Trust means everything within the practice of law. Leads want and need to feel assured that the law firm they choose will diligently work to advance their interests in a skilful and honest way. One of the best ways to build that trust is through referrals. Whether they come from law firm clients or contacts within the community, referrals can go a long way in building your firm’s reputation as a trusted provider of legal services.
So how do legal practices go about cultivating these valuable relationships? Sometimes referrals can happen without any extra effort on the part of the firm, but keep reading to find out how a little effort can go a long way.
Start With Clients
Current clients are the best first option for cultivating referrals. They are experiencing the value of your work first hand, which makes them perfectly suited to provide real-world testimonies about their positive experiences. Potential clients appreciate these perspectives and give them considerable weight when deciding which law firm to choose for their legal needs.
But it’s important to note that the process of cultivating referrals involves more than just asking for them. It starts from your firm’s first interaction with a client. It’s about relationship-building and providing client satisfaction. After all, a disgruntled or dissatisfied client is highly unlikely to provide a referral. The cultivation occurs with every communication, every meeting, and every appearance. When you handle each client interaction with skill and integrity, you organically build an environment of trust that leads to valuable referrals.
This same level of service also makes it possible to secure referrals from former clients, particularly those who received favorable outcomes. These clients also have first hand knowledge of your services and may feel confident about referring your firm to potential clients.
There are numerous ways to request referrals from current and former clients, but the most efficient and effective tactics are ingrained within the firm’s marketing process. For instance, a firm can routinely request referrals as a part of the process to close each matter. This may consist of a standardized message that is automatically sent to the client along with their closing documents.
A firm can also cultivate referrals by keeping periodic communication with former clients. This can be in the form of regularly sent newsletters or firm update emails that provide regular reminders of the firm’s value, and a legal marketing software can do a lot to help law firms standardize these processes. With these strategies, your firm can stay top of mind when former clients consider making a legal service referral to family or colleagues.
Look to Your Community
Your professional, and even personal community can also be a viable source for encouraging referrals. Attorneys generally maintain numerous relationships with community members and organizations, which are also excellent sources for referrals. Consider these individuals:
- Accountants, Financial Advisors, Bankers
- Law School Classmates
- Religious Associates
- Community Organization Leaders and Members
- Fellow Attorneys in Differing Practice Areas
- Sorority and Fraternity Members
Any of these connections can become valuable referrals with a little effort. For instance, financial professionals typically work with business owners and leaders on a regular basis. If your firm provides legal services geared towards the business community, your accountant and banker should know that information and that you are open to accepting new clients.
Fellow attorneys are also a great way to cultivate referrals. If you are a domestic relations attorney, ask professional connections within different practice areas to send you any family law cases that may come their way. These types of arrangements can be beneficial for all involved.
Use Standard Marketing Procedures
You may not think standard law firm marketing practices as referral tactics, but many referrals may come from individuals with whom your firm has no current or former relationship. These are people who become familiar with your firm through your standard marketing practices, such as a social media post, a blog post, or a public appearance.
If a viewer of your marketing material is impressed with your marketing materials, they may feel led to refer your law firm to someone else if they are not in need of legal services for themselves. Marketing materials can be extremely useful in the cultivation of referrals, so always be sure to offer valuable content.
Don’t Underestimate the Value of Cultivating Referrals
Most law firms put significant effort into attracting leads through advertising and other marketing efforts, but many forget the value of cultivating referrals. Not only is it simpler to reach clients and connections for referrals, but it is also much less expensive than traditional advertising methods. With a little effort at cultivating these relationships, law firms can potentially experience revenue-generating increases in their referrals.