Rain Making - The Professional's Guide to Attracting New Clients by Ford Harding

Reviewed by Keri Hammond, Principal of MARKETLINK


In 2006, as the Education Director of the SMPS Utah Chapter, Keri Hammond was responsible for a full-day marketing education event at which Ford Harding was the keynote speaker. The goal of the conference was to draw principals, project managers, engineers, architects and contractors as well as marketing and business development staff to attend the conference. “The research that this book is based on is so applicable to both marketing and technical staff for professional services firms,” explains Keri, “It is specifically written for individuals at professional service firms that want to become a rainmaker.” The conference was a huge success with one of the largest attendances to date.

Rainmaker Defined

Ford defines a rainmaker as someone who brings in business, generates leads and develops relationships that turn into profitable projects. The focus of the book is to help technical professionals learn how to market themselves or their services. “It’s basically a how-to manual that reviews all the marketing techniques you will ever need to know to sell professional services,” Keri describes. This includes learning which techniques are the best for marketing yourself and your firm, understanding how to make cold calls and sales calls, and how to network to develop new clients.


Five Traits of Rainmakers

For Keri, the most eye-opening aspect of the research outlined in Ford’s book is where he describes the traits of the industry’s best rainmakers. “I had always assumed that there was a stereotype for top sales people,” states Keri, “It was a typical view that a ‘sales person’ would be an aggressive extrovert; the life of any party.” According to Ford, this is not true. The most important traits of a rainmaker include:

  • They are productive on existing projects
  • They are interested in marketing early in their career
  • They keep on top of their credentials
  • They find ways to improve the firm’s services
  • They became specialists

Everyone Can Market

Ford’s summary of these five traits had a big impact on Keri, one she is eager to share with others when she speaks to groups or conducts training sessions. “This means that anyone and EVERYONE could and should be marketing,” asserts Keri cheerfully. The book corroborates Keri’s long-held beliefs that there is no one right way to market and that rainmaking is the key to success at any firm.


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