(Yuliya LaRoe and Marla Grant talking to women lawyers on how to develop business)
It used to be that "rainmaker" was a term exclusive to men. It was used mostly for men who spent lots of time on the golf course or dining at lunch clubs with big wigs whose business they were trying to land.
Today, rainmakers are male or female. They are anyone who is able to bring in new business. Honing this skill makes you valuable as an employee, manager or owner. While some might think of rainmaking as a time consuming task, it can be part of your daily activities. The key is knowing how to ask for business and where to look for it.
If you're a parent, start with your kids.
When Paul Ranis got a call from the owner of a large Canadian company asking to retain him for its legal employment work, Ranis asked an obvious question: “How did you find me?” The man replied with the name of the person who referred him. After a few minutes, it clicked. “Oh, that’s A.J’s dad,” Ranis responded.
When Ranis is attending his daughter’s soccer matches or his son’s math competition, he extends a handshake to other parents and builds the kind of relationships that often lead to new business. “The opportunity for business development is much greater than through a typical meet-and-greet where you will see 50 attorneys and everyone is handing out their business cards,” Ranis says.
Next mine your contacts.
Look at your Rolodex and peruse your LinkedIn. Who might you want to reconnect with? Who can refer you business? Think about former co-workers, classmates, neighbors, friends, people in your book club or poker group who would want what you offer, says Marla Grant, a South Florida business coach. “A lot of us are sitting on a gold mine, and we don’t even realize it.”
Use your hobbies.
Successful rainmakers are passionate about multiple and diverse interests and use those passions as way to connect with people and drum up business. Miami banker invites his clients to concerts with him, using it as an opportunity to deepen relationships and see his favorite bands. “The key with rainmaking is to incorporate it into your life rather than letting it take over,” he says.
Rainmaking is not as difficult as some people think. Yet, lots of people go about it wrong. They oversell, over-promise or convince themselves they aren't good at it without even trying. What do you find difficult about rainmaking? Have you tried any of these approaches?