In the consulting space, we use the term "rainmaker" to describe someone who consistently brings in clients, opportunities, and visibility to the firm.
Rainmakers are usually founders or partners of the firm - or quickly get promoted into the role. You can always hire a consultant to deliver the work, but there aren't many who can bring in more work to the team. These professionals are worth their weight in gold, and they know it.
The biggest myth about rainmakers is that they have a specific personality type - "you're either born with it or you don't". There isn't a single serious research that supports this limiting story. Business development can be learned, and having this growth mindset is what separates those consultants who are replaceable from those who thrive and lead growth.
With that said, the million-dollar question becomes: So what do you need to succeed in this transition from consultant to rainmaker?
Having worked with dozens of firms and +100 consultants, I believe it comes down to just three things: a mindset, a skill set, and a tool kit:
- Mindset: Consultants must be equipped with the right set of beliefs and attitudes. If you look at sales and growth as negative or self-serving activities, and don't understand why they are important for you and your colleagues, you will never be able to sustain business development efforts.
- Skillset: Consultants must learn and practice the abilities to do all the things rainmakers do - such as building and nurturing relationships, creating demand for their services, gaining commitments, talking about money, etc.
- Tool kit: Finally, consultants need the right tool kit to ensure they can maintain a quality standard and manage their time in a healthy way. This includes documented processes, a CRM solution, scripts, and playbooks.
Each of these elements is necessary but not sufficient on its own. If you don't work on all of the three you will not be able to consistently put in the time and effort to become great at business development.
If you're feeling overwhelmed, remember to start small:
- Subscribe to this blog and list the tools and skills you want to improve.
- Slowly adopt business development activities as habits.
- Invest in specialized training or coaching.