There are rainmakers and rain barrels. The rainmaker makes rain by creating opportunities and generating sales and income. The rainmaker generally pursues and wins the largest and most prestigious clients. They also have strong and durable relationships with their clients and contacts.
The rain barrel doesn't make it rain. Instead, they look up to the heavens with their mouths open, hoping an opportunity falls in. They look for leads and avoid cold outreach. The rain barrel will tell you they are great in front of a client, but you rarely find them sitting across from an ideal customer because they don’t prospect.
A rainmaker is a highly effective salesperson who is an expert and authority with the sales skills and competencies that allow them to acquire meetings with decision makers, including C-suite level sales, and the ability to win their business.
It’s important for the B2B salesperson to be a rainmaker or work on becoming one. This is especially true in competitive selling scenarios or competitive displacements, where you take a major client away from your competition. The salesperson who makes it rain does so by using value-creation strategies that differentiate them from the field.
Characteristics of a Rainmaker
The first characteristic necessary to becoming a rainmaker is confidence. This salesperson will look, sound, and present as a peer to B2B customers. This person will also have a high level of self-discipline and be organized and buttoned-up. This confidence is transferred to their contacts as certainty. Read this to learn seven ways you can improve your confidence.
You might complain about longer sales cycles, but the rainmaker plays the longest of long games, persisting in their pursuit of their dream clients, even if it takes time. This intestinal fortitude allows them to continue until they win the client's business. Becoming a rainmaker also requires high-level interpersonal skills, especially communication skills. These skills differentiate the rainmaker from other B2B salespeople.
I was fortunate enough to be taught and trained by a rainmaker. He joined me on my sales calls to help me improve my results. But what was more helpful for my development was watching him walk into a client's office, already smiling, shaking hands, and acting as if the client was an old friend, and starting the B2B sales conversation by asking open-ended questions.
He had already established rapport, and he was leading the client in the conversation. Together, we increased sales tenfold in a year.
Building Your Personal Brand
In B2B sales, you are going to be known by your clients. The question to answer is what you want to be known for. Becoming a rainmaker will require you to become an expert and authority in your industry. It also means you have the business acumen to use the sales strategy that is value creation, and educating your clients.
The reason you want your personal brand to precede you is that it can help you stand out from average salespeople who are only concerned with selling their products and services. But you will not be known if you don't do the work of building a personal brand, including using social media to create awareness.
The rainmaker will ask their clients for referrals, attend networking events, and make sure that they are known in their territory or their city. The average rain barrel sales rep waits for warm leads instead of doing the work to build a brand that would increase their opportunities.
Prospecting for New Business
There are senior salespeople in large companies who no longer make cold calls. Even though they have the experience their B2B sales teams and prospective clients would find valuable, they live on their existing commissions.
Rainmakers are constantly and continuously creating new opportunities that allow them to build impeccable sales pipelines of large, well-recognized companies that are worth envying. The more you work to become a salesperson who can command meetings and win large clients, the closer you come to being a rainmaker.
The rainmaker picks up the phone and calls their clients. They don't send a series of emails about their company, their solutions, or their existing clients. They already know their prospective client’s pain points, so they schedule meetings.
While it is important for you to nurture your prospective clients, becoming a rainmaker will require you to nurture your existing clients as well, improving and maintaining your contacts. This variety of salespeople doesn't win orders. They develop relationships that allow them to win clients for life, acquiring all their orders without having to compete for them.
The rainmaking salesperson delivers for their clients, who tell others about their experience, make referrals, and introduce the salesperson to their peers. When one client leaves their existing company, they bring the rainmaker with them, knowing they can get an early win in their new role.
To become a rainmaker, you need to be disciplined about following up with your contacts after the sales. You also need a cadence that ensures you are communicating frequently enough to grow and maintain your client relationships.
Closing the Deal
The rainmaker has an advantage in closing deals. You will never win all the clients you want, but you will win every client that wants you. Rainmaking is a pull strategy, not a push strategy. You need to link the commitments and the conversations that position you as the right partner.
For more help here, pick up a copy of The Lost Art of Closing: Winning the 10 Commitments That Drive Sales.
Becoming a Rainmaker
Start by becoming a One-Up salesperson, a confident authority, and an expert. Use all the mediums to be known to your prospective clients. Make creating opportunities your primary daily outcome to build a sales funnel of large, desirable clients.
By practicing effective sales skills, competencies, and sales strategies, you will create a better sales experience and be on your way to better sales results. If you want to pursue this path, start here.