Top 10 Rainmaker Best Practices to Win in 2010 – Part II
This week’s posts are identifying 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. Our previous post focused on the first three Rainmaker Best Practices. Today’s article focuses on the next set of three Best Practices and discusses 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.
4) Operate by the Platinum Rule through Discovery Questions
At Akina, we often speak about operating out of the Platinum Rule, which says “do unto others as they would be done unto,” or in more basic terms seek to serve another’s interest first, understanding that your own interests will be satisfied over time. By operating from the Platinum Rule, we take on a posture of service over self-interest. One of the best ways to evidence the Platinum Rule is through Discovery Questions. “Discovery” implies that we are interested and care about others. We often demonstrate more credibility by the types of questions we ask because our questions reveal our character. Discovery Questions ultimately get others talking about the thing that they know best… themselves. If new business is the natural outcome of solving problems, then the only way to understand what problems should be solved is to ask.
Getting into the habit of asking good Discovery Questions also enables us to find the most authentic way to stay connected over time. When we ask good questions, it often becomes obvious how we can be most helpful to someone else, either through our introductions, information (knowledge) or invitations (access to events or opportunities).
Finally, good Discovery Questions help orient us as to where a prospective buyer might be in their decision-making process. We don’t have to worry about “hard closing” if we’re paying attention to a buyer’s readiness to close. Discovery Questions give us access and insight into a prospect’s perspective so that we can respond appropriately and adequately.
5) Time-Boxed Follow-up
Which brings us to the next best practice…great rainmakers call out Definitive Next Steps as they go. Time-boxed follow-up is the opportunity to set next steps in the moment. It’s saying “I’ll call you next Friday to set up lunch” or “I’ll reach back out to you in six months if we don’t connect again before then” versus leaving next steps open-ended or saying “we should do this again some time.” Time-boxed follow-up concretely identifies what actions will be taken and by when. Definitive Next Steps give us the chance to demonstrate that we are our word, that we are responsive, and that we care.
At a high level, effective preparation demonstrates that you honor another’s time by caring enough to have a game plan designed to get to a clear destination. Tactically, effective preparation helps you control the variables you can in an uncertain market place.
At a minimum, they key elements of preparation include identifying:
- Your objective for why you want to meet
- Your distinct key messages to convey interest and value
- The discovery questions you will ask to deepen understanding and relationships
- Anticipated scenarios and outcomes with potential definitive next steps, typically from a best case, likely case and worst case scenario
When done well, effective preparation, planning and strategy is done more than 24 hours before a meeting and is not conducted in a parking lot, elevator or car while driving. Look for the final Rainmaker Best Practices in the following days!
To see Part I 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.