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Making Rain: The Secrets of Building Lifelong Client Loyalty (Business) Hardcover – 17 Jan 2003

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Whether business leaders want a steady drizzle or an out–and–out monsoon, they can use Sobel′s formula for landing and keeping customers – what he calls "making rain." Based on building relationships, it starts with the key components of knowledge, service and demonstrable value; these are the building blocks that attract clients, says business adviser Sobel (Clients for Life). In this straightforward manual, he gives practical strategies to help leaders of service firms and large corporations alike become indispensable advisers to their clients, thus cementing a long–term connection. The principles behind his tactics are simple: get to know your client, gain respect for your knowledge and win personal respect. Then, drive it home by delivering above and beyond, again and again. These ideas are old as dirt. Sobel reaches across centuries to dig up examples of their success, from Aristotle to Ben Franklin. He buffs up these ageless notions and places them within engaging anecdotes. Altl1Ough the lessons aren′t strokes of genius, they should help professionals through most dry spells. Agent, Helen Rees. (Feb. 14) ( Publishers Weekly, February 2003)

The grand visions of the new economy encouraged many consultants to adopt an impatient and dictatorial manner. With little regard for their clients′ cultures or competencies, they often urged companies to adopt ambitious strategies and transform their organizations. But in this follow–up to Sobel′s coauthored Clients for Life, we get a refreshing reminder that sheer brainpower and eloquence are less important than we might thing. Sobel tells his fellow consultants that to win repeat business, they should focus on building relationships with clients and leveraging the resources at hand. He regards relationship building not as a necessary chore but as the foundation for advancing all truly useful advice–only by gaining clients′ complete trust, he insists, can consultants hope to have any influence. And he says that rather than driving new ideas, consultants should aim at adding sophistication and depth to clients′ existing ideas and capabilities. To keep from dominating the conversation, he points out, consultants need to be secure with themselves about their necessarily limited role. While slavish adherence to this modest prescription could lead to organizational stagnation – and leave consultants vulnerable when companies change leaders – it′s a sensible starting point in today′s chastened economy. (Harvard Business Review, March 2003)

"In this straightforward manual, he gives practical strategies to help leaders of service firms and large corporations alike become indispensable advisers..." ( Publishers Weekly, February 2003)

From the Inside Flap

Learn to build client loyalty that lasts a lifetime

In this provocative and insightful book, client relationship authority Andrew Sobel sets out a series of innovative, practical strategies that any service professional, sales executive, or marketer can use to develop lifelong client loyalty. Based on groundbreaking client research, Making Rain contains the secrets that will allow you to develop a steady stream of new business with your existing clients on a day–in, day–out basis.

Clients are loyal to professionals who add value, build personal trust, and go the extra mile. Making Rain shows readers, step by step, how to deliver on these three ingredients of client loyalty at every major stage of the relationship. First, it illustrates how to break out of the expert–for–hire label and consistently win repeat business. You′ll learn about the essential attributes of extraordinary client advisors; the six factors that create immediate personal rapport with a new client; and the nine breakthrough strategies that can distinguish you and your organization at the very start of a relationship.

Sobel then illustrates the growth strategies you′ll need to break out of "steady supplier" relationships and truly become part of your client′s inner circle. You′ll understand, for example, why a singular focus on meeting client expectations is actually dangerous, and how to identify the next set of client needs. In the final section of Making Rain, you′ll learn how to sustain your relationships over time and develop a true partnership with your clients; how to manage client relationships through turbulent times; and how to build an entire firm that consistently makes rain. Throughout, Sobel uses over 100 engaging and often humorous case histories and examples, and he offers fascinating profiles of leading historical figures such as Leonardo da Vinci, the Rothschild bankers, and Benjamin Franklin, who exemplified the ability to create a lifelong network of loyal clients and colleagues.

