It’s Time To Pivot, Diversify Or Die With Jackie Rainforth
Did you know that more than half of the Fortune 500 companies since 2000 have gone under because they were not diversifying? Having gone through the adversity brought about by the pandemic, you would probably agree that in this economy (and in any economy, for that matter), you have to either diversify or die. The Rainmaker herself, Jackie Rainforth joins Chad Burmeister in this episode to stress out the importance of being willing to pivot and move your team towards social selling, remote work, and all things digital. That can be a lot to handle because let’s face it, change is never comfortable. Pivoting into digital has many layers to it and it requires a lot of changes in your systems, processes, people, and mindset. A lot of that comes down to leadership and this is why you have to listen to what Jackie has to say.
Listen to the podcast here:
It’s Time To Pivot, Diversify Or Die With Jackie Rainforth
I’ve got Jackie Rainforth with the Rainmakers Group on the show. Jackie, welcome to the show.
Thanks for having me, Chad.
Remember, this was on Election Day. My prediction looking back on this day is that it won’t be over for several weeks after her Election Day. It’s 2020. Anything goes in 2020 but it looks like the graph behind you, as long as you’re moving up into the right, you’re doing the right thing.
That’s what everybody wants these days. We need to recover and start moving upwards.
I’d like the readers to understand what’s your background. How did you get from where you are from where you were? Think back to when you were young, college, whatever age you think is appropriate. What do you think caused you to become a CEO and doing what you’re doing now?
I fell into sales. When I started off, I was terrible, but I quickly learned that there are some simple techniques that you can put in place. I developed a strategy around that. What happened was I ended up becoming a top performer at every company I’ve ever worked for. I own my own sales agency. That was super spectacular. I ended up getting the coveted nomination for RBC Women Entrepreneur of Canada. I’m the director of sales and marketing for a big firm. All of a sudden, all these things started happening. First, I broke my foot, but then I went scuba diving. When I went scuba diving, it was about 45 feet down.
I couldn’t breathe. I was down there. They teach you how to blow out the regulator, do all that. I could feel my lungs. In retrospect, what happened was I have a rare condition where my body can’t tolerate negative water pressure. The capillary is my lungs ruptured and filled with fluid. They call it internal drowning. My heart stopped and I crossed over. I got a message that day. The message was, “Jackie, you’ve been blessed with many gifts and talents. You haven’t been listening to the signs and signals. You need to get out there and help people feel more confident and successful in business and in life. You have a new path ahead.” Thank heavens, there was a scuba divemaster who got me out of the water and got me up. I ended up spending three days in critical condition, clinging to life. That message resonated with me, and my own success started to become hollow. That’s when I founded Rainmakers Business Solutions because I wanted to help people sell better and achieve faster results and get faster, better results.
When I prayed before I was going on national television in front of 3 million to 6 million people, I was like, “God, what do you need me to say?” I’m the last interview before election day. They are like, “We bumped someone from Cambridge Analytica for you. The main gal.” I’m like, “No pressure. What you got?” When I woke up, usually, I look at my clock, and I can come up with something. It was 2:17 AM and I’m wide awake. I Googled 2:17, no Bible verse, just the numbers. It’s Revelation 2:17 pops to the top. It talks about the spirit talking to you. I went down to my computer from my room, and I read all about Revelation 2:17. It went so deep, but here was the weird takeaway.
Fake news has been a big thing in the last couple of years or especially 2020. I read one website that said BibleMeaning.com. It was deep to the depths of like, “This tells me how to go down the right path. This is truly biblical.” It touched me in a way you wouldn’t believe. Then you read BibleRef.com. It’s similar but new surface and didn’t go anywhere near where the other one went. We, as humans tend to take the message from the source and put our own sprinkling on top through languages, decades, and centuries to the point where we get to we are. You got to go back, and thank God you had that situation because you were able to get a clear message. At that time, I’m sure you weren’t saying, “Thank you, God, for this,” but I bet looking back, it was an eye-opening moment.
We never know why things happen, but it takes a minute to change our lives forever. That’s about flexibility.
COVID-schmovid. You’ve already dealt with going to the other side. What’s all this fuss about? Tell me about your involvement, understanding of AI. I wrote a book called AI For Sales. I interviewed 21 different people, Computer Sciences people, AI people, and regular business people. Throughout 2020, it starts at, “I’m using Calendly. Is that AI? That’s a little more automation than any AI.” It feels like we’re moving from the baby side of the pool into the deep end. It’ll go there quickly.
