Rainmakers: Born or Bred is about changing the business development conversation, about understanding what makes an engaging, successful rainmaker, and what is holding lawyers back from achieving their own true potential.
By Patricia K. Gillette
2nd edition. Stripping back the negative associations many lawyers have with the ‘S’ word – selling – is a crucial step in redefining a lawyers approach to business development. This book explores the benefits to stepping out of the safety net of simply being a great lawyer – which, in today’s market, is a given. Successful rainmakers know how to truly engage with clients, to understand their business needs and challenges, and how to make their lives easier. These are the skills that attract and build sustainable, rewarding client relationships.
Rainmakers: Born or Bred helps you to identify those seemingly intangible aspects of selling that many lawyers think are unachievable, and provides you with practical ideas to implement as you set out on your journey to improve your business development skills. Packed with opinions and advice from actual clients and rainmakers alike, it will help you to make the most of the business development opportunities that present themselves every day – while staying true to your own personality.
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Overview of 2nd edition:
Chapter 1 considers the common opinion that lawyers are fundamentally different from ‘non-lawyers’ – that is, everyone else. This attitude arti cially elevates the legal profession above that of other professions, and therefore above the clients for whom we work. It has been used to justify the position that ‘selling’ is beneath our profession, should be done by someone else, or is simply not necessary. In the modern legal market, this is a position that very few of us can afford to have. So, how do we develop business without feeling as though we are ‘selling out’?
Chapter 2 answers that question by introducing the two ‘R’s that make a successful rainmaker: the ability to build reputa- tions and relationships. The former is addressed in Chapter 3, in which we explore the techniques and behaviors that will allow you to effectively build your reputation and visibility, both within your rm and externally.
In Chapter 4 we identify the personal characteristics that make a successful rainmaker, and how these characteristics can help us build relationships with internal and external clients alike. Chapter 5 considers how these characteristics – which many of us do not display naturally – can act as a framework on which to build our own skills and strengths, to become more effective rainmakers in a way that is authentic and honest.
Chapters 5 through 8 take a detailed look at these charac- teristics in turn, starting with engagement and the art of active listening. The same listening skills that are so effective in formal pitches can also be applied to everyday interactions. Chapter 5 equips the reader with practical steps to make the most of these opportunities, which can be adapted to suit your own circum- stances and personality.
Dominance – that is, the ability to communicate our advice in a manner that persuades others and engenders trust – is covered in Chapter 6. This skill requires us to understand the business context in which our advice is given, to tailor it accordingly, and to deliver it in a way that is oriented toward business solutions for our clients.
Motivation is the focus of Chapter 7. While we know that the skills and techniques of rainmaking can be leveraged by any lawyer to build stronger relationships, serve clients better, and win more work, it is also clear that these behaviors come far more naturally to some – those we might describe as natural rainmakers – than to others. By recognizing that we are all motivated in diverse ways, we can ne-tune our approach tobusiness development and, of course, to the way we interact with other members of our teams, to play to our own unique strengths and motivations.
Building on what we have learned about dominance and motivation, Chapter 8 outlines ways in which we can over- come our sense of self-doubt to become risk takers and turn perceived risks into constructive opportunities. Chapter 9 then looks at the various sources of business that are available to the proactive lawyer, from existing clients to industry-speci c networking opportunities.
Chapter 10 captures practical advice from rainmakers and clients and is lled with valuable information to help you as you develop and hone your business development skills.
Chapter 1: Business development? Who needs it?
Chapter 2: Getting comfortable with the ‘S’ word
Chapter 3: the rst ‘r’ of business development
- Building a reputation in your rst few years
- Building your reputation as you advance in your career
Chapter 4: Once potential clients know who you are, what comes next?
Chapter 5: engagement – the art of active listening
- Active listening for a formal pitch
- Active listening in casual interactions
- Making the connection
- Doing things that you like to do as ‘client development’
Chapter 6: Dominance
- Know the business of your client
- Think like a lawyer, but don’t talk like one
Chapter 7: Motivation
Chapter 8: risk taking
- Become fearless
- The hard part
- The easier part
Chapter 9: Having the skills is one thing; nding the business is another
- The low hanging fruit: Existing clients
- Friends who can give out business
- Taking the never out of networking
- Cold calls can work, sometimes