Before engaging in any rainmaking activity, you must determine the investment to payoff ratio. Simply put, what results will your investment of time and energy buy you? Is there another activity that likely has a better yield? Your goal is to determine whether a given activity is likely to move you closer to your rainmaking goals in proportion to its expense in time, energy, and money, recognizing that your estimate is only an estimate.
Although each business development plan is unique, the most successful plans tend to have a distribution of high, medium, and low investment/result ratios. High-yield activities tend to indicate low-hanging fruit, meaning opportunities that will likely result in new business reasonably certainly and reasonably quickly. Medium-yield activities are more uncertain and take longer to show good results, and low-yield activities tend to be experimental or subject to removal from your list.
Some general guidelines are useful here:
- Activities with clients are the most valuable activities you can do. The more you can do to develop a client relationship, the more likely you are to retain that client’s business and to receive more business and referrals from that client.
- Activities with “warm contacts” (those with whom you already have some relationship) have a higher yield than activities with strangers. Developing relationships with others and enhancing the “know, like, and trust” factors is almost always more valuable than one-time meetings with complete strangers.
- Writing and speaking tend to be time-intensive activities with low immediate payoff. If you are looking to generate business quickly, writing and speaking rank as a low-yield activity. If, however, your goal is to enhance your credentials, writing and speaking can be high-yield activities.
- One-to-one activity generally has a higher value yield than one-to-many. . .
- But group participation is more valuable if you hold a leadership position. If you hold a leadership role in an organization, you will become known to more people more quickly than you will if you meet other one-on-one.
- Sometimes an activity’s value cannot be measured in purely financial terms. For example, a client may request that you speak at a conference, and doing so would be a favor to that client. While you are unlikely to see any financial value directly traced to delivering the favor and the presentation, the client’s gratitude may be equally valuable.
Look at your business development plan and begin making an estimate of the investment/result value of each activity that you have planned to incorporate. If you’re not certain how to estimate that value, no worries. The Reluctant Rainmaker includes a chapter that will teach you how to track your activities so you can make an estimate of the dollar-value of each hour you spend.