Every law firm should know by now that the best sources of new business are existing clients (in the form of new work or referrals) and other referral sources. Often called word of mouth marketing.

Miriam Lawrence at Automatic Referrals has a recent post where she advises financial professionals on how to get referrals in what she calls an “ugly market.” As I read her post, I realized that it was good advice for lawyers as well – at any time.

Her suggestions:

  • Proactively getting in front of your clients by emailing and calling them, sending letters, and “talking to them in as many ways as possible.” (I would add visiting them in their workspace, sending news articles, press clippings, etc.);
  • Putting “client calls into your daily action plan”;
  • Taking your “show on the road” (seeing visiting clients above); and
  • Building other “measurable referral targets into your business plan,” and always being on the alert for clues to referral opportunities you run across.

All good advice. I would add another aspect relating to client referrals. Part of any business development effort needs to include keeping basic client relations enhancers at the forefront of your attorney-client relationships. That is,

  • Returning phone calls promptly (if not sooner),
  • Meeting deadlines,
  • Avoiding any surprises,
  • Meeting (or exceeding) client expectations, and
  • et cetera. 

In other words, doing everything within your power to give clients a reason to give you more work and refer others to you and your law firm.