Becoming a Rainmaker in Your Sales Career

What Does it Mean to be a Rainmaker?

In sales, a rainmaker is somebody who brings in an abundance of income into the business. Rainmakers are A-Players that perform above any expectations placed on them by the company, and in many cases themselves. Becoming a rainmaker is nothing magical, it simply requires a clear and diligent focus on the task at hand.

The first step to becoming a rainmaker is asking the question, “How do I become a rainmaker?” Top performers in sales are constantly asking the right questions. Asking the right questions leads to getting the right answers, which is absolutely necessary to become successful.

Most rainmakers have a range of skills and abilities used to understand and form alliances, as well as challenge and push for the right outcomes to create success. Those who can make this happen are not only top performers in sales, but they quickly climb the career ladder.

The Winning Mindset

Many people think becoming successful has to do with where you are born and how privileged your childhood was. It’s a way of shrugging off their own opportunity to achieve the heights of economic success.

Anybody with the right mindset can become a rainmaker, never forget that.

Speak to people like the valuable interesting human beings they are. Often in sales people are just looking for the next client. They can only see people as wallets with feet. This is the exact wrong way to become successful. Treat people with respect and love, make connections without having the expectation of getting paid. This is why it’s very important to focus on areas that you are actually interested in.

Working in a sector you enjoy will make all the difference. Work will become a labor of love instead of a service to a soulless taskmaster.

The Skillset

To be successful in sales you need to have an understanding of these 4 fundamental skills:

  1. Listening
  2. Expertise
  3. Asking The Right Question
  4. Control

The emphasis today on personal and professional development has never been higher. There is so much free content out there that you would be foolish to ignore.

During your day while your commuting, working out, or walking your dog, you can be listening to valuable content in audio form. There are thousands of hours of books, lectures, and discussions about sales and how to rise to the top.

If you have time to read, check out these essential sales books for building a rock solid foundation in your career.

Listening

Sometimes we simply forget to listen. We are so busy trying to figure out the best way to respond to an objection that we don’t hear the individual’s actual problems. Most people will be happy to pay you if you can solve their problem, but what exactly is their problem? Locate what’s causing them the pain in their life and do your best to help. If you can’t, simply refer them to somebody who can. Use that as a stepping stone to build a network with other people in your industry who provide services you don’t.

Become An Expert

Again this is why it’s important to love your area of sales. It will be a painful journey to become an expert in something you don’t care about. Also, people in need will be coming to you for help, if you sell them your product or service, and it’s not the right fit, then you just caused even more problems for the individual.

Actually helping someone requires skill, knowledge, and experience. If you feel you lack any one of those 3 factors, do whatever you can to build on them as soon as you possibly can.

Questions

Asking the right question is the only way to truly know what your client, or potential client, really needs. Preparing some thoughts before a call can help, but you never know what somebody will actually say.

Keep an open mind, relax, and remember what you have to offer. That is the best way to allow the right questions to surface while you’re in an important conversation.

 

Control

Maintaining control during a conversation is incredibly important. This should come easily if you are truly an expert in your field. No client should be able to tell you how to do your job better than you’re already doing it, even though they may try. Once you lost control of the conversation the client will no longer see you as an expert and it will be harder to convince them that your service is right for them.

Conclusion

Maintain a high degree of skill and understanding in your field will instantly attract clients. The good news is that most people won’t bother putting in the hard work that will get you to the top. If you really want to blow away your competition in sales, simply follow the basic advice above, and don’t stop working so you can confidently call yourself a rainmaker!

personal branding roadmap template for job seekers

Personal Branding Roadmap Template For 2018 Sales Job Seekers

The importance of personal branding for career development is more vital now than ever for career salespeople thinking long-term. Your online reputation is now your resume and the key to future career growth.  

Having a personal brand gives you tremendous leverage when it comes to landing great career opportunities. For example, you might lack the job experience requirements for a role you really want, but having a strong personal brand may be able to compensate for that.

5-10 years ago, finding a new job worked heavily in the employers’ favor. Fast-forward 5-10 years later and digital transformation has shifted the advantage to the candidate. The MRI Network stated:

“86% of recruiters and 62% of employers felt the 2016 labor market was candidate-driven.”

Take a look at Tim Ferris or Gary Vaynerchuk as some key self-branding examples. Of course, they are at the extreme end of the spectrum, but they are the poster children for what you can achieve building a personal brand at scale.

tim ferris personal brand

Before diving into actionable personal branding techniques for job seekers (especially those in sales), it’s important to point out a hard reality. It isn’t going to be easy.

Building a personal brand is going to be a huge time commitment and will show little return in the short-term, but the long-term gains for the future of your career are limitless if you put in the blood, sweat, and tears in the beginning.

To get started you need to start asking yourself the questions below and write them down inside a google doc sheet or piece of paper.

Answer these questions to help you build out your personal branding roadmap in 2018:

  1. What is your “value” differentiator?
  2. Who is your target audience?
  3. What channels does your target audience live?
  4. What outcome are you trying to achieve short-term?
  5. What outcome are you trying to achieve long-term?
  6. What is your motive for building a personal brand?
  7. What keywords do you want to be found for?
  8. What is your content strategy?
  9. What KPIs are you going to commit to (daily/weekly)?

1 – What Is Your Value Differentiator?

The importance of personal branding for career development all starts with understanding your “value” differentiator.

This will sound like a daunting task in the beginning. The easiest way to understand this is by understanding your strengths and weaknesses.

What makes you standout amongst the noise as a candidate every employer would want to hire?

What makes you the expert in your field?

This is the key to getting started with your personal branding plan.

Determine Your Strengths/Weaknesses:

Take out a piece of paper and start writing down your strengths on one side of the page and weaknesses on the other. What wisdom do you have in your field that others don’t?  Where do you lack wisdom?

