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10 Rainmaker Principles – Get the Best from Your Sales People

By: Mike Schultz and John Doerr
Last updated 10/6/2014

Tony Robbins, please accept my apology.

About 15 years ago, when I was a budding manager in charge of my first strategic business unit, I dissed you pretty badly.

I'm sorry. I take it back.

My sales team and I were in a strategy meeting, trying to get something done—something really big that would literally change our fortunes and our lives.

We knew the goal, and we're now trying to figure out what to do to achieve said goal.

A well-read young teammate of mine was a fan of motivational speakers and was always looking for ways to increase sales motivation. At one point she shared, "Tony Robbins says, 'If you want to be successful, find someone who has achieved the results you want and copy what he does and you'll achieve the same results.'"

To which I replied, "That self-help stuff…Bah-loney." So I dismissed what Tony said because I generally dismissed self-help gurus.

Why? At the time I had only been exposed to self-help charlatans spouting useless pap. As I fancied myself a serious business person and sales leader, I was closed to advice from the self-help world that could help us understand and enhance, our sales teams’ performance.

What I didn't know at the time was that although some self-helpsters can't manage to help themselves to dinner at a free buffet, the better ones (including Tony) have some common, very important messages. Important messages that, if you want to improve your sales team’s fortunes, you should heed, for example:

• If you keep doing what you're doing, you're likely to get the same results.

• Personal change is difficult, but people can change if they fight hard enough to do it.

• If you do what successful people do, there's a pretty good chance you'll find yourself enjoying the kind of results they enjoy.

We've found that the top-performing salespeople, rainmakers if you will, share 10 common beliefs, actions, attitudes, and rituals that define their sales motivation and set them apart from the pack. We call them the 10 Rainmaker Principles.

10 Rainmaker Principles

After years of research at RAIN Group in the fields of selling and sales training, observing the best sales professionals in action, and working with sales people to dramatically increase their results, what can I say… I agree with Tony.

Salespeople who exhibit the 10 Rainmaker Principles achieve the most success. If you want to motivate your team to the best they can be, make the 10 Rainmaker Principles a part of your hiring criteria, expectations, training, and coaching.

The 10 Rainmaker Principles, principles that underpin the RAIN Selling method, are:

1. Play to win-win. Rainmakers respect, and always try to satisfy, the best interests of prospects and clients (the "win-win" part). They are also extremely dedicated to becoming top performers (the "play to win" part), exhibiting the hustle, passion, and intensity it takes to achieve what only the elite achieve.

2. Live by goals. Rainmakers are goal-setting and goal-following fanatics. Goals are a part of their daily rituals.

3. Take action. Rainmakers realize that goals without actions don’t get you very far. While other people intend to take action and do more, rainmakers do it.

4. Think buying first, selling second. Rainmakers map their selling processes to the processes and psychology of buying.

5. Be a fluent expert. Rainmakers are masters of market knowledge, customer needs, their products and services, their value, their competition, and everything else they need to know to succeed at selling. Rainmakers might not be technical experts in every area, but they know what they need to know to sell.

6. Create new conversations every day. Rainmakers always feed the front of their pipelines and improve their pipeline quality. They never coast, and nary a day goes by when they don't speak to customers, prospects, and referral sources with the intent to source new business.

7. Lead masterful rainmaking conversations. Rainmakers lead masterful sales conversations, from prospecting to needs discovery to closing to account management.

8. Set the agenda; be a change agent. Rainmakers recommend, advise, and assist. They are change agents who are not afraid to push when it's in the best interest of the customer.

9. Be brave. It takes courage to rise to the occasion in sales. Rainmakers not only conquer their fears, they seek actively to win the most fruitful sales opportunities no matter how difficult the challenges may be.

10. Assess yourself, get feedback, and improve continuously. Rainmakers are never afraid to learn the cold, hard truth about themselves. They take what they discover—the good and the bad—to learn, grow, and change for the better. They never stop this cycle.

Tony also said, "In essence, if we want to direct our lives, we must take control of our consistent actions. It's not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives, but what we do consistently."

He's right.

The 10 Rainmaker Principles form the core of the rainmakers' modus operandi. It's not what they believe and what they do sometimes that leads to their wild success—it's how they roll all of the time.

If you want your sales people to roll with the high rollers, help them make the 10 Rainmaker Principles a part of their belief systems and their consistent routines.

There are many tips and secrets to success in sales, not limited to the ones listed above. Learn seven more secrets to sales success with this free AMA webcast.

About the Author(s)

Mike Schultz and John Doerr are co-presidents of RAIN Group, a sales training, assessment, and sales performance improvement company that helps leading organizations improve sales results. Coauthors of Rainmaking Conversations: Influence, Persuade and Sell in Any Situation (Wiley, 2011), they are also publishers of RainToday.com and write for the RAIN Selling Blog. Contact: mschultz@raingroupcom.