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Let Customers Rain In Get out your umbrella--hiring a rainmaker can make profits pour.

By Mark Henricks

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Michael Lacey is in the business of IT consulting, not creating weather. But the 38-year-old Plymouth, Minnesota, entrepreneur knows that hiring employees who can make it rain is critical to the continued success of Digineer Inc., the 87-person company he founded in 1998. Three years ago, Lacey brought on a new salesperson he felt would be a rainmaker--someone with a marked ability to attract and retain customers.

The company's rapid expansion since then--sales growth of more than 80 percent a year to the current level of $14 million--is due largely to the direct and indirect effects of adding that rainmaker, Lacey says. "If I had hired another salesperson, a good salesperson but not a great one, we would have grown," he says, "but I don't think it would have been as explosively."

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