Pragmatic Steps to Building your Book of Business

Rainmaking is a tough role to fill in a law firm.  This is why the people who are most successful with it are typically the highest paid and most recognized.  And much like the 3 Rs in early education – Reading,  wRiting, and aRithmetic, there are basic fundamental principles to incorporate into your Rainmaking education.  Let’s call them the ABCs of Building your Book of Business. 

Now you may have heard the ABC’s of Business Development explained as Always Be Closing.  That approach is as dated as bell bottoms and big hair.  Today we must be focused in our approach to the client and to do that we have to get in touch with this decade’s version of Business Building ABCs…

ABCs of Attorney Rainmaking

A is for Attitude

Attitude is the first place to start.  Are you cut out to be a Rainmaker?  Do you have a great attitude about yourself, your firm and your market?  If you answer no to any of the above, check your attitude at the door to work and focus on getting to that point.  If you don’t feel confident in your ability or your firms to deliver a great solution at the right time for the right value, you will find success in Rainmaking a true struggle.   We live in a rejection filled world and you have to love yourself first before you can feel good about anything you do.  When you focus always on what you didn’t do or what you don’t have or can’t achieve, you reproduce those results in your efforts.  It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.  Focus on the positive, think of all the good things you accomplish, learn from your failures and remember that education is expensive and you should maximize your opportunities to learn where you find them and your mistakes are the best place. 

B is for Behavior

Behavior- Selling is hard work.  The most successful Rainmakers  I know did not get there by being especially smart, attractive or talented in any particular area.  They are pretty much Joe and Jane Average.  Just like you and me.  What they do is maintain consistent behavior in their relationship building activity.  They do not do hit or miss prospecting.  They schedule every lunch with a client who can send them business or a referral source.  They work long hours.  They make sacrifices.   You do not have to work 80 hours per week to be successful in Rainmaking, but you do have to be efficient and productive in your pay time activities.   This means you develop your plan for success down to how many times you have to be in a client meeting to gain an engagement agreement, how many conversations to generate a proposal, if you have 2nd meetings to get to a proposal, how many do you need?  All the way down to how many times you have to pick up the phone and dial to have a conversation.  I love the point system used by the insurance industry.  They do a fabulous job of providing the behavior structure to make successful agents.  Unfortunately not many people want to work hard enough for the system to work for them.  In the beginning it is not glamorous, it is difficult and time consuming and frustrating and most attorneys give up right before they would break through, this is why your attitude is critical to your success in sales.  Without a positive attitude you won’t be able to support the activity and behavior to be successful. 

C is for Concept

Finally the C in the ABC’s of selling is Concept- that is the customer’s concept.  I love how Miller-Heiman explains sales process in the book New Conceptual Selling.  The customer’s concept is the reason they would buy from you, it’s not about you, your firm or your product.  It’s about your understanding of their concept which they are struggling with; it is a problem, an opportunity or a challenge that you have been given the privilege of uncovering.  Your job is to help them define the solution and work together with them to provide what they need within their budget and resources.  This is a joint effort and is not the opportunity to trot out your dog and pony.  Leave them at home in the barn, they don’t belong on your client conversations.. 

I hope you can take the ABC’s of Rainmaking to heart today, Have a great attitude about your opportunity, go buy a book, pick a behavior you want to focus on improving and maintain consistent and sufficient activity, and go find a customer’s concept to uncover and solve!  Have a great day and good Selling! 

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Guest Blogger: Breandan Filbert has the ability to sift through the product or service ‘noise’ and get to the real basis of relationship building- the people. She partners with her clients to create long-standing highly productive relationships with their clients and referral partners.   She has worked with attorneys and other professional service providers to increase their book of business and attain ‘Top Rainmaker’ status within their firms. She is the founder and managing partner of SalezWorks in Kansas City.