FREE NTL Webinar Sept. 17: Top 5 Tactics to Convert More Website Visitors Into Qualified Leads

Driving qualified traffic to your website is only the first step. The really hard part is getting web visitors to take action by contacting you. If your website seems to be getting a lot of traffic, but you still aren’t getting any calls then you need to attend this hard-hitting webinar sponsored by The National Trial Lawyers.

On Wednesday, Sept. 17, at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT, two of the nation’s leading legal marketing experts are going to pull back the curtain and tell you exactly how to convert more browsers into buyers and improve your website’s conversion rate.

Join me and Larry Bodine, The Law Blog Guru, as we let you in on the same strategies and techniques used by top legal websites to attract over one million visits and convert them into qualified leads. Attendees of this practical, how-to program will learn specific strategies they can immediately apply to convert online visitors into paying clients.

Here’s what you will discover during the free Top 5 Tactics to Convert More Website Visitors Into Qualified Leads webinar:

  • The top 5 conversion tactics to rapidly improve your website
  • How frequency of updates directly impacts conversion rates
  • Using blogging to attract highly qualified cases
  • Why top personal injury and criminal defense attorneys are using live chat
  • Creating a content marketing culture that’s tied to business development goals
  • Information, education, and expert advice—what visitors really want
  • How to quickly establish rapport and build trust
  • Why “social proof” is essential and how to get it

You can now register online for this NTL-sponsored webinar.  If the time doesn’t work for you, register anyway and you’ll receive a free recording of the webinar to watch at your convenience.

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FREE Report on Building Relationships With Strategic Referral Sources

When it comes to the different kind of leads that attorneys can generate for new business, referrals are the gold standard.  They come to you pre-qualified and ready to “buy” from a source they trust – and with a trust transference to you that is built-in.

If you do nothing else with your law firm marketing this year, make it a priority to cultivate more referral sources.  Cultivating referral sources is low-cost and high-reward, and should be at the top of your list when it comes to new business development for your law firm.

This new free report by national law firm marketing expert Stephen Fairley can get you started.

Here’s what you’ll discover when you read this report:

  • How to identify the referral sources who have relationships with the people you want as clients.
  • How to start the relationship
  • How to build a referral network
  • How to make your referral network successful
  • …And much, much more!

Click on this link now to get your free report on Building Relationships With Strategic Referral Sources.

3.7 Million Americans Use Legal Self-Help Centers: ABA Report

The ABA’s Standing Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services has released a report that finds 3.7 million Americans use legal self-help centers because they cannot afford to pay for an attorney:

The study gathered data from 222 of the nearly 500 legal self-help centers around the U.S., finding that most centers have less than five staff members and rely heavily on volunteer help provided by attorneys, paralegals, law students and others.  

Even with external help, most of the centers have had to turn people away because the volume of clients exceeded their ability to help.  Approximately 81% said they had to turn potential clients away because the legal matters were too complex or not handled by the center.

A substantial majority of centers -- 89% -- said their center focused on providing assistance with family law issues, including divorce, child support and domestic violence.  Other services provided included probate, guardianship, landlord/tenant disputes, general civil litigation, small claims and traffic.

Many of the centers provide referrals, with 66% saying they refer to lawyer referral services, 36% refer to pro bono attorneys, 28% refer to attorneys that provide unbundled services and 26% were other referrals to attorneys.

 A majority of the centers voiced support for limited scope representation, where an attorney provides limited assistance on the case while clients handle other aspects in order to reduce legal costs.  86% of the responding centers said that at least some of their clients would benefit from limited scope representation, while 21% said that most if not all of their clients would benefit.

However, most also believed that their center’s clients would not be able to afford limited scope representation if it was priced at the going rate in their communities.  

3 Ways to Build Client Loyalty and Referrals

A recent poll by digital business solutions provider Huzzah Media found that 80% of small businesses report the two top sources of revenue are repeat customers and word-of-mouth referrals. 

Now that we are in the age of social media, talking up good and bad experiences among friends is easier than ever.  Research shows that the average Facebook user has 150 friends; multiply that by the number of prospects and clients you touch every month, and there is a huge potential for getting the good word out about your practice.

Here are three ways you can encourage loyalty and word-of-mouth referrals from existing clients:

Focus on the client experience.  I always tell attorneys I coach that clients are not judging you against other law firms; they are judging you against all other service providers they have experienced.  One of the fastest ways you can convert prospects to clients and increase your referrals and repeats is to focus intensely on the kind of experience your clients have with your firm, from the first phone call to the initial meeting through to the conclusion of their case.  Most people don’t seek legal help until they are in crisis so you have to empathize and sympathize, treating them as you would an honored guest in your home.  Show them they are not just a case number and a paycheck to you, and they will return that loyalty in spades.

Offer referral rewards.  I am not talking about money here; we all know you can’t pay for referrals.  But you can provide important psychological rewards by letting clients know how important it is to you that they refer you to family and friends.  We all get a boost from bestowing a favor; don’t be afraid to ask your client regularly for referrals and be sure you educate them well on what makes a good client for you.

Ask for feedback and listen.  I love it when I visit an upscale restaurant and the chef comes out to ask how I like my meal.  We all want to feel that our opinions matter, especially when we are paying for a particular level of service.  Make it a point to ask your clients how you’re doing throughout your engagement with them, not just at the end.  Then listen intently and adjust your processes accordingly.

We have a free report available on building relationships with strategic referral sources that you can download now.  It contains more useful tips on how to identify your best sources for referrals as well as how to start the relationship and build a robust referral network.  

The Top 5 Things People Need to Know to Send You Great Referrals

If you’re already getting more referrals than you can handle, you have obviously done a great job in educating people about what makes someone an ideal client for your law firm.

