Whether you’re just starting as a lawyer or you’ve been at it for a while, you’ve probably asked yourself what it take to become a successful rainmaker. Is it delivering exceptional service? Or is it being extensively knowledgeable in the field? Or perhaps applying clever marketing techniques?

There is no doubt that these are important, but according to researchers, about 85% of a person’s success is because of their personality, human engineering skills, and ability to lead, negotiate, and communicate.
Daniel Kahneman, a Nobel Prize-winning psychologist, found that “people would rather do business with a person they like and trust rather than someone they don’t, even if the likable person is offering a lower quality service at a higher price.”

If you want to be a successful rainmaker, in addition to those mentioned above, you’ll need the following essential qualities:


This is your ability and the willingness to take risks head-on. Successful rainmakers set themselves apart from the pack by bringing out solutions, approaches, and ideas that are outside the box. If you plan on becoming a successful rainmaker, then you shouldn’t just settle for the status quo. You should always be looking for what’s next. So, the next time you’re told “no” by your client, you should hear that as a “not now.”

Always Puts Clients First

The most productive rainmakers go to great lengths to ensure the services they offer are timely and consistent. Paying lip service to customer care as opposed to delivering isn’t enough. You need to establish protocols that will allow you to manage the expectations of your clients. The protocols ought to cover information updates, pricing, delivery timings, and warnings in case of any delays. When you’ve set up these protocols in place, make sure you audit them regularly.

Also, perform client surveys periodically. This will help you fine-tune service delivery to your clients and keep abreast of the ever-changing client needs. Excellent client service is an essential differentiator. It will determine whether you retain your clients or not. It also has a knockout effect of bringing in referrals.


People love to talk about themselves. Your job is to actively listen and look for connections while being interested and interesting. Successful rainmakers ask questions, gather essential information, and use the information to connect with people. They view their work as part of their everyday life and not as a burden.


Making decisions is not always easy, especially when there’s a lot on the line. One saying goes “not making a decision is making a decision.” As such, effective rainmakers don’t allow circumstances to lead them; they take control by making decisions, even those that are difficult to make. Perhaps you own a firm. There may come a time you need to lay a person off to weather tough financial times. This isn’t something you take lightly; however, it’s necessary for the greater good of the firm.


One of the most critical characteristics of a great rainmaker is honesty. And, it’s not just upfront with your associates or clients; honesty extends to integrity even in the little things. For instance, don’t have your receptionist tell people you’re out of office when in truth you’re around. If your client somehow finds out you’re there, then you will lose an essential quality of your relationship.

None of these traits are hard to execute – but it IS hard to be consistent with these qualities day in and day out. The best athletes train with coaches on a daily basis to improve and be held accountable for their work – why not lawyers? With the right mindset, work ethic, and accountability, any lawyer can become a rainmaker!

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