Do you know where all of your business is coming from? Do you know who your best referral sources are? Are you confident that when you clients to other attorneys they are getting excellent service? If the answer to any of these questions is no, it may be time to upgrade your referral system.
The last eight months have changed the practice of law – and many other businesses – forever. Lockdowns, health concerns and business losses have made clients think more critically about their legal needs. As a result, lawyers need to work even harder to gain clients’ trust and their business. Instead of wasting time with clients and referral sources that aren’t the right fit, cultivate the right business. To do that, you need good data – data that is accurate, reliable, and up to date. And to get good data, you need to have good referral systems.
What Good Referral Systems Can Do
A good referral system should allow you to track who is referring business to you, what kinds of clients they refer, how often they refer, how many of those referrals turned into actual paying clients, and how much revenue was generated from each referral.
Having this data allows you to see who your best referral sources are and what marketing and business development efforts have been the most successful, so you can make informed decisions about where to direct your efforts in the future.
Tracking your referrals can also provide insight into your clients’ satisfaction with your firm. If referrals from current or former clients are streaming in, you can be certain that your clients are satisfied – or even delighted – with your work; they wouldn’t refer other business to you if they were not happy themselves. But if referrals from clients are stagnant, that could signal a problem.
In addition to tracking incoming referrals, your referral system should also cover outgoing referrals. Who has expertise that you don’t? Who can you count on to provide your clients with the best possible experience? Who have others in your firm referred work to in the past and been happy with the result? How satisfied were your clients with referrals you’ve made in the past? How well were you kept informed on the progress of the client’s case by the lawyer you referred to? This information should be captured by your referral system to make it easier and faster to refer your clients to the right professionals so they can get the help they need.
Benefits of Referral Systems for Law Firms
When clients can count on you to refer them to the right person for their needs, you increase client satisfaction and encourage referrals back to you. By referring clients to lawyers you trust who are experts in their niche, both you and the other lawyer can focus on your strengths and areas of expertise to give the client the best possible advice and outcome.
A good referral system also helps your clients get faster service. If your clients know you have a strong referral network, they will come to you for all of their legal needs, regardless of whether they think you can meet them yourself, saving them time searching for the right lawyer. This provides opportunities for you to stay in contact with your clients to determine if they have additional legal needs that you can help them with, while at the same time providing colleagues with business in their areas of expertise.
Referral systems are also extremely useful for tracking the status of your client after you have made a referral. You can stay on top of your clients’ progress in other matters, which may help you decide when it is time to follow up in the event that your client does not proactively contact you for additional work.
Having a great referral system that tracks and maintains reliable data lets you spend less time on administrative work, chasing unproductive business, or hours searching for the right attorney to help your clients and more time focusing on the clients who rely on your expertise.
If you want to improve your referral service, see how ioRefer can help.
Additional Resources for Law Firms
Building Trust to Foster Intra-Firm Referrals
How Law Firm Compensation Systems Impede Collaboration
Improve Firm Performance with Collaborative Business Development