If you want more referrals, then you need to kick the education process into high gear.  Here are the top five things that people need to know about your firm in order to send you great referrals:

1. What your perfect client looks like. You need to answer this question very specifically. The clearer your description, the easier people can understand the types of people you can help and send them your way.


2. Why someone should hire you. Be clear about your unique competitive advantage. Be sure your referral sources understand the precise reasons you outshine your competitors and how you differ from other attorneys in the same field.


3. What problems you solve. By helping your referral source understand the kinds of problems you solve for clients, they will know what to listen for in daily conversations and be able to recommend you to someone who mentions having the kind of problem you solve.


4. How you follow up. Your referral source needs to know you will follow up promptly and professionally with the people they send your way.
 Tell them your process.

5. Why referrals are important to you. Let your source know that you rely on referrals as a way to build your business and how much you will appreciate their referring people to you. And finally, always remember to thank them and let them know that their referral is meaningful to you and your firm.

You cannot assume that the people you are counting on as referral sources know everything you know about your firm and why you are the best fit for someone they know.  And once you educate them, keep doing it in informal ways that help keep you in their minds as someone who can solve specific problems for their friends, family members or peers.

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FREE Report on Building Relationships With Strategic Referral Sources

When it comes to the different kind of leads that attorneys can generate for new business, referrals are the gold standard.  They come to you pre-qualified and ready to “buy” from a source they trust – and with a trust transference to you that is built-in.

If you do nothing else with your law firm marketing this year, make it a priority to cultivate more referral sources.  Cultivating referral sources is low-cost and high-reward, and should be at the top of your list when it comes to new business development for your law firm.

This new free report by national law firm marketing expert Stephen Fairley can get you started.

Here’s what you’ll discover when you read this report:

  • How to identify the referral sources who have relationships with the people you want as clients.
  • How to start the relationship
  • How to build a referral network
  • How to make your referral network successful
  • …And much, much more!

Click on this link now to get your free report on Building Relationships With Strategic Referral Sources.

How B2B Law Firms Can Develop a Great Referral Network

Building a great referral network begins by identifying the people who already have a relationship with the people you want as clients. 

For example, if you target small business owners, you would look for those who already have a relationship with small business owners. These could be accountants, financial planners, local bankers, CPA’s, commercial real estate agents, etc.

So how do you build a referral network with them?

One of our clients developed his referral network by sending out a letter to 75-80 targeted professionals that basically said:

“Hello, I’m Jack Smith with XYZ Law Firm.  We know that competition for professional service advisors is getting more and more intense with more people entering the field.  We are building a cross referral network with other trusted advisors who are experts in their field.

Over the last 15 years we’ve been practicing law, we have really focused our practice on working with small business owners and high net worth individuals on estate planning, wills and trusts and asset protection.

Through a series of breakfast meetings and private meetings at our office, we’re going to build a cross referral network with a limited number of other professionals who are committed to growing their practice and sending cross referrals.

We’re not looking for any kind of a fee for facilitating this network, but we would like to officially invite you to check it out and see if this is something you’d like to support.

For more information, give us a call at this number or visit our website to learn more about our practice.”

From this mailing, our client got a group of about 25 going.  They get together about once a month and send referrals to each other on a regular basis.

Existing clients are also a good source for you and your referral partners.  If you partner with a CPA or financial planner, each of you would send a letter out to your respective client databases offering a free consultation on behalf of the other as an added benefit of being a valued client.



Co-sponsoring an event or a seminar series is another excellent way to build relationships with strategic referral partners.  Technology makes it easy and inexpensive for an attorney and another professional to host a webinar or teleseminar on topics of interest to small business owners. 

Your local bank branch is another source waiting to be tapped.  Offer your services as an expert speaker for a small business seminar that the bank could host – they do all the work in setting it up and getting an audience.  You now have a room full of prospective clients and all you had to spend was some time preparing your remarks.

Professionals are always looking for good strategic referral partners.  You can ensure that you’re a good partner by educating them about who you are, what you do, the kind of clients you target and the great service you provide.  Reciprocity is the key:  to get referrals, you have to give them, too.

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Free Report: 4 Myths That Keep Attorneys From Building A Referral-Based Practice

Referrals are the lifeblood of many law practices, and building a good referral program takes a proven process.  Stephen Fairley unveils the 4 Myths That Keep Attorneys from Building a Referral-Based Practice in his new free report.  Read and discover:

  • How to determine the best source for your referrals
  • How to explain your ideal target market to a referral source
  • How to get referrals from other attorneys
  • Whether online directories are a good referral source
  • How to network effectively
  • And much, much more!

Click now for your free report on 4 Myths That Keep Attorneys from Building a Referral-Based Practice.

Getting Referrals & Repeats: How to Stay Connected to Your Network

Intuitively, we all know that when we’re off the radar, we’re not on our clients’ minds. At the same time, every attorney knows that referrals and returning clients are some of their strongest sources of business. So, how do you stay connected? How do you stay on their radar?

I will begin with a well-known marketing principle – the Law of 7 Touches. Under this theory of thought, it takes seven meaningful touches to make a lasting impression on someone. In today’s marketplace of over access to everything, we may, in fact, need more than seven touches.

Look at Twitter – it is a constant stream of updating statuses. One tweet is irrelevant 10 minutes – or in some cases one minute – later. The world – and your prospect – has moved on to the next latest blurb. In this overly saturated world, the marketing world has accepted that this number is now somewhere around 12.

Defining Meaningful

So what differentiates between a meaningful touch and a normal, entirely unremarkable touch? Running through a networking event and talking at everyone for a moment is not sufficient. You need to make a lasting positive impression at least 12 times to remain relevant in the eyes of your prospective client or prospective referral source.

