Career Coaching: Wannabe Promoted? Need a Plan? #4

Continuing Rainmaker Career Coaching  Personal Promotion Plan

(we’d go through this with you as part of our Career Coaching Service)

Be a team player

  • So much of work is accomplished through teams – departmental or cross-functional
  • It is important to share successes with your team
  • Avoid pointing your finger when there are failures.
  • By being a team player, you will build your reputation and increase your value to the organisation.

Don’t fight Change…..  Embrace it

  • If you can’t seem to cope with change many bosses will find it hard to promote you
  • If it’s revising your hours, budget or team, don’t moan about how unhappy you are
  • Actively seek ways of making the changes work for you

Ask for more responsibilities first before asking for more cash

  • Volunteer to help out other departments or teams
  • Ask for more responsibilities
  • Asking for more work shows your interest and desire to help your company to succeed
  • It also puts a spotlight on your value to the organisation.

Create your own opportunities

  • Study the challenges of the organisation
  • If you see an area that has been neglected
    • and you have key skills in that area
    • write a proposal for a new position
  • Even if the company does not go for the new position…
  • You have shown your initiative, creativity, and value to the firm
  • These things can only help you the next time you request a promotion.

Prepare for a “no not this time”

  • When you’re denied a promotion, actually it is one of the best time to lay foundations for the future
  • Ask when you can reapply:
    • in three or six months
    • or after a certain milestone has been achieved, i.e. landing a number of new clients
  • Follow up with an email thanking your manager for their time and confirming the details you discussed

That’s the end of the Rainmaker Personalised Promotion Plan …

I really hopes it helps you in your career..

What is your promotion plan?

Tell me what you plan to do

Career Coaching :Wannabe Promoted ? Need a Plan? #3

Here’s Rainmaker’s Personal Promotion Plan

(We’d go through this and other topics as part of our Career Coaching Service)


Acquire new knowledge and skills

  • Expand your knowledge and skills sets in areas that are critical to the organisation
  • Technology and other forces change rapidly
  • You need ever-increasing skills not only to perform your job, but to stay marketable.
  • Employees who want to get ahead should keep current with industry news and events
  • However pay attention to trends and events outside of your area too

Become a Master Office politian

  •  Relationships with others become more important as your career advances.
  • Senior roles demand a higher level of political sensitivity,
  • Show that you can navigate the minefield of office politics.
  • Communicate openly and transparently
  • If you must confront someone about a situation, go through formal channels.

Continuously Build your Network

  •  It really is not enough to work very hard if nobody knows about you.
  • Let people know who you are
  • Let people know your strengths and abilities
  • Let them know your value to the organistion
  • Let them know at least some of your ambitions
  • That way your name will more likely be discussed when opportunities arise.
  • One added benefit of networking is that you will learn much more about the company if you network with people in other areas of the organisation.

Let me know what you think …


Rainmaking: Do you want to be a great Consultant?

Do you want to be a great Consultant?

We think that great consultants have better conversations with their clients than competitors.
This is in addition to the usual banter that you need to have to re-establish rapport.

The great consultants we know are good communicators.
Consulting is founded on communicating with clients, colleagues, competitors and partners.

If you really want to up your promotability and success rate as a consultant, we think you need to find ways to improve the quality of conversations you have with clients.

We think it best you learn how to have great client conversations ..and we think there are three types of those conversations.  As with any generalisations it comes with a “there may be more types” warning but let’s run with the idea of three types:

  •  Conversations that genuinely seek mutual gain
  • Productive sales conversations
  • Ongoing Conversations

Conversations that Genuinely Seek Mutual Gain

Any consultant can listen to a client’s situation description and offer up a potential service solution.  It’s not hard, given that most clients pre-qualify consultants before they talk to them.
Most clients know ahead of time if you can help them with their predefined issue.
The result: Consultant talks to client, hears familiar problem, offers a predictable solution.
This approach to a sales opportunity may work in some cases.
Danger comes when one consultant doesn’t suggest the obvious solution to the client’s self-diagnosed problem.
Usually that consultant has asked more questions, delved more deeply, and resisted the urge to “solve” the problem immediately.
That consultant withholds judgment, gets more facts, and identifies the client’s need
—as opposed to just agreeing with what the client wants.

