The strongest law firms know that referrals bring in the strongest cases. Referrals score high points for conversion and case value. So why don’t attorneys spend more time on getting cases through past clients? Well, because it’s not as sexy as advertising. It’s more strategic. But having a solid referral plan in place will not only support and supplement your advertising; it can give your firm a wider network, more credibility and a steadier flow of high-quality cases for little to no upfront cost.
The truth is about 1 in every 10 clients refers a friend. That means you’ll need a stream of referral sources. That requires reaching out and staying in regular contact with clients once a case closes. However clients aren’t the only ones who can refer your firm. Referrals are really just word-of-mouth recommendations. Sometimes they come from someone who just wants to return a favor. Start to view family, friends, legal partners and out-of-industry professional peers as additional referral sources.
Staying top of mind with past clients and your network of referral sources takes a multi-pronged approach. Here are a few tips for building a referral strategy:
- Dig through your database. This is where past clients come to life. Keeping your database as complete and up to date as possible is one of the most simple and strategic returns on investment. Make sure your intake staff uses it to gather and track all relevant information about clients and you’ll be sitting on a marketing goldmine.
- Reach out regularly. The only way to become the go-to law firm in your niche is to communicate regularly with clients and referral sources through print and digital tools. Test a newsletter or response from an email or direct mail campaign with a tactical call to action for each audience. Even consider personalized communication like birthday, thank you or holiday cards.
- Open your access. While not all social media is appropriate for attorneys, several platforms are ideal for positioning your firm as an influencer and opening the lines of communication. Whether you leverage LinkedIn or Facebook, for example, you are giving referral sources one more access point and, ultimately, one more easy way to pass your attorneys’ names name along.
Sometimes referrals come from the person and the place we least expect it. By opening more channels of communication more regularly you’ll increase your firm’s odds of capturing the most lucrative leads. Remember, when a case closes the referral door opens. Start to build long-term success by building long-term relationships.