I plead guilty to enjoying a cold beer or two, and I’ve watched with amazement as the decade-long bull market in the craft beer industry shows no signs of abating.
In today's challenging economic environment, it is more important than ever to become a rainmaker—someone who can generate new money for a business enterprise. Sales and service professionals must do more than merely sell great products or provide great service in order to survive and prosper. Now often they are required to generate increasingly more business to maintain their status within an organization, take home the money they believe they deserve, and, in some cases, even hold onto the jobs they thought—until recently—were secure. Make no mistake: Today's business culture demands results. People are waking up in service firms and sales departments in companies everywhere and realizing they need to sell themselves and their companies, especially service professionals who never considered themselves in sales. They need to start right now and develop marketing skills that will help them today and endure throughout their careers. There is an approach to sales and marketing that works immediately, without fail. It is inside everyone.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> While many sales and marketing theorists have proffered numerous strategies on how to become a rainmaker, the fact remains that there is a paucity of rainmakers. Why? I believe one of the main reasons is that it is still a mystery to many people—through no fault of their own—why a business prospect would select and stay with one of two vendors, both of whom have educated themselves about and implemented the same marketing strategy. This article attempts to demystify this phenomenon with the idea that it is imperative to not only have great sales and marketing techniques at your disposal, but to implement those techniques in ways that will be <b>100 percent UNIQUE TO YOU</b>. If you learn how to implement marketing strategies in ways that are unique to you, you will exponentially increase your chances of getting and keeping new clients and customers. Your ability to do so is inside you right now. Let's tap into your unique personhood and put a little personality into your pitch. <br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> My approach is rooted in a deep understanding of and heightened sensitivity to the concept of self and the importance of developing and maintaining unique relationships with other people. A business prospect is bombarded with too many options in today's marketplace. She wants to give her business to the vendor with whom she has the best relationship. Or, as my approach postulates: All other things being equal, a prudent purchaser of services or products will choose to give her business to the person with whom she has the most <i>unique</i> relationship. <br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> Here's an example of how the approach works. Let's take a specific marketing strategy—or mind-set—and apply my approach to it. Take the age-old strategy of schmoozing the business prospect. This example is a good one because while many vendors try to schmooze, few make the schmooze unique. Light-hearted flattery will get you everywhere. Everyone likes to feel good. Everyone wants to feel important, appreciated, and special. Say something nice about a person. Throw in a little humor. People will remember your encounter, and a part of them will feel good about what you said. They'll appreciate your kind words. When you make your business prospects feel good, they will feel good about you, and, in turn, they will be more inclined to give you business. <br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> If you want to be a good schmoozer, then try schmoozing in a way <b>100 percent UNIQUE TO YOU</b>. Do this by simply being yourself. Identify those unique aspects of your personality that can be infused into the schmooze.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> The biggest mistake people make when they schmooze business prospects is trying to be someone else. I think this is exactly why schmoozing has evolved into having certain negative connotations. People consider schmoozing insincere. And they are often right. Too many sales and marketing professionals try too hard to be the "master schmoozer." They aren't being true to themselves. If you try to schmooze like someone else, you will fail. <br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> Schmoozing is based on sincerity: If you aren't sincere, you have no business trying to schmooze and make someone feel good. Your insincere efforts will backfire. But if you speak the truth and use discretion in how you schmooze a business prospect, you will continue to build good will. <br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> If you remain true to yourself and strategically use those unique aspects of who you are inside when schmoozing a business prospect, you will be charming. You will be charming because you are being real. Your smile is real. Your laughter is real. Your compliment of the other person is sincere. Everything you say is from the heart. People can—and will—be enamored with this sense of sincerity. They come into contact all too often with people who are insincere. They get tired of it. They want something refreshing. When they get the real thing, they are charmed by it. Effective schmoozing is as simple as that.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> Be yourself, and you will schmooze uniquely and, thus, more effectively. But you need to take an honest look at that bundle of characteristics and behaviors that defines YOU. Below are a few brainstorming ideas and questions to help you identify how your unique personality can be infused into the schmooze and get business prospects to feel good about themselves and you:<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> • What are you good at? Can you do these things with your potential clients and have some fun?<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> • What makes you laugh? How can you most appropriately add your sense of humor to conversations with potential customers?<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> • In what ways have you been complimented by others? Were those compliments sincere? If so, how did you feel? What are a few sincere ways of complimenting your business prospects? <br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> • Identify common interests between you and your referral sources. Can you send them gifts related to those common interests? How do you think your referral sources will feel—about you—when they get those gifts? More inclined to remember you when recommending a vendor, perhaps?<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> • Have you ever tried to schmooze someone before? Did it work? What worked and what didn't? Were the things that didn't work consistent with your personality?<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> Just implement any marketing strategy, tip, or guideline in a way that is <b>100 percent UNIQUE TO YOU</b> and you will increase your chances of turning potential customers and clients into existing ones. Personalize your sales and marketing strategies to create, grow, and sustain better and more rewarding business relationships. Use your imagination and creativity to brainstorm ideas on how to make the implementation of any sales and marketing strategy <b>100 percent UNIQUE TO YOU</b>. There is still ample opportunity to prosper in these difficult economic times. Do so by becoming a rainmaker for your company. Remain confident in yourself and your unique qualities. <br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> And put a little personality into the pitch!<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> <i>J.B. Brocato is the author of the forthcoming book, “The Rainmaker Inside: Unleash The Sales & Marekting Power Inside YOU Now!” and the story, “Learning From A Child,” about rainmaking skills, inspired by his young daughter. He is also the chairman of the Executive Committee and chief marketing officer of Pedersen & Houpt, a Chicago law firm. Mr. Brocato graduated Summa Cum Laude from Loyola University Chicago, where he studied Economics. Brocato also is a musician and the founder and CEO of Intense Artist Management, a full-service music management company, and is a licensed Illinois Real Estate Broker. E-mail him at <a href="mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org">email@example.com</a>.</i>