Lisa’s latest article for the Forbes Business Council discusses how to teach the art of business development to your team.
Read it here:
When you hear the word rainmaker, an individual responsible for generating a lot of business, you may conjure up an image of a stodgy lawyer, the senior, aggressive, boisterous kind who makes young associates shiver in their boots and fear for their jobs. Indeed, this might have been the case at one time, but it need not describe rainmakers today.
Though the term is frequently used in law, being a rainmaker isn’t restricted to legal practice. And, to be a rainmaker, you don’t have to engender fear in anyone who crosses your path. In fact, a rainmaker and rainmaker-in-the-making are quite the opposite; they are helpful to clients and team members alike, educators at their finest.
If you are currently a rainmaker and agree you’re not of the scary variety, the good news is you’re in the position to be both rainmaker and leader. Someone who can educate your team members to each become prolific earners for your business.
Even better news is anyone in business can become a rainmaker. That is, with the right skill set. As applicable to any skill, rainmaking is one you can teach and one anybody on your team can learn if they are open to it or if you can help them become open to it. With this potential in mind, below are 10 strategies to help get you started on teaching your team to become your best earners.
1. Offer training and development opportunities.
Want to show your team you believe in them? Want them to succeed? Then invest in them. How? By offering them training and development opportunities. Give them industry knowledge and teach them how to negotiate and, of course, sell. Yes, I said sell because every job, even those that don’t look like it, is a sales job.
Don’t forget about teaching your team people skills. Interpersonal skills are equally crucial, internally at your company and for client development, so teach your people how to be better listeners and communicators and more empathetic. These skills will all serve them—and you—well.
2. Provide continuing education.
Once you’ve offered your team training and development opportunities, don’t leave them hanging; your job isn’t done, and neither is theirs. Learning should be ongoing. So, encourage your team to stay on top of the latest trends in the industry by attending webinars, completing refresher courses and reading.
3. Provide opportunities for your team to role play.
What better way for your team to practice proposals, formulate elevator pitches and prepare themselves for unexpected scenarios than to practice on each other? Role play is an essential part of learning, and given how it can also be fun while inexpensive to organize, role play can be incorporated into internal training sessions easily.
4. Invest in technological tools.
Arm your team with tools like customer relationship management (CRM) systems, analytics and other technologies to help them manage their relationships with clients effectively and efficiently, as well as with each other.
5. Set goals and track progress.
Give your team a clear pathway to success by setting goals for your people individually and as a team. Review their progress with them one-on-one and ensure they understand their specific role in contributing to the company’s overall revenue goal.
6. Give your team something to work for.
Incentives can come in various forms, from words of praise to compensation. Everyone likes to be recognized for their efforts and success, especially when measured against others.
7. Reward collaboration.
Reward collaborative efforts, but don’t let the competition make rain become too stiff. The last thing you want to create is a cutthroat environment. Instead, create a collaborative environment by incentivizing work done as a team. This type of culture encourages people to learn from each other, which, in turn, leads to growth individually and as a whole.
8. Encourage your team to network internally and externally.
Under the same umbrella is networking. Depending on the size of your organization, you want to encourage your team to network not only outside the company but internally as well. Those team connections inside your organization will prove vital as teammates refer work to one another when applicable.
Outside, encourage your team members to join professional organizations, attend trade shows and events, and support the company on social media. Allotting money in your budget to cover some of the expenses associated with such efforts can make it easier for your team to get involved without worrying about financing these endeavors on their own.
9. Teach the value of free.
Everyone loves getting a deal, and your clients will love it even more when they receive valuable advice that doesn’t always come with a price tag. Consulting can be an effective way to sell without selling, depending on your industry.
So, teach your team to become troubleshooters and problem-solvers. Clients who feel like they’re getting something for free will be appreciative and more trusting, which could lead to better client development and increased sales over time.
10. Lead by example.
It’s pretty hard to gain your team’s trust and respect and have them follow your lead if you’re not leading by example. The best way for your team to understand what you want and expect from them is by watching you.
So don’t just say the words—live them. All the while remembering that becoming a rainmaker didn’t happen to you overnight, and, therefore, you shouldn’t expect it for your team.
Making rain requires time, patience and consistent effort. From everyone.