There is no better source of new clients for a law firm than referrals. All attorneys know this. But many law firms never get referrals because they don’t do these simple things.
- Ask for referrals. As fellow lawyers. Ask friends. Ask clients and former clients. You may think it goes without saying that you could use and would appreciate the business. But it doesn’t. Ask in person. Ask via email, or text, or telegram. But ask.
- Repeat the above step often. It’s usually not enough to ask once. To be thought of when a referral is made, you need to be thought of before the referral is made. The more you ask, the more the average referral source will go out of their way to refer business to you.
- Thank referrals. Don’t delay when you get a referral. Even if that person doesn’t retain you, thank the referral source. You might be surprised how often this simple act results in even more referrals, or in the referral source talking the referral into retaining your law firm.
- Reciprocate when possible. Send business back to the referral source. And never, under any circumstances, accept additional work from a referred client that a referral source might want to take. It’s the quickest way to never get another referral again. And, especially in small jurisdictions, word travels fast. No additional business is worth tainting your reputation.
- Make referrals easy to receive. Have a mobile compatible website with an easy to remember address. Make your phone number and a contact form prominent on that website.
- Return calls and emails promptly. I usually give more than one referral. I do this because I want to give more than one good choice. I also do it because I know that I will hear back from the person I referred if I refer a case to you and you don’t show enough appreciation to talk with the potential client. It makes me look bad. It makes you look bad. It makes me not want to refer to you again. And if you don’t promptly contact the client I referred to you, the other attorney(s) I referred the client too probably will, and will get the case.
It boils down to this. Be appreciative of referrals and act accordingly. They are precious gifts, and attorneys who are good receivers tend to get all the referrals they need.