A steady stream of new referrals is music to the ears of any attorney who is focused on building their practice. Referrals not only represent an opportunity, but can also be viewed as a strong statement of satisfaction from those you have worked with before…not to mention that statistics are very much on the side of success when it comes to referrals.
While an occasional referral from a previous client can be flattering, to truly see a positive impact on your practice, you need to find a way to keep the referrals coming on a regular basis. This requires a strategy. Most attorneys understand the need for asking for referrals, but in the day-to-day shuffle of work and life, they sometimes forget. Here are a few reminders to get you thinking about your referral strategy:
Generally speaking, people don’t send their friends, family or colleagues who are in need of legal help to a complete stranger. They want to be able to sound somewhat knowledgeable about the lawyer they are referring to. A personal relationship can often be more important than a track record or even cost.
Start by focusing on the relationships you already have. How can you improve those relationships or make them stronger? Next come up with a strategy for maintaining a connection with former clients. This could be through a carefully planned email campaign or with a personal letter or greeting card.
Pay attention other relationships outside of your client base. Fellow attorneys who practice different areas of the law are a great resource for referrals.
Build Your Brand
Do people understand what kind of law you practice? It might be insulting to you, but there are many people out there that are simply unaware that every attorney specializes in a specific area of the law. They tend to lump all attorneys together. Your next referral just might be one of those people.
Help clear the way for them to find you easily by being distinct about what you do. Yes, a simple visit to your website can quickly inform your audience on your specialty, but think about how many people you meet casually who only know you as an attorney and nothing else. When someone asks what you do, tell him or her specifically what kind of attorney you are so that it sticks with them.
Part of your brand includes your reputation. Your ability to communicate well with your clients, the tone and style of your office staff, your demeanor in a court room…all of these things contribute to your reputation and can impact the type of referrals you get.
Don’t overlook the opportunity to do some referring yourself. When you refer a potential client to a colleague, you might be surprised just how quickly what goes around comes back around. It is definitely true that the attorney who doesn’t refer out cannot expect to receive many referrals.
This doesn’t only apply to referring to another attorney. A referral to any business or service provider is a great way of building a strong, long-lasting relationship that is mutually beneficial.