Chances are the source for most of your new business is your existing clients. For most successful firms, the second largest source is referrals. There’s really no mystery as to why. People would rather do business with people they know. Or people who know people they know.
A personal recommendation takes out some uncertainty and eases anxiety for a prospective client. This is especially true when it comes to a law practice referral, since procuring legal services can often be done during a stressful situation.Getting new clients is always difficult. Your chances of landing new business for your practice increase dramatically if you can develop a regular referral program. Here are some ideas on what you should be doing to drive referrals to help build your practice.
Ask and you shall receive
In general, clients are not likely to offer to give referrals. However, if you’ve done a good job for them, they’re likely to do so if you ask. In networking circles, it’s widely accepted that everyone has nearly 200 people they know. Take the number of satisfied clients you have and do the math. It’s an enormous pool, but you have to be proactive.
Set a weekly goal
What gets measured usually gets done. Establish a goal for the number of referrals you will ask for in a week. That doesn’t mean you’ll get them all. You can’t control the results, but you can control your own actions. Use client meetings, network events, and social gatherings as opportunities to gain referrals.
Be specific and make it easy
Don’t just ask if they can refer you to someone who needs a lawyer. Make it easy for them to provide a recommendation for your website or Yelp.com page by providing links to a comments form or to specific pages online. You can also provide them with an informational postcard or brochure to share with anyone who they think might need your services.
When a client praises you for the work you’ve done for them, that’s a perfect time to ask for a referral. Sincerely thank them for their praise and then feel comfortable asking if they know anyone else who could use the same type of service you just provided for them.
Give to get
In some instances, depending on your practice, your clients may have businesses of their own they are looking to promote. Offer to refer them to people you know who could use them. Always take the opportunity to connect associates. If you make the first referral, it’s a good bet they will be looking for a chance to reciprocate.
Always thank someone if they give you a referral. Keep him or her up to date, especially if the referral turns into a new client. Adding a personal touch, such as a hand written note or small gift, as a thank you can also go a long way in helping build your referral relationships.