February 6, 2003

Jack Covert Selects: Jack Covert Selects - Making Rain

By: 800-CEO-READ @ 4:17 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

Making Rain: The Secrets of Building Lifelong Client Loyalty, by Andrew Sobel, John Wiley & Sons, $27.95 Hardcover, January 2003, ISBN 0471264598, 240 pages
The book Clients for Life, which Andrew Sobel co-wrote with Jagdish Sheth has been an 800-CEO-READ bestseller ever since it came out two years ago. Now, Sobel is on his own and brings us Making Rain. Its sort of the natural extension of Clients for Life. Where the first book gives you what you need to establish client loyalty, Making Rain goes on to tell you how to maintain that loyalty for the long haul.
Sobel argues that rainmakers, people hired by companies to bring new customers, are ineffective because they are there for the short-termthey do their job and leave the organization behind. He believes that it would be better to bring out the rainmaker in everyone in an organization, and increase value and loyalty that wayfor the long-termso an organization is always making rain for itself, without temporary outside help. Makes sense to me! I like the idea of fostering current employees development.
The first part of the book borrows a lot from Clients for Life and shows how to develop yourself into a client advisor who is a deep generalist instead of a narrow specialist. Sobel frowns on the idea of being too specialized since that really limits what you can offer. In one chapter, he gives nine strategies to be a better advisor; another chapter is about relationship capital and how to build it. The second part of the book tells you how to get your foot in a clients doorhow to use what youve learned in the first part. The third part gives advice on how to maintain your client relationships for the long term by sustaining your service to them, and constantly assessing your performance and the organizations needs.
I like all the historic examples that are throughout the book. Sobel uses important figures like Ben Franklin, Leonardo Da Vinci, Loyola, Merlin (yes, the magician!), and the Rothschilds to illustrate his concepts. Not only are the stories interesting; but they are fun and made me see these people in a new light. Most importantly, the stories helped me more clearly understand the points Sobel was making.
Overall, this book is based in common-sense ideas, but Sobel goes the extra mile to show us how to use those common-sense ideas that we all have. Books like this are the best kind to read because they make us fully understand and clearly see what we have always had an inkling of, but were never able to put into action.