Our suggestion is to improve these kind of conversations, before you try to sell anything, invest time and energy in a diagnostic conversation to build trust, establish your credibility.  Genuinely make sure the client’s project would be mutually beneficial to you and the client.  If it doesn’t meet the mutually beneficial test then be prepared to recommend something your firm doesn’t do.  Your credibility will soar and your business will too… eventually (not in this case though)

Productive Sales Conversations:

Genuinely Seeking Mutual Gain conversations set the stage for Productive Sales Conversations in three ways.

  1. They help you write a more compelling sales proposal that has greater clarity.
    • You won’t have to rely on the typical boilerplate;
    • You’ll have detailed information and can to write a better project plan.

2. You’ll make fewer assumptions and have more certainty on how you will deliver the project.

Assumption-free sales presentations will inspire confidence in your prospect and demonstrate competence.

3. Your client will experience what it’s like to work with you.
You answer the questions about the personal chemistry between you and the client’s team, the rigor of your work style, the depth of your expertise.
The client draws conclusions on those questions and forms the basis of their decision making.

We suggest that your sales conversations, though, must follow our rule: Be INTERESTED then BE INTERESTING

Continuing Conversations:

How do you stay in-mind when not working with clients?
What you do when you’re not working on a project with a prospect can define the ongoing relationship.
However it’s a challenge to keep past relationships current when you are not actively engaged.
Most consultants know exactly what they should do to maintain contact with past clients, but something holds them back.
Pick up the phone and call your client. Why don’t you send that email?
Ensure that it’s not a self-serving sales call. Make it an honest attempt to help a valued client.
Ask your clients about how they like to stay in touch before you finish projects.
Usually they want to hear from you, especially if you’ve done a good job for them.
Just be sure that what you have to offer is useful—a new way to think about an old problem.
Maybe it’s a tip or a new trend that could change how the client does business, for example.
The point of keeping in touch isn’t to go for the client’s wallet each time you meet.
Bring ideas without the expectation of gain.
You want to stay in mind, build your relationship, and demonstrate your commitment.
Your client will remember that when it comes time to hire a consultant again.

To thrive, you need to master the three types of conversations.

Business Development Training: How to get your Team involved # 6

How to get your team involved in Business Development #6

Most of us would accept that any services focused practice would generate more business
if everyone on the team had both the skill and motivation to proactively seek additional business opportunities.

However we would find many attempts to engage them in the process fall on deaf ears.

There are lots of reasons for this.

Common reasons are….

  • because they can’t relate to what’s required
    • (I’m not very good at this)
  • because this isn’t what they signed up for
    • (I’m a surveyor/ engineer/lawyer/accountant and not a salesperson)
  • It’s too far removed from what their everyday duties are
    • (I’m too busy / Do you want me to stop?)
  • because they can’t see what’s in it for them
    • (Someone else does this don’t they?)
  • It represents a perceived change and many people find changes difficult

(We’d cover these and other topics in our Business Development Training for Services Deliverers  )

You may want to try this.


It’s  especially good to do around October-November time.

Select from your existing client list

  1. Those clients you don’t frequently talk with
  2. Those your staff do regularly talk with.

These two lists may have considerable overlap so de-duplication may be good..

Create a four column list that contains

  • the client’s company name
  • the name of the appropriate contact person in the client
  • the normal contact from your firm
  • the preferred telephone number to reach them.

