The most important step in nurturing your referrals is figuring out who they are. Once you have a solid list it will make it easier to cultivate…

This week we asked you…Where are your referrals coming from?

1. existing clients –32%
2. former clients –15%
3. other lawyers –33%
4. business leaders –9%
5. friends –11%

Just as we thought, a total of 65% of your referrals come from your existing clients or other attorneys with another 15% from former clients. The remaining 20% seems to be about evenly split between business leaders and friends. Now that you’ve identified where the referrals are coming from, let’s talk about your plan to keep them coming!

My Thoughts: In my opinion there are two specific plans of action that all lawyers need to have when it comes to referrals. The first is how to generate them. Remember the basics when it comes to client service. Meaning: listen to their needs; respond quickly; avoid e-mailing and talk to them; inform them of interesting news relating to their industry or situation; develop a personal relationship; and manage their expectations by communicating your timelines and processes.

The second phase of the plan is to have a strategy in place when a referral comes in. My advice? Pick up the phone immediately and thank the referrer, then follow up with a card or small gift. Keep your source updated on any meetings with the new client and, when it turns into actual business, send another larger token of appreciation. Finally, send business back. Reciprocation counts for more than you might think.

My colleague Leslie Lott of Lott & Friedland says:

Lawyers refer their clients to attorneys who send work to them. Years ago, a good friend in New York called to send litigation work to our firm. He had worked with local counsel in Miami for many years. That lawyer was excellent, but had never referred work back to the New York lawyer. We had a client with a problem in New York and had sent the client to our friend. That was the catalyst for his sending his next case to us instead of the lawyer he had previously worked with who never sent him work.”


Black Pearl: For more on building your relationships you might want to take a look at Mark Maraia’s Relationships Are Everything! Growing Your Business One Relationship at a Time.” Highly recommended!