Attorney referrals are key to your law firm’s success. They can be a prospect pipeline that can keep you busy now and for years into the future. This kind of network must be seeded, nurtured, and fed before the clients ripen and you can reap your harvest. A referral network requires an ongoing commitment that can bring attorneys together, and they can all share the success they’ve worked to achieve.
Referrals are critical resources for most law firms. They are the least costly way to attract new clients who often have the highest quality cases. Are you consistently cultivating your referral network? Does your firm act quickly on referrals to convert them to clients? LMA can help you maximize the number and quality of referrals you get to grow your firm.
Here are ways you can grow your referral network and develop more cases.
Grow Your Referral Network with Regular Interaction
Are You Old News?
The success you can reach through effective networking is no secret. The issue is doing it well enough to maximize its success. Many lawyers are just like you, eager for more cases and hoping referrals will help fill the hole they want closed up. Attorneys you met a week or so ago will be meeting other attorneys tomorrow or the end of next week. If a case they don’t want to handle comes across their desk, who will get the referral? You or the attorney they talked to three days before?
You must create and maintain mutually beneficial relationships. You could do this through regular, in-person contacts, or you could keep in touch with high-quality, useful newsletters. The best way to be “top of mind” for an attorney who may refer a case to you is to refer a case to them.
Who Should Be in Your Referral Network?
What kinds of clients do you seek? What are their characteristics? Where do they live? Do they own businesses, or do they work for others? Do they have a certain level of income? They have problems you want to resolve for them (accident injuries, divorce, IRS audit, etc.). But chances are good that, over time, they’ll have other problems they’ll need legal services (that you don’t provide) to resolve. What might those problems be? Think about your clients, the problems they may have, and the attorneys they’ll contact for help. Those are the attorneys you need to connect with.
Not only do you want to be on your client’s team of trusted experts, you want to be on that other attorney’s team of lawyers he sends cases to and gets cases from. You want to serve the same clients, but in different ways so you don’t compete against each other.
You Must Expand Your Referral Network of Lawyers
Most law firms have a relatively small number of network members who consistently refer attractive cases. These attorneys are worth their weight in gold (or maybe more, depending on the types of cases involved). As wonderful as they are, you can’t rest on your laurels, especially if your other methods of client development aren’t going well. If one of these attorneys starts sending cases elsewhere, retires, leaves the legal practice, or suffers a serious medical issue, how will that impact your firm? You must prepare for the unexpected by increasing the quantity and quality of your attorney network.
How Can I Grow My Referral Network?
After your network is up and running, you should have at least one or two key case sources. What makes them stand out from the rest? Why are they giving you cases that others are not? Do they cover a certain geographic area? Are their practices areas very good at attracting the type of clients that you’re after? Are they especially good at marketing, advertising, or appearing in the media?
After you break down what sets them apart, consider whether there any other law firms that fit their profile in your area. Can you find other firms that may replicate the success you’re getting from that firm?
Get More Lawyer Referrals with the Power of Reciprocity
A referral network should involve referrals going in all directions, not just to you. One way to fail to create a network connection, or to cause a past resource to send cases elsewhere, is not to refer enough cases to network members. This goes beyond the simple math of relative values of cases going back and forth.
A significant way to influence others is through reciprocity. People, generally, are very uncomfortable feeling they owe someone something. They may have received a gift, a favor, or a kind word. They’re compelled to return the favor, give a gift in return, or respond with kind words of their own. When you refer a case to another attorney in your network, it will be an act that won’t be forgotten. The favor will probably be returned at some point.
This isn’t limited to referring clients. If the other attorney has a job to fill, can you recommend someone? If a third lawyer says they’re looking for an attorney to handle certain cases, if it meets their needs, suggest your network member. Or, if the person hosts a fundraiser or is involved in a charity, a donation in their honor may create a feeling that your kindness should be repaid in some way (maybe with a case referral).
What Makes a Successful Law Firm?
Referral sources are just one piece of the client development puzzle. Lawyers Marketing Associates can help organize your firm in every area necessary, including your client pipeline, for success. LMA can help you create and maintain an attorney referral network that could help your firm now and for years to come. Let us show you the options available and make the recommendations to grow your firm. You should concentrate on your clients and handling legal matters. Let us worry about the rest. It’s what we do.
Contact LMA today at (919) 637-9144 and let’s get started making your law firm the success it can and should be.