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The discipline you learn and character you build from setting and achieving a goal can be more valuable than the achievement of the goal itself. -Bo Bennett


Definition of Sales: sale (sāl) n.

The exchange of goods or services for an amount of money or its equivalent; the act of selling. An instance of selling. An opportunity for selling or being sold; demand. Availability for purchase: a store where pets are for sale. A selling of property to the highest bidder; an auction. A special disposal of goods at lowered prices: coats on sale this week. sales Activities involved in selling goods or services. Gross receipts.

Definition of Rainmaker: rain·mak·er (rān'mā'kər) n.

A rainmaker is someone who knows how to sell — whatever the product

Informal. One who is known for achieving excellent results in a profession or field, such as business or politics. One who is believed to be capable of producing rain, as through magical or ritual actions.

Think and Act Like A Rainmaker Today

A Day In The Life Of A Rainmaker …

Excerpt from the Best Practices In Building Your Professional Network For Attorneys

What separates the top producers from average professionals? We asked this question of several of the best business generators in the profession. There is really no big secret … it comes down to 5 rainmaker attitudes and daily action that make the difference.

Let’s look at the day in the life of a rainmaker:

Rainmaker Rule 1: Plan out 5 business actions that you will take each day

Questions To Consider: Do you have a separate section on your daily to do list for business development? Do you set a minimum daily requirement of business development action? What actions can you eliminate today and substitute a business development initiative?

Example: Dave was a legendary business developer. One day I asked him the secret of his success. I was expecting an awe-inspiring motivational speech or groundbreaking sales and marketing technique to be revealed. Instead, he told me “Every day, I do five things that may result in business. Some days I do more, but I always do at least 5 no matter how busy I am. And I have been doing this same daily routine for 20 years. Why does this work? Several reasons: First, I hustle and stay hungry every day by putting my mind on business development. Second, business development is work so it has to be planned into your daily schedule like all work. Third, business development is a skill; the more you do the better you get. Finally, following this rule means that I do 30 actions a week for 50 weeks. This amounts to 1500 actions a year … and I know that this is a lot more than the typical professional does. What you see now in my practices is the result of doing this for twenty years and simply doing 30,000 things over the years to build a successful practice.”

Rainmaker Rule 2: Use breakfast, lunch and downtime to market and sell

Questions To Consider: Do you block out breakfast and lunch for business development? Have you scheduled out your meetings for the next week or so?

Example: Adam was a new associate who knew that he needed to build a book of business to be a success. But, he was just 2 years our of law school. On the advice of his mentor, he started a monthly lunch meeting with peers at a bank, investment bank and accounting firm. They met, discussed the focus of their work, shared contacts and invited each other to firm and association events, Now, five years later, they are all far more senior members of their firm and trade business back and forth. And they still meet for lunch once a month. Treat your breakfast and lunch as dedicated business development time.

Rainmaker Rule 3: See the marketing and selling possibilities in everything you do

Questions To Consider: What opportunities do you have today that put you in touch with clients, prospective clients or allies? How can you turn the delivery of work into a marketing and selling opportunity?

Example: Susan was just wrapping up an employment contract matter with a major client. Rather than simply sending over the document with a cover letter, she made an appointment with the VP of Human Resources and General Counsel to review the contract in person. As she prepared for the meeting, Susan identified 3 potential sources of legal “pain” that the company faced based on their unfamiliarity with some new state regulations in California. She brainstormed 3-5 questions she could ask to see if their exposure was significant. At the meeting the client engaged her to solve the problem she identified.

Rainmaker Rule 4: Always market first to your clients

Questions To Consider: What can you do today to strengthen you relationships with the clients that you are currently working with? Do you know what is keeping your top clients up at night? How can you help?

