When thinking about the different types of things required to master your rainmaking game, I like to use the “three-legged stool” analogy.

The three legs of the stool represent your rainmaking strategy, skills, and activities. And the seat of the stool represents your mindset.

If even just one of the four components of the three-legged stool is missing, your stool will be useless. Same goes for your business development efforts.

You need all four – strategy, skills, activities, and mindset – to succeed in the business development game!

Let’s break things down:

1. Strategy

Your business development strategy is your overall approach, your plan of action that will help you achieve business development growth. Strategy includes knowing who your target clients are, how and where to connect with them, and what services you are able to provide to them. It also includes your network and your overall process to win the work and close deals. And of course, your business development plan.

2. Skills

Rainmaking skills are your ability, expertise or proficiency in performing the various business development activities, such as networking, relationship building, communication techniques (including active listening), effective follow-up, overcoming objections, closing the deal, and many others. Ask yourself – how effective am I in transforming my contacts into clients? If you don’t feel that you are effective, it’s time to work on your skills.

3. Activities

Business development activities are the various actions you can take to move your rainmaking progress forward, such as networking, Relationship Strengthening Actions (actions you take to stay in touch and strengthen relationships with your prospects and clients), self-promotional activities (writing, speaking, etc.), in-person or virtual meetings, client pitches and consultations, etc. You need to use a combination of these activities to achieve consistent results.

4. Mindset

Your business development mindset is your established set of attitudes and beliefs about the process of developing business, people involved in this process, and yourself. Your mindset, and particularly the type of mindset you possess, plays a key role in becoming a successful rainmaker and the reason why so many fail. In fact, in my 10 years of coaching lawyers and professionals, I can confidently say that it’s the person’s mindset, rather than their strategy, activities, or skills, that fails them most of the time.

The bottom line is that you need all four of these key elements for you to be successful in business development. But if you were to choose to work on improving just one of these key elements, choose your mindset first!

Why? Because if, for example, you feel uncomfortable about networking or making the “ask,” chances are that you will find a way to avoid doing business development. And it won’t matter that you’ve mastered your strategy, skills or activities.

How do you start working on your business development mindset?

First, determine whether your current mindset is supporting you in becoming an effective rainmaker or limiting you in some way. To do that, you can use one of the tools I use with my clients – “Assessment: What’s Holding You Back from Becoming a Successful Rainmaker?” It will take you about 10 minutes to complete the assessment and by the end you’ll understand why your business development efforts have not been as productive as you would’ve liked them to be.

Next, start working on changing your attitude to business development. Sure, the process of rewiring your mindset will take time, but it’s one of the most worthwhile investments of your time. Because if you don’t change your mindset, you will continue to sabotage yourself and your business development efforts time and time again. And you deserve better than that.

You’ve got this. Here is to your incredible success!