As much as marketing will improve your law firm’s ability to build clientele, nothing is as valuable to bringing in prequalified clients as a referral from an outside source. Whether this source is a former client, another attorney, or a close friend or family member, the benefits of sitting down with someone who is primed ahead of time to retain your services goes unmatched in the legal profession.
But unless you already have a network in play, getting these client referral relationships can sometimes feel a bit troublesome, even for the veteran law firm. That said, here are five ways you can secure more client referrals in both the short and long term.
1. Build Relationships First
For busy attorneys and law firms, building solid relationships among potential referrers can be problematic, but it’s really the first step in developing a referral network. People only send client referrals to lawyers and firms they know, trust, and like, so reaching out to colleagues, friends and family members who you share this in common with is sure to pay off in recommendations for your services.
2. Ask for Referrals
While it might seem a tad banal, most lawyers and firms who are receiving client referrals get them by letting everyone they meet, and those whom they know personally or professionally, that they are seeking them out. By coming up with a conversational, non-salesy elevator pitch about the services you offer, then handing over a business card after your dialogue, you significantly increase your opportunities for referrals from every person you encounter.
3. Provide Referrals
You’ve heard the old adage that goes, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” and this is most certainly the case with client referrals. Basically, if you want to get referrals and build up these types of relationships with other attorneys and firms, you’re going to have to live by the unwritten law yourself. So next time you have the chance to share a client with a firm that’s better suited for their particular case, make a point of calling up one of the senior partners and let them know you’ll be sending them your work. It won’t be long before you see the act reciprocated.
4. Give Non-Law Referrals
Offering referrals not only works towards building mutually beneficial relationships with outside law firms and solo attorneys, it also works really well in the non-legal sphere as well. Depending on the types of clients you work with, you could easily build a referral network between yourself and other service providers in outside industries, including financial planners, realtors, insurance brokers, and others. By expanding your referral relationship circle, you’re expanding your opportunities for more prospective clients.
5. Declare Your Expertise
It doesn’t matter if you’re a solo lawyer or a sizable firm, letting your skillset be known to the world is one tried-and-true method of becoming a referral magnet. While marketing yourself through your website and social networks do wonders in this regard, you’ll want to make sure you showcase your expertise elsewhere as well. This could include contributing quotes or guest articles on websites that attract both colleagues and clients or weighing in on subjects being covered by legal and trade publications that will exhibit your thought leadership capabilities.
For more tips on getting new clients, check out this post on Attracting New Law Firm Clients: Taking Referral Efforts to the Next Level.