“I’m so excited to embark on a career in sales,” said no attorney. Ever.
The truth is, whether you like it or not, you are in sales. You may perform legal services in exchange for a fee, but to perform those services, you must gain the trust of your potential clients, be able to engage them and make sure they pay your bills. This process is also known as sales.
Your secondary job is to find prospects and convince them you are the one who has their best interest at heart, which is not an easy task when your comfort zone is in the law and not in the relationship. You can make excuses, or you can be a rainmaker, but you can’t do both.
If you are not a natural-born rainmaker, you can begin to become a true rainmaker by applying these sales-like strategies.
Believe in yourself and the services you provide. If you don’t, who will? To build your self-confidence, look at all you’ve accomplished for the clients you’ve already had. If past clients have been happy with your work, others in the future can be happy as well. They just need to know you exist.
Build your rainmaking muscles. Rainmakers do business with their friends, and find friends out in the world. No one is going to come looking for you in your office. Get out and make new connections and friends, share with them what you do, and soon you’ll have a line out the door.
Know your ideal client. Make a list of the qualities and characteristics you love in past and current clients. This becomes your Ideal Client Profile (ICP). Start with: I enjoy working with them; they can pay, and pay their bills happily and on time; they respect my opinion and act on my advice; they refer new matters and clients to me regularly. (Really dislike a particular client? Flip their negative characteristics around to the positive opposite and add them to your list.) Now you can go find these ideal clients.
Find Strategic Partners. Strategic Partners (SPs) are professionals who serve your ideal clients, but are not in competition with you. For example, corporate attorneys work well with CPAs. Bankruptcy attorneys work well with business valuation professionals. Share your ICP with them, and ask for theirs. Make it your business to find a group of SPs, and then to find business for your SPs. They will do the same for you. Bonus: Business that comes by referral is the easiest business to close.
Rainmaking requires small, simple, daily steps that you can perform with little effort yet will yield big results.
Author, executive coach, and Personal Transformation Expert Honorée Corder (http://www.coachhonoree.com) gives seminars and conducts training programs on generating business, creating strategic partnerships, rainmaking, sales and practicing exceptional business courtesy for service professionals. She has taught her popular Rainmaker Business Bootcamp in more than 100 accounting, investment banking and law firms throughout the country.