Relationship-Based Revenue Generating Activities
For all successful businesses, the one common denominator is the significance placed on relationships – internally and externally. The leaders of those businesses recognize this component as a major key to driving revenue and sustaining growth. These leaders understand the value of building and maintaining relationships that supports the vision of the organization and ensure not just the achievement of goals and objectives, but in many cases exceeding them beyond the expectations thought possible.
These leaders are often referred to as “RAIN-Makers.” What is RAIN? My definition and approach is quite simple:
+ Activity with Accountability
+ Internal Inspiration
+ Natural Navigation
So, you ask, “How do I get started making RAIN?” You are more than likely already making RAIN, so my advice is to simply apply the three steps below and you will be on your way to creating your perfect RAIN storm.
1. Plan your Work and Work your Plan – Failure to Plan is Planning to Fail
Be strategic in your RAIN-Making activities and don’t make the development of your strategy so complex that it is overwhelming – keep it simple. The simpler your strategy, the more likely you will implement it. (Quick Fact: 99 percent of strategic plans fail because they are not implemented.)
Your first step is to identify WHY you are doing this in the first place. What is your definition of success? Secondly, identify WHO you have synergy with that are current customers and strategic partners that are referral sources. For example, when the question is posed, “Which of your clients would you consider to be the best customers? Not just revenue driven, but also a pleasure to work with. What qualities do each possess? What do they have in common?” By identifying the common denominator, you will naturally navigate toward those that share those characteristics. And, third, share your strategy with everyone – your employees, current customers, strategic partners, colleagues, etc. By sharing this information with those that support your success, you naturally steer in the direction of spending time with those that have a higher likelihood of becoming a customer. This is true accountability in the simplest form.
2. Opportunities Ahead – Relationships Wanted
Now that you have developed your strategy (WHY) and identified the characteristics of those customers you have synergy with (WHO), it is time to develop your “pipeline” and map out your revenue generating activities. As a rule, sales is a numbers game; however, when making RAIN the key is consistency, and quality is of greater importance than quantity.
Time and time again, I have found that when an organization’s focus is placed on existing relationships and less on the cold calling approach, the outcome is a minimum of a 10 percent increase to the topline. The simple formula is: 70 percent focus on existing customers and 30 percent on acquiring new customers. Remember that employees are existing customers. An interesting statistic that I have experienced in my many years of RAIN-Making is this: You have a 1-in-14 chance of doing business with a stranger, a 1-in-4 chance of doing business with an introduction or referral, and a 1-in-2 chance of increasing revenue or closing business with someone with whom you have a relationship.
Spending a weekend in Las Vegas is always great but gambling is for entertainment purposes only, so place your bet on the table on the 1-in-4 and 1-in-2 every day. Time is money and money is time – your time and your money. Spend it wisely!
3. Your Perfect Storm – The RAIN Dance
How will you know if what you are doing is or is not working? Where are the best opportunities coming from? These are vital questions to ask but most importantly is the timing of when you ask.
The evaluation and measurement process will provide you with the answers to the questions posed above and more. The evaluation process should be conducted quarterly (at a minimum), while the management of your pipeline should be daily or weekly. A key factor is to remember to be flexible; it is okay and quite healthy to re-navigate. For example, if you join a leads group, attend and engage as expected but, after 90 days, identify the leads you have received that are not closing; perhaps this is not the best use of your time or money.
Celebrating your success and rewarding yourself is important. Have fun and enjoy the RAIN Dance!
Cynthia Blackwell is the founder and managing partner of BlackRain Partners, a full service business consulting firm specializing in revenue growth, financial advisory services, leadership development and organizational health.