Then organise a Team Question Shower…

The idea is to have everyone on your team phoning clients and asking them the following type of questions.  (You need to come up with your own questions, these are our general ideas)

“Mr. Jones?  Hello this is Jonathan over at FineRain, Monsoon and Drizzle”
(remember to substitute your company name)  ;-}

“Katherine (your team member Mr. Jones usually deals with) has asked me to call you.”

“We are trying to ensure we maximise the benefits to you from our services in 2013.”

“I’d like to ask you a few questions that should tell us if we should take a closer look together.
Is that OK? ” (He says yes)

This is where you ask relevant but quite high level questions pertinent to your business.
However do not make them too  overtly loooking for opportunities with this client.
This may make the two people on the call uncomfortable and you don’t want that!

  1. “Are you planning any significant investment in equipment or capital in 2013?”
  2. “Is there a potential that you may be acquiring another business in 2013?”
  3. “Do you think that the business maybe adding a major product line in 2013”
  4. “Do you think that the business maybe increasing activity in a particular area?”
  5. “Are you thinking of selling part of the business or otherwise downsizing?”
  6. “Are there business initiatives that may effect your team in a major way in 2013?”

If Mr. Jones answers with signs of opportunity to any of these questions Jonathan could continue …

“Can you give me an idea of (e.g.) the business you may acquire … revenue or size? ”
He does and Jonathan makes some notes

Now closing the call and saying what will happen next.

” Mr. Jones, I appreciate your time.
I’m going to give this information to Katherine and she’ll review your file with it in mind.
If she feels you two should talk further, she or I will contact you in a day or so and and time to meet can be set up. If not, I’ll phone you back and tell you everything looks OK.”

Why is this a good process?

From the client’s perspective,it is

  •  a demonstration of your interest in their welfare
  •  additionally a high quality communication or “touch” between your firm and the client.


From the staff person’s perspective,  

  • it’s easy to explain that this process provides a very real potential benefit to the client.
  • they are asking questions and helping, not “selling.”


For your firm

  • it  delivers good client service
  • helps identify staff having an interest in acquiring new skills
  • directly contributes to the firm’s success
  • identifies opportunities for project,
  • planning and consulting work
  • becomes a high probability source of additional revenue.

It’s also a group activity and everybody is involved…

That makes it easy to reward staff for their participation.

Why not have prizes for?  

  • Highest numbers of clients actually spoken to
  • Best Voicemail Message script
  • Anyone who discovers more than 5 potential opportunities from clients gets a Dinner for 2 Voucher.


What’s a good way to try this??

Write out your Questions and create a template of some “talking points,”
Do a little role playing to get the team comfortable with the idea of calling clients.
If still in doubt, try a couple of test calls.

As someone much wiser than me said,  if you’re going to try cross-country running, start with a real small country.

One final note:
We’ve never heard of a client who pushed back or otherwise became upset about being contacted like this.

Good Rainmaking Rob

Career Coaching: Wannabe Promoted? Need a Plan? #2

Here’s Rainmaker Career Coaching Personal Promotion Plan

(we’d go through this with you as part of our Career Coaching service)


Find a Mentor

  • A strong relationship with a manager or Director can open many doors for you.
  • You’ll learn much about the organisation
  • You may even get early visibility of the jobs you might want
  • In some companies four out of five promotions are for people who had a mentor
  • Your mentor can  help to spread the good word about you
  • Many companies have formal mentoring programmes
  • If your company does not have one … Get them to start one or go find a mentor yourself

Quantify your results

  • Promotions are not necessarily based on your past performance
  • However your case will be stronger if you have information about your past successes.
  • People who deliver results usually get ahead.
  • Keep a “brag file” of thing you did to
    • Increase Revenues
    • Cost Reductions / Efficiencies
    • Productivity and Employee Satisfaction
    • Customer Satisfaction / Delight

Let me know how you get on

Career Coaching :Wannabe Promoted ? Need a Plan? #1

Here’s Rainmaker Career Coaching Suggested Personal Promotion Plan

(We’d go through this with you as part of our Career Coaching Service)

Do not pass GO if you are not doing the best you can in your current position.

