July Program Recap – Secrets of Accounting Rainmakers

In his July LMA Midwest luncheon presentation titled “Secrets of Accounting Rainmakers,” Art Kuesel  of Kuesel Consulting, Inc. discussed important strategies and tactics employed in the accounting world, which legal markets can learn from to help grow law firm practices.

He began by discussing four categories of business developers that he saw emerge in his experience with accounting firms. Chances are, most of us work with attorneys who fit these descriptions:

  1. Client Service Partners – Maintains a book of business but has no new business goals. Experiences some small loss every year due to natural attrition. Annual goal of $50,000 within their client base.

  2. Mist Makers – Manage a book of business and are responsible for client maintenance and development. They generate enough new business to keep their practice flat or slightly up, but they are not typically feeding work to others. Total annual goal of $50-150,000.

  3. Rainmakers - Manage a book of business and bring in more revenue every year than they can service. Their annual goal is about $150,000-$500,000.

  4. Business Developers – Manage no client work and drive about $500,000-$3 million a year.

Kuesel conducted extensive interviews with successful rainmakers and business developers in the accounting world, asking them their secrets to success. He shared the following five secrets, all of which have applications to law firm business development:

Secret #1: Immerse yourself.  

  • The best leads are not found between nine to five. Putting yourself in a position to field these leads requires that you prioritize rainmaking.

  • Immersion also requires making sacrifices, but it pays off.

  • Find out where your best targets hang out. Do research, confirm your suspicions and make a commitment.

  • Most importantly, be persistent and patient.

Secret #2: Understand the power of listening.

  • In a consultative sale, listening is extremely critical to success, and your ability to discern the other person’s needs is dependent on listening. In a sea of talkers, listeners stand out.
  • Demonstrate listening by preparing a “what I heard” letter following interactions, which summarizes key points and identifies opportunities and next steps.

Secret #3: Fuel referrals via extraordinary service.

  • Seek out referrals from clients who are beyond satisfied - who are thrilled.
  • Clients who are thrilled will likely think you are in high demand. Asking for referrals may trigger them to ask if you are accepting new clients.

Secret #4: Truly understand client wants to create a strong value proposition.

  • Ask questions about wants, but also needs and fears. Ultimately, their wants are more important than their needs.
  • At the intersection of wants, needs and fears is a value proposition that will win work.

Secret #5: Create a “do-loop.”

  • In a “do-loop,” every interaction with a prospect or referral source has several follow-ups.
  • This demonstrates pro-activeness and navigates into places that competitors will never reach.


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