Rain Making: Attract New Clients No Matter What Your Field Paperback – Mar 1 2008
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About the Author
Ford Harding is the president of Harding & Company, which trains professionals to win new clients. His books are required reading for certification by the Society for Marketing Professional Services. His articles have appeared in Harvard Business Review, the Wall Street Journal, and elsewhere. He lives in Maplewood, NJ.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Although there are tomes of books devoted to marketing, Ford's voice is credible because he cut his teeth running a location consultancy, not a marketing consultancy.
He understands exactly how professionals dread the idea of selling. For instance, he debunks "Non billable time is wasted time" before he even starts on chapter one. Throughout the book, Ford keeps points out example after example of how the fear of rejection holds back one from making repeated phone calls and approaches. Ford explains how most people being marketed to are busy and how many instances of them not returning phone calls isn't because they think you are a nuisance, and calling them again is in no way impolite.
Ford is also very conscious of how wasteful people can be in marketing, and his approach is certainly not to "do everything" but to be purposeful in every marketing action taken.
For those new to the game, Rain Making uncovers how professional services are marketed. There is much emphasis on the technical aspects of marketing and network development. Each of these techniques are amply illustrated by case studies. For example, there is a right way and a wrong way of talking to reporters. I liked this approach, because it shows that even introverts can network and raise their profile effectively, as it is a skill that can be learnt and honed, rather something one innately have.
For those who have been marketing their professional services for a while. This book offers useful checklists that will serve as a useful reference for finding gaps in existing marketing efforts.
I can recommend this book as a solid no-nonsense set of instructions to succeed in one's professional practice.
The first edition of this book (1994) was a classic. You definitely want to order this book even if you have taken his seminars or have a dog-eared version of the original, since he has written 5 new chapters and substantively changed many others. An example of an added chapter "10 Increasing Network Quality".
- Increase the pool you are fishing in (increase the network size)
- Increase the percentage of buyers from that pool
- Increase revenue from each buyer (repeat buyers)
The skills to succeed at growing revenue for each of these 3 ways are quite different .This book covers these 3 angles to increase revenue in a top down fashion. It claims to be aimed at non-sales professionals but I believe everybody could pick up a couple of ideas from this book. I can imagine freelancers would find this book very useful as it covers basics like how to build a reputation (online and offline).
4 Main parts are found back:
- Marketing Tactics: How professionals build reputation and generate leads
- Building a network: How professionals develop a sustainable source of leads
- Sales Tactics: How professionals advance and close a sale
- Tactics to Strategy: What works and what doesn't
Even just dipping in the book gives tons of approaches, ideas, techniques, guidelines and charts to get those leads going. It results in a good overview classic on how to sell and market no matter what your field - A good review book I would say or starter.
I loved reading it.
Contents (Rainmaking 2nd Edition):
Part I Marketing Tactics: How professionals build reputation and generate leads
1 - Writing and publishing your article
2 - Finding a podium
3 - Marketing by mail
4 - Organizing seminars and conferences
5 - Getting publicity
6 - A few words on the web (by Matt Caspari)
7 - Eliminating the dread of cold calling
Part II Building a network: How professionals develop a sustainable source of leads
8 - Networking: The alternative to cold calling
9 - Special rules for special networks: trade associations, formal networking groups, and internal networks.
10 - Increasing network quality (by Mimi Spangler and Gary Pines)
11 - How markets structure networks
12 - From networks to leads
13 - Building client relationships that last
Part III Sales Tactics: How professionals advance and close a sale
14 - The sales meeting: The first 5 minutes
15 - The sales meeting: Questioning and listening
16 - The sales meeting: Offering your solution
17 - The sales meeting: Formal presentations
18 - The sales meeting: Handling questions and concerns
19 - Team selling
20 - Shortening the sales cycle
21 - Writing a proposal
22 - Quoting a fee
23 - Turning down small work
24 - When you lose a sale
Part IV From Tactics to Strategy: What works and what doesn't
25 - The logic of a sales strategy
26 - Simple strategies that can help you now
27 - Self-marketing: Experts make themselves
28 - Market-based strategies
Conclusion: Becoming a Rainmaker
There aren't 'tricks' to this, there is simply proven systems that can help you achieve this. This book runs through a whole spectrum of options that are available and it would be truly impossible to say that someone to say that there wasn't something in this book that could help them with the 'sales' process. Surprisingly, I found there was a lot more information in this book than I expected and it also contained more details than I expected. That's what I liked about this when compared to other 'sales' books. It just doesn't merely talk about what 'sales' are it provides you with concrete steps and suggestions to go about generating more opportunities.
Many business owners are not natural sales people and in fact tend to shy away from sales claiming that it really isn't their thing. To the contrary, for a business owner it is always sales first for without demand there is no business. The more you understand sales the better you have of being a success and keeping the income flowing to your business.
The book is easy to read and surprising comprehensive and pragmatic in its approach. It is well suited to the 'no-sales' type who can learn a lot from the suggestions it brings forward. I would suggest that if you are in business, and especially if you are in business for yourself, then this book should be on your reading list.
I took 7 pages of notes on this book to serve as future reference. I'll list off a few ideas here.
On answering a prospect's question: "Long answers to a question risk creating new concerns or boring the prospect. It shows more confidence and is business like if a short answer is given.
On becoming valuable to your company: "Professionals who can demonstrate the ability to earn client confidence are given high responsibility...Knowledgeable professionals are the ones who expand their companies' practices by modifying old services, developing new ones and by devising new marketing programs."
Networking defined: "Life skills and social skills, combined with sales skills."
On low margin prospects: "Low margins-->Low profit-->Low commission-->Low percentage of success."
On a prospects' decision makers: "Higher the officer in the company, less price matters. They are more able to see the big picture of profit and productivity, as opposed to price. Price lasts for a moment, profit lasts a lifetime."