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The Rainmaker
By Gary Lockwood

Remember when scientists used to seed the clouds to try to make it rain? They would fly over rain clouds and dump salt pellets to try to force the rain from the clouds. I guess they figured that they could just help Nature along a bit.

In my years of helping business owners and professionals discover ways to grow their business, I've seen many who sat around waiting for rain. They would wait by the phone, hoping a prospective client would call or come to the business. Their attitude seemed to be a combination of passive hope and resignation. They hope someone will do business with them. They hope that others will initiate contact with them. They seem resigned to whatever business floated their way.

Others, including some of the most successful, took positive action "to make it rain". These are the ones who made calls, ran ads, got out of the office to make their own contacts. Through their activity, these business professionals created opportunities for new business.

A few years ago, my own business went through a slow period. As the business slowed down, revenues decreased and demands on my time decreased, too. For awhile, I enjoyed the slower pace. Then I figured out that we were on a path to financial disaster. I realized that something had to change drastically.

Verna, my wife and business partner, finally said, "Get on the phone and stir up the cosmic dust"! So, I took her advice and started making calls. I called everyone I knew. I called past clients, old prospects, people from my old phone lists. I even called people I knew in a previous company. Also, I got out of the office and attended business mixers, seminars and other events where business professionals (my target market) tended to show up.

Sure enough, after I started all the activity, we began to notice that the phone was ringing constantly. We were getting calls from prospective clients wanting to know more about our services. Even more interesting, many of the incoming calls were from people we did not contact. It seemed like the very act of outbound activity was causing inbound business.

Time and again over the years, I've seen this phenomenon. Positive action, directed outward seems to stir up the cosmic dust. It doesn't work if the actions are directed inward. No matter how many times you count the inventory, rearrange the furniture or have internal meetings, these inward-focused actions won't cause clients to show up or prospects to call you.

So what does this mean for you? Consider a couple of things. First, brainstorm the types of outward-focused activities that are appropriate for your business. Would it be appropriate to make calls (to whom?), go visit (where?), run ads (what type, when?). Would it be reasonable to attend mixers, seminars, do some direct mailings, conduct a telephone survey, or canvass the neighborhood?

Next, pull out your calendar and start blocking off some time for these tasks. Generally, this type of business-building activity is best done in blocks of time, so pencil in blocks of one to three hours for this.

Clearly, most of these actions require preparation. To make sure you don't make a career of just the preparation, schedule the set-up tasks on your to-do list for specific days. That way, you're more likely to get them done.

Finally, just do it. You know in your heart that you enjoy the results of this business-building action, especially when the revenue starts to come in. The benefits to you and your enterprise are legion. More clients, more revenue, better client relationships and happier employees are just a few of the advantages you'll realize when you take action to make it rain.

So, what are you waiting for? "Stir up the cosmic dust"!

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