I am currently sitting in the room at our inaugural Rainmaker conference in London. On stage a few minutes ago was a fantastic panel of Rainmakers, including the likes of Nigel Walsh (Partner at Deloitte), Stephen Ruff (BD & Alliance Manager at everis UK), and Leor Franks (Managing Director - Marketing & Communications at FTI Consulting). Chairing the panel was our very own David Kirk (SVP at Passle).
The panel discussion was on the topic of Rainmakers & Change. A lot of themes were discussed, from the ever-changing environment that Rainmakers operate in today, to the future challenges that will arise for the Rainmakers of tomorrow.
The final question posed to the panel was:
'What are the three recommendations you'd give to a future rainmaker to help them on their journey?
There were of course, 9 answers from the 3 panel members. My key takeaways were:
1. Specialise in a particular field or discipline, learn as much as you can about it and develop the confidence to articulate your expertise both verbally and in writing. When you have sufficient confidence, share this expertise with the people that count.
2. Start building your network young. Map out the community that you're operating in and be an active participant in it - being a community member will help foster commonalities with significant people that you're looking to engage with. Digitally influencing people will only get you so far and face-to-face interactions will always be the best way to nurture high-value relationships. As such, the fundamentals of the ‘the deal’ will never change, and the building blocks of any high-value transaction will always be those relationships that were made from in-the-room interactions, where you can see the whites of the decision makers' eyes. (Remember also that the decision-maker doesn't always sit in the C-Suite!)
3. Foster empathy in your stakeholders. Don't just be an ambassador for your organisation, but show them your human side - it'll help to strengthen the key relationships that you're developing. Building on that, the panel recommended that for organisations looking to foster their next generation of Rainmakers, they should adopt a Bransonian approach: put your staff first and you will get the best people working for you; by virtue of this, your clients will receive the best service and thus profits will follow.