One of the most common ways lawyers drive new business is through referrals. Whether you already receive referrals or not, you probably want more. Below are some of the best tips to generate more referrals.
Help Others First
Approach referrals from the perspective of someone who wants to help others, rather than someone who is looking for business. Think about how you can help the people you meet, instead of focusing only on how they can help you. Actively look at your network and your address book to see how you can make connections for others. When you help others, they naturally want to give back and help you in return.
Choose a niche within your practice area and become the “go-to” lawyer in a that niche. Write articles about in trade and bar association publications, on your firm’s website and newsletter. Seek out speaking engagements that allow you to share your knowledge in that niche.
Keep It Short
When you first speak with a new connection or referral source, narrowly tailor how you talk about what you do. This will help them to remember who you are and what you do and will help guide them in referring business to you. You can always describe your other services and practice areas later.
Talk About Others
Let clients/referral sources know that other lawyers in your firm have other specialties and/or that your firm handles other practice areas as well; encourage your connections to contact you with any legal questions so that you have the opportunity to refer business within the firm.
Know Your Colleagues
Get to know your colleagues and what they do for the firm and educate them about what you do and how you help your clients. Have lunch or coffee with a different lawyer in your firm each week to learn more about them and establish relationships and rapport. Share information about your best clients to show that you are open to giving, not just receiving referrals. Brainstorm ways you might work together, whether with your clients, on marketing initiatives or even activities outside of the firm. The more you know about one another, the better you’ll be able to refer business to one another.
Collect evidence of your good work and your clients’ satisfaction with your work, such as the amount of repeat business you receive, testimonials, and thank-you notes from clients, so that you can make colleagues and referral sources comfortable demonstrate that their clients or contacts will be well cared-for when they are referred to you.
Let your contacts know that you are taking new clients; sometimes successful lawyers can give off the impression that they are so busy that they do not want or need additional work. When you make a referral request, be specific – let your contacts know who you want to meet, who you want a referral from, or how you can help.
Leverage Your Clients
After a contact has a positive experience with you, such as after you’ve successfully completed a client’s case, when a client expresses their thanks to you, let them know that you would appreciate a referral or introduction to someone else who is similarly situated and might benefit from your services.
And of course, most importantly, be great at what you do—provide quality service and advice—and your colleagues, contacts, and clients will want to send you referrals.
Interested in driving more referrals?
Check out ioRefer – law firm management and staffing software or browse the resources below: