At Capsticks our lawyers love helping our clients to solve their legal challenges and to achieve their business aims. But success is about more than technical ability and we know that not all lawyers are skilled and confident at winning new business.
Operating in a challenging, competitive marketplace, to achieve our ambitious growth plans we wanted to invest in developing our lawyers to be great at evangelising about Capsticks. We view it as essential that our lawyers are comfortable with, and effective at, business development because ultimately that’s what will drive our business forward.
To equip our people with the skills they needed we were not after a one-off “shot in the arm” - no matter how good that looked. Instead we needed something substantial, that would challenge our lawyers, be a driver of behaviour change and lead to business growth. It was also essential that, following the programme, there was empirical evidence as to its effectiveness in both a renewed attitude and better sales numbers.
the rainmaker programme
We knew KWC Global as they had run some effective well received business development skills programmes for us, so they were a good fit. We discussed our needs and the Rainmaker Programme appeared to be an obvious choice.
Right from the start, we were keen to target the programme at those for whom it would have the greatest impact. We therefore advertised the opportunity to the whole firm and asked for applications from those who wanted to take part. We were inundated with applications but narrowed down to an initial group of ten for the first programme.
Over the several months of Rainmaker we worked hard to keep the group together, encouraging them to meet up for discussions, to share successes and challenges, talk about lessons learned and look at how they were applied in practice. This really helped to bring the group together, to develop and maintain momentum throughout, fostered a “can-do” team spirit and drove lasting behaviour change.
Without doubt those who attended told us that they found it really challenging: there were some “tough love” moments! But they were equally inspired and motivated. Most importantly, we have seen a substantially positive impact on the individual’s business development skills.
Here’s what they told us:
“It’s given me the confidence to conduct BD in a way that I didn’t have before”
“I completely approach BD now in a more positive and enthusiastic way, which in itself encourages a more positive response from clients and prospective clients”
“Confidence to pursue BD without overthinking it. This has led to me making contacts I would not have otherwise made and this has resulted in new instructions”
“I am more confident in just making approaches as opposed to procrastinating so much about the possible response”
“It has made me realise that often BD efforts are long haul and it takes time to get new clients and going to a meeting and not getting new instructions immediately does not mean the BD effort was a waste of time”
Putting lawyers through The Rainmaker Programme is an investment: in time and effort as well as money. The opportunity cost in a time-based business is not insignificant, but it has definitely been worth it. There is a good deal of qualitative evidence - anecdotes, attitude change and motivation - that illustrates The Rainmaker had shifted mindsets and resulted in significant behaviour change.
Then there is the quantitative evidence. We have already identified significant additional business that the first Rainmaker cohort have produced and they can attribute this to having deployed skills learned on the programme. We will continue to track progress over time, but the impact so far has undoubtedly been positive. What’s more, we are sure that these behaviours and increased sales numbers will continue as individual skills become further embedded.
We are part way through Rainmaker 2 and have a further programme planned for the Autumn, which has a waiting list of potential participants from right across the firm keen to take part.