It is well known that those who make the best salespeople (rainmakers) are usually those who are amongst the worst at adhering to the firm’s systems. Whilst they are in their natural element and highly effective when face to face with clients, prospects and referrers they frustrate their colleagues because they “don’t have time” to complete plans, “forget” to enter information into the firm’s database and find it almost impossible to find time to attend internal meetings because they are “too busy”. Then, when they do turn up appear distracted or wriggle off early to pursue a “real” business opportunity. But as they are always able to meet (and often exceed) their targets and are one of the rare active “flag bearers” for the firm, others feel powerless to bring them into line.

What is also sometimes less obvious is that those who DO follow the systems, prepare perfect analyses and submit text book plans are rarely those with a passion for people that makes them get up and go to yet another networking event, find the one previous gem of an opportunity in a sea of moribund conversations and enthusiastically pursue that lead to its happy conclusion with a tenacity that makes a terrier look tame. What do you do when a partner has done all that you asked to plan out their proposed business development activity and appears to be making an effort yet somehow doesn’t quite manage to deliver the desired results?

I encountered another classic example the other day. But hats off to the experienced rainmaker who was prepared to really give it a go to complete his firm’s procedures for setting out SMART objectives and detailed action plans even though it was a thoroughly alien and unnecessary process from his point of view. But he wanted to lead by example and be a good role model.

He also agreed to take a younger and less experienced (but expert planner) partner under his wing and out onto the trail of networking and business development. So a good example of teaming up experienced rainmakers and expert planners in a buddy system.