The secret to becoming a rainmaker.

The secret to becoming a rainmaker.

I mentioned in my last post about civility that I have worked with lawyers nearly three decades.  I've worked with a lot of brilliant, thought-leading and profession-defining lawyers.  It's a pleasure to have called them clients and friends. 

Not all of these remarkable attorneys could be called rainmakers.  Some are, but many are not.  And for years, the reason for this eluded me.

There are hundreds of blog posts and dozens of training courses taught by fine consultants about the ins and outs of selling professional services.  This post isn't about telling you how to sell.  It's about me finally articulating the one attribute that stands out among all others - the one attribute that enables lawyers, regardless of practice area, industry strength, personality type, communication style, law firm or law school credentials, to consistently and effectively develop client relationships that pay off.

Here it is:  Stop thinking about yourself

Like any skill, it requires practice, self intervention and enormous discipline. Think back to a "business development" lunch meeting with a prospect that didn't result in new business.  Did you self-analyze to determine why there wasn't a fit?  Most lawyers have dozens of such lunches, yet they keep inviting away, hoping their luck will change.  In most cases, it won't.  And it's not about luck anyway. 

For many lawyers, this rejection takes its toll.  Many stop asking, hoping to find another, more successful path to client relationship development.  But, of course, lunch has nothing to do with the poor result.

The elements that must be in place for that relationship magic to occur are built on top of this fundamental premise - if you are consciously, subconsciously or unconsciously thinking about how you're doing, how you're coming across, what you're buying your spouse for Valentine's Day, the matter that's back in the office, the squash game at 5:30 or that you have to get your shoes shined - you will not be a successful rainmaker.

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