Lawyers who are rainmakers are highly valued by law firms for their ability to generate new revenue streams for their firms. As Valerie Fontaine of legal search consultants SeltzerFontaine LLC explains, however — the skills that make an excellent rainmaker aren’t the same skills that make a good practicing attorney. She notes that when good practicing associate attorneys are being considered for partnership, some of the criterion by which they will achieve partnership are qualities that will make them good rainmakers – where client development skills are paramount.
Fontaine details the most important factor that distinguishes rainmakers is their ability to excel at sales. “Successful rainmakers sell their services, their reputations, and their firm’s brand” Fontaine explains. “According to Dr. Larry Richard, former trial lawyer and consulting psychologist and principal of LawyerBrain LLC, only about 20% of lawyers are natural born marketers; approximately 20% never will be comfortable with anything resembling sales and may even be uncomfortable in client relationship interactions; and the 60% in between can be taught skills and approaches that will increase their effectiveness at growing business, deepening relationships, and attracting new clients.”
With this in mind, I’ve compiled a list of 10 traits I’ve found very good rainmakers possess, based on my having worked with dozens of very high revenue generating rainmaker lawyers who develop business in international markets. With these attorneys I’ve worked the entire life-cycle related to business development – from identification of potential new clients to meeting with and negotiating representation and remuneration with those clients – and everything in-between.
- They’re talking to the entire C-Suite
- They’re talking about global strategic plans
- They’re looking for how they can help the C-Suite find more revenue
- They’re always providing uniquely valuable information
- Their primary focus is business development and client management
- They’re patient, often for years
- They’re kind to everyone
- They know they’ll lose most opportunities
- They know the BD process doesn’t stop until the retainer is received
- They know everyone in a client organization – is a client
What’s most important to remember for any lawyer who might want to become a rainmaker, is what Fontaine details above – that 60% of lawyers can be trained to be very good rainmakers. Therefore, if you want to become a rainmaker and don’t feel you necessarily have the skill set to be one – you can be trained to emulate the best rainmakers and succeed doing so with this training.
Lawyer Business Development Coaching
I help lawyers develop personal business development plans custom-tailored to their unique practices — via one-on-one video or audio coaching sessions. My experience includes hundreds of face-to-face meetings with prospective clients on behalf of law firms – where I helped clients realize how lawyers can help them achieve their commercial objectives. These meetings first required me to identify client needs – reaching out to those prospective clients and securing meetings with them on behalf of my clients and succeeding in securing those meetings. And shepherding those relationships to becoming new client engagements. For more information about how I might be able to help you build your law practice, please complete the form below and I’ll contact you promptly.
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