I do a lot of speaking and virtual sales kickoffs. What’s happening is that companies need a lot of training right now on how to pivot their teams, how to move their teams forward towards social selling, remote selling, and digital, everything. It’s hard for companies because there are many layers to it. They’ve got to change their systems, processes, people, mindset, and get all that training. It’s big for a lot of companies. I spoke for the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers, trying to get them to pivot because you need to pivot. I’m doing another one in January 2021 for the realtors. It’s diversify or die. That’s what’s going to happen. You need to pivot and change all the way over. LinkedIn, for instance. They’re getting a million of users a month. That is the new cold calling and selling. It’s imperative that companies are out there, putting their brand out there, salespeople are creating their own brands. It’s a big deal.
We had the PPP Bailout Plan here at the start of COVID. I think that put some companies who were about to die on life support for 2 to 3 months, which is okay because you don’t foresee something like what came to us. Now, it’s to the point where it’s, “You held on by a string. You didn’t make the pivot before. Now is your time.” When you see companies like Aflac doing a test of inside sales who’ve been belly to belly for 100 years, those to me are the eye-opening moments where you’re like, “You mean you hired? I know that guy who’s running your inside sales team.” It’s amazing.
I read a stat the other day that 52% of the Fortune 500 companies since 2000 have gone under because they’re not diversifying. They’re not changing. Not just going under, but there are acquisitions and all of the things going on, but there’s definitely a shift in business. I think this digital explosion is certainly a big part of it.
Let’s double click on moving online. You call it personal branding, and I’ve been participating in that a little myself. Define that a little more for our readers. What do you mean by branding?
You need to pick a social platform, whatever that is. I’ve chosen LinkedIn. I do three sales tips per day, posts that are going out there. It’s about engagement. It’s about being known on top of the mind. How do you get through all the noise? There’s so much noise out there. There are many people. How do you differentiate? It’s old as new again. How do you differentiate? How do you stand out? How do you gain that competitive edge? It’s through branding. It’s getting out there, being known on top of mind, so that when they think sales in a particular industry, they’re thinking of you, or when they think of you, they think of that industry vice versa, so that you’re out there.
You’re engaging with them. You’re engaging with the companies that you want to do business with and making sure that you’re commenting, liking, and sharing because the algorithms now on all of the social media. It’s about sharing. Before, it used to be about how much content you could put out there. They keep changing, and you got to keep up with that too, which is a big deal. It’s engagement, posting, and interacting video. I cannot say enough about video. When you look at Gen Z, these are the fully digital people.
Leadership is the courage to push through the pain of change.
These guys have been raised on digital everything. You need to be able to interact with them. They’ve got short attention spans in terms of you need to have a defined message that’s coming out there, and you need to stand out and differentiate. Creating that brand does that for you. People want to see how you’re interacting with people. They want to see how you’re responding to reviews and things like that. It’s important for companies and salespeople to get out there and create their own brands.
Someone like Gary Vee posts more than three times a day. If you were to ask most sellers and business leaders, and you would say, “What do you think three times a day?” They’d be like, “I haven’t even done three months or even all year.” Three is like table stakes very quickly.
There are pros and cons because it affects your SEO. If you post once a day, you’re going to have higher views, hopefully, as people are commenting on it and you’re reposting. It increases your SEO. You’re cutting off your viewership on each post, but you have more posts going out there. It’s a 50/50 thing.
You have to pick a strategy or maybe even change it up every 30 to 60 days. Fool the algorithm. It’s funny because do you notice that when you’re doing this level of personal branding, someone will either come up to you at an airport, which are they used to. They’ll, “You are so-and-so,” or they are in a meeting they come into, and the level of trust is already way up here.
You’re creating warm calls is what you’re doing. It’s the new form of warm calling. Before you reach out and say hi and make that cold call. It’s interesting. I was buying a headboard on the Facebook Marketplace. I was messaging back, and he goes, “You’re the Rainmaker, Jackie Rainforth. I follow you everywhere. I love your content.” I know a lot of people struggle about putting themselves out there. Vulnerability is what it is. It’s hard to do it’s. I know for a lot of salespeople, too, they’re not going to say, “I’m struggling with this. I like that,” or even show that they’re following along because we never wanted to admit that we don’t know.
It took me a long time, and we shared a few stories of vulnerability before the show. We’ll leave that for another rainy day. You can overuse it too. Once you land into your story where I noticed myself saying, “I was fired from my first job out of college.” It rolls off your tongue like a feature advantage benefit. It’s like, “That’s not the intent either.” Someone sucked me into their vulnerability story the other day. They had someone pass away within 1.5-year. That was substantial, 42 years of marriage. You’re going to feel for this person. Yet, there was a lot of roping in, and then you felt the pancake flipper, “Do you mind if I give you some coaching? Let me tell you about my consulting. I can help you do this. When can we meet? I’d like to get on so I could sell you something.” You’re like, “That’s too thick.” Be careful with your vulnerability play.
