What Is a Rainmaker?

A rainmaker is a professional who has proven skills at bringing a substantial amount of new business to a company.

Rainmakers appear in companies across a wide range of industries. What they have in common is an ability to attract affluent clients who generate significant revenue.

Key Takeaways

  • A rainmaker is a professional who is credited with the ability to attract a large amount of new business to a company.
  • On Wall Street, a rainmaker might be a broker or financial advisor who brings in a number of wealthy clients, or a banker who is able to score merger and acquisition (M&A) deals or mandates for initial public offerings (IPO).
  • A rainmaker can also be a senior partner who captures lucrative work for a law firm, a politician whose connections lead to new business, or a salesperson known for closing contracts.

Understanding a Rainmaker

Rainmakers are frequently described as having near-magical abilities. That is, they can make things happen even in bad times. That was, after all, the job of real rainmakers, who tried to artificially produce rainfall in drought-stricken areas.

Rainmakers are viewed as having unique qualities that make them more productive than most. They have gained a reputation for being extremely skilled at their craft, having an outstanding network of connections, or both.

In some cases, the skills of a rainmaker lie mainly in knowing how to work a room, and how to schmooze all the way to a signed contract.

Provided that their techniques are legal and ethical, their employers are not that bothered about how they go about their job. The company enjoys the harvest that the rainmaker brings and is often willing to be flexible.

Companies frequently have to scramble to stop rainmakers from jumping ship. Given their proven ability to generate revenue, rainmakers may be heavily recruited by competitors.

The hunter-farmer model of sales suggests that a successful sales team is divided into two groups, the hunter who scores new business and the farmer who nurtures ongoing relationships with clients. Rainmakers could be described as particularly successful hunters.

The term rainmaker has its origins in the ancient art of producing rain by artificial means, called pluviculture.

Types of Rainmaker

Historically, the term rainmaker was usually used to describe influential senior partners of a law firm. They were often former politicians with valuable connections and strong name recognition. Over the years, the name caught on in other fields.

Wall Street

On Wall Street, a rainmaker may be a broker or financial advisor who attracts a number of wealthy clients, or a banker who secures a number of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) deals or mandates for initial public offerings (IPO).

On Wall Street, a rainmaker often leads a team of brokers or advisers. The team may be part of a package deal when a rainmaker changes firms.

Sales

A salesperson is considered a rainmaker if they are exceptionally good at bringing in new business.

Politics

Some politicians are referred to as rainmakers. Those that command this title are particularly good at swaying votes, raising campaign funding, or both.