Rainmakers need mechanisms for regularly meeting new people. Professional and trade organizations are among the best environments for meeting good prospects. Identify which organizations your firm currently supports, and if the budget allows, attend the organizations’ meetings with other lawyers.
Be sure to become active in your bar association because other lawyers are the main resource for many rainmakers. Also, attending bar events and CLE programs is a great way to blend professional development with practice development.
In addition, you may want to expand your horizons and consider the trade organizations of current clients. Think about trade organizations that represent activities that are particularly interesting to you. And, although more difficult, try to identify organizations whose members may be positioned to experience a dramatic surge in growth over the next five years. You may consider charitable, religious or community organizations too.
As you make your choices, however, remember that the key to any organization’s effectiveness in rainmaking terms is the concentration of good prospects. Getting the firm to sponsor your involvement in an organization requires that you have the ability to demonstrate that it is a good investment. As the number of prospects increases, the cost per prospect decreases. Accordingly, be careful about organizations that hold the appearance of quality networking but are populated with non-prospects. Organizational involvement can take up a lot of time. A poor choice of organizations will not only waste resources (in both time and money) but may also sour your interest in rainmaking.
You should keep in touch with all colleagues and acquaintances who could become clients or referral sources. Maintain email contact. Consider a personal blog. Have the names of your contacts added to the firm’s mailing database so everyone receives firm communications. Holiday cards, birthday cards, and notes of congratulations are good techniques for keeping in touch too. In addition, consider hosting an annual party, which is a fun way to maintain connections. You can also suggest that people invite their other business contacts to increase your network.
Because staying connected is so important, learn how to manage all your contacts. Contact management is a process of maintaining a database of information along with a mechanism for ensuring follow-up. Plus, as you document information about your prospects, you will be reminded of more reasons to stay in touch. Most lawyers have Outlook as a basic contact management system, and there are many more sophisticated software programs. Of course, there is no value to the software if you don’t enter the data.
For more tips, check out our article “The Art of Making Rain: Seven Steps That Give Associates an Edge.”