Monday, November 03, 2008

Teaching Business Development Skills to Professionals

Your firm needs new business and you are being asked go find some. Except, you have never done this before and you are being forced through rainmaker classes, and it's the last thing on earth you feel comfortable doing! Believe me, I HAVE been there, and sometimes I still visit that place.

The other day an accounting firm partner was describing the training program just initiated at his firm. They had a consultant teach a couple of one-hour sessions on networking to their managers followed by a mock networking session. Now the managers are being asked to get out there and make something happen. YIKES! If anything the managers are even MORE intimidated and resistant.

Unfortunately most of what this firm is doing seems to be an accepted norm at too many firms. No wonder there are so few rainmakers.

Semi-officially, Behavior modification is the use of empirically demonstrated behavior change techniques to improve behavior, such as altering an individual's behaviors and reactions to stimuli through positive and negative reinforcement of adaptive behavior and/or the reduction of maladaptive behavior through positive and negative punishment.

As scary as that description just sounded... it stated; the same way you create good lawyers and accountants from the raw material received out of schools is the same way to create rainmakers. It requires time, effort, accountability, mentoring, teaching and patience. It is not a short process and requires your involvement!

When I was learning to network, talk at receptions to people I did not know and be purposeful about my business purpose (politely and appropriately) I was surrounded by sponsors that related to my discomfort and were willing to stick with me while I stumbled along. They listened to my fears, talked about their own and kept me focused on my success. AND, we made plans we could stick to.

If you are thinking that training a rainmaker can be accomplished with a couple of magic pills (classes) and a pat on the back once in a while, I encourage you to reconsider. Do not believe any program that is short term and does not involve mentored effort will accomplish your goal.