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Rainmaking and Sales Generation

Feb 11th 2009
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By Scott A. Heintzelman

Rainmaking During normal economic conditions, new revenue is important, but during these challenging times they are critical.  What do most organizations do when the budget is getting stretched?  They cut sales and marketing.  Is that the correct strategy?  What part of revenue generation is about branding and what part is about relationships?

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I teach an internal rainmaking course here at McKonly & Asbury and have presented some of this material to other organizations as well.  Clearly, selling a service is different than selling a product.  If you are trying to sell an inferior product, you will struggle during any kind of economic conditions and will probably only be successful if you are the low cost provider.  But assuming you have a superior product or service, how do you win new business? I believe people like to buy from someone they trust and like.  How do you develop trust and like?  It is all about relationships and this takes time and returning value.  In his book Never Eat Alone – And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time, Keith Ferrazzi states that the currency of networking is not greed but generosity.  This means that in order to build relationships and ultimately develop like and trust, you need to give to get.  Most sales people misunderstand this key principle.  They tend to be the glad handing, life of the party type, but lack substance and seldom create value. 


Well then how do you create value?  It can be done many different ways, such as referring business to your customer.  It could be helping connect a person to others that can aid them with a solution.  It could be showing how your product or service fixes a problem or how it helps them to lower costs, improve efficiency…


A great book on this topic is called, Blue Ocean Strategy – How to create uncontested market space and make the competition irrelevant.  This book encourages you to find these strategic moves – termed “value innovation” – to create powerful leaps in value for both the company and its buyers, rendering rivals obsolete and unleashing new demand.  Too often sales are made just because of lowest price which is referred to as the “Red Ocean.” The Red Ocean is price sensitive and cut throat. The Blue Ocean is about a value added solution – working in a space with no competition that is as wide and deep as the open ocean.  This is how you become an integrated provider to your customers and price becomes less of an issue. Then value becomes the differentiating feature.


Contact me and I will send you the complete set of booknotes for Never Eat Alone.


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