  • Excellent performance reviews are absolutely necessary to get you a promotion
  • Not sufficient but necessary
  • Good attendance, punctuality and going the extra mile are also up there too
  • Give this a little thought…
    • If you show up 5 minutes early and leave a little later
    • And that turns into a promotion…
    • How much extra income could that be over your lifetime?
    • Let’ say the initial promotion earns you £4k a year more.
    • It’s rare that people’s salaries go down over their working life.
    • Now let’s times the £4k by 20 years …Hmmm £80k
  • Now do you think that getting up 5 minutes early is worth it??

Self-market not a self-promote

  • Self-marketing focuses on the buyer and doesn’t project an ego.
  • Your communication should have lots of “You”s in it not Lots of “I”s in it…
  • Try this test…
    • Count up the “I”s and “You”s in 10 of your last commmunications
    • (Sometimes the “I”s disguise themselves as “We”s) …
  • If your communications have more “I”s than “You”s you are probably self promoting
  • Try to re-word your communications to have “You”s.. You’ll get the hang of it quickly
  • Ask yourself
    • What’s your employer’s biggest challenge?
    • How can you help them overcome this?
  • Market yourself – and let it be known that you are seeking a promotion.
    • Share any accomplishments, compliments and accolades with your bosses

Let me know how you get on with these … Any ideas that work for you?


Career Coaching: Are you Stuck in a rut? Thinking of moving Career? #3 of 3

Once you have completed

Part 1      and   Part 2

Then this is the next step

Now ask yourself the final series of questions….

9We’d go through this with you as part of our Career Coaching Service)

 Under the heading “Before I leave, is there anything else I can gain from my current situation?

There are times in everyone’s career when you hit a roadblock, and it’s best to  move on.

However before you disconnect completely from your situation, the Rainmaker Coaches encourage you to look at what you may gain from your current employer or client.

  • Are there projects you could join to gain knowledge or experience in a new area?
  • Could you strengthen your leadership skills by leading a project?
  • Is there a project you could create that would challenge and help you grow professionally?
  • Is there anyone to mentor, or teach you about a product, technology, or the industry?
  • Is there who could give your career a boost just by saying that you worked together?

Your answers to these questions should give you the information to make your decision..

If you want a coach to help work with you through these questions and plan a new career move then email us


Career Coaching: Are you stuck in a rut? Thinking of moving career? #2 of 3

Part 2 of 3

When you have completed part 1

Ask yourself these Questions…

“What am I trading with my current employer in my current role?”

Do a quick inventory of what you are currently giving to your manager, company or clients, and what you are getting in return.

(We’d cover this with you as part of our Career Coaching Service)

Let’s first look at the “gives” of your job.

Write down the value that you are providing to your employer by being in your current job role.

  • Are you consistently delivering high quality projects that are on time and on budget?
  • Are you adding to the bottom line by bringing in new business and maximising opportunities?
  • Are you saving costs by streamlining processes or bringing in advanced technologies?
  • Are you leading projects and initiatives?
  • Are you training and mentoring team members and peers?
  • Are you providing some kind of unique expertise and viewed as the “go to” person for that knowledge or skill?

What are you getting in return? What are your “Gets?”.

  •  Enough Money?
  • Recognition?
  • Reward?
  • Asked to contribute to the business?

Now let’s look at another kind of “get, the negative get.
Every job has a certain amount of frustration and stress, but does your job give you an excessive amount?
Does it make you feel …

  • Overwhelmed?
  • Undervalued?
  • Underutilized?

Now write down the negative and positive “Gets”.

Now it’s time to review all of your “gives”, “positive gets” and “negative gets”.

Are the gets that you are receiving the gets that you really need to feel valued and inspired?

If not, then you may want to consider making a career change.

Career Coaching: Are you stuck in a rut? Thinking of moving career? #1 of 3

Everyone tells you that being in a job that you have no passion for is a career killer.