Here are some easy and meaningful ways to reach out to your network:

  • Host a seminar and invite contacts to attend.
  • Call up your former clients and check in with them; see how they’re doing.
  • Attend a local networking event and make a point to listen to other attorneys.
  • Attend a networking event in the industry you serve – ask attendees questions about their needs, their concerns, etc.
  • Schedule lunch with an old referral contact and catch up.
  • If you see some information on a topic of interest to a client or colleague, forward it on.

Tomorrow I’ll discuss the one easiest, most cost effective way that attorneys can stay in touch with your network.

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On-Demand Seminar: How to Convert Leads Into Paying Clients

After paying your employees, the most costly part of your law firm is Lead Generation.

This year your law firm will spend almost 10 times as much generating new leads as it does servicing existing clients!

Generating leads for your law firm is very expensive, yet a common complaint of many attorneys is that they “need more leads.”

Lead Conversion is the most overlooked area at most law firms and it has the potential to save you tens of thousands of dollars this year!

How? By helping you convert more of those costly leads into more paying clients!

Get this on-demand seminar to learn:

  • 3 major areas to examine when analyzing your law firm
  • 5 numbers every law firm must track to increase their conversion rates
  • A simple diagnostic tool you can use to track your leads and fix your follow up
  • A proven system for converting more leads into paying clients

You can watch the How to Convert Leads Into Paying Clients seminar at your convenience by clicking here now

10 Steps to Double Your Referrals From Other Attorneys

Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of addressing the 2014 National Trial Lawyers Summit in Miami on the topic of lead generation and conversion. 

Of course, one of the topics of great interest to a room full of attorneys is how to get referrals from other attorneys!  Although I didn’t go into great deal on that subject that day, I did subsequently author an article for the National Trial Lawyers website on a proven 10-step process attorneys can use to double their referrals from other attorneys.

Unfortunately, too many attorneys rely on random referrals -- referrals that may or may not come – as opposed to methodically generating new files with referrals.

Developing a referral relationship is a continuing, two-way process. It can't just be you asking your legal peers for referrals. It requires regular contact and you showing as much concern for their business as you are asking them to show for yours. Most referral sources will only send you referrals if they know will offer a referral fee and make referrals back to them.

You can use this proven 10-step step system to create a referral network of other attorneys:

1. Identify your best possible referral sources.

Start with other attorneys with whom you don't directly compete and non-attorneys who are in position to refer you (medical professionals, chiropractors or auto repair shops). Continue with litigators in other firms -- look for attorneys in high volume practice areas such as bankruptcy, social security disability insurance law and workers comp attorneys. Also include litigators who are conflicted out of a case, smaller firms that don't have the bandwidth to handle major catastrophic injuries cases, family law attorneys and criminal defense lawyers.

2. Advertise your interest in receiving referrals.

Make it easy for a referring lawyer with a million-dollar file to know about you. It makes sense to follow the example of hundreds of lawyers nationwide that advertise in magazines and websites for lawyers, such as The Trial Lawyer. To attract the cases you want to:

  • Demonstrate your expertise by listing examples of your jury awards and settlements.
  • Spell out the kind of cases you seek, whether it's class actions, product liability or mass tort cases.
  • Display rankings and accolades you have earned.
  • Emphasize that you appreciatively pay referral fees.

3. Market like a specialist.

For the rest of the article visit the National Trial Lawyers website.

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Get More Proven Legal Marketing Strategies FREE Every Month!

One click of your mouse will take you to our Rainmaker Report website where you can see the current issue and subscribe to our complimentary monthly e-newsletter that will be delivered to your inbox every month. 

This month, Stephen Fairley details how attorneys can leverage LinkedIn to attract prospects in 10 easy-to-follow steps. 

Every issue of the Rainmaker Report is full of legal marketing information you can put to use right away and share with your staff to maximize the effectiveness of your law firm marketing efforts. 

Click here now to subscribe to The Rainmaker Institute Law Firm Marketing Newsletter.

What's Your WOM Rating? A Great One Will Deliver More Clients

Forget your AV rating or Avvo score – what’s your WOM rating?

WOM stands for “Word of Mouth” and that – coupled with client referrals -- is the single best marketing tool for small business, according to data extracted from a series of Bank of America Small Business Owner Reports:

If you are unaware of how clients really feel about their experience with your firm, you are missing a juicy piece of low-hanging fruit that could boost your referral rates and bring new clients in your door without much effort on your part.

So how do you identify your best client referral sources?  A client satisfaction survey is a great way to get feedback that will help you identify good potential referral sources as well as improve upon areas of your firm you probably weren’t even aware needed improvement. 

There are free survey services out there (SurveyMonkey.com) that can help you implement a quick email survey among your current client database.  If you use an email marketing service like Constant Contact, these also have survey forms you can use to perform the same function.  No matter what tool you use, here are some good questions to ask in your survey:

  • What was your first impression of the firm? Of your attorney?
  • How were you initially treated during your first in-person meeting?
  • What do you believe is our biggest strength?
  • What do you believe is the area where we need the most improvement?
  • Out of the following 5 areas, which ones do you anticipate needing in the next year?
  • Were invoices sent out on a regular basis to you?
  • Were you ever surprised by the amount on an invoice?
  • What are some ways we could better serve you?
  • Would you recommend us to your friends or colleagues?
  • Are there any other comments, suggestions, complaints, or concerns you would like to let us know about?

I also recommend that you implement an “exit interview” process after each case or legal matter is concluded; this can allow you to address any issues with your client that could prevent a negative review either online or via word-of-mouth.

Once you have gathered a list of good potential client referral sources, you need to educate them on what your ideal client looks like.  If you practice more than one area of the law, make them aware of all your practice areas.  Then incentivize them to refer you by offering a free consultation to anyone they send your way and thank them with a small gift (Starbucks or Amazon.com gift card) for remembering you.

