Psychometric assessments and the professional rainmaker

Johnny ‘Bob’ Spence
by Johnny ‘Bob’ Spence on September 17, 2018
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‘There is something that is much scarcer, something rarer than ability. It is the ability to recognise ability’

Elbert Hubbard

Speak with any rainmaker in professional services and they will share that developing their firm is not getting any easier. The market has new players and the older ones are embracing new positions through strategic alliances. On top of that there is the ongoing commoditisation of the services offered. It really is a dog-eat-dog world. Rather than be an all-rounder it is a time to play to strengths and make those strengths the core of why people refer you and want to work with you. That is the way to differentiate yourself. To do that requires self-awareness and the right psychometric assessment is the only start.

When was the last time your rainmaking abilities and talent had an objective review?

When was the last time you gave the workplace supporting your rainmaking ability a review?

This 5 minute read produced by 5next software is original writing aimed at rainmakers and the professionals that work with them or manage them. It discusses review of talent and the management environment. Both have an immense impact on rainmaking and generating turn over results. We thank Ivan Kosalko of Kosalko Consulting for perspective and insight.

As a rainmaker, like most business development professionals, I continually search to improve my ability and this includes sourcing amongst my network, new reading and who are the up and coming thought leaders in this complex area. However, as I am unable to assess myself independently, aside from results that I generate, it is not easy to assess anything other than those as rainmaking is my core objective. I am exposed as all rainmakers are to the outside opinion of my results.

‘We live in a culture where everyone’s opinion, view, and assessment of situations and people spill across social media, a lot of it anonymously, much of it shaped by mindless meanness and ignorance’

Mike Barnicle

After all the only things a rainmaker can be measured on are turnover figures? Well not necessarily as you could also measure yourself. I engaged with the CliftonStrengths assessment. This was available to me through the ‘Gallup Strengthscenter’ and this came highly recommended by a US rainmaker who advised me that it completely refreshed their approach to self-development.

I presumed I had a grasp of my own ability and weaknesses but this is never the best method of reviewing where you are. Generally we are unable to change so much, regardless of feedback received, so developing and building on your existing strengths and talents supports improving results in the shortest window of time. I was fortunate enough to be in the company of someone enjoying great success in corporate business development who pointed out to me the benefit case of an appraisal that ring-fenced my strengths and talents with the support of psychometric assessment. Building the strengths of a rainmaker will produce more direct fee earning results than isolating weaknesses. She shared that these are for more objective as people by definition cannot judge themselves objectively.

The next important step is to get professional input and explanation of the results of the assessment.

‘The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled’


To get the best from an assessment requires 3rd party discussion of the outcomes and to investigate what this might mean in the context of your rainmaking skills, rainmaking market and rainmaking support. If you receive that, you have the opportunity to take the most important step which is creating a development plan as an output and partner with a coach to deliver it. With regards to the management of the output this is critical.

‘The biggest competition is myself. I am not looking to follow others or pull them down. I’m planning to test my own boundaries’


A big consideration is the management environment you are performing in and although this applies to us all at the start of our rainmaking careers it still makes sense to take time out and reflect on it.

Context: Assess your boss. If you wish to get the best out of the talents that you have uncovered then you need to consider how you manage your relationship with your manager who may have no idea of the complexities of rainmaking. Before you begin to manage up, you need to have a good sense of what you are managing up to.

  • What is your boss’s work style personality in relation to rainmaking?
  • How do they interact with others aside from you?
  • How does your boss like their rainmaking information?
  • How do they prefer to communicate to you about rainmaking?
  • What are their priorities regarding themselves?
  • What are their priorities regarding you?
  • What are their goals?
  • What are their concerns, challenges and pressures?
  • What role do you play in those?
  • What is their experience in rainmaking?
  • How did they get to where they got too?
  • What do they expect from your rainmaking?
  • What truly matters to them?

Now on reflection are your talents and ability a good match for the rainmaking context that you work in?

‘To win in the marketplace you must first win in the workplace’

Douglas Conant

Context: Assess yourself in relation to your boss. Managing up requires being totally accurate with yourself in terms of who you are, what you want and what you need as a rainmaker. It’s also about understanding your contribution to the firm or team so ask yourself the following questions.

  • What is my work style personality?
  • How does this compare to my rainmaking personality?
  • How do I like to interact with others in the firm?
  • Specifically how do I like to interact with the non-rainmakers in my firm?
  • How do I prefer to communicate?
  • What are my priorities and goals as a rainmaker?
  • What do I really need to operate at my best?
  • What are my non-negotiable requirements in my role as a rainmaker?
  • In what ways am I compatible with my boss?
  • In what ways am I not?
  • Is my boss difficult or is the relationship just difficult for me?
  • What are my workplace strengths?
  • What are my workplace weaknesses?
  • Am I doing the role I was hired to do?
  • Is my role a good fit for me?

Have a hard and cold reflection on the talents that the CliftonStrengths assessment has highlighted and ask that question; are your talents and ability a good match for the rainmaking context that you work in?

5next software recommends the CliftonStrengths assessment as the premium tool to assess rainmaking strengths. It is an assessment helping individuals identify strengths and talents through a series of 177 questions. In terms of rainmaking the critical return on time is to develop those and learn how to work with your lesser talents.

To find out more email [email protected]


Johnny ‘Bob’ Spence
Johnny ‘Bob’ Spence
5next Co-Founder. Trainer, networking coach & writer. Educated at L. S. E. & Wits University. ‘$1,000,000 Round Table’ sales qualifier. Author ILM accredited: ‘Executive Programme in Professional & Business Networking’. Rainmaking experience in RSA, UK, France, Finland, Austria, Belgium, Hong Kong, Pakistan, Dubai, Poland, Germany, Slovak Republic & the USA.
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