketing team does. And by that, I mean you should by now have a really strong website, great SEO, back-linking, etc.

But the result is clear – someone finds your website or a platform where you have a profile. They’ve read a bit about you and what you do, consumed some of the content you have, and they are interested in a call.

How can they schedule the meeting? It can be via a web form on your website, meeting scheduling tools (like Calendly), or just writing to your contact email asking for the meeting.

Prospect’s pre-meeting mindset: Reaching from this channel is a code red, for sure. The prospects are aware they have a problem, so this is their cry for help. They were either searching the net to solve it themselves or to find the right person or company who could do that in their stead.

Their internet quest led them to your website. Chances are they took a good look at it, and consumed some of your content to grasp if you really can be their saviour. That’s why having various types of content is vital. The social proof will show your potential prospects the results you’ve achieved for a company similar to them. There’s nothing like a relevant testimonial or case study to reassure them that you are the right choice.

Inbound prospects show up to the booked meeting with a favourable pre-determined mindset. So you won’t need to convince them that they have a problem – they know that already. However, since they are problem-aware, that means they have been actively out and about, looking for a solution. And they have probably talked to a couple of other possible suppliers before they found you. They might be even comparing your offer with your competitors’.

Don’t panic, because that’s completely understandable. They are just looking for a good value for their time and money, which is totally reasonable. Shift your focus away from your competition. Instead, focus on you and your differentiation. Try to highlight your unique sides and advantages. Perhaps you have a one-of-a-kind framework, an incomparable specialization, or a unique formula for success.

Diagnostics: Inbound meetings require some additional diagnostics. Don’t get into the trap of thinking that everyone that reaches out through your website is a relevant prospect. Far from it. Inbound meetings are dive into the unknown, meaning they are totally unqualified.

When someone’s unqualified, one of the two following scenarios is likely to develop. Either they will be a dream come true. Or a complete nightmare. You can indeed meet your ideal client, or someone that simply has some extra time on their hands.

Two people shakings hands having meetings

Do not be surprised if this potential client turns out to be, in fact, a competitor who wants to know more about your services and prices. That’s why you need to tailor your content to attract the type of meetings you want. You can create e-books, blog posts, and social content that is laser-focused – speaking directly to your ideal client.

Setting up a booking form on your website with more detailed questions can be an additional pre-meeting qualifier. This way, you can ask your prospect about their business, expectations, revenues, etc. That’s how you’ll be able to diagnose if you are a good fit even before the actual meeting takes place.

But this can be a double-edged sword. It can discourage prospects or even scare them away. That’s why you need to be extra careful when asking these questions. The line is thin.  

During this stage, you’ll also need to determine whether you are talking to the right person.

Credibility: Considering that the prospect is reaching out to you, that means that you have already established some level of authority and credibility. If they’ve read some of your content, they are already familiar with your work – which makes your sales meetings much easier.

Solution tailoring:  This last part can be quite tricky. As you haven’t qualified them before the meetings, and you aren’t familiar with their real problem, the solution tailoring can require a lot of stretch on your end to meet their needs.  And if you are working with pre-packaged solutions, this can be quite difficult.

Outbound meeting

A meeting has been booked. You or some of your SDRs have been nurturing this outbound lead for months. An email now and then, some chit-chat over LinkedIn, and they finally agree to book meetings.

Prospect’s pre-meeting mindset: Highly targeted leads. You know exactly the type of companies you reach out to, and the type of problem you are offering to solve.

If they agree to come on a call, it means that you’ve hit the right spot. They have the exact problem you can solve. Or at least, they are either intrigued or curious to understand better how your solution can help them. In any case, you have a lead that wants to know more.

What is more important, is that you were the first to show them they have a problem or an opportunity they can seize. They are not actively shopping around for other suppliers.

Diagnostics: Much less effort on the outbound lead side. If you have a well-planned outreach campaign, you have already pre-qualified the leads, so you know exactly who you are talking to. Even position-wise, you choose whom you reach out to, so you have all the position-specific information, plus you know the specificity of their problems.

Credibility: This is a phase of increased credibility as well. It’s not a cold prospect that showed up on your website out of the blue. They had passed through the cold introduction, a nurturing process with the SDR, so by now, they know about your business and services, and have already built a relationship with the company.

Solution tailoring:  Lesser tailoring. As the lead came from your outreach campaign – you have qualified the companies and the positions that have a particular problem. And you are well aware that your solution is the right one for that particular problem. Your offer may require some small tweaks to be better adjusted to the specific nature of that particular prospect. But generally speaking, if they didn’t believe that you had what it takes, they wouldn’t have agreed to this meeting in the first place.

Referral meeting

A client calls you. Satisfied with the results they achieved with your help, they are happy to refer you to a friend/colleague of theirs, as they believe you can help them as well.

Prospect’s pre-meeting mindset: This is the best type of mindset your prospects can have. Someone heard about you from a 3rd party. This person may be another peer or a colleague, that had the same or a very similar problem that you’ve managed to help them acquaintance with. So they want the same. A piece of your magic, as well.

Diagnostics: Focus more on the diagnostics. The prospect will have high expectations – the same results as the person they were referred by. Maybe better.  So before you jump into anything, you first got to make sure that you’ve got the right solution for that specific problem.

Credibility: High credibility. If a satisfied client referred them, you don’t need to waste any more time or energy proving your credibility. They already know you can deliver the right results.   

Solution tailoring: Less tailoring. As they are aware that your solution has delivered results, they’ll want just the same. You don’t need to heavily adjust your offer to match their need.

Other possible meeting channels

We’ve covered only the three most common sales meetings booking channels. There are so many ways how you can get more meetings. I will try to give you some additional ideas:

Freelance platforms – As a service provider, you can look at the gig economy. Many companies look for skills or talent on the freelance platforms. A company with a particular problem posts an ad. You apply for the job, explain your approach and the kind of results you can deliver. If the company is intrigued or interested, a meetings invite is in order.

But have in mind that freelance platforms are stacked with freelancers that are ready to work for a fraction of the real value of the project – especially at the beginning when they’re building their portfolio and credibility.

Organizing B2B online events – It is still part of the marketing effort, but I believe it brings different kinds of meetings. You can organize webinars (topic-specific, to attract specific companies), conferences, or even an online summit. It’s the perfect way for you to present yourself so that people have the chance to know you and your services better. If they like your presentation, they will contact you, for sure.

Meetings from your digital assets – Having digital assets like a published eBook or an online academy, helps a lot. The more people get the chance to get to know you and your work, the higher the authority and credibility you will enjoy. And if these prospects book meetings, you are perceived as the expert in the field.

Conclusion

By restricting ourselves to one perspective, we fail to notice other views, and thus end up living in a monochrome world. Aside from being less exciting and enjoyable, a single perspective precludes myriad possibilities and prevents us from finding new ways of doing things.

That’s essentially important in the sales world. We are so used to switching schedules, timelines, obligations, meetings, clients, perspectives, we cannot walk a straight line. I mean where’s the beauty in that?

In order to enhance our resourcefulness and add more value to our work, we need to see the world through different eyes. As a result of the new insights and inspiration to be gained from this practice, we will be in a better position to take innovative actions. In addition, we will learn new things and revive our work experience.

It’s the same with clients. They appreciate different. We are all sick of hearing the same stories, the same sale pitches all over again. Different can be scary, but it is always, always exciting.