Example: Howard is the managing partner of one of the largest firms in Chicago. On a flip chart in his office, he has a list of his top 20-25 clients. Each day he looks at that list and identifies something that he can do to improve his relationship with 2 people. For example, today he 1) Wrote a personal, hand-written note to a CEO thanking him for the introduction the client made to a potential client 2) Called another client to alert her to a potential summer intern position that might be right for her son at an association that Howard worked with and 2) Sent the CFO of a large client a brief article on a specific supply chain improvement that the client’s top competitor was putting in place and suggested they get together with his firms supply chain expert.

Rainmaker Rule 5: Turn your allies into your personal marketing team and sales force

Questions To Consider: Who are the people within your firm that you should be co-marketing with? Which of your professional allies is best positioned to help you to grow your practice?

Example: Rachel was an estate planning specialist. Through her own experience, she had found herself overwhelmed by all of the responsibilities she faced when her elderly parents were unable to handle their won affairs anymore. So, she put together a team of female experts in all dimensions of helping adult children to take care of their aging parents – including health professionals, family counselor, financial planner and a tax specialists. Today, this group is putting on a seminar to over 45 of their clients who a facing this transition. And they mailed out a “Planning For Your Parents Transition” checklist that they mailed out to over 5,000 of their clients, contacts and referral sources.

To Become A Rainmaker … Change What You Do On A Daily Basis

The top producers face all the same pressures as the average professional – being chargeable, making time for firm management responsibilities, getting work out on time and building their professional skill. But, they find a way to do more business development – and do it more skillfully on a daily basis. To be a rainmaker, you have to do the same – each and every day.

Seven Steps to Achieving Your Sales Goals

Here are seven vital strategies for setting and achieving your sales goals for 2007:

Get Rid of Old Goals.

It's very tempting to recycle the same old goals, especially ones you haven't reached. "I seriously suggest just letting go of recycled goals you've had for several years, because they become like a ball and chain, holding you back," says Kimberly George, author of Coaching into Greatness: 4 Steps to Success in Business and Life. She suggests that these goals might be unrealistic to begin with, like saying you will achieve $1 million in sales when you have never surpassed $100,000 in your life. Or they might be goals you have inherited from a boss or colleague that are not right for you personally, causing you to consciously or subconsciously resist them.

Set a Manageable Number of Goals. A resolution, notes Keith Rosen, is defined as the process of reducing to simpler form. "That brings us to the paradox of resolution," he says. "Instead of simplifying our lives, we wind up dumping more tasks, goals, or projects on our to-do list thinking that our lives will be more fulfilling and successful in the new year." What we are left with, though, is the sense of being overwhelmed. "I typically set no more than five goals each year just to keep things simple and focus my energies," says Lori Richardson, president of Score More Sales, a sales effectiveness organization.

Clearly Define Your Goals.

It's great that you want to make more money and be more successful this year, but the problem is there is nothing specific behind those goals. "I recommend establishing a set of daily, weekly, and monthly benchmarks that help you measure and manage your ultimate goal," says George. For instance, if you have a sales target of $1 million, don't focus on the actual dollars, but rather on the activities that will help you reach that mark. Identify and measure several key success indicators, such as the number of follow-up appointments you've made this week or the number of networking events you've attended, as a way of knowing where you are right now and where you need to go.

Books on Sales and Selling Techniques

Establish an Effective Routine.

Let the daily actions you take toward achieving your goals be the reward, not just the end result. This will allow you to actually enjoy the journey and not just obsess about the future. "Design a weekly routine that complements your goals so you can focus on the activities that support your objectives and enhance your lifestyle," suggests Rosen. He adds that a well-planned routine will keep you focused, eliminate distractions, reduce stress, and enable you to manage the daily tasks that will bring you to your goals.

Make Your Goals Public.

When you share your goals with others, you become more vested in their outcome and ultimate success. "We break commitments to ourselves all the time, but once we inform friends, family, and colleagues of our goals, the stakes are instantly raised," says Lori Richardson. You're less likely to back away from your goals without giving it a lot of thought and reasoning first. What's more, by trusting others with your goals, you acquire a support group that can spur you on to success.

