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RAIN Group Sales Blog

Do You Make These 3 Proposal Mistakes?

I had a conversation recently with a client who was struggling with his sales efforts. The conversation went something like this:

Me: How has your selling effort been going?

Client: Unbelievable. I sent out four proposals last week and three more this week.

Me: That's great. How many new deals have you closed?

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Sales Team Training that Produces Real Results

Your sales team isn't hitting quota.

You have aggressive growth goals but keep falling short.

You want more of your sales team to transition from average to top performers.

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Is Your Need for Approval Holding You Back from Sales Success?

How many times have you left a sales meeting and thought, "I should have said that..."?

Or, during a meeting, as you listened to what a prospect was saying, you thought, "That's not right; he will be making a big mistake if he goes down that path," but you never voiced your opinion?

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Do You Have What It Takes to Succeed in Sales?

Imagine for a minute that you’re a master carpenter. You’ve been building houses your whole life, trying your best to hone your craft and deliver the highest quality work every day that you possibly could.

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Why Does Sales Training Fail? It's Your Fault!

Sales training is a multibillion-dollar business. In the U.S. alone, it is estimated to be more than $5 billion (according to Dave Stein in Sales Training: The 120-Day Curse from ES Research Group). Yet, also according to Stein, between 85% and 90% of sales training has no lasting impact after 120 days. If we do the math, that amounts to somewhere north of $4.25 billion of unproductive training.

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Ten Commandments for Shortening Your Sales Cycle, Pt. 1

I spend a good percentage of my time selling. I also spend a lot of time coaching and training sales teams. One question that comes up time after time is, "How do I shorten the sales cycle?"

My quick response is usually, "Have more in each stage of your pipeline at all times, so the sales cycle just seems shorter."

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Ten Commandments for Shortening Your Sales Cycle, Pt. 2

It usually takes a long time to find a shorter way. - Anonymous

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RAIN Selling: How to Lead Masterful Sales Conversations

It’s 4 PM on a Thursday. You’re about to meet the CEO of a large company you’d like to win as a client. The conversation starts as you walk into the office, approach the CEO, stretch out your hand, and say, “Nice to meet you, Jill. I’m Steve Webb.”

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"Your Fees Are Too High": Steps to Handling Objections That Will Get You Closer to the Sale

How many of us have heard from prospects, "Your fees are too high," "Someone else will do it for less," or "I don't see why I have to pay all that money just to have you do an audit, write a brief, create a marketing plan, etc.?" And, more important, how many resist the urge to simply lower our fees to get the work?

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3 Steps to Communicating Your Value in Professional Services Sales

One of the greatest difficulties in professional services sales is helping potential clients understand what outcomes they will achieve when they work with you. Creating a picture of what outcomes are possible with the solution you present is imperative for two reasons. First, prospects need to be convinced of the outcome and that you can achieve it or they likely will not purchase.

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Building Trust with Skeptical Executives

Sometimes it’s just easy. You meet a person and connect. Conversation flows. You find common areas professionally and personally. Ideas bounce back and forth, and you start talking about how you can work on something together. Before you know it, work is under way, and the collaboration is the definition of one plus one equals three.

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The New Rules of Selling, Part 1: Play to Win-Win
Rule #1: Play to Win-Win.

(This post is the first in a series of blog posts on the new rules of selling.)

Win-win is a common negotiating philosophy. The idea is to find solutions that satisfy the interests of both parties, and maximize value on both sides. Since repeat business and referrals are so important in complex sales, employing win-win as part of your selling technique and philosophy should be a foregone conclusion.

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Creating a Culture of Selling with Rainmakers: A Window into Sales Performance: Part Two

In our last post about building a rainmaking sales culture, we discussed the three areas of organizationally-controlled influences you need to address in order to create the best sales environment in which your sales team can thrive and succeed:

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Creating a Culture of Selling with Rainmakers: A Window into Sales Performance

Here at RAIN Group, our advice to organizations looking to create a culture of sustained, serious selling: Make sure the bucket doesn't have any holes or it won't hold water.

Time and again we see organizations doing a certain percent of what they need to do to help their teams achieve more sales success and increase sales performance (our favorite, “Can you come in and give a 90-minute speech that will charge up the team for the next 12 months?”), but rarely do they put forth 100% effort. If you're only doing 70% of what you need to do to increase sales performance, you don't get 70% results; you get much less. Like patching a leak in the bottom of a boat, if you don't patch it 100%, it still takes on water.

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Your 6-Step Guide to Setting and Achieving Sales Goals: You Can Get There From Here

Achieving your goals isn't a slam dunk. Can you do what it takes to meet them?

I recently started going to a personal trainer. At the beginning of our very first session, she asked, “So, what are you trying to accomplish?”