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Free Report: 4 Myths That Keep Attorneys From Building A Referral-Based Practice

Referrals are the lifeblood of many law practices, and building a good referral program takes a proven process.  Stephen Fairley unveils the 4 Myths That Keep Attorneys from Building a Referral-Based Practice in his new free report.  Read and discover:

  • How to determine the best source for your referrals
  • How to explain your ideal target market to a referral source
  • How to get referrals from other attorneys
  • Whether online directories are a good referral source
  • How to network effectively
  • And much, much more!

Click now for your free report on 4 Myths That Keep Attorneys from Building a Referral-Based Practice.

5 Ways to Turn Clients Into Referral Sources

Many attorneys I speak with would love to have a magic wand that would turn clients into good referral sources. Unfortunately, I am fresh out of magic wands but I do have a 5-step process you can use to turn clients into referrals:

1. Be easy to do business with. Automation is great for many functions, but it should always be viewed as to the impact it has on the experience your clients have with your firm. 

2. Over-educate. Prepare a new client intake package that educates new clients on every aspect of your business. 

3. Over-deliver. Over-deliver not only in the services you provide, but by keeping in touch with all your clients. Many attorneys focus on getting new clients to the detriment of keeping contact with existing or old clients. Remember who got you to where you already are.

4. Get feedback. Client satisfaction surveys are wonderful ways to get feedback that will help you improve upon areas of your firm you probably weren’t even aware needed improvement. There are many free survey services out there that can help you implement a quick email survey; use these to ask clients about your services and give them the chance to be heard. They will appreciate and remember it.

5. Say thank you. Make it a habit to send personal thank you notes or make calls to clients whose business you value.

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NEW “Rainmaker Retreat: Unplugged”
DVD Set Now Available!

The 6 DVD set is a live recording of the Rainmaker Retreat, a 2-day legal marketing intensive led by legal marketing expert Stephen Fairley that covers over 65 proven online and offline marketing and business development strategies for law firms.

You will discover:

  • Lead Generation Techniques: how to generate more leads from the Internet, social media and blogs.
  • Lead Conversion Techniques: a proven system to track incoming leads and improve your conversion rates to turn more of those prospects into paying clients.
  • Client Retention Techniques: specific tools to double your referrals and to help you with “Building a Lifestyle Law Firm®”
  • Engaging activities to help you identify your ideal target market so you can powerfully market to them.
  • Over 65 PROVEN online and offline legal marketing strategies.

Click here now to order Rainmaker Retreat: Unplugged.

5 Things You Need to Educate Your Referral Sources About Now

One of the biggest mistakes that any professional who relies on referrals as a source of new clients tends to make is not educating their referral sources. 

It does you no good to ask someone to refer you if they have no idea what it is you are looking for in a new client. Here are the top 5 things your referral sources need to know:

1. What your ideal client looks like.You need to answer this question very specifically – i.e., “My ideal client is a high net worth individual ($1 million or more in assets) in their 40s who owns their own business.”

2. Why someone should hire you.I have written frequently about your UCA – unique competitive advantage. (See my previous post on How to Create Your Unique Competitive Advantage for 2013.) Be sure your referral source understands the precise reasons why you are better than your competitors.

3. What problems you solve. By helping your referral source understand the problems that you solve for your clients, they will know what to listen for in daily conversations and be able to recommend you to someone who mentions having a problem you solve.

4. How you follow up. Your referral source needs to feel comfortable that you will follow up promptly and professionally with the people they send your way.

5. Why referrals are important to you. Let your source know that you rely on referrals as a way to build your business and how much you will appreciate their referring people to you.

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FREE REPORT:  8 Reasons Small Firms & Solos Should Publish an E-newsletter PLUS 3 Steps to Get Started

In less than a few hours a month, you can produce an effective electronic newsletter, also known as an “E-newsletter.”

An E-newsletter is a customized electronic newsletter that is commonly used in business, but rarely in the field of law. If you are truly interested in the long-term success and sustainability of your practice, you need to learn how to leverage technology and the Internet to build it.

Here’s what you’ll discover when you read this report:

  • The cost benefits of an e-newsletter
  • How to incorporate your e-newsletter with your social networking
  • How an e-newsletter supports your marketing efforts
  • How to get started right away with your e-newsletter
  • And much, much more!

To get your free report now, click here.

4 Tips to Get Repeat Business from Current Clients

One of the most basic marketing strategies for law firm is getting additional business from current clients – yet many fail at doing this effectively.

A recent research report from Hinge Marketing – Inside the Buyer’s Brain – showed the two main reasons for this failure:

  • Most providers underestimate the demand from current clients for additional services.
  • Most clients are unaware of all the services provided by their current provider.

Even if you have done a good job educating your clients about all the services you offer, they are human, likely busy, and may forget.  Hinge recommends deploying these 4 strategies to do a better job of erasing that disconnect:

Designate a dedicated relationship manager.  Usually the person responsible for managing the relationship is the same one responsible for managing the daily work.  What happens is that the long-term relationship management gets lost in the demands of the current workload.  Consider designating someone in the firm to be a dedicated relationship manager, working closely with the person who does the day-to-day work so he or she understands the client.

Integrate a formal review of potential issues into your client management process.  Provide your clients with a monthly review to determine if there are any issues or opportunities they should be aware of.

Look for opportunities where you can help.  With the formal review, you are likely to identify a number of issues.  Some the client can handle on their own; others may need your attention, whether it is something you can offer to handle for them or give them a referral to another professional they may need on their team.

Review issues and your suggested approaches with the client.  Rather than waiting for a client to come to you, be proactive in putting potential issues on the table and discuss how you are able to help as a valued partner, not as someone with a sales pitch.

While this approach will not work for every practice, it can be adapted for many clients.  It’s all part of micromanaging the client experience – if you take the time to really know your clients and the problems they are facing, you greatly increase your chances for repeat business.

