Becoming a rainmaker

Athena Captain, Turner and Son Homes

Before working at Turner and Son, I was a sales manager at a Fortune 500 company. And honestly, it was a position that really stroked my ego. But I wasn’t really in control of my destiny, and I didn’t (yet) know how to create the strategy to do that.

When I joined the team at Turner and Son, I had some frank conversations with Tim, the owner. I made it clear that my family was my priority, and in return, he shared with me his vision for transitioning the business model at Turner and Son.

He wanted us to move from being a production builder—building a house and hoping someone buys it—to becoming a custom home builder, building on people’s raw land.

And Tim told me he wasn’t sure how to go about it. And we needed to generate income primarily through referrals. Oh, and he wasn’t giving me a marketing budget.

Yes, it was as difficult as it sounds.

Meeting the challenge

Before creating a strategy for being the rainmaker, I had to learn how to deal with my ego. I didn’t know all the answers, and what I was doing was completely new to me. I needed to get help from other people in order to do it well.

Have you ever had those moments where you walk into the office and wonder, how in the world am I going to meet my numbers today? How can I make sure I’m doing enough work so I can pay my bills?

All of a sudden, I didn’t have the luxury of those questions—because not only did my work as VP of Sales affect my family, but it also directly affected the paychecks of everyone I worked with.

What worked for me was a variety of things. I found a sales trainer. I joined a peer advisory group. I read books from people who were successful and took as much as I could out of them. And I figured out who our ideal clientele and referral partners were.

That’s a big one. I called clients, talked with them about what was important to them, and figured out how to qualify and disqualify prospects and prospective strategic partners.

Creating a plan

Finally, once I’d been doing all these things, I had an aha moment. Enough of the pieces came together that I was able to create a prospecting plan. Now I know there are a set number of activities I have to do regularly to generate referrals. When I do them, we get referrals. Even when our industry is in a slow period.

I have to tell you, there’s no way to become a rainmaker and control your own success without prospecting. If you’re trying avoid prospecting, you’re going to be disappointed. 

If you want to have more control over your future—if you want to be a rainmaker—here’s what I recommend:

  1. Read a variety of good books written by successful people you respect.
  2. Build a team of people around you that will believe in you, be honest with you, and push you to be your best.
  3. Figure out what your ideal client and your ideal strategic partners look like.
  4. Determine what your prospecting activities are—and put them in your calendar! Track them and don’t let them fall by the wayside.
  5. Be genuinely, sincerely interested in helping your clients and your referral partners.

If you do those things, believe in yourself and what you’re doing, and work really hard, you’ll be successful. And you’ll develop two hugely important character traits.

You’ll become humbled because you realize how much you have to learn from others to be successful, but you’ll also develop a self-confidence you didn’t even know you needed.

Then you’ll get to be in control of making the decisions you need to for your success.

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