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Top 10 Rainmaker Best Practices to Win in 2010 – Part I

This week’s posts will identify the Top 10 Rainmaker Best Practices, that when focused on with discipline and intention, distinguish you and your firm and help you gain a competitive sales advantage.  They focus on WHAT works in any market and HOW to implement the best practices to impact your business with increased revenue, increased leverage of time and resources and improved accuracy and predictability in your sales pipeline.

The Rainmakers Framework

Many people think that successful selling is all about “hard closing” the business.  The perception that you have to morph your personality into a pushy salesperson and pressure people to buy will often evoke fear, discomfort (and nausea).  Consider that the real truth about closing business happens long before the end of the deal.  Closing business is the natural outcome of an authentic relationship and providing a solution to a problem that should be solved… even if you must temporarily suspend self-interest in the short term. 

Closing starts with targeting the right relationships in the right situations that might have the right problems for which you have the right solution.  When an authentic relationship exists and all conditions are present to close, business will often close itself. 

The First Three Rainmaker Best Practices

So how do you focus with intentionality and discipline in ways that are likely to give you a better return on effort (ROE) and return on investment (ROI) as you pursue new business? 

1) Targeting through the Top 40

Consider focusing your attention on your Top 40 Contacts – these include Prospects (people who can buy now or at some point in the future) and Connectors (people who can refer you to prospects – which may also include your clients.)  As you think about your top connectors, peruse your entire network.  Often many of our best connectors get overlooked because our relationships are rooted in personal contexts (i.e., family, neighbors, personal service providers, etc.)  Realize that targeting is about determining “who is most likely to have a problem I can solve through my legal skills” and “who do I know that knows people who have problems that can be solved by legal skills”. 

Be intentional, be selective and be aware of how all your networks may be beneficial. 

2) Getting in the Door with the Authentic Reason

If you don’t have a good reason to pick up the phone and call, don’t.  Having authentic reasons to connect is one of the keys to creating genuine relationships over time.  Authentic reasons require you to look for ways to connect that are relevant and authentic from the other person’s perspective, not just your own. 

Ask yourself – “If I was the person I’m about to call, why would I be interested in hearing from me?”

If you are struggling for an authentic reason, brainstorm against your three “IN’s”:

  • Invitations:  what events do you have access to that your contact would appreciate or value attending?
  • Introductions:  who do you know that your contact may find beneficial to know?
  • Information:  what do you know that your contact would benefit from knowing?

3) Memorable Messaging

If you want to make yourself memorable, you need to be message ready with a “Quick Pitch” and a “What’s New? Message.” A Quick Pitch answers the question, “what do you do?” with a response to the question “what problem do I solve for whom”.  By answering this way you increase the odds of sounding more interesting and compelling yet remain conversationally appropriate.  When you communicate what problems you solve and for whom, you are able to draw people into further conversation and provoke genuine curiosity and interest.  To that end, “quick” is the operative word in “quick pitch”.  You will want to be relatively brief and create interest.  Instead of saying “I am a <noun>” try responding with “I <verb> <target market> <problem solved>”.  People care about what you can do for them or others more than your job title.

The Quick Pitch is useful when meeting people for the first time, however, there are messaging opportunities that happen every day with people we already know.  How you respond to the question, “What’s new?” or “What have you been working on lately?” is rife with opportunity if you can respond strategically and appropriately.  Rather than mumbling the usual, “nothing” or “same old, same old,” consider filling the void with something you are genuinely spending time doing or thinking about.  For example, you might reply, “I’ve just picked up a new employment case that is really interesting” or “I’m preparing to speak on employment updates at a conference in LA next week.”   Either response may spark additional queries and conversation, and they definitely help reinforce the kinds of problems you solve and for whom.  To that end, if a more personal “what’s new?” is a better fit for the situation, share a recent story about your family, an upcoming vacation or your golf game.  Effective messaging invites people to know you, care about you and want to develop a deeper relationship with you.

To see part II of Top 10 Rainmaker Best Practices to Win in 2010 - Click Here

To see part III of Top 10 Rainmaker Best Practices to Win in 2010 - Click Here

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About this Author

Deborah Knupp, Akina, Business Coach
Partner

Deborah Knupp has worked globally with CEOs, executives, managing partners and attorneys as a coach and business executive for over 20 years. She has helped these leaders align their people systems and business objectives to create cultures based on the principles of accountability, integrity and authentic relationship building. Her work has focused on making the work environment a place where employees "want" to be; where clients "want" to buy; and, where leaders "want" to serve a bigger purpose in their communities and families.

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