The Law Firm Rainmaker Playbook
Ten Golden Rules recently hosted a Webinar on The Law Firm Rainmaker Playbook with guest speakers Ken Hardison, founder of PILMMA, and Steve Nudelberg, founder of On The Ball and expert sales trainer, and Alan Margulius, Managing Director of Acumen Corporate Development.
Watch a video recap of that webinar here.
What is a RainMaker?
Simply put, it’s someone with the ability to bring in new business. Usually, they’re the type of person with a steady flow of clients, who seemingly doesn’t have to work to get them.
Sounds like a good gig, right?
It is. And it’s not hard to get there. Keep reading, and I’ll show you how.
How to Become A Rainmaker
The first principle of being a good rainmaker is to give with no expectation of receiving anything in return. Find ways to support your neighbors, friends, colleagues and connections in whatever they might need.
For instance, if you see someone post on Facebook about needing a plumber, give them a reference rather than scrolling by. It’s a small act that will only take a few minutes, but will make all the difference in creating relationships.
The more you can work to establish yourself as a “connected” person, the more people will think of you as the person to go to when they need something.
Your goal is to become the “I’ve got a guy – I’ve got a gal” guy.
“If you give people what they want, you’ll get what you want.”
The second principle is this: Your network is your net worth.
Get connected both locally and nationally to networking groups in your areas of interest. That way, when someone comes to you for a connection, you have a robust and diverse book of contacts to reference.
The more networking groups, nonprofits and associations you can join, the better!
Subsequently, the more you offer in these groups and associations, the more you will receive.
The common thread that binds all Rainmakers is relationships. They are not concerned with the quantity of connections they can make, but the quality of relationships they have.
For instance, if you’re in a webinar with 50 participants, take a moment to look through the participant list and identify a few people you’d like to get to know better. Then, schedule Zoom one-on-ones with them to establish a relationship.
Another way to establish yourself as a Rainmaker is Thought Leadership.
Write Articles. Create White papers. Do webinars. Share your expertise without asking for anything in return. Establish yourself as the expert in an area and be consistent with your upload schedule or webinar schedule. Then, people will think of you when they need something in your area of expertise.
These four C’s will help you make impactful Thought Leadership:
- Create great content – Quantity isn’t as important as quality. Even if you only host one webinar every quarter, if it truly benefits your audience, they will come back for more.
- Calendarize – Set up a consistent, realistic schedule of when you can host these webinars.
- Cascade the content to all social, digital and email marketing platforms.
- Calendly – Set up meetings with people who attend your webinars.
Now, how do you turn this type of self-marketing into business opportunities?
Ken Hardison – Rain Making with Referral Systems
There’s a rule to referrals. An industry standard, if you will.
20% of people will refer your business, even if you do nothing.
20% of people will never refer your clients, no matter what you do.
60% of people will refer your business if you create referral systems and educate them on how to refer you.
Now, before we get into building a referral system, let’s cover the basics. In order to get people to refer you, you need to be referable.
If you wouldn’t hire your own firm… you’ve got a problem.
If you don’t have a lot of testimonials and high ratings on Google My Business… you’ve got another problem.
Client services are a must. People want to be treated well.
Now, let’s talk about getting referrals.
First, you need to get into the referral mindset. This should be your primary way of getting clients, not a “once in a while” bonus. Your entire firm should get on board with the concept of referrals and understand that they are the most cost-effective way to get new clients.
Look at the lifetime value of a client. Don’t just see them for the one case they bring you – see the potential they have to introduce you to other clients in years to come.
Under-promise and over-deliver with your clients. Stay in contact with your clients and keep them informed on what’s going on with their case.
Look for opportunities to ASK for referrals – sometimes, your clients may think you’re so busy you don’t need any, or it might not even cross their mind.
Why would someone give you a referral?
Either they genuinely want to be helpful as a person, or they want to specifically help you because they respect and trust you.
Here are some actionable steps you can take to get more referrals consistently:
1. Setup a client advisory board – Go back to past clients and invite them to participate in a client advisory board. Every quarter, treat them to a nice dinner and give them a questionnaire to see how you’re doing, thank them for their last referrals, ask how the referrals liked working with them, and provide them a VIP card to pass to future referrals. This card has your direct number, and which allows them to bypass the red tape and get in contact with someone directly.
The key to this method is consistency. Every time you have one of these meetings or dinners, you’ll see an increase for referrals for about 30 days before they drop off. Every three months is a great timeline.
2. Newsletters and holiday cards – Send out a company newsletter every other month (by paper, not email). Doing so will create top-of-mind awareness. Your past clients might not remember you forever. You want to stay top of mind so when someone they know needs your service, they think of you.
3. Staff contest – Encourage your team to reach out to past clients, friends, and contacts to get referrals. Set up an internal contest to reward whoever is able to bring in the most referrals within a time period.