 

A personal note to our nation’s veterans: Everyone at the Rainmaker Institute joins me today in offering our sincere appreciation to you and your families for your service and your sacrifice. We can never say it enough: thank you.

 

 

 

Oct. 17 Online Seminar: 5 Low Cost & No Cost Strategies to Transform Your Law Firm

Have you ever failed to use a business growth strategy because you thought it would be too expensive or time consuming?

Are you ready to learn proven strategies that can significantly increase your referrals?

Are you tired of watching your cash flow stagnate or drop month after month?

Join us for this 60 minute webinar on Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013 at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT, where we will deep dive into 5 low or no cost marketing strategies specifically for attorneys looking to build and maintain a lifestyle law firm.

You will discover simple and effective ways to:

  • Convert more prospects into paying clients
  • Enhance the client experience in order to build loyalty and referral sources
  • Use third party credibility in a way that compels prospects to hire you
  • Drive more website visitors to take action and call you
  • Implement follow up strategies to stay in contact with your prospects until they hire you

If the timing of this online seminar doesn’t work for you, don’t worry – go ahead and register online and you will receive a recording of the full online seminar so you can listen and learn at your convenience.

Click here to register online now for the 5 Low Cost & No Cost Strategies to Transform Your Law Firm online seminar on Thursday, Oct. 17 at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT.

 

How to Create Content That Google Likes

A recent HubSpot blog post noted that there are 2 million unique blog posts published every day – a huge amount of new content streaming onto the Web. So how can you compete effectively to ensure that your content gets the Google thumbs-up for the terms your prospects are using to find the legal services you offer?

While Google’s ever-changing search algorithm is always a closely guarded secret, Google has published guidelines for best practices and their instructions for creating quality content that will help you rise in the search ranks are fairly simple:

Write for people, not for search engines.

Don’t try to trick anyone. Use original content.

Be helpful to your readers.

Learn how to differentiate your site so it stands out from your competitors – what will people find unique, valuable and engaging about your site?

You can educate yourself more on Google’s guidelines for creating a website that will help them find, index and rank your site by visiting the Google Webmaster Guidelines page.

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New!  FREE Report on Building Relationships With Strategic Referral Sources

Who wouldn’t want a referral driven business?

Your marketing would cost you far less, and the people referred to you would be predisposed to do business with you if you were recommended by someone they trust.

Building relationships with the kind of people most likely to give you referrals is a very powerful tool if you do it the right way.

Referrals are far more likely to retain you than almost any other source of new clients you have.

Here’s what you’ll discover when you read this report:

  • How to identify the referral sources who have relationships with the people you want as clients.
  • How to start the relationship
  • How to build a referral network
  • How to make your referral network successful
  • And much, much more!

Click on this link now to get your free report on Building Relationships With Strategic Referral Sources.

 

How to Identify Hidden Referral Sources

Too often, attorneys sign a new client without having a true understanding of how that client came to them. 

How can you repeat your successes if you don’t know what you’re doing right?

If you start examining the ways that new clients come to you, you will begin to reveal referral sources you didn’t even know you had.

Here are some tips for discovery:

Whenever someone calls to inquire about your services, have whoever handles the call ask how they found your firm. If they say on the Internet, ask what search terms they used. If they say they saw an ad, ask where. If they say they were referred, ask by whom (and be sure you follow up with that referral source to thank them promptly!).

Create a spreadsheet so you can track how prospects find you. The idea is for you to be able to tell at a glance what law firm marketing method is bringing you the most leads.

Track how many times you “touch” each lead before they become a client, and what methods you used to keep in touch.

Examine the data for which activities you are currently doing that result in the best quality leads, and which ones are bringing in prospects that are not a good fit for you.

Track costs and how much time you are spending for each of your law firm marketing activities so you can determine your ROI for each activity. 

Have your clients provide feedback on your services – likes, dislikes and be sure to ask if they feel good about referring you to friends and family.

Once you are able to tell what you’re doing right, you can then put your resources to work in areas that bring you the best quality leads.

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Get All the Law Firm Marketing Strategies You Need to Create A 7-figure Law Practice with Rainmaker In A Box: Volume 2!

Newly released! Rainmaker in a Box: Volume 2 includes:

8 Proven Steps for More & Better Referrals

Discover the proven step-by-step system used to double your referrals from current and former clients and how to build a network of strategic referral partners. Top attorneys have used this exact system to double their referrals in 6 months or less!

7 Strategies to Recession Proof Your Law Firm

Watch and learn as I walk you through the specific strategies top lawyers are using to increase their revenues in this tough economy-and it doesn’t include reducing their fees!

6 Keys to Unlocking the Secrets of Social Media

Social media has emerged as the fastest way to build a massive platform of prospects! I pull back the curtain and let you in on little known secrets of how attorneys are generating dozens of leads every month from social media.

5 Core Components for Highly Successful Websites & Blogs

My interview with nationally recognized personal injury attorney John Bisnar on how his law firm uses search engine optimization and internet marketing to drive tens of thousands of unique visitors every month to his 30 websites and 10 blogs. Discover proven techniques for converting website visitors into paying clients.

Data DVD: 
Includes all 4 PowerPoint slides for all 4 presentations. We recommend you print all these off and take notes on them as you experience these information-packed DVDs!

***For Blog Readers, Facebook Friends, Twitter Followers and LinkedIn Connections – we are offering you a $50 discount for Volume 2 and a $100 discount for both Volume 1 and Volume 2 because of your social media presence with The Rainmaker Institute.

Click here now to order!

 

VIDEO: 3 Keys to Getting Better Referrals

I was recently interviewed by LawMarketing.com’s Editor in Chief Cindy Greenway about what attorneys need to know to get better – and more – referrals. 

