The Essential Ingredient for Rain Making
What one ingredient must a "rain maker" have to truly be effective?
Of course, good rain makers have many skills and attributes that enable them to be successful. These skills include creativity, effective listening skills, tenacity, integrity, product knowledge, persuasion and a good service to sell.
However, the one ingredient that really enables a good rain maker to become great is passion. That's right, passion that what they are selling is the best solution for the prospect. This passion and strength of conviction can not be faked. To be a top notch performer, the rain maker needs to "drink the Kool-Aid", lock stock and barrel.
To illustrate my point, think back to the movie "A Few Good Men" featuring Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson. In the movie, Nicholson played Colonel Jessep and Cruise was a young, wet behind the ears, trial lawyer named Kaffee. Think back to the passion that Cruise integrated into the following dialogue:
Jack Nicholson (Col Jessup): You want answers?
Tom Cruise (Kaffee): I want the truth!
Jack Nicholson (Jessup): You can't handle the truth!
The passion that Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson inserted into this scene made it priceless. They made it real. While this is an extreme example of passion (and great acting), my point is that conveying passion and emotion into your delivery is what true rain makers manage to do when the situation calls for it.
The ingredient that separates good rain makers from great rain makers is passion and the ability to connect emotionally. This passion becomes the fulcrum or tipping point for moving fence sitters through the buying process. It is passion that allows a rain maker to demonstrate the depth of how much they care and listen to the concerns and fears of prospects. It is passion that enables rain makers to lead prospects past the decision making process by connecting with emotional intelligence. The rational mind will justify and validate the purchase later.
Think about it, have you ever had to persuade somebody to "drink the Kool-Aid" when you yourself did not truly believe? When you were unwilling to drink the Kool-Aid first?
When a rain maker has doubts or lacks passion for what they offer, the prospect senses this clear as day and proceeds with caution and skepticism. Conversely, when a prospective customer can sense that the rain maker genuinely cares about helping them with the purchase decision (as opposed to selling) and is passionate about doing the right thing, a light bulb goes on. Passion is contagious and very motivating, if it's genuine and heartfelt.
Finding Your Passion
Realistically, when was the last time you felt excited about going to work? When was the last time you helped a client make a paradigm shift with their business and felt good about it? Do you enjoy being the trusted advisor for your clients?
Many of us have gotten into ruts and lost our passion for what we do. The reasons range from lack of empowerment to office burnout to lack of lifestyle balance. Regardless of the reason, the challenge is to put fun back into what you do. To find that passion that lies deep within each of us and channel it towards helping small business owners, we must be willing to put our heart on our sleeve and share it with prospective clients.
For many accountants, this sense of gratification and fulfillment is something that exists with current client relationships. However, the challenge is to share this passion holistically with prospective clients. While this concept may sound foreign or like an outer body experience, this passion is what true rain makers can bring to the table and share with prospective clients.
If your rain making skills have slipped half a notch, try incorporating some passion into your presentations. Help the prospect drink your brand of Kool-Aid by alleviating their pain. After a couple of wins, the weight on your shoulders will start to get lighter and the bounce in your step will soon return.
About the Author
Hugh Duffy is co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer for Build Your Firm (http://buildyourfirm.com), a leading practice development firm dedicated to the accounting industry. Build Your Firm works with small accounting firms providing accounting marketing, practice management and accounting website development services. Hugh has twenty five years of marketing experience and holds an MBA degree in Marketing from the University of Rochester.