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Who’s On First? Why Identifying Sales Roles is Essential Before Sales Training

I have been truly obsessed with baseball lately. My beloved Red Sox folded faster than the deck chairs on the Titanic in one of the greatest meltdowns in all of baseball history. And the talk shows are full of Danny from Quincy and Al from Everett suggesting changes that need to happen in the off-season. One fan suggested freshening up the pitching staff by having relievers start games, starters come in to relieve, and closers (generally relegated to the ninth inning) pitch from the seventh on. What a disaster that would be!

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Think Quick! Why Sales Knowledge Fluency Can Take Your Sales Team to the Next Level

This summer, I finally decided I was ready to go from the junior varsity batting cages (65 mph) to the high school varsity cages (80 mph). Boy was that a mistake. I did foul one off, but the experience was mostly entertainment for my sons and their college friends. Later that day, I checked to see just how fast my reaction time had to be to square up on an 80 mph pitch. My findings: less than ½ second. I had no chance. I can’t imagine facing Justin Verlander and his 100 mph pitches.

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Sales Weaknesses that Are Holding Your Sales Team Back

There are thousands of ways to kill a sale. Some are obvious like not showing up to a meeting prepared, not following up, not listening, not establishing trust, going to proposal too early, not speaking to decision makers... the list goes on. These are all pretty easy to see and with some work and practice can be overcome.

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Rome Wasn't Built in a Day - Neither are Sales Skills

I love the movie Groundhog Day. If you haven’t seen it, please do. If you have, then you will remember that Bill Murray, the lead, masters the piano, develops incredible medical diagnostic skills, becomes fluent in French, and learns to change tires in minutes. All the while covering the breaking news of the emergence of Punxsutawney Phil (the groundhog signaling a longer winter – hence the movie title).

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Using the Power of Why in Needs Discovery
The following is expanded content from our new book Rainmaking Conversations: Influence, Persuade, and Sell in Any Situation. In this piece, co-authors Mike Schultz and John Doerr explain how to get at the root causes of need so you can solve prospect challenges in the most permanent and helpful way. Read more about the book here.
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16 Principles of Influence in Sales

When I was 6 I wanted a basketball for my birthday. I didn’t ask my dad for it myself. I sent in the big gun: my sister Allyson.

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Thank You for Helping Rainmaking Conversations Become an Amazon Bestseller
Earlier this week we announced the launch of our new book, Rainmaking Conversations and we’ve been absolutely thrilled with the response so far. The book has reached the #1 bestseller spot on Amazon in a number of categories including:
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6 Questions to Prepare for the Biggest Sales Conversation of Your Life

The following is expanded content from our new book Rainmaking Conversations: Influence, Persuade, and Sell in Any Situation. In this piece, co-authors Mike Schultz and John Doerr stress the importance of continuous self-evaluation in your efforts to reach sales success. Read more about the book here.


Imagine for a minute you’re a master carpenter. You’ve been building houses your whole life, trying your best to hone your craft and deliver the highest quality work every day that you possibly could.

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One Thing Top Sales People Get Right (and Why You Shouldn’t Talk with Your Mouth Full)

Willy: I don't know why - I can't stop myself - I talk too much. A man oughta come in with a few words. Charlie's a man of few words, and they respect him.

Linda: You don't talk too much, you're just lively.

Arthur Miller - Death of a Salesman

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New Book First Look: Rainmaking Conversations – Free Chapter

We haven’t said much about the launch of our new book on this blog, and it’s certainly not for a lack of excitement about it. In fact, we’ve been incredibly busy since the beginning of this year preparing for the launch of the book, which will be next Tuesday, April 19, and in the midst of all the activity, we haven’t even mentioned it yet here on the blog.

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6 Keys to Prospecting Success

I recently conducted a webinar for a client on prospecting. Leading up to the webinar, I asked what questions the client had in regards to prospecting so I could tailor the content to their particular challenges. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised when I only got one response. And that is not because they are masters of prospecting. Quite the contrary. It's because they do so little of it and were unsure of what questions to ask. Like most sellers (50% according to Dave Kurlan's extensive studies), they were doing little prospecting at all.1

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7 Steps to Turn Sales Calls into New Clients

“If I could just get a meeting with my target prospects I am certain I could close five (or six or eight) out of every ten.”

How many of you think the same thing? You know that when you get in front of the prospect you can wow them. Every time a lead comes into the firm and you go on the sales meeting, it's a slam dunk. Made-in-the-shade. Can of corn. You know you'll get the gig.

Let's assume you set a meeting with someone you believe will be a good prospect. It's not from a referral – they neither know you nor have they heard of you beforehand. Thus there is no transferred trust as when you are referred in. It's also not from a client who's sought you out, thus there's no hot need. You targeted them, and you asked them for a meeting.

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