Book cover art for How to Become a Rainmaker
How to Become a Rainmaker
Jeffrey J. Fox

An unstructured collection of various 'real world' sales advice. Quite old fashioned, very cheesy, reads like something out of 'Glengarry Glen Ross'. Nevertheless... a good reminder of what sales is all about, and what the role and objectives of a salesperson—or anyone in the company who wants to increase revenue—should be.

'The job of every employee is to help ring the cash register. The job of every employee is to keep the customers coming, and to keep the customers coming back.'

'Rainmakers never waste a sales call: They always precall plan. It is typical for a Rainmaker to spend three hours planning for a fifteen-minute sales call. Planning and practicing for two days to two weeks for a single sales call is not uncommon.'

It's important to always fish where the fish are. Even a bad fishing line will catch something in a teeming pond. Bigger, more successful companies that actively want your product are better than smaller, failing ones that don't.

People buy for two reasons and two reasons only:

  1. To feel good
  2. To solve problems

Always plan before a sales call. Here's the sales call checklist you need to prepare before you head into the call:

  1. Written sales call objective.
  2. Needs analysis questions to ask.
  3. Something to show.
  4. Anticipated customer concerns and objections.
  5. Points of difference vis-à-vis competitors.
  6. Meaningful benefits to customers.
  7. Dollarization approach; investment return analysis.
  8. Strategies to handle objections and eliminate customer concerns.
  9. Closing strategies.
  10. Expected surprises.

In a B2B context, the thing you're really selling is not the widget or the software or the service. It's money. (Although some contemporary research might disagree with this, it's still an appealing principle because of its simplicity.)

'They sell reduced downtime, fewer repairs, better gas mileage, higher deposit interest, increased output, decreased energy usage, more wheat per acre, more yardage per swing. Rainmakers help the customer see the money.'

Don't distract yourself when in contact with customers:

  • No coffee on sales calls
  • Stay on target/on objective
  • You're not at lunch to eat lunch
  • It's work, not a party (if customers are there)
  • No 'leaky pens'

Killer sales questions:

  • 'Based on x, y & z, will you decide for yourself?' They can't not decide for themselves, can they? So, they will make a decision and will have to find some kind of way of disagreeing with the case you've made.
  • 'Would you like to know our difference?' When your potential customer compares you to another company, they have something about that company they may not be that happy with. Outline it and underscore it by showing how you differ.
  • 'Is there anything else stopping you from going ahead?' You either get them to make a move, or they start to tell you about possible objections that they have beforehand.
  • 'Why don't you give it a try?' But they don't just try it. They do something. They act.
  • 'What question(s) should I be asking that I'm not asking?' Either you're good and don't need to ask any more... or you find out more and can probe deeper, perhaps looking to find a black swan that might be lurking in there somewhere.
'"Me too" marketers are lazy, or noncreative, or have an inferiority complex. Rainmakers all find a difference.'

Objections are a good thing. You can turn them into objectives—the things you need to solve to move the conversation forwards.

Mid job, next job. The easiest sale is always to a current customer.

'Your customer doesn't know all can do you for her. Only you know. By the time you are halfway through your current job you should know how else can help your customer. When you are in the middle of a job, begin selling the next one.'

A sale can come from anywhere, at any time, from any time or person. So treat everyone well, all the time.

'The Rainmaker is as respectful and polite to the guy who mows his lawn as he is to the president of the company that makes the lawn mowers.'

One of the biggest 'buy signals' is someone agreeing to meet you in the first place. So if you're in the room, it's yours to lose.

Don't be afraid to ask 'dumb' questions, especially if they are going to get you to know about the client and what's really at stake for them.

You should always be totally focused on your customer 100% of the time.

'The three most important words in the Rainmaker's mind are "listen, listen, listen," and to do so on "high receive."'

Building rapport is not necessary until you're leaving the room. Just get right down to it, right away. You're in the room for a purpose, so get to it. If there's a chance to make a connection on the way out, do it, but not unless you've made proper progress beforehand.

'Customers are more impressed by intelligent, legitimate get-to-the-problem questions than they are by a phony inquiry.'

If you give, expect to get.

'If simply showing how to do something well were the answer, then simply watching Picasso paint or Andre Agassi play tennis or Julia Child make a soufflé would make everyone experts on everything.'

Show them the chain, then sell the first link. This is for the overall sales process. First this, then this, then this... then done.

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