If you’ve ever been through a serious drought you know how it feels to get a massive downpour of rain. Companies go through similar droughts, whether through economic hardship, changes in technology, or just general changes in an industry. This is why your company needs a rainmaker.
In American Indian culture the rainmaker is typically a medicine man who would use rituals and incantations to artificially make it rain. This practice still goes on today in some parts of the world. The person who is able to bring the rain is the most valuable person in the tribe.
In business a rainmaker is the person who can bring in new revenue and find new clients. That person is the most valuable person in your company. Because without customers you don’t have a business.
This is why I look at every new employee as a potential rainmaker. I think this is especially important in a small business where every employee’s salary should be justified. That’s why I like hiring people who are problem solvers and know how to generate new business, bring in new clients, and can take the business to places I had never thought of before or can get the products or services into markets I could never get into. If I hire a new employee for $40,000, they need to be able to bring in at least double that amount in revenue for the company.
Even before you think about hiring a rainmaker you need to know how to be a rainmaker yourself. I’ll often hear new business owners say that they want to hire someone right off the bat to make the cold calls and deal with new customers. You should never even think of hiring that person without first knowing how to do it yourself.
When you first go into business it’s hard to know exactly who your customer is going to be. Even if you brainstorm all possibilities (which you should do), there will always be markets for your product or service that will surprise you. I always thought that the wrist water bottle was just for holding water. I never even imagined that I would be selling it in the alcohol industry. Alcohol companies started using them for Marti Gras and college students used them for bar hopping.
These are the kind of surprise markets you come up with from being in business for a while. But don’t wait for those markets to find you.
A good rainmaker:
- Brainstorms all possibilities and asks who would want to do business with the company and how to reach them.
- Is able to put themselves into the shoes of your potential customer and develop a convincing pitch for them.
- Is able to solve the customer’s problems with your product or service, doing as much research and planning as necessary before making the contact.
Rainmaking is more than just making sales. It’s about being a fearless innovator who brainstorms all options and makes things happen.
In a regular economy you need a rainmaker, but in an economic drought a rainmaker can literally save your company from famine.