RAINMAKER SERIES: Becoming a top sales professional – a Rainmaker – is a goal many sales professionals have. Rainmakers know that being at the top of their game builds business, impacts relationships, and generates superior customer loyalty and referral. The series that follow will explore the characteristics and behaviors that top sales professionals embrace. We hope you find this series of short informal discussions around excellence in the sales role to be useful and thought-provoking.
The Five Roles Of A Rainmaker… And Why You Can’t Achieve Your Sales Potential Without Them
It’s a common myth in sales teams and boardrooms just about everywhere that great salespeople are born, rather than made. Almost as prevalent is the notion that top performers all do things the same way. Neither could be farther from the truth.
In our years of studying Rainmakers, we’ve seen time and time again that it takes a lot of work, deliberate practice, and superior dedication to join the ranks of the most successful sales professionals. While there are a lot of different ways to find and retain customers, our experience shows that Rainmakers do share mastery of five different areas of their profession:
HUNTER. High performers have an uncanny ability to smell and find opportunity and to find new prospects and relationships.
CONSULTANT. Top sales pros are intimate about the world of their customers so they can offer the best solutions.
INFLUENCER. They help customers make the right business decisions by persuading collaboratively and by helping them see the financial and non-financial impact of their decisions to their organizations.
EDUCATOR. They perpetually learn and see nearly every sales situation as an opportunity to teach and add value.
FACILITATOR. Top salespeople don’t just make promises, they execute. They are strategic orchestrators, making sure they and their organizations deliver on the promises they have made and the results the customer expects.
Entire books and seminars are devoted to sales, but what often gets lost in the mix is that it’s very, very difficult for any salesperson to move beyond even an average level of success if they are deficient in any one of these areas.
To see why that would be, just imagine if you are lacking the skill to properly execute one of them:
- If you aren’t a hunter, there will never be enough opportunities in the pipeline
- Salespeople who can’t work as consultants never truly undercover their customer’s real issues, so they aren’t trusted and can’t close larger, more complex accounts
- If you aren’t able to influence with facts and persuasion, your closing ratios will suffer
- Without the ability to educate effectively, customers will feel afraid to make big decisions
- And finally, if you aren’t a strong facilitator, you’ll constantly be working to replace accounts that get lost to the competition.
Improving on one of the major sales skills areas – and getting on the path to becoming a Rainmaker – isn’t all that difficult. What makes it a challenge, though, is being able to accurately assess your own abilities in the first place. For that reason, you might want to turn to your sales manager, colleagues, existing customers, or even loved ones and get some outside opinions on where your strengths and weaknesses lie.
The best salespeople have gotten to where they are because they are good at finding new business, cultivating those relationships actively, and making sure customers see them as perpetually providing value to their businesses. If you want to be one of your company’s top sellers, find out which of these areas you could use more help then, and start improving your skills immediately.