If you get stuck, don’t hesitate to reach out to your co-workers and managers from your past and current jobs.

Really challenge yourself to understand your weaknesses because these will show you areas that need improvement.

You should consistently thrive to optimize your value differentiator.

strength vs weakness personal brand

2 – Who Is Your Target Audience?

To capture the right employer’s attention, it’s imperative that you understand your personal brand target persona. This is comparable to understanding personas in sales and marketing.

Make a list of all the influencers, employers, or decision makers you are trying to start conversation with or get attention from. This should help you build out your target audience.

Industry: Thinking long-term about your career what industry do you want to work in for the rest of your career? Narrow this down to your niche as much as possible.

Seniority Level: Do you speak to executives, mid-management, or practitioners?

Job Function: Do you speak to marketing, sales, IT, or accounting?

Industry Influencers: Who are the experts in your field?

3 – Which Channels Actually Matter To Your Target Audience?

This part should be easy. The importance of personal branding for career development starts with not only understanding who your audience is, but even more important, is where do they live?

For most B2B professionals, LinkedIn is the best place to build your personal brand

In most cases, your target audience will be engaged on multiple channels. Pick two channels (three at most), in the beginning, and really focus on those as you are getting started.

  1. LinkedIn
  2. Twitter
  3. Quora
  4. Reddit
  5. Facebook
  6. Pinterest
  7. Instagram
  8. Snapchat

4 – What Outcomes Are You Trying to Achieve Short-Term?

In the beginning, when building out your personal branding plan, it’s vital to understand what outcome you are trying to achieve.  

What are your short-term goals? These are outcomes you can achieve as little wins in a short-period of time. Most of these will be around audience growth and engagement metrics.

Some recommended short term goals to help you get started:

  1. Grow targeted following
  2. Create 1-1 conversations
  3. Content creation
  4. Content curation
  5. Profile views
  6. Connections

5 – What Outcomes Are You Trying to Achieve Long-Term?

Short-term wins over time will help you get to your long-term goals. Your goal here is to turn your short-term wins into habits that help you get to your long-term goals faster.

Long-term goals should incorporate building real expertise in your field that captures the attention from your employers based on association and wisdom.

Some recommended long term goals to help you get started:

  1. Inbound 1-1 conversations with target employers/recruiters
  2. Increase in number of qualified interviews
  3. More opportunity in higher positions
  4. More qualified connections with industry influencers
  5. Interviewed on top industry podcasts
  6. Guest posts on top industry blogs

Link to this podcast → https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cKeolScvBdI

salesman podcast personal brand

6 – What’s Your Motivation For Building A Personal Brand In The First Place?

This one should be obvious, but it must be part of building out your plan, so you don’t lose track of why you are investing the time and energy.

For example, musicians build a personal brand so they can get booked for more shows and gain more fans.

For B2B professionals, you may be looking for thought leadership opportunities such as speaking at a conference.

This exercise might also help steer you AWAY from building a personal brand (and that’s okay).

Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Why am I building a personal brand?
  2. Who is going to benefit from my personal brand?
  3. Am I doing this to give more than I receive (or vice versa)?
  4. Will I be focused on building strong relationships?

If the answer to these questions seem to be more “me” focused than “we” focused, it might not be worth making the commitment.

7 – Which Keywords Do You Want To “Rank” For ?

Understanding keywords that you want to be found for will help drive the long-term success of your personal brand. Keywords play a major role when setting up and optimizing your social profiles (or website) to be found by employers in the short-term and long-term.  

Using the “skills” section inside your LinkedIn profile will help you determine which industry keywords employer’s and recruiters search the most. This should be a pretty simple process, but you can also search industry hashtags using hastagify.me to get more granular in your search.

featured skills linkedin personal brand

8 – What Is Your Content Strategy?

Want a little known secret to building your personal brand, FAST?

Content. Simple as that.

Content is the key driver when building a personal branding plan that captures attention at scale. The key here is to be super strategic with the content you curate, create, and share.

Aligning your “value” differentiator with your content is key to capture your target audience’s attention. Your keyword strategy will need to be integrated heavily into this strategy.

Focus on these two key areas:

Content Curation – Sharing other people’s content is vital (especially in the beginning) to driving more targeted connections, conversation, and attention. Who are the industry influencers in your space? Who are the key employers you are trying to get in touch with? Use their content to drive the conversation using a value vs ask approach.

Content Creation – Creating original content should be a priority. It’s the only way you will gain the reputation as the expert in your field. This should be a mix of video and blog content. Using LinkedIn publisher should be a key area of focus. This builds your credibility inside your profile and allows recruiters to understand your “value” differentiator. Eventually, building your own website will need to happen as well.

linked profile keywords personal brand

9 – Which KPIs Will You Commit To (daily/weekly/monthly)?

Consistency is the key to driving short-term and long-term success.

  • How many times a week are you going to curate content?  
  • How many times a week are you going to create content?
  • How many times are you going to post on dedicated channels daily?
  • How many times will you engage daily? Weekly? Monthly?

Build out a posting strategy that holds you accountable and turns your activity into a habit. Using social publishing tools like Sprout Social, Buffer, or Hootsuite will help you automate the process to become more efficient.

NOTE: In the beginning, stay away from automation as much as possible. Really focus on the 1-1 conversation to build relationships that matter.

Putting Your Personal Branding Roadmap into Motion

This all might sound like its going to be a lot of work (and it will be), but start focusing on taking baby steps in the process.

After you start seeing short-term wins it will help you pick up momentum.

Think about the next 10-20 years of your career.

Visualize the opportunities that will come your way if you put in the time now, so you can reap the career rewards later!