|June 30, 2022
‘We are all salesmen every day of our lives. We are selling our ideas, our plans, our enthusiasm to those with whom we are in contact’ – Charles M. Schwab
A rain maker is someone who generates revenue and profits by bringing in new business.
The term can be traced back to the Native American Indians, who practised a dancing ritual to encourage rain for the crops, particularly when there was a drought.
Others in the tribe believed the rain maker’s activities – singing and dancing – caused the clouds to come to life and give rain.
Service firms often use the term ‘rain making’ as an alternative to ‘selling’, a word that some might find distasteful. Whatever term you use, the reality is that every business requires new clients for continued long-term growth and survival.
Business development should be an essential item on your to-do list. To ‘make rain’, first you need to prospect.
Here are 9 prospecting techniques to start filling your pipeline:
1. Schedule. Prospecting is a difficult task and it’s easy to procrastinate. Begin by scheduling your prospecting; do it first thing in the morning to get it out of the way. Blocking out 30 minutes per day, three time a week, is good start. Give this block of time the same priority as a client appointment.
2. Prepare. To use your time blocks to maximum effect, be well prepared in advance. Have all your materials – list of names, scripts, follow up scripts and email templates – ready to go; this means you won’t waste valuable time trying to find what you need. When you are fully prepared, most prospecting activities take only a brief amount of time.
3. Research. Forget cold calling. It’s usually unpleasant for both the caller and the receiver. Instead, conduct light research to identify prospective clients, hot button needs, issues and challenges. This can be made easier with ‘focus prospecting’, within speciality or niche markets.
4. Email. Use email messages to help warm up what would otherwise be a cold call. In a short email you can quickly establish your credibility and provide a compelling reason and a call to action that will pique the interest of prospective clients and prompt them to take your call.
5. Follow up. To maximise your conversion results, you need to follow up every warm email approach with a phone call. Keep in mind it can take up to five contacts before you actually reach a decision maker and have a conversation. Schedule follow up calls in your diary.
6. Have a process. Devise a step-by-step process, outlining everything – from how you identify prospects, qualify them and obtain a meeting to the way you move them through your pipeline and convert them into clients. Everyone in your firm should follow a similar process. When the steps are well documented, it’s much easier to make adjustments to keep the process up to date.
7. Gamify. Jerry Seinfeld is a top comedian and jokes are the tools of his trade. One of his goals is to write a new joke each day. He has a calendar on his wall and, when he completes this task, he puts an X through that day. The rows of Xs are a visual inspiration and encourage him not to break the chain.
You can use gamifying to develop good prospecting habits. When you’ve completed your 30-minute block, put an X through the day and don’t break the chain.
8. Keep track. Understanding your conversion and closing averages will help you decide the amount of prospecting required to achieve your growth goals.
9. Focus on quality. Quality is more important than quantity. Gaining referrals and introductions is the gold standard in prospecting. Ask each of your clients, at least annually, for two to three names. Quality referrals will dramatically improve the the quality of your list and your results, allowing you to maximise your precious marketing time.
These 9 prospecting techniques are the rain making activities at the top of your sales pipeline.
When you consistently do all these things, you will build and maintain an overflowing sales pipeline filled with qualified clients, regardless of the marketplace and economy.