BD Insights – The Origins of Professional Rainmaking

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What Exactly Is a Rainmaker?

In business language, a rainmaker is someone who consistently succeeds in generating new accounts and winning business for their firm. In short, it is someone who makes money for their company. Rainmaking has become synonymous with business development in recent years and those who do it well are always in demand. You would struggle to find any manager, director or CEO who didn’t stress the true value of fostering a great rainmaking culture. But where does the term ‘rainmaker’ actually come from?

It is believed to have its roots in the traditional ‘rain makers’ of Native American culture, who would perform ritualistic practices to encourage rainfall droughts. Their dancing and chanting, if successful, would see rain fall heavily upon the land.

In the business world, rain is a metaphor for money. A rainmaker is someone who can bring in revenue seemingly out of nowhere, or where others simply can not find it. Rainmakers seem to have no trouble creating new leads, following them up and bringing in new clients for their firm on a consistent basis. They are legends, enigmas and often mavericks. They are super-connectors, known by everyone and in turn knowing everyone back.

In short, a rainmaker is someone who brings in money. It doesn’t matter what kind of industry you are in, rainmakers exist everywhere. Even former President Barack Obama was described as a rainmaker by his peers for his political fundraising capabilities. If you strip back the aura that surrounds rainmakers, you’ll see they can actually be found in the most normal of places. They inhabit your offices, boardrooms and cubicles, working amongst you on a daily bases. They could even be you!

Are Rainmakers Born or Made?

Having the skills of a great rainmaker or work winner isn’t a question of luck. Nobody is born a rainmaker. Nor do they magically acquire work winning abilities overnight. The truth is, being a great rainmaker for your firm is a completely coachable skill that can be both taught and learned. With the right education, mentoring and practise you can learn how to bring in consistent revenue for your firm – whatever level you are. Whether you’re newly qualified or a senior partner, becoming a prolific rainmaker and work winner is doable if you want it enough.

Of course, there are some natural-born traits or talents that will enhance your work winning capabilities. Empathy is an example. Charisma could be another. Hard to teach but powerful if you have them. Yet some of the best rainmakers have neither of these. They are introverts with not much of an affinity for others. Yet they are superbly organised, disciplined, self-driven, dedicated and high integrity.

Bottom line – there are many different kinds of rainmakers. All shapes and sizes, ages, outlooks, qualifications, experience, upbringing, talents. Like leadership, there is no blueprint or formula for the perfect specimen. Time and again, diametrically opposite kinds of leaders do well running big companies and small. This is good news for the many lawyers, accountants and similar professionals who know they must add rainmaking to their undoubted technical skills.

How to Become a Great Rainmaker

Business development and rainmaking are the same thingthe systematic sourcing and converting of opportunities to bring in new business and generate revenue. Rainmaking is something that can be trained, coached and absorbed. But these skills can’t be learned overnight.

A one-touch approach like attending a training workshop, reading a book, having a coaching session or watching a great video isn’t going to give you the necessary skills to win work. In fact, most training doesn’t work and here’s proof of that >>

Nor can effective and confident rainmaking skills be attained through attending a one-off workshop. It just doesn’t last. Time and time again it’s been proven that people go back to their busy lives all too quickly without implementing what they’ve been taught. No embedded, little accountability, poor ROI.

That’s why the BD Academy program works. It’s a sustained, inspiring and innovative approach to upskilling partners and below partner level professionals to bring in new clients and opportunities. It develops business-winning skillsets and mindsets. It has seen one firm generate £1m of new business in just 12 months. It has helped firms to create the revenue-bringers that will mentor and cultivate the rainmakers of the future. Get in touch for a chat about developing your own rainmaking army…