Most successful professional services firms have a few stellar individuals who are talented at uncovering potential business opportunities and turning them into new sources of revenue. These are the rainmakers; the professionals relied on to develop new contacts, build the firm’s reputation, and create positive relationships to develop the existing business and gain new business.
Developing rainmaking skills is not complicated. It is a simple process that you can modify and master to fit your personal style and temperament. If you are willing to invest the time needed to develop these skills, you will greatly enhance your ability to sell yourself and your firm to potential and existing clients. Below are some of the essential skills that are common to all rainmakers, skills that every professional in your firm can develop.
Rainmakers are highly accessible.They don’t stay in their offices; they get out and meet people. They give prospects and clients their direct phone number, email address and fax number to make sure their contacts can reach them. They are willing to take extra steps, whether it is in the evening, on a weekend, or during a vacation, to pursue opportunities to talk with genuine prospects and clients.
Rainmakers make client development and marketing an ongoing priority. They are prepared at all times to talk about what they do and welcome contact with others during their daily work routine. When a client or prospect calls, rainmakers set aside the task at hand to focus their attention on what the caller has to say, conveying clearly that the caller is an important person.
Successful rainmakers understand that strong business relationships are the result of many points of contact. They keep in regular touch with potential and existing clients because they understand that successful professional marketing is all about maintaining informal, relaxed and non goal-oriented encounters. They set out regular contact schedules and mark the day in their planners to make the call to chat or book a lunch. Rainmakers know that prospects and clients appreciate a call just to find out how they are doing, and know that these calls can generate more business than those that are made explicitly to solicit new work.
Rainmakers often form personal bonds with prospects and clients that extend beyond typical business relationships. They recognise that their clients are individuals who may want to confide in someone outside of their own business environment, and that the most important thing they can do is to listen, even when the topic does not relate to their services. Their caring attitude gives prospects and clients a powerful emotional reason to choose the rainmaker’s firm over others.
Successful rainmakers exude professionalism, credibility and confidence. Their refinement, deportment and manner of expression reflect the well-educated and polished professionals they are. They pay close attention to detail and appearance. They go to great lengths to ensure that prospects or clients never see or hear anything that might reflect poorly on, or damage, their or their firm’s reputation. They consistently project genuine respect and a warm and friendly attitude at meetings and during informal contacts. They know their chances of winning new business increases dramatically when the prospect or client is comfortable in their presence.
Rainmakers understand that winning new clients is a never-ending numbers game; to win a new client, you need to have an adequate supply of prospective clients in the pipeline at all times. They know that if they are not actively developing contacts today, there will be no new business tomorrow.