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Making Rain: The Secrets of Building Lifelong Client Loyalty

ISBN: 978-0-471-26459-0
256 pages
January 2003
Making Rain: The Secrets of Building Lifelong Client Loyalty (0471264598) cover image
Professionals who work with clients or large accounts can create lifetime relationships based on these well-researched secrets. Based drawing from extensive interviews with client executives, Making Rain offers a series of provocative insights on how to shed the expert-for-hire label and develop long-term advisory relationships. Exploding the popular myth of the "Rainmaker," a dated and dysfunctional figure that clients no longer welcome, Andrew Sobel argues that any professional can learn to "make rain" on an ongoing basis with existing clients by developing a special set of skills, attitudes, and strategies. These innovative tips and techniques from a recognized leader in the field of professional services will enable any consultant, salesperson, or service professional to create enduring client loyalty.
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Introduction: Learning to Make Rain All of the Time.

PART I: BREAKING THROUGH AS AN EXPERT.

The Loyalty Equation: Three Factors That Determine Your Client's Loyalty.

Are You an  Extraordinary Advisor?

Breakthrough Strategies for Experts.

Building Trust in the First Ten Minutes.

More Important than Your 401(k): Building Your Relationship Capital.

Benjamin Franklin's Secret Weapon.

Why a Client Might Like You.

The Myth of Meeting Client Expectations.

Leonardo da Vinci: Why Lutes and Madonnas Matter.

Finding the Hidden Creases: Influencing Your Clients.

Part One Summary: Are You Breaking Through as an Expert?

PART II: MOVING INTO THE INNER CIRCLE.

I Love My Guru…and Other Client Pitfalls.

The Relationship Masters.

The Doubting Mind.

The Deep Generalist and the Branded Expert.

How to Identify Client Needs.

The Power of Size: Developing Large, Multi-Year Client Relationships.

The Right Foot: Four Ways to Start a Relationship and Position It for the Long Term.

Five Ways to Grow Your Client Relationships.

Are Clients Meeting Your Expectations?

Part Two Summary: Are You Moving into the Inner Circle?

PART III: SUSTAINING RELATIONSHIPS YEAR AFTER YEAR.

Sustaining and Multiplying.

Merlin: Working a Little Magic with Your Clients.

Five Steps to New Business with Old Clients.

The Rothschild Bankers: The Power of Unique Capabilities.

Cultivating the Attitude of Independent Wealth.

Managing Client Relationships during Uncertain Times.

Developing Relationships with Foreign Clients: Try Not to Commit These Gaffes.

Becoming a Firm That Makes Rain: How Great Organizations Build Clients for Life.

Part Three Summary: Are You Sustaining Your Relationships Year after Year?

PART V: GETTING STARTED: A SELF-ASSESSMENT.

Do You Have the Ability to Make Rain? Two Assessment Tools for Individuals and Organizations.

A Pantheon of Client Advisors.

Notes.

Index.

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ANDREW SOBEL is a leading authority on the skills and strategies required to build enduring client relationships. A noted business strategist and popular speaker, his clients have included such prominent companies as Citigroup, Cox Communications, Fulbright & Jaworski, Booz Allen Hamilton, and Hewitt Associates. He is coauthor of the acclaimed book Clients for Life, as well as dozens of articles on relationship building and loyalty. Formerly a senior vice president of one of the world's largest management consulting firms, he is now President of Andrew Sobel Advisors, a strategy consulting and professional development firm. He earned his BA at Middlebury College and holds an MBA from Dartmouth's Tuck School of Business.
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Whether business leaders want a steady drizzle or an out-and-out monsoon, they can use Sobel's formula for landing and keeping customers - what he calls "making rain." Based on building relationships, it starts with the key components of knowledge, service and demonstrable value; these are the building blocks that attract clients, says business adviser Sobel (Clients for Life). In this straightforward manual, he gives practical strategies to help leaders of service firms and large corporations alike become indispensable advisers to their clients, thus cementing a long-term connection. The principles behind his tactics are simple: get to know your client, gain respect for your knowledge and win personal respect. Then, drive it home by delivering above and beyond, again and again. These ideas are old as dirt. Sobel reaches across centuries to dig up examples of their success, from Aristotle to Ben Franklin. He buffs up these ageless notions and places them within engaging anecdotes. Altl1Ough the lessons aren't strokes of genius, they should help professionals through most dry spells. —Agent, Helen Rees. (Feb. 14) (Publishers Weekly, February 2003)

The grand visions of the new economy encouraged many consultants to adopt an impatient and dictatorial manner. With little regard for their clients' cultures or competencies, they often urged companies to adopt ambitious strategies and transform their organizations. But in this follow-up to Sobel's coauthored Clients for Life, we get a refreshing reminder that sheer brainpower and eloquence are less important than we might thing. Sobel tells his fellow consultants that to win repeat business, they should focus on building relationships with clients and leveraging the resources at hand. He regards relationship building not as a necessary chore but as the foundation for advancing all truly useful advice-only by gaining clients' complete trust, he insists, can consultants hope to have any influence. And he says that rather than driving new ideas, consultants should aim at adding sophistication and depth to clients' existing ideas and capabilities. To keep from dominating the conversation, he points out, consultants need to be secure with themselves about their necessarily limited role. While slavish adherence to this modest prescription could lead to organizational stagnation - and leave consultants vulnerable when companies change leaders - it's a sensible starting point in today's chastened economy. (Harvard Business Review, March 2003)

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