Do referrals come easily to you? If so, you’re one of a lucky minority. Attorneys need and rely on referrals for new business, but not many realize the concerted effort it takes to create a system that generates referrals.

While you may think your good work speaks for itself, it doesn’t – your clients do. Here are five proven ways to increase referrals:

Get comfortable with “the ask”.  Most people enjoy making referrals to their friends and associates as a way of building social capital.  If you believe the way you practice law benefits your clients, then you shouldn’t feel uncomfortable about having clients refer you to others who may benefit as well.

Mitigate risk.  All referrals involve risk – if you refer a business and it under-performs, you feel badly that you made that referral.  Attorneys who count on referrals for business generation need to take necessary steps to mitigate this risk with communication, education and stellar follow-up.

Create great client experiences.  People who have had great experiences with a product or service tend to refer it to their friends and colleagues.  Which is why cultivating a culture of great client service is a must for gaining referrals.

Build trust.  Even if someone raves to a friend about you, that referral is likely to search for you on the Internet.  If the referral can’t find good content, reviews or social network participation, they will be less likely to proceed with contacting you.

Implement a referral process.  Attorneys need to create a referral strategy that includes a process for making referrals happen, a way to educate referral sources and a solid follow-up program.  Once that is in place, you just need to operate the system.

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