Referrals are still the most important source of new clients for lawyers. Referrals have the quickest sales cycle and most of the hard work in establishing rapport and building trust has already been done for you by the simple act of someone that they trust and respect has suggested that they call you.
Many people assume that if you do good work then your clients will refer you to their friends and colleagues.
The fact is good work is not enough – if you do a great job, then your client may tell some friends. If you do a poor job then they will tell everyone who will listen.
Building up referrals system is essential for any legal practice. Referrals needs to be thought of as a system that you can work one, improve along the way.
There are two types of referrals:
- Those that come from your existing clients
- Those that come from your referral network.
Pre-Positioning Prospects For Referrals
You can pre-position prospects for referrals as part of the sales process. For example: “You will be so happy with your results that when I see you in 90 days you will want to tell all your friends” or “Most of my clients are so happy with the results that they have achieved that they refer 3 to 5 friends and colleagues”
Providing Clients With The Mechanism To Refer Work To You
Make it clear to all your clients and especially new clients that you are looking for referrals. Provide them with a number to call and what you offer to new clients such as “If you know someone that could use our services, we will meet with them on a non-obligation basis for 1/2 hour to find out whether we are both suited to each other. If we cannot help them, we can recommend another lawyer who is an expert in their area.” Alternatively you could provide them with your business cards or highlight exactly what type of clients you are looking for and how you can help them.
Asking For Referrals – Timing
The best time to ask for referrals is just after you have delivered the service, they have finalised their transaction. At this point, they are feeling positive about you and themselves.
Asking For Referrals – Just Ask
One of the chief reasons why law practices don’t get referrals is that they don’t ask. You have to ask for referrals, they don’t just happen.
Imagine that you invited someone into your house, your lounge room and said “Do you want anything to eat. There is plenty of food in the fridge and pantry, just go help yourself.”
They are not going to go from your lounge room into your kitchen and help themselves to your food.
If instead, you said “I have just baked these, would you like a cookie?” and handed them a plate of freshly baked cookies. They are going to take a cookie.
You have to guide your clients and prospects, making it as easy for them to what you want them to do.
Referrals – Followup
Make sure that when someone refers someone to you, that you make all your efforts to contact the prospect. If you cannot get in touch with them, call the referrer and explain that you are having troubles contacting that person. If you don’t call the prospect, it is an insult to the referrer and they think why should I refer work to them.
Referrals – Thank You
If someone refers you work, call them and thank them. Send them a present if you want.