Rainmaking is much more than a consequence of having the right
skills; it is also about having the right networks!1
Do you ever wonder why some people are better at sales than
others? Well, here's the answer: They think differently. They act
differently. And, they have different networks. The networks of top
rainmakers look different. "Different configurations of networks
produce different results, and the salesperson who develops a
nuanced understanding of social networks will outshine
My clients become top rainmakers by measuring and developing
their networks that matter: lead generation; client
decision-makers; indirect influencers of decision-makers; broad
reputation; and solution collaborators. Lead generation refers to
contacts, who are positioned to learn of different marketplace
opportunities that matter to you.
Compare the ineffective lead generation network in the image on
the left with the effective lead generation network on the right.
Notice the difference between the two networks.
The effective network connects you (the circle at the far left
of each image) with the knowledge of diverse indirect contacts.
When your direct contacts, are connected to different people in
different organizations with different interests, rather than with
shared contacts, it expands your view into marketplace
opportunities. Do you know what your lead generation network looks
Your other networks matter, too. Who are your connections in
your key clients and target clients? Are you sufficiently connected
with the decision-makers who distribute legal work and the indirect
influencers, who have the ear of the direct decision-makers? Are
you building your reputation with speaking and publishing
opportunities. You can count on the decision makers and indirect
influencers being influenced by your professional reputation, even
if only unconsciously. Finally, clients want a lawyer they believe
will solve their unique and complex problems that keep them up at
night. When you have an opportunity to pitch to such a client are
you sufficiently networked to solution collaborators in your
Growing your network is a key piece of your marketing strategy.
If you are attaining your business development goals, it's time to
evaluate your network and consider options for expanding and
Growing your network is part of a disciplined marketing strategy
and an organic process. Join Cynthia MacCausland, Donald Lassman,
Daniel Dain and me on Thursday, April 4, 2013, at noon when the MBA
Law Practice Management Section presents Growing and Mining a
Professional Network. You'll receive tips from successful
rainmakers on how to build your networks and have opportunities to
ask them your burning questions on how to become a better rainmaker
by building your professional network.
Susan Letterman White, JD, MS, is a principal in
Letterman White Consulting, a consulting practice devoted to
improving organization and team performance and training people to
think like business leaders. She works with organizations to change
their structures and processes to improve business performance. She
also runs Lawyers Leaders & Teams, a company devoted to
marketing and leadership development training for lawyers. Her
advanced training in business strategy and group facilitation from
American University and NTL is integrated into all program designs.
She designs and delivers performance-improvement programs that
include: organization growth strategy, diversity and inclusion,
business development and cross-selling, and strategic communication
and conflict management. She frequently uses assessments and other
tools to help her clients change the way they think and is
certified to administer and interpret the Myers Briggs Type
1The term "network" refers to a person's direct and
2T. Üstüner & D. Godes, Better Sales Networks,
Harvard Business Review (2006).