Mark Frasco - President
In Ohio, where we’re headquartered, June is our rainiest month. While in the southwest, generations of Native Americans called for rain this time of year, following a rain dance ritual. Although the rainy season motivated this article, it is not about the weather. I really want to talk with you about rainmakers – our salespeople, in fact, our top salespeople. I’m not sure where the term rainmaker became associated to those who bring in higher levels of revenue, but it seems to be an appropriate analogy.
The majority of my career has been spent leading sales teams. As a group of professionals, they are an interesting lot. With few exceptions, they lack a formal degree in their profession, often coming from other fields of study. What they do in their day-to-day work can rarely be judged as correct or incorrect. Their measure of success is thought to be as simple as it gets – the amount of revenue they produce. So, what do the rainmakers have that clearly differentiates them from the pack of other salespeople?
I’ve learned that there is not a standard profile for the successful, professional saleperson. I’ve seen very successful introverts outsale extraverts. I’ve seen less technical salespeople outsale the techies. I’ve seen the moderately paced salesperson outsale the workaholic. In my experience, rainmakers have a few characteristics that make them game changers and the best top-line producers:
- Emotional Intelligence – the rainmaker understands who she is and understands that what others say about her or her company is important learning, but doesn’t define her.
- Company Connection – it happens every now and then, but I’ve not seen many examples of a highly successful salesperson who doesn’t genuinely care for her company. Emphasis on the word genuinely. Rainmakers have a deep, emotional connection to the organization they represent.
- Collaborators – it takes a team to win. The best in the field know how to build and participate on internal and external teams, made up of people who are integral to solving problems and delivering the best solution available in the market. Ergo, communication skills are front and center. Precise, transparent, interested and authentic are words I’d use to describe the best communicators.
- Lifelong Learners – top performers are curious about the world and how things work. They are intrigued by the various people and buying systems they work with, constantly pursuing learning that will help them better understand their work.
- Purposeful – the best of the best can answer the question, “Why do you do what you do?” Their answer typically involves a higher calling, a need to contribute to the world, the industry, the community they live and work in.
- Persistence – buyers who have a true need, favor those salespeople who are persistent, determined to supply the best solution. Rainmakers often win because they are there when needed… every time.
- Service Mentality – it might seem a bit counterintuitive, but rainmakers are not obsessed with money (revenue or earnings). Top performers know that if they serve their company and customers, personal rewards will come. Rainmakers supply unmatched service, displaying a selflessness that builds trusting relationships. Rainmakers know the money will come. They are not driven by financial reward, alone.
Over the years of my career, I’m proud to have been a witness to the transformation of the sales professional, from the gregarious, joke telling, firm hand-shake, manipulative characture, to one that is described by the characteristics above. I believe sales professionals have the potential to transform organizations, the way they think about themselves. It is hard to measure this effect; the number isn’t the number of contracts closed, or the value of those contracts – it’s a constructive, winning culture that thrives on being the best in the market.
Let it rain.
Questions or comments? Please contact Mark Frasco at mfrasco@teamCOACT.com.