In this interview, I touch on the 3 keys to better attorney referrals:

  1. Knowing your target market
  2. Identifying your ideal referral source
  3. Keeping in touch

Watch it now and learn how to implement these 3 keys to increase the quality and quantity of your referrals:

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Free Report: 4 Myths That Keep Attorneys From Building A Referral-Based Practice

Referrals are the lifeblood of many law practices, and building a good referral program takes a proven process.  Stephen Fairley unveils the 4 Myths That Keep Attorneys from Building a Referral-Based Practice in his new free report.  Read and discover:

  • How to determine the best source for your referrals
  • How to explain your ideal target market to a referral source
  • How to get referrals from other attorneys
  • Whether online directories are a good referral source
  • How to network effectively
  • And much, much more!

Click now for your free report on 4 Myths That Keep Attorneys from Building a Referral-Based Practice.

 

10 Reasons You Don't Get Referrals

If you have more referral business than you can handle, you are obviously doing something right. But if you want and need more referrals and they aren’t coming to you, maybe you are doing something wrong.

Here are 10 Reasons You Don’t Get Referrals:

No goal. Have you set a specific goal for a specific number of referrals as part of your law firm marketing plan? If not, you’re just going down the same old road with no map.

No gratitude. Have you thanked your referral sources and kept in touch, just to say “hi?” Do you thank people online who say nice things about you?

No response. Have you been tardy about responding to a referral? 

No engagement. Are you engaging potential referrals on your social networking sites, or do you just leave sales messages? Your goal is to engage, not to sell.

No reaction. If someone comments on your blog, do you respond? Then follow-up with an email to further the discussion.

No participation. Don’t just join the social networks, participate. Comment on other people’s posts and encourage a conversation.

No request. If you don’t ask for a referral, chances are pretty good that you won’t get one. Encourage everyone you communicate with through email or e-newsletter or on your social sites to tell a friend about you and your services.

No staying power. Keep in touch with past and current clients, even if they are not currently shopping for an attorney. You never know when they may need you, so staying top of mind is important.

No reciprocity. When it comes to referrals, do you give as good as you get? 

No personality. Let your true self shine through in everything you do. People do business with people they like.

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Free Report: 4 Myths That Keep Attorneys From Building A Referral-Based Practice

Referrals are the lifeblood of many law practices, and building a good referral program takes a proven process.  Stephen Fairley unveils the 4 Myths That Keep Attorneys from Building a Referral-Based Practice in his new free report.  Read and discover:

How to determine the best source for your referrals

How to explain your ideal target market to a referral source

How to get referrals from other attorneys

Whether online directories are a good referral source

How to network effectively

And much, much more!

Click now for your free report on 4 Myths That Keep Attorneys from Building a Referral-Based Practice.

 

On-Demand Seminar: Rainmaker Secrets to Building a Referral-Based Law Firm for Litigators

Most litigation attorneys have a difficult time building a consistent book of business. They go from one extreme of having too much work to handle to the other extreme of waiting around for the next case.

In this recording of the well-attended seminar I gave earlier this month on Rainmaker Secrets to Building a Referral-Based Law Firm for Litigators, I share with you the secrets we have uncovered from working with thousands of top litigators on how they have transformed their business from the traditional “feast or famine” approach to having a consistent pipeline of clients by implementing a proven referral system.

You can discover:

  • The top 2 reasons why you aren’t getting more referrals right now and how to fix it
  • How litigation attorneys can easily keep in touch with all their former clients, prospects and referral sources in less than 1 hour a month
  • 6 questions you must pro-actively answer to get more referrals
  • The top 4 referral sources for litigators and where to find them
  • How to use LinkedIn to connect with referral sources
  • The 5 best times to ask clients for a referral

Click here to order this informative online seminar and discover how attorneys just like you are using this information to build 7-figure law firms.

 

VIDEO: 4 Steps to Building a Network of Referral Sources

Last week, I was interviewed by Cindy Greenway, editor of LawMarketing.com, about how law firms can build a network of strategic referral sources.  

Obviously, attorneys everywhere want to build a referral-based practice, but most don't how. In this video, I shared the nuts and bolts as well as steps that attorneys can take to implement these strategies into their legal marketing plan:

Here’s another bonus from LawMarketing.com: click on this link for a great free report on 15 Strategies for Attorneys to Increase Google Rank, Control Online Reputations and Maximize Content.

 

How to Help Your Referral Sources Get You More - and Better -- Referrals

I'm convinced one of the biggest reasons that attorneys don't receive more referrals is because they don't take the time to inform and remind their clients of the various services they offer.  Most clients immediately put their attorney in a box and believe the only service the lawyer offers is the one they used.

I remember a conversation I had with an attorney who practices business law. He was upset because a former client, whom he'd helped set up an LLC three months earlier, referred a competing law firm to a friend looking for representation in a multi-million dollar lawsuit.

When the lawyer explained that this was precisely his specialty, the client was shocked and said, "I'm sorry, but you really need to do a better job informing me of what you do and what kind of cases you want because I don't know."

How much business have you lost because your clients simply aren't aware of the various services your firm can provide?

Another way to increase client referrals is to make certain that your clients can accurately explain your ideal target market:

Your ideal target market is the person or company most likely to hire you initially, repeatedly and at the highest profit margin. With so many attorneys struggling to define their ideal client, it's no wonder if your clients don't know whom they should refer to you.

Remember that memory is elusive and just because you wowed them once and they sent you a referral - doesn't mean they will ALWAYS remember.  So don't take referral relationships for granted.  Finding a high-quality lawyer is easy and it takes more than quality to make an impression - it takes a relationship.  

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FREE "Top 10 Mistakes Attorneys Make and How to Avoid Them" E-book

In a newly revised e-book, legal marketing expert Stephen Fairley outlines 10 of the most common marketing mistakes attorneys make that can lead to the failure of their business, and provides specific strategies and proven principles for avoiding these deadly errors. 

To get your complimentary copy online, click here.

