- Ten tips for creating a rainmaking culture at your firm.
How do you create a culture of rainmakers at your law firm?
That was the question I asked 60 CMOs and other thought leaders responsible for building revenue in law firms. I was researching a book for the ABA titled Building Rainmakers, The Definitive Guide To Business Development For Lawyers, and some of the answers may surprise you.
Here is a 10-point summary from that research:
It’s not as simple as, “Tell me, Rainmaker, how do you do it?” You need a CMO, BDD or consultant skilled in the art of essence-interviewing who can discern from the rainmaker those specific actions that are making the difference; then translate that information into educational chunks that can be easily learned by others.
A pre-packaged rainmaker enhancement and creation program can be purchased from the law firm that developed it. The program, called Fast Forward, initially took 20 lawyers and grew their revenue by $7.5 million within two years with a $150,000 investment, a 5,000% ROI. If interested, contact Jill Weber, CMO and business development officer at Stinson Leonard Street. In my opinion, you’re cheating yourself of a valuable resource if you don’t at least make an informational call to Jill and ask her how she does it.
The four questions everyone in your firm can ask:
“How” is one of the most powerful words in the English language. It forces the brain to seek a solution in the direction guided by the question. In this case, a solution that is biased in favor of your firm’s mission. I discuss language that generates revenue at greater length in the ABA book titled, The Associate As Rainmaker, Building Your Business Brain. Test question number four against, “Do you think my firm could help?” Any one of your litigation deposition specialists will confirm the vast difference between the potential results of the two different question designs.
Business is personal. Business is always a one-to-one relationship on some level. And that one-to-one begins with every member of your firm. A few key questions can usually unearth the passion lying below the surface of everyone. You need to know how to do that or hire someone to teach you, your managers, and your attorneys how to do that.
You need the passionate support of your team members. The same training that teaches them to call out the passion in co-workers can be used to call out the passion in a potential client. Describing how to do that is beyond the scope of this article. Many are skilled at teaching your managers and lawyers how to extract passion from themselves, their colleagues, and their clients. One is David Adams with the business development consulting firm Revenue Wise. Others are CMOs and business development specialists with their respective firms like Adam Stock with Allen Matkins, Cherie Olland with Jones Day (now retired), Dave Bruns with Farella Braun + Martel, Barbara Lauterbach with McKenna Long & Aldridge, Adam Severson with Baker Donelson, and Jill Weber with Stinson Leonard Street, just to name a few; and, of course, probably a few folks at your law firm who come to mind, now that you’re thinking about it.
Rainmakers generally engage in these four activities:
A coach can hold an attorney accountable for these activities and many others; and can customize a BD plan to suit an individual’s personality. When interviewing potential coaches, ask them how they identify and address different personality types and work styles.
These 10 guidelines combined with your knowledge, the wisdom of all the members of your firm, and the support of outside consultants, as needed, can allow you to create a culture of rainmakers that can dramatically increase the firm’s revenue.