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Attracting new clients is an essential component for any law firm or business. And the easiest – most cost effective – way of attracting new clients is through referral marketing. Lawyers and law firms rely on referrals for new business, but getting referrals isn’t always easy. Creating a strong referral network requires reaching out to other attorneys, connecting with clients, building relationships, and asking for law firm referrals. While all of this may seem challenging, there are a key steps you can take to easily and effectively gain new clients and grow your law practice – fast.
Building and nurturing referral sources is an extremely effective way to grow your law firm, but what does that look like for lawyers? Here are three ways for you to start generating more referrals for your law firm:
If you want to receive more law firm referrals, people must know you, like you and trust you; and you must deliver a level of service that’s worth referring to. People want to know that the customers they are referring to you are in good hands. It is important to be the kind of person that someone trusts to send potential clients and cases to. This means being reliable, credible and a good communicator.
Tip: Another key component in being referable is making it easy for clients and/or other attorneys to refer you business. This could be as simple as making sure your contact information is easily available, adding a form on your website, or having a process that asks for referrals at the end of a case. Make the referral process as straightforward and easy as possible.
A large misconception most lawyers have is that they think other attorneys already have deep referral networks – but that is not the case. Staying top-of-mind with former clients, colleagues and other business professionals is essential to effective referral marketing. Five fundamental strategies to staying engaged with your current referral network and gaining more referral sources are:
Be Visible as a Lawyer – Sometimes, the biggest part of being top-of-mind is just being visible. A great way of doing this is by getting involved in your local community and legal sphere. Show up at Bar Association Events. Attend local Chamber of Commerce meetings. Get involved in projects you are passionate about. Get in the practice of letting people in your day-to-day life know what you do. And look for opportunities to put yourself out there as a lawyer, and more often than not…unexpected referrals will follow. Being visible as a lawyer doesn’t always mean face-to-face interaction, either. Maintaining your professional profile on social networks like LinkedIn and Facebook help to build your brand awareness and put yourself out there as a legal professional.
Remind Regularly – Along with nurturing existing referral relationships and engaging with other prospective referral partners, it is important to remind people regularly about yourself and your legal services. An easy way to do this is through seasonal gifts, periodic newsletters or social media postings.
Use Social Proof – This is the foundation of effective referral marketing for lawyers: Seeing that other clients have had a good experience with you makes other attorneys more likely to refer more clients and cases to you. It is also good practice to share when you or your firm receive client referrals. If your firm is getting a lot of business from referrals, then that speaks volumes to the good work your practice provides. Not only is it important for your firm share when you receive referrals, but it is also important to thank your referrers! Referrals seem to have a compounding interest effect – and public gratitude over referrals goes a long way.
Let’s be honest. Without referrals, where would your law practice be? Good referral sources are essential to any successful law firm. That’s why building long-lasting referral relationships is key to earning a steady stream of referrals. So how do you do this?
The best way to build a lasting referral business is through embracing the mantra that “it’s better to give than to get.” Good referral marketing should never be a “me, me” mentality; but rather, a focus on what you – or your law firm – can give to those in the local and legal community. Focus on how you can provide value to potential referrers, before asking for referrals. Simple thank-you notes, thoughtful promotional items, or a quick phone call are all great ways to connect with others and positively foster referral relationships.
Statistically, there are no better clients or customers in business than those who are referred to you. That’s why an intentional effort towards lawyer referral marketing is important to growing your practice and your firm. Lawyer referral marketing does not need to be difficult. A strong referral base takes time; and is based on continually cultivating long-term, meaningful relationships with those around you.