According to the Pareto Principle, 80% of your business comes from 20% of your clients, and 80% of your referrals will come from 20% of your referral sources. In that regard, is always easier to obtain referrals from people who already know you and your work than it is to get business from brand-new sources. It stands to reason, then, that cultivating existing clients and contacts – especially those with a track record of referring work to you – will lead to more business than spending time chasing after new clients.
Nurture Trusted Sources
The 2019 State of Digital Content Marketing Survey from Greentarget noted that 91% of in-house counsel indicated that recommendations from trusted sources was “very important” (76%) or “somewhat important” (15%) in helping to research outside firms and organizations for potential hire. Similarly, 84 % of C-suite executives responded that recommendations from trusted sources was “very important” (52%) or “somewhat important” (32%) to those hiring decisions. By becoming a trusted source yourself, you put yourself in the position of being consulted when your contacts have business to refer. This places you in a good position to get this work yourself or to refer it to other lawyers in your firm that can handle it.
Meet with contacts and referral sources regularly to find out how you can help them and their clients or customers; by talking with them on a regular basis, you might discover ways you can already help, or get ideas for additional services you can provide.
Learn more in Building a Referral Culture in Your Law Firm.
Educate Your Referral Sources
Nothing is more frustrating than learning that a good client or referral source sent work that could have gone to you or your firm to another firm because they didn’t realize that you or your firm “did that work.” To prevent this from happening, make it a continuing practice to educate clients, contacts, and referral sources about the other practice areas and services that your firm can offer to its clients – not just what you do.
The 2019 Greentarget survey above also found that both C-suite executives and in-house counsel are seeking relevant informational content from lawyers, in the form of articles (most preferred by in-house counsel); conferences, webinars and presentations; email newsletters; and interactive charts (most preferred by C-suite executives). This content is most effective when specifically targeted to the individual’s needs.
Offer to give a seminar at your client or contacts’ office on a new legal development or focus on the needs and current challenges of a specific industry. Do the presentation with lawyers in other practice groups from the firm to help build deeper relationships between the client and the firm and to demonstrate the firm’s expertise in multiple areas of practice. Repurpose articles into webinars or presentations (and vice-versa) and provide them to targeted audiences. This educational content will not only help reinforce all of the areas your firm practices, but will position you as an expert in your field and help you to become a trusted source of information.
Encourage Repeat Referrals
In order to get repeat referral business, both the client and the referral source need to have a good experience with you and your firm. Say thank you when you receive a referral, even one from another practitioner in your firm—gratitude expands, and sending an appropriate thank you, even if it is only in the form of an email, is likely to generate additional referrals.
Seek ways to help the businesses of your referral sources. Referring business to them is one obvious step, but it isn’t the only one. Introduce them to business associates or trusted vendors you work with. Learn more in How to Become a Referral Magnet.
Interested in obtaining and facilitating more referrals within you firm? Check out ioRefer – law firm management and staffing software.