Rainmakers Sell Money
Whatever business we’re in, we don’t sell products or services; we sell money.
That’s one of the big takeaways, among many, from Jeffrey J. Fox’s classic “How to Become a Rainmaker: The Rules for Getting and Keeping Clients."
“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,” Fox writes. “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.”
The idea here is that, as entrepreneurs, we need to understand that customers don’t care about our products; they only care about what our products can produce for them in financial terms. And those who learn how to “sell money” will be able to sell more for a higher profit than the competition.
As Fox puts it, “The plumber who generates the most revenue doesn’t charge $50 for a sales call, he sells a clean, dry basement for $100, saving the customer’s thousand-dollar carpet.”
How can we apply this “sell the money" idea to our businesses?
Here’s how I would do it …
At Lyden Communications, we don’t just sell strategy consulting, sales and leadership communication coaching, or professional writing and editorial services; we sell a more productive sales pipeline.
Now, how did I arrive at that?
This is my thought process …
The purpose of our company—and this Strategy & Storytelling blog—is to help entrepreneurs remove communication bottlenecks in their sales pipeline.
For example, suppose a client is converting a high percentage of their proposals into new sales, but their number of proposal opportunities is low because they only have a trickle of new leads entering the pipeline. In this case, the biggest bottleneck to sales is at the early prospecting phase.
So, how can they fix that blockage?
Let’s evaluate their prospecting communications. It could be that they need to fix their cold email introduction process and messaging to generate a higher response from more qualified leads.
Or, suppose they do a good job of getting new leads flowing into their pipeline, but for some reason, they’re still generating too few proposal opportunities. What’s going on in this case?
It could that they need to improve their sales presentation. Or, perhaps they need to develop valuable and useful content to help them build trust with prospects over time.
The “sell the money” idea here for my business: Fix the bottlenecks, improve the flow of high-quality prospects who become profitable clients.
And after a few iterations, I arrive at this mantra: we sell a more productive sales pipeline.
This could change. And it likely will. But the exercise has helped me see my company through the eyes of my clients so that I can understand what they really need from me to help them grow their business.
So, let’s break down this thought process to help you arrive at your own “sell the money" mantra for your business.
#1. What is the purpose of our company—from the customer’s perspective?
"The purpose of our company—and this Strategy & Storytelling blog—is to help entrepreneurs remove communication bottlenecks in their sales pipeline."
#2. What are examples of how our products or services align with that purpose?
"For example, suppose a client is converting a high percentage of their proposals into new sales, but their number of proposal opportunities is low because they only have a trickle of new leads entering the pipeline.” And then I continue to unpack this example and others to help bring clarity to my own thinking.
#3. What is the outcome for the client when our company fulfills its purpose?
So, in this case, my purpose is to “Fix the bottlenecks.”
And the outcome for the client when I fulfill this purpose: “improve the flow of high-quality prospects who become profitable clients.”
#4. How can we shorten our “sell the money” messaging into a few-word mantra?
Hence, my example of “more productive sales pipeline.”
Or, examples from Fox’s book: "decreased energy usage, more wheat per acre, more yardage per swing."
The Bottom Line
My experience has been that when you “sell the money,” your customers will begin to see your offerings not as expenses to avoid or cut but as potentially profitable investments that they don’t want to do without.
Sean M. Lyden is CEO of Lyden Communications LLC, a Strategy and Storytelling consultancy that helps entrepreneurs tap into the power of story to grow their business.
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