Great Resource: The Opportunity Maker by Ari Kaplan

One of the things I like most about  my work at JD Supra is that I get to meet so many interesting people – and read things I never took the time to read when I was practicing law. Last week, I had the opportunity to meet Ari Kaplan (who recently wrote an article about JD Supra for Legal Tech) in person and get a copy of his book, The Opportunity Maker

Well, Ari is a pretty impressive guy – but The Opportunity Maker is equally so. It is the book I wish I had read in law school or, better yet, in college. Though the book’s title includes "Inspiring Your Legal Career Through Creative Networking and Business Development" the principles and techniques discussed apply to every career, not just the law. 

In his book, Ari Kaplan shares many of the concrete actions that lead to successful business development – including specific advice about finding mentors; networking effectively; getting published; being asked to present; and leveraging the opportunities you have created to extract their greatest benefit.

As I read through this book, I knew I would want to write about it, and kept an eye out for good quotes to share. I quickly gave up as there was more than one line worthy of quote on every single page. But, if I had to pick one lesson to highlight, it would be this:

The relationship between self-promotion and rainmaking is simple: those who can genuinely engage with others tend to be more satisfied, more excited about their work and more fulfilled in how they live. Those qualities attract opportunities, which are often converted into professional success. We want to believe that it is more complicated than that to explain why so few people master the art. The truth is: They master the art because they concern themselves with the journey rather than the destination.

This is a recurring theme throughout:  To be an effective rainmaker, you absolutely must be authentic in all your efforts – networking, speaking, publishing – and understand that these activities are a long-term investment. 

These days I often overhear people, particularly in legal marketing, speak about "ROI." (For example: "what is the ROI of participating on LinkedIn?") Trying to measure the value of time spent participating online against the likelihood this will result in client acquisition and, ultimately, revenue.  

What does the book say about this kind of thinking? "People often wonder what the direct correlation is between organically promoting yourself and client generation. Those who do the wondering tend to fail before they start."   Why? If you don’t already know, you should definitely read the book, which is available here. The cost: $18.95. The ROI for those who follow its advice: infinite.