By Suzanne Koenig
Originally published in The Journal of Corporate Renewal, September 2005
How do turnaround professionals, crisis managers, lenders, financial advisory specialists, attorneys, and others who steer businesses to success and improved financial performance learn to increase their visibility and networking skills? How does an individual market to businesses on the brink? Does the proverbial “foot in the door” start with the attorney, lender, turnaround professional, or client?
“How Rainmakers Make it Pour,” presented by the Chicago/Midwest Chapter in May to help answer these questions, drew a sellout crowd. Novices and old-time pros alike attended to hear three panels of lawyers, lenders, and turnaround professionals who are regarded as rainmakers to discuss their secrets of success. All three panels addressed questions on networking, marketing/promotion, business generation, relationship management, and traits/development.
“Despite setbacks, you have to try, try, try again.Often, you go home frustrated, but you have to get up and attack again. You have to stick your neck out.”Keith Shapiro
The legal panel was comprised of Marc Kieselstein, a partner with Kirkland & Ellis LLP; Michael Solow, a partner with Kaye Scholer LLP; Keith Shapiro, a partner with Greenberg Traurig, LLP; and Seth Jacobson, a partner with Skadden Arps, Slate Meagher & Flom LLP. Frank Mack, a director with Conway, Mackenzie & Dunleavy, served as moderator for the panel.
The panel began by defining key characteristics that make a rainmaker. Shapiro described generating business from unsecured creditors’ committees. “It’s like chaos work. We are mercenaries. We go after three committees at once,” he explained. “There is lots of work, but day after day, it is about relationships, the plan, and the choir of the committee. You have to build a large practice and invest in the best people.
“Despite setbacks, you have to try, try, try again,” Shapiro admonished. “Often, you go home frustrated, but you have to get up and attack again. You have to stick your neck out.”