Don't Set Goals Longer than a Year.

It's all too easy to lose momentum if your goals exceed a year. As humans, we tend to lose interest in things that are too far in the future. "Life moves exceedingly fast, and we need to be equally responsive" says Rosen. "When we set our goals, we have all the intention in the world of following through with them, but life gets in the way and things change very quickly." He believes you can overcome this by setting concrete, focused goals each year and building a set of daily actions that allows you to achieve them.

Alter Your Goals When Necessary.

Don't hesitate to reassess your goals on a quarterly basis. That should give you enough time to gauge whether the desired results are showing up, and help you avoid frustration and constantly second-guessing yourself. "Think of your goals as if they were a sail of a boat," says Richardson. "You can alter the course while still heading in the same general direction." For example, if your goal is to set up ten face-to-face meetings each month, but you are only getting eight meetings, that might be okay if it turns out you are closing a higher number of deals than anticipated.

Do's and Don'ts for Launching a Career in Sales

by Katharine Hansen

Do close the sale, both in your cover letter and your interview for a sales position. Employers hiring sales reps want candidates who know how to close a sale. Thus, make sure that you "close the sale" in your cover letter by asking for the interview and telling the employer you will call to make an appointment (and then doing so). Learn more. Close the interview by asking for the job. Learn more in our article, Closing the Interview.

Don't forget your transferable skills. If you have no direct experience in sales, think about all the sales-related things you've done that you can describe in an interview as transferable and applicable to sales. Have you done fund-raising? Given presentations? Solicited local businesses to participate in events? Demonstrated great people skills? Persuaded or convinced people to do things your way? Memorized food and drink orders as a restaurant server? These are just a few of the activities and traits that relate to sales. Coaching, teaching, playing on a sports team, and participating in student government all provide appropriate transferable skills for the field, according to 18-year pharmaceutical-sales vet Corey Nahman of

Do seek out employers who will invest in a solid and structured training program, and support your professional growth, especially if you are new in sales.

Don't pass up opportunities to learn more about sales and network with those who can help advance your career, such as through ride-alongs, job-shadowing, and informational interviewing.

Don't let rejection get to you. To be successful in sales, you can't take rejection personally. You also need to be able to explain in a sales job interview how you will overcome the customer objections that can lead to rejection.

Do be persistent. If you have less sales experience than an employer seeks, you may be able to make up for it by being persistent. Persistence, after all, is one of the marks of a good salesperson.

Do seek out products and services to sell that you are already passionate about. Your enthusiasm in an interview will be much more convincing if you already believe in the employer's offerings.

Don't be negative. A positive, upbeat attitude is a must in sales. If you have difficulty breaking in right away, don't start getting the blues. Keep your chin up and continue to show employers what an energetic, likable, confident person you are.

Do consider, if you're a college student, making your target company a pet school project. Writing for Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News, Aissatou Sidime reported on Lanita Wiltshire, who pursued an MBA before hitting the job market but "focused all her individual class projects on then-emerging Merck Pharmaceuticals. She trotted out her presentations during an interview for an internship with Merck and landed the job."

Do maintain a professional appearance. Many companies recruit sales reps at career fairs, says Gary M. Upah, president of, "because they want to see your appearance, what kind of a first impression you make, and how you handle yourself before they consider your qualifications."

Don't forget about networking. As resume writer Teena Rose writes, "Successful sales representatives are individuals who take an aggressive approach to expanding their client base and sales." Your personal/professional network is no different, and your ability to network will demonstrate your skills in relationship-building.

Do find a mentor -- an older, more experienced rep who can show you the ropes. Read more in our article, The Value of a Mentor.

Don't abuse the perks of a sales career, such as your company car and expense account.

Do be prepared to work long hours, often by yourself or on the road.

Don't forget the cardinal rule of sales and marketing: The customer always comes first.

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