4. Handwritten thank you cards for referrals – Make your clients feel special and important. If they give you a referral, send them a personal, handwritten thank you card. If you don’t show them that you appreciate the business, eventually, they will stop sending it to you.
5. Leverage your book – If you’ve written a book, you are in a fantastic position. Your book establishes you as an authority. Give copies to your clients and let them disperse those copies to their friends, colleagues, neighbors, etc. It makes it easier for them to refer you if they can just hand over a book – and, if it’s good, the book will do the selling for you.
Steve Nudelberg – Let’s Make it Rain
Change is constant, and we’re going through massive amounts of change every day in the legal industry.
The primary change we’ve seen in the past ten or twenty years is that society has transitioned from transactional to relational. People used to seek out the best deal or the cheapest price. Now, they want to do business with people they know, like, and trust.
So, how do you adapt?
The key is to invest in your relationships.
Plenty of people invest financially, but not everyone takes the time to nurture their relationships and invest in people. The two most valuable sources of capital are social (who knows you) and relational (who you know).
How do you measure the return on this kind of investment?
Instead of measuring in terms of ROI (Return on Investment), measure success in terms of ROR (Return on Relationship). Are you being talked about when you’re not around? How much name recognition do you have? These are the ways you can measure the success of your social and relational capital.
We’ve all heard of a sales funnel. This is the journey that a prospect will take before deciding to purchase from you or become a client.
Recently, the funnel has shifted. Here’s what it looks like now:
The new funnel is awareness-focused. It’s the reverse of the traditional funnel, which pushes your services out – instead, it draws people in.
The more people that are aware of who you are, the more people that can consider what you do. The more people that are considering you, the more will make a decision.
So, clearly, if not enough people know who you are – you have a problem.
One example of a successful funnel is Steve Nudelberg’s daily morning huddles. He hosts these huddles at 8 A.M. every day via Zoom for anyone who would like to participate. He and his son, Marc (the president of the company), spend twenty minutes pumping up attendees and getting them excited and ready for the day.
This has attracted exponential awareness for Steve’s business. He is able to gain new clients by word of mouth, one of the most effective ways to get new business.
How do you replicate this success? Have a game plan.
Your game plan comes down to a basic process that you consistently use.
You need to build the right strategy and the right tactics. Just as you need to input a destination into your Maps app when driving somewhere, you need to know where you want to go in order to take the right steps to get there.
Once you know where you want to go, your tactics are the steps that will get you to that destination.
First, understand who your dream client is. Then, understand how you reach them.
Take another of Steve’s tactics as an example, #50cupsofcoffee.
Steve had every one of his employees write a list of 50 people who they’d like to have coffee with. Then, they got to work setting those meetings. Inviting someone to a cup of coffee breaks down professional barriers and earns you the right to share your story with them.
Alan Margulius: Managing Director, Acumen Corporate Development
Alan has spent his entire life in sales, but claims that he’s never truly “sold” anything. He goes into rainmaking with a “no-selling” mindset.
Sometimes, selling can feel like a used car salesman. The ultimate goal of every Rainmaker should be to become a “trusted advisor” rather than a salesman.
Business development doesn’t have to equate to disturbing people or annoying people. Don’t put yourself into a box because of the scope of your work. If you focus on relationships, you will never have to feel like you’re being a bother.
Here are some strategies for up and coming lawyers:
Focus on simple, repeatable stuff.
Pay attention to your network and grow it. Look at who you know, who you went to school with, where they are now and who they might know.
Then, get focused on the prospect’s agenda. Don’t go into meetings with prospects assuming you know what they need. If you keep an open mind and hear where they need assistance, you will become closer to being a trusted advisor and less of a salesperson.
Next, do your research. Lawyers are usually skilled in this, so use it to your advantage. Do a Google search or social media scan of your prospects to get an understanding of who they are, what they value, and what they may need.
When you’re thinking about the prospect or client in these ways, you put yourself in a position to gain trust. You lay strong relationship foundations by making conversations about them, not yourself or your business.
When you solidify a meeting, focus on listening. Your competitors will focus on themselves and what they have to offer the client. This is the wrong thing to do. Your goal should be to discover specifically what is needed and how you can fulfill those needs. Then, you can make an offer based on what that client is truly looking for, and because you’ve built a relationship with them, they will trust your guidance.
Rainmaking is about building relationships. Building trust cements relationships in ways that selling never can. When your clients see that you’re invested in solving their problems, you will rise above your competitors.
Finally, make sure you establish accountability. If the leadership of an organization or firm is not engaged, you can’t expect great things to happen. Business development efforts require top-down engagement. Once your firm sees that you’re engaged and rewarding efforts, peer-to-peer accountability will develop.