by Steve Adubato, PhD
This weekend, at the “TD Bank / Star-Ledger Road to Personal Wealth Financial Conference” at Kean University, I delivered a keynote presentation along with other industry experts in front of a highly engaged and enthusiastic audience. My topic? Making it rain or, simply put, ways to bring in new customers and clients and keep the ones you have. Here are some practical tips to think about:
- Expand your existing relationships. Great rainmakers are obsessed with exceptional customer / client service. They are trusted advisors, always looking for ways to be helpful to those they serve. They act as a resource to solve problems and identify opportunities for their client to succeed. Doing this will create additional business opportunities, which equals more rain.
- Create a realistic “pipeline”—in writing—of prospective customers and have a specific, deadline-driven action plan that is strategic and results-oriented. It is essential that you review the pipeline every day. Why? So you know exactly where you stand. Consider a baseball season. You need to know how many wins and losses you have and what you need to do to make progress. It is a constant reminder that you need to keep things moving because “making it rain” just doesn’t happen because you get lucky. Being lucky is a product of constant preparation, execution and putting yourself in a position to succeed.
- Always remember…It’s about THEM. When you are fortunate enough to get “face time” with a prospect, get them to talk about THEIR world. Their needs and goals. How? By asking probing, open-ended questions and then listening and being fully present. (No distractions.) Then, follow-up and learn more. It is essential that you research the prospect using Google and other social media tools. Then, send a short thank you e-mail 24-hours after your meeting.
- Customize your proposal to your prospective customer and make sure you include what you learned about the prospect’s needs and goals, as well as his or her likes and dislikes. This sends a powerful message that you were listening and can distinguish your customer from everyone else. Never send a generic, boiler-plate proposal. Customers hate that, don’t you?
- Take responsibility when things go wrong with a client or a prospect, even if it is not all your “fault”. Rainmaking is about building strong relationships and relationships are about building trust. Taking responsibility helps build trust. Too many professionals obsess about being “right” from their perspective, which sometimes gets in the way of making it rain.
- Be loyal during tough times. When your clients experience tough fiscal times or their business is struggling, be especially helpful to them. Some people think being a rainmaker is about only focusing on clients who are flush. That is a mistake. The great rain makers understand the peaks and valleys of business and that it is all about relationships, and not only about making a killing with one deal.
- Be persistent, but not a pest, and know when to back off. Sometimes, when trying to bring in business and make it rain, you have to know when you have hit a drought with a prospect or an existing client that either won’t or can’t do business with you. Let it go. Be confident of your pipeline, which should be filled with other opportunities. Great rainmakers don’t act desperate.