As we all know referrals play a very important role in law firm marketing. We also know that referrals are a two way street. You refer business to others (accountants, bankers, realtors, other lawyers, etc., etc.) and others refer business to you. Do you only refer to others who have referred clients to you? That is, do you keep score? Should you?

Bruce Allen over at Marketing Catalyst has a recent post entitled “Never Keep Score in Your Referral Network” in which he says he never does, and you shouldn’t either. I’ve am a big fan of Bruce’s blog and have linked to his posts many times. However, I was prepare to take issue with him based on title of his post; but after reading it, I’m not sure that we disagree all that much, if at all.

There comes a time when you need to analyze your referral system, and review your referral history in both directions. I don’t mean it should be an exact tit-for-tat, but certainly one should assess where referrals come from and where they go. Bruce admits that he has stopped sharing with others. As he says, “no need to keep watering dirt if grass just refuses to grow.”

I couldn’t agree more. Networking is all about referrals, and one should work at extending their network as broadly as possible. And that means referring business to others as often as possible without expecting immediate reciprocity. Yet, one should not be foolish nor fail to review their system periodically to ensure that one is not misdirecting their referrals.