Rainmaking and Selling: A Rainmaker’s Routes to Market

Many professional service firms have learned how quickly good times can turn to bad
Sometimes this can because of a route to market failure

Our belief is that developing business is something that must be done in good times and in bad
This way you may delay and minimise bad times.

Some of you may realise that one source of your revenue decline has been due to the failure of a single route to market.

In order to reduce that risk in the future requires not just increased business activity, but a diversification of the routes through which business comes to you.

Our suggestion is that now that a recovery is underway, could it be a good time to do that?

Examples of route to market failure include:

  • Rainmaker failure or moving
    The loss of a rainmaker who provides a disproportional share of the new business.
  • External referral source retirement
    Maybe a referral source who provides a disproportional share of the new business.
    If your consultants receive all of their leads from say a turnaround manager, when that person retires your sole route to market disappears
  • Client education programs not working.
    Consulting firms often run seminars on specific methods for dealing with corporate problems.
    After the seminars attendees often hire them for large engagements.
    At first these seminars attract high-level participants, but after time, more and more junior people enter the mix.
    When senior people stop coming to the seminars, lead flow declines and there are less leads.
  • The failure of an internal referral channel.
    The engineering studio of one firm got all of its business from projects that originated with the firm’s architectural studios.
    When architectural projects dried up, so did the engineering studios lead flow.
  • The management of the studio began to develop personal relationships with client facilities managers to give them a second, less cyclical, route to market.

At the large accounting firms, the passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act reduced leads from audit partners to forensic accountant practices specialising in litigation support to zero overnight. The litigation support consultants, who had relied entirely on audit partners for a steady flow of new cases, had to scramble to develop new routes to market.
Route to market failure is surprisingly common and can be devastating.

The single route to market usually looks as if it will never cease to provide new business. In almost all cases, its failure comes as a big surprise. The best way to avoid the problem is to have multiple channels to market.

Any professional services firm which relies on a single route to market exposes themselves to grave risk.

I hope that you appreciate us sharing our views with you and that the ideas have given you food for thought and action.

People Management: How do you make training more effective?

If you are in a rush the answer is
Focus on the outcome, and then design your training to deliver the result.

For those with a little more time…

Let’s start with a question: What makes a car more effective?

  • Better fuel economy?
  • Improved handling?
  • Higher brake horse-power?
  • More cup holders?

How about making training more effective?

  • Is it better learning from the participants?
  • Great trainers and facilitators?
  • Easy to implement the changes when back to work?
  • Higher levels of competence?
  • More fun exercises?

Let’s extend the analogy a little further.

The main purpose of a car is to get you from A to B.

  • You need to be safe.
  • You don’t want to break down
  • You want to want to enjoy the experience.

It is not that different with training.

The main purpose is to move individual and organisational performance from A to B.

However risk, reliability and the quality of the experience are also factors.

The key we find is to be clear both where A is and B is.

Often if trainers don’t have a really clear and well-formed outcome and we start to get scope creep.

Both client and trainer need a clear, agreed and worthwhile result in mind.

They can then engineer the training to deliver that result.

Fair to say though, that in many cases there may be more than one desired outcome.

For example:

  • Better performance against a key business target
  • Plus embedding transferable knowledge and skills that will help deliver sustained performance over time.

The latter may be harder to measure but is no less important.
Having a clear outcome is an absolute pre-requisite for making your training more effective in the same way that you should know your destination before you start your journey.

That way “Success in the moment” connects the learning to transferable skills that people are motivated to apply.

This leads to techniques like ‘real play’ simulations rather than mythical role plays real work problem solving, live case studies, action planning, post-event objectives, assignments, follow-up days, and all those things that help people work out how to harness their learning and use it in the real world….

Keeping the end result in your sights also brings into focus the need to give as much attention to what happens afterwards back in the workplace, like building line manager commitment, as we give to the event itself.

That said, the quality of the whole experience is important.

Research shows that great delivery from someone with experience and credibility is the most important factor.

The skill is in eliciting the real gems, in getting them to stick and in winning commitment to an idea, not just tell people about it.

The richness of the design, the tailoring of the content and the venue are also important (as anyone who has worked in a room that is too hot/cold will know).

In fact attention to all the detail is what is needed if you want to really lift a programme from mediocre to excellent.
Car manufacturers do put in cup holders for a reason: the niceties matter too.

I hope that you appreciate us sharing our views with you and that the suggestions have given you food for thought and action..

Give us your thoughts too info@rainmaker-coaching.co.uk

People Management: What is Competency based or behavioural Interviewing?

If you are doing any kind of recruiting of new people then asking great questions and digging techniques are important interviewing skills to acquire.
Competency based Interviewing is asking a question about a candidate’s previous behaviour and experience.
The topic of the question should be about a competency required to be successful in the job role.

You do this to ascertain if the way they behaved in a situation is what you want for your organisation or for the job.

Unlike the warning on many financial products…
Where past performance is NOT a good indicator of the future…
Behaviour in the candidate’s past is a good guide for future performance.

An example for you:
You decide that you want to recruit someone to frequently work on their own and unsupervised.

Stage One:
To name the behaviour you want in the competency you want.
Behaviour name: Working alone

Stage Two:
To define ‘working alone’ into how this person needs to behave in a job.
Be very clear about their own working priorities,
Able to make decisions without reference to anyone else.

Stage Three:
To design behavioural questions to obtain evidence from the candidate.

Suggested Behavioural questions for ‘Working Alone’:

  1. Can you think of a time recently when you needed to ask someone else’s advice before you could complete a piece of work?
  2. Describe the most important decision you have made recently.
  3. Talk me through a project which you managed yourself over the past 12 months.
  4. Can you think of a time when you struggled with a decision and needed someone else’s help?
  5. Have you ever forgotten to do something for someone?
  6. Describe a deadline you have missed recently.
  7. Can you think of a day when you already had a lot to do, yet you were asked to do something else?

Tell me about it …

In summary

  1. Be clear what behaviour you need evidence of
  2. Be clear how you would know that it was being demonstrated
  3. Build questions that force the candidate to give examples of where they used this behaviour previously
  4. Ask the questions and reflect on if the candidate can behave in that way
  5. Note that down and assess each candidate on that evidence

Selling and Rainmaking: Are you the go-to person for your clients?

The rainmakers I speak to, often talk in terms of being the “go-to” person.
They want to be the person that their clients go to or call and ask advice on a range of topics
not just the services they and their company deliver.

Why and how do they do that?
The why is the easiest to answer…
They know that they want to be the trusted advisor to their client.
They want to know anything and everything that is going on around their clients and the
services they in-turn deliver. That way they know what’s going on in their clients company
and they know that if they launch a new service which of their clients will be interested and
what services their clients are buying today
The how is a little more involved…
They are continually networking inside and outside of their
company and field of expertise into related areas.

They will always “know” of someone who can offer a solution or they can ask their network
where to find someone. They also devote more time to this by following down a solution for a client.
They will weed out those people who do not do a good job for their client too, because they know their own reputation and brand depends on the referrals they make.

So next time your client asks you for something you do not do, However it’s close to what you do…
Ask yourself do you want to be their “go to” person?
What would that be worth to you and your business.