Some would argue that Rainmakers are born that way, and those that aren’t can’t. It is conceded that developing business does not come easily for a lot of folks, but the skills can be taught, at least to most lawyers.

Ed Poll’s article that appeared in LawyersUSA this week, advises small firm and solo lawyers to make themselves rainmakers by going where the prospects are. I would add where clients and referral sources are as well.

Further, I would agree that some planning (vs. “random acts of golf and lunch”) is necessary, and Ed’s suggestions are good ones. Here are a few things you should do:

  • Profile your ideal client;
  • Develop a strategy that is aimed at that target group rather than being general in nature;
  • Identify what clients need and want (by asking them for starters);
  • Ask them for their opinions, goals and make them “feel like part of the team” (which should provide good insight into what prospects similar to those clients would also like);
  • Communicate appropriately (i.e., don’t argue with or put client on defensive, or otherwise use your lawyer interrogation style);
  • Ask open-ended questions in face-to-face meetings, and then listen; and
  • Attend trade shows your clients attend (and where prospects that match your ideal client profile) will also be.

Your chances of being a successful rainmaker will greatly increase if you follow this simple advice.

  • Tom, successful rainmakers can be made, but it is important they have the desire to learn and also follow a repeatable system and process until those skills become second nature.

  • However, I do not think you can ignore the role our personalities play. Although rainmakers (I prefer a less arrogant term, sales person) can be made, certain personalities are more suited to the role. I recently wrote a piece, “The Small Firm, The Attorney Cannot Play All Roles.”*2_1 whereby I argue that the firm principal must decide what he/she is best at based on personality type and desire and hire accordingly. The bottom line, if you do not enjoy the task of sales and your personality is not suited to it, you will fail. To borrow from E-Myth, work on your business, not in it. If you are not inherently comfortably with sales (rainmaking) hire someone who is.