Regardless of your specific situation, this free e-book will help you examine how you are currently finding new clients and recommend specific steps you can immediately start using to grow your practice. 

We have helped thousands of attorneys achieve their goals of creating a financially successful and personally satisfying legal practice. In this e-book you will discover specific principles and tools you can use to grow your practice, too.  

 

How to Turn Clients Into Referral Sources

John Jantsch at Duct Tape Marketing has a blog I’ve been following for quite awhile and he has an excellent post today about turning transactions into referrals

Many attorneys I speak with would love to have a magic wand that would turn clients into good referral sources. Unfortunately, I am fresh out of magic wands but I do have some advice that parallels John’s commentary on his blog today.

Here is a 5-step process you can use to turn clients into referrals:

1. Be easy to do business with. Automation is great for many functions, but it should always be viewed as to the impact it has on the experience your clients have with your firm. 

2. Over-educate. Prepare a new client intake package that educates new clients on every aspect of your business. 

3. Over-deliver. Over-deliver not only in the services you provide, but by keeping in touch with all your clients. Many attorneys focus on getting new clients to the detriment of keeping contact with existing or old clients. Remember who got you to where you already are.

4. Get feedback. Client satisfaction surveys are a wonderful way to get feedback that will help you improve upon areas of your firm you probably weren’t even aware needed improvement. There are many free survey services out there that can help you implement a quick email survey; use these to ask clients about your services and give them the chance to be heard. They will appreciate and remember it.

5. Say thank you. Make it a habit to send personal thank you notes or make calls to clients whose business you value. 

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April 18 Online Seminar: 7 Strategies for a 7-Figure Law Firm

If you’re like many of the attorneys I speak with every week:

You’ve been practicing over 10 years, you own a small firm with a handful of staff, you work hard month after month, but you never seem to get ahead.

You’ve tried all the traditional methods of marketing your law firm, but so far nothing seems to work very well.

You have goals, dreams and ambitions, but after all these years you’re still struggling to break or consistently break the million dollar mark…and every once in awhile you wonder if it’s really worth it all.

I need to tell you from one business owner to another -- the skills that helped you build a good 6-figure practice are not the same skills you will need to build a great 7-figure business.

So if you’re tired of beating your head against the wall and you’re ready to take a fresh look at how to break out of the negative cycle you’re stuck in, then you really owe it to yourself to attend our newest online seminar, 7 Strategies for a 7-Figure Law Firm, on Thursday, April 18 at 11 a.m. PT/2 p.m. ET.

Join us and discover:

  • What it really takes to build a 7-figure law firm-no hype and no B.S.
  • Insider tips from managing partners running multimillion-dollar firms
  • How to position yourself as a recognized expert and attract higher quality clients
  • 3 biggest reasons why you’re not getting more referrals and how to overcome these hurdles
  • The 2 things every Million Dollar Law Firm has in place (you will never achieve 7 figure revenues without both of these)
  • 2 key metrics you must measure every month if you want to grow your law firm

Register here for the April 18 online seminar and discover how attorneys just like you are using this information to build 7-figure law firms.

If the time doesn’t work for you, register anyway and we’ll send you the recording of the full online seminar to watch at your convenience.

 

How to Beat Embarrassment When Asking for a Referral

We know that many attorneys build a good portion of their practices on referrals – yet, why is it so many feel embarrassed to ask for a referral?

I believe that these attorneys are not looking at referrals in the right way. They see them as asking for a favor, when in fact you should regard it as extending a favor. That’s right. You are not asking to get a favor, you are asking to bestow one.

The secret to getting lots of referrals is to make it about them, not about you. Think about what benefits you offer your referral sources and what problems you may help them solve. When you help someone help a friend, family member or colleague, you have done them a favor. 

Think about how referring you can make your client’s life better, and you will never be embarrassed to ask for a referral again. 

Attorneys who rely on referrals for new clients also have to have a referral mindset. Always look for those moments in your relationships with others to create referrals – when you have won a case for a client, when you have helped someone avoid litigation, when you have provided a referral – all opportunities for you to generate referrals.

You also need to make it as easy as possible for people to refer you. Provide them with a written document that outlines the characteristics of your ideal client. Create white papers or give seminars that solve problems their clients may be experiencing and co-brand them, so your referral source benefits. 

The real secret to feeling comfortable about generating referrals is to think give, not take. And to implement a system that creates a referral environment throughout your organization.

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Free Report: 4 Myths That Keep Attorneys From Building A Referral-Based Practice

Referrals are the lifeblood of many law practices, and building a good referral program takes a proven process.  Stephen Fairley unveils the 4 Myths That Keep Attorneys from Building a Referral-Based Practice in his new free report.  Read and discover:

  • How to determine the best source for your referrals
  • How to explain your ideal target market to a referral source
  • How to get referrals from other attorneys
  • Whether online directories are a good referral source
  • How to network effectively
  • And much, much more!

Click now for your free report on 4 Myths That Keep Attorneys from Building a Referral-Based Practice.

 

The #1 Secret to Boosting Client Referrals and Retention

When it comes to communicating with clients, listening is often more important than talking. It is by listening that you learn what clients want, and then you can give it to them. Which makes for more referrals and better client retention.

Here are some important methods you can use to actively listen to clients:

Open feedback. Always offer clients a way to provide feedback, through your website, an online survey and in your e-newsletter campaign. Simply asking for their thoughts is often enough to garner some important insights.

Transactional feedback. If you’re a regular Starbucks customer, you have undoubtedly received a free survey at some point with your receipt. You provide them with some feedback online and you get a free drink for your efforts. What attorneys can learn from this is the importance of asking clients for their thoughts about their experience with your firm after the case is over or at important points along the way. Keep your finger on the pulse of how satisfied they are with how your firm is treating them, and you’ll have a satisfied client.

