[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Do you ever wonder how a rainmaker gets to be a rainmaker? I do because I coach business development marketing. One thing I know is that time is increasingly scarce as a lawyer earns more clients. A successful rainmaker has more clients to satisfy and usually, if they’re a partner, more mouths to feed, that is, more associates to keep busy.
So what does it take to do rainmaker business development, constantly cultivating prospects and referral sources? That’s in the face of the time constraints that lawyers, whether partners or associates, in private practice face. I’ve almost always found that this is a personal challenge. Firms tend to financially support rainmaking activities happily. They tend to feel there aren’t enough rainmakers and will generously support anyone who is active.
I discussed this topic with a busy client who needs to do more marketing and works for a thriving rainmaker. As a thought experiment, we created a list of strategies that we think characterize the successful rainmaker.
a] Policies: This could, for example, be a minimum number of new business meetings every week. A reflection of this is that rainmakers will work to schedule as many lunch meetings as possible. While they can’t control who responds yes, they can maximize the number of lunches by sending out lots of invitations. I recommend my clients send 10 lunch invitations every Monday morning, as a policy.
b] Sacrifice: Have rainmaker’s personal life, like gym time or a hobby suffered because they’re out developing business? Or do they just never watch TV? Typically, a rainmaker will identify some time consuming activity that they just won’t participate in. Another angle on this is buying time. For example, an investment in a home gym earns time.
c] Prioritize: Does ‘Important but Not Urgent’ marketing get done even though it is Not Urgent? Rainmakers cancel lunch appointments reluctantly, in the face of disruptions. That’s because they prioritize marketing as equal to other lawyer activities.
d] Ruthless about ‘Me Time’: Are semi important meetings pushed away to allow marketing time? This could be a reflection of, “I’ll meet with you anytime you want as long as it’s after lunch”.
e] Works to spend not earn. Does the rainmaker have spending and saving goals rather than earning goals? It is more motivating to work for that bigger BMW than it is to work for a random $ number.
f] Delegates ferociously. Gives underlings plenty of opportunity to rise to the occasion and perform extraordinarily, while freeing up marketing time.
If you’re an Associate or a Solo lawyer and rolled your eyes when you read the list above, take heart, you have more options than you think. For example,
- It’s a fact that you would find the time for more business development lunches if people were inviting you. That means that if you do the inviting by sending out lots of invites, as I advise, you’ll be out to lunch more often. If you’re an associate, your firm should support you. If you’re Solo, it’s a good investment in your future.
- Considering how much more success (not just money) you’ll have as a successful marketer, you must have some current time consuming activity you can put on hold while you get a regular business development program off the ground.
- Your partners and clients want you to attend every meeting and do every task they assign and they also want you to successfully develop business. There’s a script you can develop which will bridge that overlap. You can learn to be assertive to prioritize on your own behalf while promising to meet a negotiated and agreed deadline.
Jerome Shore is a Marketing Coach in Toronto. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]