One thing’s very clear. In any service-based business, such as a law firm, certain key players bring in the great majority of the business.
Why is that? Are some people just born with a certain combination of genes or a particular personality type that enables them to make the necessary connections and generate business while others simply lack those vital characteristics?
I think so. And yet, it’s not that simple.
Let’s break it down.
Are some people just born with the individual gifts to be successful rainmakers? Yeah, I think so. They naturally have the traits needed to shake the tree and gather the fruit.
And those traits are?
Rainmakers are more likely to be risk takers, more willing to question current ways of doing things, more open to challenging the rules and being creative in their thinking.
They’re big personalities, who tend to naturally exercise influence over others. They’re dominant Alpha types. Notice I didn’t say Alpha males. Studies find no significant difference between male and female rainmakers in this regard. Female rainmakers are usually alphas too.
Rainmakers typically like to be busy, and they very easily integrate the business, personal and play sides of their lives. They’re doers. They engage easily. They get involved. I think it’s safe to say most rainmakers are extraverts.
They like people and are interested in their clients as individuals, not just as clients.
What’s this all add up to? The natural ability to quickly achieve a heightened level of connection with a lot of people. The result? Expanded client relationships and new business.
I’m sure there are many more particular traits that go into the ideal mix, but you get the drift.
Okay, so where does that leave someone who isn’t a risk-taking, convention-challenging, big extraverted personality type who readily engages with people? What are their odds of success in the rainmaker sweepstakes?
Probably not as good.
But just as someone who’s not naturally comfortable using their non-preferred hand when they write or brush their teeth can learn to use it very well, those who don’t come by these rainmakers characteristics naturally can consciously take on these traits.
Is it the same as being born with them? I don’t think so. That said, I believe where there’s a will, there’s a way.
I absolutely don’t believe you’re either born a rainmaker type or you’re out of luck. We create who we are everyday. It may just be something of a challenge for more introverted folks who naturally prefer to play things by the book and stay safe in life … more of a stretch, that’s all.
So, what’s required of you to compensate for lacking these traits through no fault of your own?
You have to engage more … with more people in a greater variety of activities, both professionally and personally. That’s a big part of what networking’s all about. It isn’t just about going to actual networking events or places where it obvious that networking will occur, such as conferences and conventions. And the more activities you engage in, the more networking you naturally do, the easier it gets.
That said, you can’t think about engaging with more people solely as the means to generate business.
You engage with them because it expands your world overall, and that has the effect of helping you generate business.
And it’s what establishes you as an expert in your area … exposure. To be a rainmaker, it helps to be well known. As you write and speak on your specialty … and just generally get around more … people
come to recognize you as the go-to person in your field. Remember: Up close and personal connections beat impersonal contacts every time.
That’s the big thing. Engage more. But what else?
Make yourself a great communicator. Listen with intent. Ask more questions … deeper, broader questions. Talk less. Write and speak on a national level. That depth helps make up for maybe not having a naturally dominant presence.
You’ll be seen as the wise and widely-known expert … and that can help you generate like a natural born rainmaker!