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Michelle Walsh

Trainer & Coach, Wilkinson Read

Quotation Marks
t is also unlikely that old habits will bring new results. So, what will tip the odds in our favour within this uncertain future environment?

Rainmaking, rethinking, and client retention

Rainmaking, rethinking, and client retention


Bob Spence explores how 'rainmaking' can assist in client retention

Conversations continue to take place regarding the future activity of finding and keeping clients, as we eventually move past the current crisis. Underlying all such conversations recurs one significant question: ‘Will I be okay, once everything goes back to normal?’

The blunt answer is that almost nobody is going to be ‘just okay’ when this happens. In any time of crisis, it is rare for people to just hold steady at exactly where they were before. There will be clear winners and clear losers.

There are practical alternatives to the approach of the Dickens character Wilkins Micawber noted for the optimistic belief that: "Something will turn up". Better to take the view that ‘nothing will turn up’ unless you make it?

The laws of likelihood exist in rainmaking just as in a casino. In a casino you gamble with money and in rainmaking you speculate with time. In either case it is better to understand the odds and try and work them to your favour.

Social networks

New social habits have formed in the past twelve months. According to Dr Phillipa Lally in the European Journal of Social Psychology, it takes on average 66 days to form habit.

It is also unlikely that old habits will bring new results. So, what will tip the odds in our favour within this uncertain future environment?

Rainmaker PRO software, part of the Barclays Eagle-Lab LawTech community, commissioned a pre-COVID questionnaire, responded to by 317 business development leaders across the US. All were qualifiers of a business development competence referred to as the Million Dollar Round Table. Their number one feature was the value placed on long-term relationships and satisfied clients – or ‘pre-informed sources’. These people can accurately vouchsafe your worth and are able to introduce you to other parties.

Their key advice was that last year’s best client can introduce you to this year’s best client... if only you know how to ask. In arithmetic, this is known as the ‘1° of separation model’ –as you are one introduction away from a potential user of your services. (The concept of 6° of separation is where you pick a random person and connect yourself to them through other people via six introductions).


Research by MediaDynamics shows that, online, you are competing with:

  • Average number ads/brand exposures daily per person: 5000+
  • Average number of ads only exposure daily: 362
  • Average number of ads only noted daily: 153
  • Average number of ads of which we had some awareness daily: 86
  • Average number of ads only that made an impression engagement daily: 12

While we are not in the US and that this is pre-pandemic data, UK online behaviour might be different. However, it is possible 12 months on from the start of the pandemic the figures could be more dramatic. Whichever way, due to the amount of noise in the online marketplace, you are competing with a lot of other marketing messages, regardless of how well your offer is crafted.

Furthermore, the ‘Ebbinghaus forgetting curve’ states that 80 per cent of new information is forgotten within 30 days. Due to the sheer volume of marketing messages, it may become harder to rely on online platforms to connect your value with your key market environments.

Wilkinson Read specialise in the ‘date-to-results’ approach to developing the success of a practice. One of the software tools available is Rainmaker PRO, containing a data-to-results algorithm has shown:

1° separation: Maximum probability of introduction: 82 per cent.

2° separation: Maximum probability of introduction: 17 per cent.

3° separation: Maximum probability of introduction: 0.8 per cent.


1. It takes approximately 66 days to create a habit. (How does this effect your client market)?

2. US rainmakers manage networks of 37 connections. (How many connections are your managing)?

3. 1° of separation = 82 per cent maximum probability of creating an introduction. (Why try anything else)?

4. ‘Pre-informed’ sources are more likely to make a successful introduction. (Who can do this for you)?

5. ‘Pre-informed’ sources rank No. 1as a method of sourcing qualified work. (Are you leveraging this)?

6. Average number of online exposures daily per person = 5000+. (Can you cut through this)?

7. Average number of online ads creating an impression per day = 12. (Will you be one of the 12)?

8. Ebbinghaus states 80 per cent of new information is forgotten within 30 days. (Will you be recalled)?

Bob Spence is a Trainer and Coach with Wilkinson Read & Partners, and was formerly business development coach for Coutts Bank, 440 The Strand.