In Ford Harding’s book about those who are super salespersons, he talks about “enthusiasm” as a key characteristic possessed by these rainmakers. (Ford Harding (2006), Creating rainmakers: The manager’s guide to training professionals to attract new clients. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Cons, Inc. Originally published: Holbrook, Mass: Adams Media, 1998. pp. 255.) Rainmakers remain optimistic in the face of setbacks. They do not take rejection personally but see the whole process as a numbers game. They know that the more quickly you identify who is a waste of time, the quicker you can get to the ones who will pay off. So for them, rejection just helps them move on to the next prospect.
What rainmakers know
Rainmakers know that not every first-time touch will pay off. To compensate they respond by increasing the number of first-time touches they make. To them it seems obvious that you pursue many to win a few. They expect hot and cold streaks and don’t worry about it much. Rather they stay focused on doing the process well and not personalizing failures.
What we do
In contrast it seems to me that as therapists we tend to take rejection personally and feel quite upset. When rejected we lose energy for the next encounter with a potential referrer. As a breed, most of us take responsibility for what happens in an interaction. But this quality has a downside. Because of our frequent successes in making relationships we are not very equipped for even the occasional setback. For us it is really hard to let it go and move on to the next potential referrer. We want to reach them all, as unrealistic as that may be.
Of course, when one just begins to market, success will be much more dependent on the whims of chance than on skill. Did we hit a prospect on the right day? How busy did they happen to be at the time I saw them? How recently did they have a need for my services? These and other factors are out of our control. And yet these factors affect the results of our initial efforts, a fact we often forget when considering a disappointing encounter.
Find the right approach for each marketer/therapist takes lots of trial and error. And each new marketer may become discouraged by comparing to others in the organization. It is hard to remember that the seasoned marketer have the advantage of the practice gained in developing many past relationships.
As Harding reminds us,
“If [managers] can get young professionals to make small but consistent investments in relationship building early in their careers, the task of creating rainmakers will be much easier than if they work only with senior associates and partners. During the early years, input measure–such as number of contacts made with past clients and the number of articles written–are more important than output measures because it is unrealistic to expect much business to result from the time spent.”
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Developing Referrer Relationships