Why is that?        Simply put …You cannot Not Communicate.
You do it with your body, with your words , with your behaviours.
Managers, clients, and peers will see you as someone who lacks desire, drive, and enthusiasm.
This is not great for your careeer prospects.
If you’re stuck in a rut and craving a career that inspires you, then you need to take action.
The Career Coaches on the Rainmaker team encourage you to ask yourself these questions.

(We cover this and other topics on our Career Coaching Service)

These questions may help you decide whether you should leave your current job…

What do I really want in my career?

What is it that will give me the feeling of being happy and fulfilled in my job?

Is it…

  • Status? Managing People?
  • Prestige? Respect from your peers?
  • Credibility within the industry?
  • More Money?
  • Less stress?
  • An easier lifestyle?
  • Excitement?
  • Variation in what I do?

Take a little time out and write down what you want in a career.

You need to define the specific things you want to achieve. Try to narrow it down to one or two very specific objectives.
Once you are able to identify your ultimate career objectives write down a summary of what you want to be doing, where and who for, in a few years time.

Then the next thing you need to do is take stock of your current career.
More on this in part 2

So you now should have the 2 steps to begin build a Career Plan…

  1. Where are you today?
  2. Where do you want to be in a few  years from now?  This step is where you need to get curious 

When you have those two positions on your career map it may be a little easier for you to get the third part of the career plan
and that is …. What do you need to do to do and be seen doing to get there.

If you need help with any of this contact us


Communication Skills: Be INTERESTED then Be INTERESTING

“Be Interested THEN be Interesting” is a mantra of ours.

We think it’s especially true when you meet someone new for the first time, whether that’s a new prospect, a new colleague, someone else’s customer or a new contact on your network.

However we know that we can all fall into bad habits and still feel that we are being effective.

After all, how difficult is it to have a conversation with a potential client, new partner, or colleague?

It is however amazing how many times, in our work lives, we can easily and successfully sink our own initiatives by making every wrong move as we communicate.

We thought that it might be a little fun to list a few of the ones we’ve seen, done, personally experienced, and both given and recieved.

Here’s our top 5 Communication Blunders!

1. Talk constantly about yourself.

Everyone loves to talk about themselves.
Make sure that you let them know your entire life history, all of your personal troubles, and how you know everything there is to know about everything.
Particular favourite of ours is to drone on and on about successful children.
After all, who wouldn’t be interested in both you and them?

2. Talk technical terms to non-technical people.

Forget about sounding understandable, you really must focus on sounding intelligent.
Trust me, your audience will be thoroughly impressed with your depth of knowledge even if they have no idea what you just said.
Overload them with jargon and technicalities if at all possible.

3. Link everything they say back to your own situations.

Take whatever they are communicating to you and make sure they understand how it is the exact same thing that happened to you in the past and relate that experience to them.
Make sure they remember that when it happened to you, it was ten times worse or you did ten times better than they did.

4. Immediately TELL them what they should do.

It is always effective to jump straight to problem solving.
Especially when they have not finished telling you all of the circumstances of the situation.
That way, you can be sure and show them how smart you are by not having to understand the whole situation before you know the solution.
They are bound to be impressed with your psychic capabilities!

5. Multi-task during the conversation.

Nothing is more effective to let someone know how important they are than to interrupt the conversation to multi-task.
Make sure you finish that email –they won’t notice anyway.
Keep your eyes occasionally glancing towards your blackberry and keep it switched on too!
Stop the conversation dead to see who just called or texted you.
Better still pretend to be listening to them whilst trying to get a look at the message on your phone.
That’ll work a treat.

When you master these steps, you will be very successful at keeping your conversations short and to the point.

People will stop walking up to you at networking events .

They will not drop by your desk for support, and they will finally leave you alone.

You’ll certainly have more time for personal reflection on how to communicate better.