Ask any small law firm attorney what their number one source of new clients is, and just about all of them will tell you it’s referrals. Although the internet is the go-to resource for finding so many products and services in today’s technology driven world, when it comes to hiring a professional, good old word-of-mouth still has its place. Here are our 5 tips on how to get more referrals and grow your law practice.
Maybe it’s because a relationship with a lawyer, realtor, accountant, or doctor is more intimate than say, a photographer. Or maybe it’s because professional services are more serious in nature and require more trust from the relationship.
Whatever the cause, the effect is that referrals still continue to be the number one source of new client leads for many attorneys. So if you are asking how to get more clients and grow your law firm, the real question you should begin with is how to get more referrals.
How to Get More Referrals to Grow Your Law Practice
If referrals are the lifeblood of your law firm marketing, you should focus most of your marketing efforts on getting more of them. It won’t happen overnight, but if you employ the tactics listed below, eventually you will create a sustainable influx of new clients coming from word-of-mouth referrals. Here are 5 excellent ways to get more referrals for your law firm:
1. Build Your Network
The more people you have a good professional relationship with, the more referrals you will get. So building your professional network (and even your personal network) is the best way to get more referrals as a lawyer.
Always be personable and friendly. Go to networking events and meetups. Throw parties. Get active on social media. Do everything you can to build your network, but make sure you do it right.
Referrals normally come from a person who trusts you, so networking should not just be a numbers game, but a relationship building game. You’ve got to go above and beyond when you meet someone who you think could be a good referral source. Take them out to lunch, get to know them on a personal level by asking about their family and career, and follow up with them on a regular basis.
2. Make More Referrals Yourself
We all know the Golden Rule – treat others how you wish to be treated – and it happens to be very similar to the Golden Rule of Referrals: make a referral, get a referral in return. In other words, the more referrals you can make, the better your chances will be of receiving more referrals.
Anytime you have a prospective client that you cannot take on, whether due to lack of availability, conflict of interest, lack of experience, or because it’s just not the right client for you, you should make an effort to refer the client out. Don’t just let the person walk away. Every client referred is a new client acquired down the road.
Get to know attorneys in many different practice areas that are different from your own, including more niche practice areas, and send them some business from time to time. They will be happy to do the same whenever the time comes.
3. Ask Your Existing Clients
You know by now that referrals are most likely to come from someone with whom you have a good professional relationship and that trusts you. No one fits that mold better than your existing clients. So be sure to ask for referrals from every client your currently have.
But, be sure to do it tastefully. You don’t want to be that annoying guy using spammy email blasts to ask for referrals from everyone he has ever had a conversation with. If you ask directly, in a more subtle way, you should get a good response.
Just remind your clients frequently that you value their business, that your business is built on word-of-mouth, and that you want to work with more people who are just like them. That way, they feel appreciated, and you will be top-of-mind whenever someone they know asks them about a lawyer.
4. Form Referral Agreements With Other Professionals
One of the keys to marketing is knowing your customer, and knowing how to target your customer. Word-of-mouth marketing is no different. Other professionals like realtors, bankers, and CPAs are often working with your target clients, so they make excellent referral sources.
Are you a business lawyer? Many people meet with a banker and open an account before starting their business. Bankruptcy lawyer? Chances are, people are discussing their finances with a CPA or financial planner before they come calling on you to file for Chapter 7. Personal injury lawyer? Doctors are your go-to guys, since they are seeing the patients injured in an accident before you are. You get the idea.
You should think about who your target client is, and what other professional services they would need. Then try to network with as many professionals as possible in that industry, and form a reciprocal referral agreement with each person (don’t forget about the Golden Rule of Referrals).
5. Provide Top Notch Customer Service
Think about the last time you purchased something where you received outstanding customer service. Could be anything from an oil change, to a hotel stay, to dinner at a restaurant. Whenever you are wowed with top notch customer service, you will not only be far more likely to become a repeat customer, but you will also be far more likely to tell your friends and family about it.
That is why providing good law firm customer service is an essential piece of your marketing strategy. The main reason why customer service is so important is because it leads to referrals. So if you want to get more referrals, focus on delivering the absolute best customer experience you can to all of your clients. What does that mean? It means you should be these 4 things.
Growing your client list through referrals is highly correlated with the quality of the service you provide, so striving to deliver exceptional customer service is perhaps the most important thing you can do to get more referrals for your law firm. Don’t overlook it.
What else have you done in your practice to get more client referrals? Tell us in the comments below!