You are putting yourself out there. You’ve got to be careful. We’re on the other side going, “We’re salespeople. That’s what we’re supposed to be doing.”
It’s a finesse and that’s 401 class, what we talked about. First, figure out your vulnerability. Don’t be afraid of it. Sometimes it takes hiring a mindset expert or someone like yourself that can peel back the onion because you first have to fix yourself before you can fix your company. It’s what I’ve found.
I believe that leadership is about the courage to stand up and speak out when no one else will. It’s the courage to make a change. Certainly, it’s easier when the employees are saying, “We don’t want to change.” It’s great the way things are. They can sometimes bring in some hotshot to do something or a consultant to change things, and people will resist because nobody likes change. Leadership does come down to courage and pushing through the pain of change because it is big, especially in salespeople. Do we want to move to CRM and social selling? Do we want to move to all those things? Nobody likes change. Let’s face it. I believe that companies have to in these times if they’re going to succeed and stay current.
Tell us about The Badass Guide To Superstar Selling. I remember somebody’s title was almost as shocking as that one. It was about breaking all the rules and leadership. She was the ex-Harley-Davidson CMO. She came out and like, “I learned I’m not a corporate person. Get me the heck out of Corporate America.” She wrote a book about it. It’s like, it’s okay if you don’t belong in business politics, a big company, and you need to be an entrepreneur. That’s her whole book. I have a feeling that you, as a CEO, entrepreneur, writing The Badass Guide To Superstar Selling. There’s probably some of that sprinkled into the book. Tell us more.
It starts off with the scuba story, and then it goes into how selling has changed and how we need to adapt because I specialize in modern yet simple selling techniques. I have taken the whole thing and made it easy to learn, easy to implement, and easy to adapt to because I know change is hard. People don’t want to do it. I simplify it. It’s about differentiation. How do you stand out? What are the little things that you can do to whether it’s strategy or oldest new, again, in terms of little things? It’s getting that competitive advantage. How do you do that? A lot of times, it’s about doing the little things that other people aren’t willing to do.
Many years ago, I was sending a physical mailer and I do 100 on weekends. I’d see my boss there, and he was like, “What are you doing here on a Saturday?” He’d bring his dad into work hanging out himself working on the weekend. That gained a level of respect with that manager. He helped me become a manager, a future leader, and the rest is history. Being different and stepping out of your comfort zone will set you apart from anybody else that’s out there.
The branding or social selling, jumping on board with that. Salespeople have to jump on board. In my opinion, people need to up their skills and the processes. They need to go back to those processes because we can’t sell on emotion anymore. People aren’t impulsive like they used to be. They say that the Millennials have 20% less income than the Boomers did. All things equal. Title, education, job description. Things have changed. We need to look out for ways to differentiate and put ourselves out there where our competition is. I think social selling is the way. There’s a finesse to it as well. You can’t just put up an automatic message and say, “This is my company. This is how great we are. You should use us. Click now.” It’s a whole different way.
Have you heard of Josh Brown before? He’s out of Boston. He spoke in Denver. He talked about making deposits like at an ATM. You can’t just go in and, “When can we meet? Can I take you for a cup of coffee?” Just like you’re doing three drips a day, a very tightly pointed value, a lot of times, you used to say, “That’s my IP. I’ve got this book, Contagious, on my desk. I’m not going to share any of that. You got to buy the $20 book.” You should drip a little piece of the book out over the whole year, and someone’s going to want to get the book so they can read it on the plane or download it to their iPhone.
With COVID, everything is shifted. It is about providing consistent value. That’s the difference. It’s about serving people, societal trust levels, and the lowest they’ve ever been in the history of the world. There have been too many tragic and terrible things happen. People don’t trust anymore. That old way of selling doesn’t work either. Let’s not throw them under the bus, but have you ever been to a timeshare presentation? They’ve had aggressive pushing people into things. It doesn’t work anymore.
People are looking for partners, collaborative win-wins, and they need to know, like, and trust you. It’s the same old stuff. That’s where I think people do need to get back to their selling processes. It’s getting harder. How do you build rapport? How do you build that relationship online now? It’s not like you’ve got that face-to-face interaction that we used to. Your skillset needs to be a little sharper and a little better.
A lot of times, gaining the competitive advantage just requires you to do the little things that others aren’t willing to do.
As we’ve deployed AI for customers, we’re starting to dip our toe in the water on the client success cross-sell, up-sell, and renewal side because if you think of the long tail of, let’s say, 80% of the renewals that make up 20% of the revenue and you deploy a big team against that. What if you could have the virtual assistant that would have a pre-recorded video? “It’s Chad. Thank you so much for being a great customer. I’m not sure if you saw, but we did a release last week.” You can automate some of the drips and build credibility, but make it feel personal. Imagine if I pre-recorded, “Hi, Chad. Hi, Mary. Hi, Sally,” 500 of those names, then you mail-merge it into the video. Those are some of the things we’re starting to work on.
