Seventy to 90% of lawyers’ business comes because of referrals from clients and other contacts in your network. You are more likely to get more, if you concentrate on enhancing your network.
1. Ask for them.
- From people who know, like and trust you, and vica versa. They will come, if you develop meaningful relationships with people who are likely to be in a position to refer the clients you want;
- Make sure your contacts know what you do, not just that you are a lawyer;
- Work up an elevator speech (or two or three) that lets them know that kinds of law you practice and HOW you can help people;
- Let clients know that you can always handle work from other great clients like them.
2. Build up your network of contacts who could be referral sources, including:
- Lawyers who don’t do what you do; or
- Ones who do not want to represent the clients you do; and
- Other professionals, such as financial advisors, bankers, real estate agents/brokers, insurance agents, estate planners, etc.
Keep in touch with potential referral sources at least quarterly by telephone, email, lunch and so forth.
3. How to ask.
- Build relationships first. One way to enhance relationships quickly is “giving to get.” Actively think of, and work at, making referrals to contacts in your network;
- Don’t be bashful, but avoid appearing desperate. Remember you know your contacts and you’re not asking strangers; and
- Remember the line about your welcoming the opportunity to service other good clients like them.
Remember to show appreciation for all referrals with a handwritten note – yes, even in these days of easy emails – even if they do not work out. If they do, then consider sending a small token of your appreciation, such as a bottle of wine, or whatever. Remember the ethical rules against sharing fees with non-lawyers.
Developing a referral network isn’t easy or a short term project. It is a never-ending and critical to the success of your law firm.
P.S. Here’s a link to numerous additional posts of mine about referrals over the past 10 years.