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Fish Where the Big Fish AreWhen asked "What is the most important thing you need when you go fishing?" most people say "bait," "pole," "hooks," and "beer." Those are important, but the most important thing needed is fish! You can have the best boat on the prettiest lake with awesome tackle, but if there are no fish, you will go home emptyhanded. If, however, you have only a raggedy old net but a little pond teeming with fish, your chances of a catch are much greater.
Where you cast your line is crucial to catching fish. This is also true for selling. Rainmakers fish where the big fish are. Rainmakers talk to customers who are familiar with their product, or who already use the product, or who have a high probability of using the product. Don't waste your time trying to convince dairy farmers to buy horseshoes. And don't waste your time selling hospital beds to hotels.
Big companies in an industry are generally better prospects than small companies in the same industry. Successful customers are generally better prospects than struggling customers. Customers who want your product are better targets than customers who need your product. (Customers who need your product may not know it. They must be educated, persuaded. This takes time and money. Customers who want your product are partially sold before they see you.)
To a Rainmaker, the big sale is the trophy fish on the wall.
Show Them the Money!Customers buy for only two reasons: to feel good or to solve a problem. Going out to dinner, buying scuba equipment, or getting a new puppy fall into the "feel good" category. The prevailing purchase motivation for organizations is to solve a problem. Thesolution to the problem can always be expressed in financial terms-in dollars and cents. If a company invests $100,000 in advertising, they expect that advertising to generate $500,000 in sales. When a motor manufacturer replaces a cheap $ .08 rubber o-ring with a $ .10 viton o-ring, they expect to save $ . 30 per o-ring with reduced warranty claims. A tree surgeon uses a $900 saw because it cuts five times faster than a cheaper saw, saving him $50 a day in reduced labor costs.
Rainmakers don't sell fasteners or valves or washing machines or double-paned windows or tax audits or irrigation systems or training programs or golf clubs. Rainmakers sell money! They sell reduced downtime, fewer repairs, better gas mileage, higher deposit interest, increased output, decreased energy usage, more wheat per acre, more yardage per swing.
Rainmakers help the customer see the money. Rainmakers turn benefits into dollars. The plumber who generates the most revenue doesn't charge $ 50 for a service call, he sells a clean, dry basement for $100, saving the customer's thousand-dollar carpet.
The lock salesperson doesn't sell locks, he sells security for valuables. The pool salesman doesn't just sell recreation, he sells an increase in home value.
The number one salesperson for a company that made cough medicine never sold a single bottle of cough medicine. He was by far the leading salesperson, but he never sold a cough drop.
The company made products for people with colds, sore throats, hay fever, and sinus conditions. The company made throat lozenges, cough drops, gargles, and sprays. The company trained its sales force on how the products worked, all about the product chemistry, and why their products were the best. The company's success depended on how many cases of cough medicine and gargle it sold. That meant the company's success depended on the demand for the product; the number of people with colds.
The company made its product available to the public by selling to pharmacies, to drugstore owners. In order to make its products more appealing to the drugstore owner than the competitors' medicine, the salesperson's company offered an incentive: For every five cases of products purchased the druggist could either get one case of product for free (to resell at retail prices) or a cash check for the equivalent purchase price of one case. (The free case or check were both worth $25.)
The salesperson realized that his customers were not people with colds. His customers were the drugstore owners. (People with colds were the druggists' customers.) So despite all the technical product training, unlike his colleagues, the number one salesperson never talked about the products' formulas, strength, or soothing aspects.
The number one salesperson talked to the drugstore owners about money.
The salesperson explained the five-case purchase incentive, asking the drugstore owners if they would prefer the free product or the money (in a bank check). Almost always, the drugstore owners would opt for the money.
The salesperson didn't sell cures for coughs, he sold a rebate check of $25 for every five cases of product purchased. After the drugstore owner agreed to take the money, the salesperson would ask, "How much money would you like?" Getting more money meant buying more product, and that's what many pharmacists did.
The number one salesperson sold money! All the other salespeople regaled druggists with facts on cough suppressant chemicals and breathe-free passages. They were far-distant followers in the contest.
Always show the customer the money. Always dollarize (see "A Rainmaker Extra," page 148). Quantify the customer's return on his investment in your product. Calculate the financial consequences to the customer-the cost of going without your solution.
Rainmakers don't sell products; they sell the dollarized value the customer gets from the products.
Rainmakers sell money...