In my last blog I looked at ‘amount of time spent’ – the first of several attributes of a good rainmaker as identified in The Women Attorneys and Business Development Study. An interesting debate ensued, though no female lawyers appeared to have time to participate…
The second element identified in the study as a predictor of success is 'using a targeted approach', and I would could not agree more with the following comment from the study: 'A targeted approach to business development requires planning and executing the follow-up activities needed to complete what has been planned. A targeted approach is likely to be a continuous process.'
It is evident that by really focusing your expertise and efforts in a clearly defined target market you will have more impact than adopting a 'spray and pray' approach to your marketing. Successful rainmakers have a clear picture of who they want to win work from, and that can be defined in a number of ways according to geographic catchment area, size of organisation, business activity and even organisational structure.
Having a clear plan will ensure that you are proactive in your approach to generating opportunities and will ensure you stay ahead of the competition. It will also help you respond appropriately to the numerous cold calls that you receive on a daily basis – as you can immediately assess whether the opportunity fits within your strategy.
A single targeted approach is simply not enough, as the chances of your piece of marketing material landing on someone’s desk at precisely the right moment are miniscule. Even if your timing is right with a mailer, if you do not have an existing relationship then you are unlikely to be the first person that they call. Remember that they probably already know at least two of your competitors.
Too often I hear the words 'we tried it once and it did not work'. It is not simply a case of getting onto your prospect’s radar – you need to adopt a continuous process to get yourself front of mind and keep yourself there. This is particularly true for high-value account development and public sector opportunities, which may only arise every three years. Successful rainmakers are in it for the long haul. They are systematic about following up regularly and in an appropriate and intelligent manner.
Star rainmakers are not put off by rejection and do not take it personally. They recognise that they did not meet the client’s needs at that particular moment and set about engineering another opportunity to do so in the future.
Does gender make a difference? In this instance, when it comes to having a systematic approach, I don’t think so. In fact I have seen a number of women successfully carve out very profitable niches in market sectors and would encourage any would-be rainmaker to adopt a targeted approach and find their own niche.
Sue needs you: 'Keshet Consulting, which carried out the survey mentioned in these blogs, is carrying out a piece of research among 1,500 US solicitors to examine how gender, race, ethnicity and practice area influence business generation (focussing on litigation, corporate and commercial, employment law and IP). If I can sign up 100 participants in the UK, Keshet Consulting has kindly volunteered to provide an analysis of the UK findings compared to the position in the US.
If you are a partner (male or female) in one of these practice areas and would be interested in participating, please click here to register your interest. Please forward this to any colleagues who may be interested.'