For this month’s resource review, I’ve selected Rainmaking Conversations by Mike Schultz and John Doerr. This brand new book describes a sales approach based on their proven RAIN sales model. Well written, this book should be on every consultant’s bookshelf (after reading it, of course.)
The authors are co-founders of the Rain Group, a sales training and sales performance improvement company. Their customers include professional service firms and other companies that sell complex products and services (technology, pharma, medical devices, etc.)
As such, they certainly understand the unique challenges of selling intangibles like consulting. They also co-authored Professional Services Marketing, which nicely complements Rainmaking Conversations.
Incidentally, if you are brand new to consulting, rainmakers are those who generate new business. In large firms, a few rainmakers often bring in most of the business for everyone to work on. In a small practice, however, everyone needs to be a rainmaker!
This book uses their RAIN model that shows you how to:
- Build trust right from the first contact (R – Rapport)
- Uncover both problems and dreams (A – Afflictions/Aspirations)
- Make the economic case for purchase (I – Impact)
- Paint a vivid word picture for the future (N – New reality)
The book emphasizes sales conversations, not manipulation. In short, selling consulting should NOT be like selling a used car — but rather like talking to a friend or colleague. When placed in that context, selling consulting services can even become enjoyable. (It is for me…)
In addition to the books, the Rain Group has a strong on-line presence. They host a couple of free blogs and a fee based membership web site . The latter offers numerous reports, white papers, webinars, podcasts, and other useful resources. The current annual fee is $299, and is well worth it.
The Rain Group also offers a two day seminar based on the RAIN sales model. Last year, they turned their popular seminar into an on-line class, complete with forums and monthly workshops. If you like the book, you may want to consider their on-line program for even more depth.
One caveat for geeks – the book focuses on business consulting rather than technical consulting. As such, RFPs (Requests For Proposals) are not covered. RFPs are often mandatory for technical consultants (like engineers and architects) who deal with government agencies (local, state, and federal.) Certainly not a show stopper — the rest of the material is excellent.
I recently met Mike Schultz (loved the bald head), and have been a RainToday member for a year. I also took their on-line selling class and enjoyed it. After 23 years of consulting and 10 years in high tech sales and marketing, I still picked up some useful ideas.
The books and other services by the Rain Group are highly recommended.
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