Aptitude, Attitude, Activity: The Rainmakers’ Trifecta

Leave a comment

Myriad qualities, personal characteristics and skill sets—as well as luck—influence the amount of revenue an adviser produces. But if we look at the population of rainmakers from the 50,000-foot level, of all the things we can focus on, three factors stand out. The eager adviser seeking to increase production can learn much by evaluating him- or herself against them.  

What natural aptitudes does a producer/rainmaker bring to his or her position? Some advisers seem to be innately hard-wired to ask for business. They comfortably ask clients for introductions to future prospects or simply ask for the business—after all, you can’t close business if you don’t ask. Others need to learn the skill sets to accomplish the same. The greater the hard-wiring, the less the need to learn the skill. The degree to which selling skills come naturally to an adviser represents an aptitude.

An old Quaker saying declares, “Attitudes are caught, not taught.” Attitude is a key factor affecting production and rainmaking and is likely “caught” at an early age from parents and guardians. Attitudes are further reinforced by whom we choose to surround ourselves with. Have you ever noticed how the largest-producing advisers socialize with other large-producing advisers? Attitude toward “enough” is caught from others.

For example, consider the question, “When is enough, enough?” Answers vary dramatically. One adviser reaches enough at $200,000 in gross revenue; another reaches that point at $2 million in gross revenue; and a third may never get to enough.

Whatever aptitude and attitude an adviser possesses, activity reins as the optimal predictor of future revenue. Short of the equivalent of winning the lottery, doing nothing is likely to result in little rain while significant activity yields more rain. And we would likely all agree that strategically selecting the right activity is a good predictor to maximize future rain.

Whether your activity is designed to generate short-term revenue in the next 12 months or long-term revenue in the next 24 to 36 months, of all the factors, activity is the best predictor of future revenue.

How Do We Find Rainmakers?
Despite the three attributes discussed above, precisely how to choose rainmakers remains an enigma for the many firms that seek them. Although aptitude, attitude and activity are a good start for honing in on potentially successful candidates, it’s still true that selecting potential rainmakers and voodoo seem to have a lot in common. There’s just no magical approach to finding or creating them!


Joni Youngwirth
Managing Principal of Practice Management
Commonwealth Financial Network
Waltham, Mass.

Leave a Reply