What is a Rainmaker? Modern rainmakers are high achievers, business developers, and money makers. Rainmakers have proven formulas for success that include technical ability, client relationship skills, persuasive ability, and individual motivation.

Did you know there are 3 types of Rainmakers?

There is the “Key Relationship Builder,” who is proactive and well-connected to the community and the industry. This Rainmaker is that Partner or Principal who brings in more than a million dollars in new business every year.

We know them as the firm’s key Rainmaker – the person we’d love to clone time and time again. But did you know about the other two types of Rainmakers within your firm? There’s the “Tee- Up Rainmaker,” whose specialty is teeing up business for the firm’s team to close.

And last but not least, is the “Back Door Rainmaker,” that professional who provides top notch service to existing clientele so that they don’t run out the back door because they are not being properly taken care of.

All three of these Rainmakers are necessary to sustain a healthy practice.

If we were to go out on a limb here, based on the firms I have worked with or reviewed, in the past decade 75% of new growth has been a result of the Andersen demise, Sarbanes-Oxley, or mergers and acquisitions.

While events of the past decade (2000 – 2010) provided a lot of firms with double digit growth, most managing partners realize that this success came from a combination two major occurrences. The first was the unfortunate demise of Arthur Andersen, who got caught in what many consider a perfect storm around the Enron scandal. The second was Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) which reminded many of us of the 1986 Tax Reform Act.

Be that as it may, this adversity allowed the “Final Four” to grow, and provided an opportunity for mid-tier firms to expand in an effort to pick up all the pieces. The irony being that both events were enacted to minimize the necessity of the public’s reliability on our great profession.

Looking into the rear view mirror of the Accounting Industry, it was concluded that the TOP three issues facing accounting firms in the previous decade were:

  1. SOX
  2. Staffing
  3. The Economic Recession

This brings us to the present as we embark on the next 10 years.

We know that it is critical to advocate growth and create business development plans within our firms that produce and inspire Rainmakers. So what should be your primary focus in order to stay relevant as a player in your community and industry?

Keeping in mind that success today is measured in single digits versus the double digits of the prior decade, the answer is simple: Growth, Growth and Growth.

So in order to succeed at building and sustaining a strong, successful practice, Rainmakers must be strategic thinkers, good project managers, people developers, persuasive communicators, and successful at building and maintaining client relationships.

Successful Rainmakers “make it RAIN by being skilled at-

Rapport building with potential clients-

To build rapport, Rainmakers must research and know their potential client’s business, as well as the opportunities and challenges that potential clients face. Then, Rainmakers must get out of the office and connect with those prospective clients—at least 20% of a Rainmaker’s time should be devoted to business development.

Asking questions of those potential clients-

Successful Rainmakers ask the essential questions to confirm their rapport-building research. Rainmakers know their potential client’s pain points, their needs, fears, and visions for the future.

Implementing solutions for potential clients-

Rainmakers demonstrate how they will add value, both short-term and long-term value, for the potential client.

Negotiating a start time-

Rainmakers confidently ask for their potential client’s business and strive to create a long-term alliance.

Experienced Rainmakers also know the core strengths they possess that make them successful. They know why clients hire them. And, they continuously develop and market these core strengths.

My philosophy for marketing those core strengths is through a systematic approach called “Touchpoints.” Touchpoints begin the rapport-building process and are the contacts between a service provider and potential buyer for those services. I advise that a key to being a successful Rainmaker is making 16 annual “touches” to current and potential clients—otherwise, they will forget about you. Touchpoints are best illustrated using the PEST approach:

  • Postcards –should include the service provider’s overview
  • Email – could be a service overview and/or an article that may interest them
  • Snail Mail – examples include an article that may interest them, a service overview and a leave-behind item, such as a brochure or promotional item
  • Telephone – as a follow up to the previous Touchpoints

All Rainmakers and future Rainmakers should “touch” prospective clients, as well as people who can refer the provider to potential clients—the Rainmaker’s “Advocates.” Advocates are people the service provider has worked with previously, current and former clients, and people who know the service provider from business and community organizations.

Rainmakers should also research and touch key organizations and associations that may lead them to their key prospects.

Using this approach the Rainmaker is taking initiative, doing appropriate research, building rapport, asking meaningful questions, implementing value-add solutions, asking for the sale, and having lots of personal motivation. This enables professional service providers to stop fighting the storms of the previous decade and start dancing in the rain of success of the second decade of this century.

Ed Robinson, “The Rainmaker” is a Growth expert who helps businesses and associations grow their leaders and their revenue.

Using the key concepts from his books, The Million Dollar Rainmaker and 4 Giant Steps to Leadership, Ed helps organizations create proactive growth and leadership strategies regardless of economic conditions

Having spoken in over 30 countries, Ed is sought after globally for his speaking, coaching and rainmaking techniques. Ed has been a NJSCPA speaker at numerous events and remains an advocate on our behalf. Ed can be reached at 210-342-4866, his email is ed@edspeaks.com and his website is www.edspeaks.com.

Ed is the author of The Rainmaker’s Strategies for Business Growth™, 4 Giant Steps to Leadership™, From Fighting the Storm to Dancing in the Rain in addition to The Million Dollar Rainmaker.

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