In the first installment of this article series ("What Makes a Rainmaker?"), we delved into the rainmaker's mindset, the foundation of his or her success. Now, we'll focus on the rainmaker's specific behaviors and actions-that is, what advisors actually do to become top producers. We'll also meet three highly successful advisors and learn how they've grown their businesses dramatically over the course of their careers.

The Fundamentals
Known for their strong work ethic, top producers execute a steady stream of activities and actions weekly, monthly, and annually. While their exact activities may change as their businesses grow, some fundamental activities remain constant.

Here are five of the most crucial items on a rainmaker's to-do list:

Focus on clients first. Top producers know that it's cheaper to keep a client than to bring on a new one. And the value of a client over a lifetime? Priceless. That's why, no matter what else they're doing, rainmakers always keep clients top of mind. Not only do they manage all of their clients' assets, they cross-position multiple products to clients, even if they do it via an arrangement with another advisor.

Generate referrals. Asking for referrals is the fastest, cheapest, and most effective way to grow a book of business. There are numerous best practices and approaches-too many to list here. Top producers develop their own unique approaches to inviting clients to be their advocates. And when they get a referral, they follow up immediately.

Network. Formally or informally, top producers network virtually all the time. They are constantly prospecting, whether it's through a sport, hobby, family event, volunteer activity, business venture-you name it. Unless rainmakers have a very specialized niche, virtually anyone they meet is a potential new client.

Market the business. Most rainmakers engage in some form of marketing, from sending periodic mail or e-mail messages to sponsoring events for clients and their guests. Over the last five years, small, informal gatherings seem to have edged out larger, formal seminars.

Make telephone calls. High-producing advisors capture spare minutes to stay in touch with clients, leads, centers of influence, and strategic alliances. All the while, they apply their well-honed active listening, relationship building, and selling skills, often without even thinking about it.

Long-Term Approaches
As their businesses grow, rainmakers' production activity shifts somewhat. Once they reach a certain revenue level, advisors become more selective about the new clients they target. They hire support staff to whom they can delegate tasks, allowing them to concentrate on the areas that truly require their time and attention. Sometimes, they "prune" smaller clients from their books of business.

At this point in their firms' development, top producers may supplement the fundamentals described above with additional activities designed to generate long-term revenue. While beneficial, these activities typically require years to come to fruition. But high-producing advisors know better than to expect immediate results. They adopt these approaches strategically, with an eye toward future growth.