This will begin a series of tips on what I am going to call “rainmaking.” If you are an attorney, you will know this term. It references the rain dances Native American Indians did to encourage rain to fall from the sky. Modern “rainmaking” is sometimes seen as a similarly ethereal and hopeful process – one with little direction and not a lot of obvious cause-and-effect results. The intention of this series is to support you in finding what really works for you to bring in business. If you are not an attorney, read these blogs anyway. There will be information on bringing in business for everyone. And of course, if you have tips you want me to include email and let me know – firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are two aspects to rainmaking: (1) who do you approach and/or pursue; and (2) how do you approach them, develop a relationship with them, and bring them into your business. I have coached a number of professionals – both attorneys and other types – who were very successful rainmakers, and those who were newer to the game of business-building, and I learned a lot from them. I have done a great deal of research on the topic as well – both interviewing successful attorneys and other types of professionals, and reading a lot of books, blogs, newsletters and magazines, which I will share with you as we go along. I recently wrote an article on the concept of Giving Referrals as a way of growing your business. That article went out to my client base newsletter subscribers. If you would like a copy of that blast, please email me at email@example.com. This series of blogs will contain a number of rainmaking tips that I have gleaned from the many resources listed above.
This series will cover the topic “who do you approach and how do you develop a relationship with them and bring them into your business.” For more information on the topic “how do you approach them,” I refer you to my comprehensive series on the Art of Enrollment. (http://www.mclarencoaching.com/enrollment-sales-without-selling/)
Do What Works
I find the most obvious marketing strategy that many business-owners simply do not think to employ is looking back to where prior clients have come from. Many different types of professionals have hired me to coach them on growing their client base. The first question I always ask is, “where did your current and past clients come from?” Often they do not know off the top of their heads. In fact, often they don’t know where to go to easily and quickly obtain that information.
If you don’t know, do this: make a list. Don’t make it hard. You don’t have to do it all at once. Start with your current clients and then expand to prior clients. Create a list of current clients. In the first column, indicate the source of the client. Did this client come to you as a referral from another client, from advertising, from a google search, from word of mouth (as in, a referral from someone who is not your client)? Look for patterns. Are there certain people who refer you a lot more work than others? Are there certain places most of your business arises from? This is what we might call the “low-hanging fruit”. When you learn what works, then the obvious thing to do is keep doing that. I like to show you this tip first because it is so easy, and this really does not have to be hard.
Chances are good that you already have a partially successful marketing strategy that you may not even be aware of. It is time to become conscious of what you have done that works.
Extra Credit: as you create your list of clients and where they came from, you may also want to look at a few other factors such as ranking your clients in terms of revenue generation and whether they are A, B or C level clients. You get to determine what is meant by A, B and C. But it is useful to say A level clients generate X amount of revenue and/or are not high maintenance, but trust the work is getting done and don’t demand a lot of hand-holding and/or pay their bills on time.
Often we see all clients as equal and we just want to bring in business, but your life can get a lot easier by being more consciously discerning about the kinds of clients you take. If there is a source of work that is sending you all A level clients, pursue that source. Put your energy there. If there is a source that sends you mostly C level clients, that one many not be worth your time.
Good luck and let’s get started creating an intentional rainmaking plan!