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Inside This Book

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Several years ago, I was in the midst of a long-term project with a CEO who suddenly received an attractive offer to sell his company. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 11 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Much-needed guidance 20 Feb. 2003
By William Best - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I just received this book and I've already read some of the chapters twice. Making Rain is full of practical ideas for how to increase your effectiveness at building client relationships and keeping clients for life. Sobel's concepts are fresh and highly original, and they are supported by client interviews, contemporary anecdotes, and fascinating historical profiles of people like Ben Franklin, who used humor to disarm and influence both his friends and adversaries. In my own business I've worked with clients for many years, and virtually everything in this book rings true for me. What's particularly valuable is the "how to" and the detailed ideas and strategies that Sobel sets out. Making Rain is well-written, easy to read, and quite funny in places. Anyone in business could pick up a handful of powerful tips on improving client retention from this book (one of the last chapters is "Managing Clients in Uncertain Times," which has a lot of useful reminders in it). If you work with either individual or corporate clients, Making Rain provides much-needed guidance.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Great Advice for Advisors 11 Feb. 2003
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I highly recommend Making Rain to anyone who works with clients. It's a terrific book that's also entertaining and enjoyable to read. I loved Sobel's first effort, Clients for Life, and was pleasantly surprised when I read Making Rain. Many second books on a similar topic end up being rehashes, but Sobel has created a number of intriguing new ideas and taken some of his original material to a new level. Sobel's basic premise is that experts for hire who simply do a good job delivering on the letter of their contracts (what he calls "core value") will never command much loyalty from their clients and customers, who can pick and choose from many suppliers. To build loyalty, you first have to add not just core value but also surprise value and personal value. Second, you have to go beyond "professional credibility" and build personal trust. And finally, you have to go the extra mile-demonstrate that you truly care and are willing to do whatever it takes. Easy to say, not so easy to do. What I like about Making Rain is that it has 28 short, readable chapters, each of which contains strategies and suggestions for actually delivering on these things. The chapters are grouped around the different phases of any client relationship (i.e., first you're an expert for hire; then you win repeat business and become a steady supplier; and finally, if you're especially skilled, you may become an advisor who is really part of the inner circle). There's a chapter on "breaking through" with clients at the start of the relationship; on building trust in a first meeting; on developing relationship capital (an very useful framework about five types of relationships you need in your career); and others on sustaining relationships over time, multiplying relationships, developing "the mindset of independent wealth," etc. The book also contains some nice cartoons about advising. In this difficult economy (or in a good one, for that matter) Sobel's advice is right on target.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Useful and Practical Information 14 Feb. 2003
By Dr. Ron Winkler - Published on
Format: Hardcover
The secrets of making rain or client loyalty consist of three factors: the value you add, the degree of trust you develop, and the extra mile you are willing to go. Most of the information is helpful but some important considerations are omitted.
He provides an excellent overview of the issues that affect client loyalty. His examples, past experience, and clear style of writing are helpful. He also focuses on interpersonal relationships as the key to success. For those trying to improve, it answers the question "what do I need to do to become more proficient?".
Interpersonal relationships are formed by exercising a variety of skills. Skill acquision and practice are vital to improvement. He is not clear about this and does not prescribe how to acquire the needed skills. He also fails to show how his approach will "lock in" a client. For example, what if you and your competitor across the street read the book and follow all the suggestions. Why would the client stay with you? The client can recieve comparable services without crossing the street. He tries to make the case of using persuasion techniques but his argument is not compelling. Any complete system needs a "hook" for keeping a client. Making the provider irreplaceable is a requirement and he falls short of accomplishing this goal
15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Very boastful title; little new substance 22 Oct. 2003
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
While Mr. Sobe's premise is interesting -- client relationships are developed through the sequence: expert-inner circle-trusted advisor; his approach to following that path is filled with clichés (e.g. client loyalty = value + trust + going the extra mile) and generic terms (e.g. becoming an expert requires you to: (1) do it faster; (2) do it better; (3) be different; (3) be better prepared ...). He continuously uses terms such as trust, integrity, rapport, but fails to put them together into coherent algorithms or work programs to allow the reader to understand how to work through the author's "expert-inner circle-trusted advisor" paradigm.
Nothing new here.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Very Useful Wisdom 18 Jun. 2004
By Bill Clarkson - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This is a subtle book which contains a lot of wisdom about building client and customer relationships. It's a well written and engaging read. The premise is that traditional "sometimes wrong but never in doubt" rainmakers are increasingly dysfunctional in service organizations, whose clients demand value-added in the very first meeting. They are too sales-focused, they are in-and-out, and they don't bring enough content or client knowledge to early client meetings. The alternative is to teach every professional to make a bit of rain every day or every week. Each chapter looks at a different skill or strategy which will help readers "make rain" with their
clients. Chapter three is useful because it summarizes the advisor skills which are set out in Sobel's superb first book, Clients For Life. Other chapters cover topics such as rapidly building trust; adding core, surprise, and personal value to relationships; exercising the mindset of independent
wealth; and developing institutional mechanisms to "make rain" at the firm level. I think Making Rain appeals to a sophisticated reader, with its engaging anecdotes about client relationships and several chapters about historical figures who were great makers of rain (for example, Benjamin Franklin and the Welsh mystic, Merlin). This is an excellent read.
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