I recently interviewed one of the top rainmakers at an 800+ attorney law firm for an upcoming article I plan to write on how professionals become rainmakers in the professional services world. He said that building a business is not about selling but rather caring. He added that if you truly care about your business relationships, demonstrate it.
He does this by actively listening to clients instead of assuming what they need. He invests time to learn about their business. He regularly contacts clients and offers help that might not have a bill attached to it. He doesn’t look at them as dollar signs to meet revenue goals.
As a result, not only does he have a successful multimillion-dollar practice, but he has developed wonderful relationships and even friendships over the years.
Why is it that so many people avoid this form of business development, i.e., caring?
Lack of know-how? Complacency? Fear? Time? All of them?
Here’s a challenge. Make this the year that you change your perception that we need to be “salesy” in business development and instead authentically start caring about your clients.
Connect with them. Build long-term relationships. Show them how you care.
Consider trying this:
Stay in touch!
Once a year won’t cut it for important relationships. Your communication cadence needs to be three to four times a year. When possible, meet in person. Even going old school and picking up the phone once in a while still works!
Remember what is important to them professionally and personally.
Make notes of their major business milestones as well as personal items such as birthdays, kid graduations, anniversaries, and more. Additionally, learn their personal interests and hobbies. Often, they will align with some of yours and make business development much more enjoyable for you. These provide excellent follow-up opportunities and make a huge difference in setting yourself apart from your competition.
Adjust your communication and appearance to theirs.
Are you speaking with a conservative, more senior executive who is in a suit and wants to get straight to business, or a 30-year old tech executive in faded jeans, trendy shirt, and wants to get to know you first? Be able to adapt and connect at your client’s level.
There will be more on this topic when I publish my article on best practices from many other rainmakers I am currently interviewing. In the meantime, have fun with it! Just be sure to do it!
If you have questions about how to do this, please reach out to me. I would be happy to chat!