You don’t have to sit there with your phone doing 100 billion messages.
It’s going to be a window where that works well. It’ll probably last 1 or 2 years, like when email and LinkedIn blasting was cool. LinkedIn is still very good. We see 8% to 12% reply rates where email gets 1% to 2% reply rates. It’s a much better channel. However, if you can add a video in and if you can clip a few pieces together, now you can do it at scale at a much lower cost per unit, but still at a high value.
When you’ve got the Gen-Z, they’d been raised on video. They don’t watch TV. They stream. They’ve got their phone. That’s the most important thing. It’s about the video. Stats show that video gets five times the engagement than anything else does. When you personalize it, that’s a win-win. These are some of the things that are starting to happen that need to happen. Companies have to jump on board with this stuff. If they want to outsell and outperform, especially in times like this where times are tough, it is about getting that jumpstart on all of the AI that’s out there.
My near-death experience was a car accident in 2000, a year before I got married. I was in Lake Tahoe, Arizona. I was making a turn at an intersection. A guy hit me going 60 miles an hour in a convertible. My friend flew 20 feet out of the car. The door folded over where he was sitting. Luckily, he didn’t sit there. He was ejected. Another guy in the back, we all lived to tell, but I’ve still had this boat that has a dent in it. It’s reminding me that the steel is not supposed to be dentable, yet it dented. My head could have dented in, and he could have dented in. It could have been a much different outcome.
That second chance, I don’t feel I crossed over, but my friend had an angel holding his hand on the flight for life helicopter. He was like, “Who was the woman in the back?” The nurses were like, “No. There wasn’t a woman back there.” Those are the things in life where you say, “It’s not about me. I need to figure out how do I make the world a better place for other people.” I think you and I have that common bond as rainmakers.
It’s interesting that we hold onto those moments. I had my picture taken underwater seconds before this all happened. I keep it on my screensaver. It’s my reminder. I’m glad you hold onto your boat because it’s easy to forget sometimes, but it’s also great to be reminded.
How can people get ahold of you if they would like to hire an expert rainmaker to help them change their culture, move to social selling, and move online?
Jackie, thanks so much for investing your time.
I wish you peace down there.
Thank you, everybody. We’ll catch you on the next one.
- Rainmaker Group
- AI For Sales
- Canadian Association of Professional Speakers
- The Badass Guide To Superstar Selling
- LinkedIn – Jackie Rainforth
About Jackie Rainforth
Savvy selling superstar, Jackie Rainforth, originally dubbed “The Rainmaker” by her peers in the traditional, male-dominated world of construction supply sales, has impressed many a skeptic along the way with her talent for innovative thinking and her ingenious insight into her customers’ needs.
Award-winning sales expert, facilitator, and sought-after conference speaker Jackie Rainforth achieved enormous success as one of the few outstanding, professional saleswomen to make it to the top of the male-dominated construction industry. As the top performer at every sales or sales management position held in the corporate world, Jackie found record-breaking, award-winning success as the founder of a highly successful Sales Agency for a global manufacturer, and in executive sales management as Director of Sales and Marketing.
When it comes to sales excellence, she doesn’t just teach it, she knows it, loves it and has lived it. Now she is the founder and CEO of the nationally acclaimed Rainmakers Business Solutions.
Jackie did not start off as a Selling Superstar, she had a lot of failures along the way. She has been where you are but through trial and error spent years taking selling concepts and making them simple, and easy to learn and implement. Her proven 5-Part SELLING MADE SIMPLE SYSTEM was mastered when she owned her sales agency. Tired of hiring industry salespeople who came with a lot of baggage, she instead hired a group of people with great attitudes and the willingness to learn.
Although they had very little if any, sales experience she knew that if she taught them her system, the simple, incremental methodologies that she herself had used to succeed, they too could be Superstars. And that is exactly what happened! Jackie taught them her way and the business exploded! To this day, those very people are either running their own businesses or the top sought-after salespeople in the industry! If Jackie can do it and all the people she has trained can do it, you can too!
Now, this dynamic RBC Woman Entrepreneur of Canada award nominee is a much sought-after trainer and conference speaker sharing the proven sales strategies that will take you or your team’s performance from stalled to unstoppable!
Author of the well-received, The Badass Guide to Superstar Selling, Jackie’s superpower is your sales empowerment, helping you build the confidence to close more deals than ever before.
Highly certified, her passion is in helping salespeople, business owners and corporate organizations learn MODERN YET SIMPLE approaches to selling. Her specialty is helping to address the fears and challenges that hold individuals back from being all that they can be, while helping to elevate them to higher levels of sales success, revenue and profitability.