Welcome to the first installment of the Maraia Minutes for 2017! Here’s to a new year, one that’s full of possibilities and new opportunities. For me, my new opportunity is taking the reins at Maraia & Associates. I am committed to continuing Mark Maraia’s commitment to client service and being the premier provider of business development coaching through innovative and practical solutions based on building and deepening relationships. I hope you’ll join me on this journey. Also new for 2017 is our redesigned website at www.maraia.com — I invite you to check it out and be sure to take a look at our Call to Action and our 10 Tools for the Rainmaker workshops and our new videos while you’re there.
A new year brings new goals for business development and now is the perfect time to think about yours. Maybe you’ve set your sights on more clients or new practice areas. Or maybe you have an ambitious revenue goal in mind. Before you focus on the clients you want to do more work for in 2017, I’d encourage you to focus on one very important client that will be key to building your practice this year: you. Yes, you! We rarely think of ourselves as our number one client, yet there is no other person whose satisfaction with your performance can so impact your career. So I ask you, when you view yourself through the client lens, how do you rate? Are you happy with the work you did for yourself in 2016? Was it successful, on time and handled in a professional and organized manner? From this perspective, it’s obvious that you should treat business development with the same level of commitment that you treat any other client work if you want to see your practice thrive.
January is the ideal time to ask yourself, “Did I meet the rainmaking goals I had for 2016?” If the answer is no—and based on the calls we get for business development coaching and workshops, you’re not the only one—then you need to ask yourself these follow up questions:
“Did I have a plan?” You’ve heard the saying, failing to plan is planning to fail. Using the Maraia Method®, we coach our clients that the first step in successful rainmaking is creating a plan. A plan can be as detailed and elaborate as you wish, but at its most basic it is simply an outline of who your ideal clients are for 2017, the specific actions you will take to connect with those clients and a few clearly defined business development goals for 2017. Some specific actions might be “I will conduct client satisfaction interviews of the top 15 clients I worked for in 2016 in order to better understand their needs and how I can service them” or “I will contact at least 10 people from my network each month to remain on their radar.” If you had a plan, but still didn’t have the year you had hoped for in terms of rainmaking, the next question is:
“Did I have a system?” It’s no surprise that the best plan in the world is useless unless it is actually implemented. That’s why creating a system is a key tenet of the Maraia Method®. A system ensures that you will have the structure in place to accomplish your business development goals. We coach our clients that blocking time in your calendar at regular intervals for rainmaking and treating that appointment with the same respect you would a client meeting is one of the easiest and most effective ways to reach your goals. Did you regularly and systematically devote time to rainmaking in 2016? If you’re like most, the answer is no. Imagine, then, what could happen if you devote 30 minutes once a week in 2017 to rainmaking! That’s 26 hours devoted to enhancing your career, honing your rainmaking skills and increasing your odds of success! Simply setting a regular appointment to do business development is one extraordinarily simple and practical system that will help ensure you accomplish every goal you set in your business development plan. Unfortunately, even the best systems can fall into disuse. Did yours? The next question, then, is:
“Did I have metrics?” In our coaching sessions, accountability is often the catalyst that helps our clients turn aspiration into action. When you are held accountable for accomplishing a set task by a set time, you are much more likely to achieve it. Building metrics into your plan and your system also creates accountability. In your business development plan, a metric transforms the goal of “I’ll spend more time networking with my partners” into the plan of “I’ll meet with at least 2 partners in my practice area and 2 partners in other practice areas to discuss their ideal clients every month.” Metrics also make your system more effective. By setting specific criteria for how many clients you hope to connect with or how many marketing lunches you intend to set up each month, you establish data points to determine if you meeting your goals. Once you know what targets you’re track to reach and where you are falling short, you can reassess your plan and your system to see what’s working and what needs to be fixed.
Every great Rainmaker has a plan, a system and metrics. You can use this simple approach today to ensure that you meet your business development goals and make it rain in 2017. The Maraia Method® and other great techniques for becoming a rainmaker can be found on our website at www.maraia.com and in Rainmaking Made Simple by Mark Maraia.
Let us know how we can help you devise your own plan, system and metrics and be sure to send this email to a colleague you think might benefit from these Maraia Minutes. Do you have any tips for setting up a system, leave me a comment below.
Here’s to a successful 2017…go buy that umbrella, it’s about to RAIN in your practice!