Social media interaction. Monitor your social media channels to see what people are saying about you. You can search for your firm name on Twitter and Facebook , and you should be regularly monitoring Avvo, FindLaw, Yelp and Google for other comments about your firm.

Client satisfaction surveys. Using formal client satisfaction surveys is another good way to gauge client experiences with your firm. Send one out after each engagement is closed and respond immediately and personally to any negative feedback.

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FREE REPORT: 8 Reasons Small Firms & Solos Should Publish an E-newsletter PLUS 3 Steps to Get Started

In less than a few hours a month, you can produce an effective electronic newsletter, also known as an “E-newsletter.”

An E-newsletter is a customized electronic newsletter that is commonly used in business, but rarely in the field of law. If you are truly interested in the long-term success and sustainability of your practice, you need to learn how to leverage technology and the Internet to build it.

Here’s what you’ll discover when you read this report:

The cost benefits of an e-newsletter

How to incorporate your e-newsletter with your social networking

How an e-newsletter supports your marketing efforts

How to get started right away with your e-newsletter

And much, much more!

To get your free report now, click here.

 

 

 

How to Use LinkedIn to Build Your Referral Network

With over 200 million professional members, LinkedIn is a great way to stay on top of what is happening with the people in your networks, as well as a great source of professionals to grow your referral network.

Chances are, many of the professionals you already know are using LinkedIn.

Here’s how to use LinkedIn to build and expand your referral network:

1. Decide why you are using LinkedIn. Do you just want to connect with people you know? Are you building a referral network? Do you want to drive people to your website or blog? 

2. Build out your profile. Take your purpose and craft your profile to reflect that purpose. The key is to compel the people you know and the people who are looking for someone like you to reach out and connect.

3. Connect with the people you know. Use LinkedIn’s built-in Add Connections tool to import your contact lists.

4. Get recommendations. Take advantage of LinkedIn’s built-in Recommendations feature to give and receive testimonials. Third party endorsements carry much more weight than your marketing message alone.

5. Learn the system inside and out. Pay special attention to the search engine next to the People tab. This feature allows you to search your extended network for all the resources you need to be successful. Also, search the Groups Directory. There are thousands of special interest groups inside LinkedIn where you can connect with thought leaders, experts, prospective clients and prospective referral sources.

6. Build your network out strategically. Each connection you make with someone you know grows your overall reach exponentially.

7. Leverage your networks. LinkedIn is a social network with a search engine. Connected individuals can see and search for the people in each other’s networks. You can use those connections for business development and for finding your ideal social target market.

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NEW On-Demand Seminar: Business Development Strategies for Litigators

Business development is especially difficult for litigators, who often work for months on a case and bring it to a successful conclusion, only to find they have a gaping hole of billable time to fill!

Are you or your litigators building the referral network you need to bring in litigation business?

In this new on-demand seminar, nationally recognized business development expert Stephen Fairley and featured guest Larry Bodine, editor-in-chief of Lawyers.com, help you develop a practical plan to grow your litigation practice. Learn:

  • Which strategies you need to put into place in order to obtain repeat business from former clients
  • How to build a referral network to build your practice-even while you are prepping for a trial
  • How to get more referrals from mega-firms who are conflicted out of a case
  • How to identify small firm transactional lawyers who can send you litigation referrals
  • How to focus on the “hottest” areas of practice, as identified by market research
  • Methods our clients use to attract larger clients with bigger cases
  • How to ethically promote your “big wins” to the media and via the Internet
  • How to apply one of the most effective marketing techniques for litigators
  • How to position yourself as an industry expert that attracts highly profitable clients

To get this on-demand seminar, simply click here to access the recording of Business Development Strategies for Litigation Attorneys seminar.

 

The 5 Compelling Truths About Referrals

Truth #1: People Make Referrals to Build Social Capital. 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.

Truth #2: Mitigating Risk is Important. All referrals involve risk – if you refer a business and it underperforms, 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.

Truth #3: People Refer Great 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.

Truth #4: Referrals Require 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.

Truth #5: Referrals Require a System. 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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Free Report: 4 Myths That Keep Attorneys From Building A Referral-Based Practice

Referrals are the lifeblood of many law practices, and building a good referral program takes a proven process.  Stephen Fairley unveils the 4 Myths That Keep Attorneys from Building a Referral-Based Practice in his new free report.  Read and discover:

  • How to determine the best source for your referrals
  • How to explain your ideal target market to a referral source
  • How to get referrals from other attorneys
  • Whether online directories are a good referral source
  • How to network effectively
  • And much, much more!

Click now for your free report on 4 Myths That Keep Attorneys from Building a Referral-Based Practice.

 

Top 5 Things Your Referral Sources Need to Know

One of the biggest mistakes that any professional who relies on referrals as a source of new clients tends to make is not educating their referral sources. 

It does you no good to ask someone to refer you if they have no idea what it is you are looking for in a new client. Here are the top 5 things your referral sources need to know:

1. What does your ideal client look like? You need to answer this question very specifically – i.e., “My ideal client is a high net worth individual ($1 million or more in assets) in their 40s who owns their own business.”

2. What should I tell them about why they should hire you? We have written frequently about your UCA – unique competitive advantage. (See my previous post on How to Create Your Unique Competitive Advantage for 2013.) Be sure your referral source understands the precise reasons why you are better than your competitors.

3. What problems do you solve? By helping your referral source understand the problems that you solve for your clients, they will know what to listen for in daily conversations and be able to recommend you to someone who mentions having a problem you solve.

4. How do you follow up with people I recommend? Your referral source needs to feel comfortable that you will follow up promptly and professionally with the people they send your way.

5. Why are referrals important to you? Let your source know that you rely on referrals as a way to build your business and how much you will appreciate their referring people to you.

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Free Report: 4 Myths That Keep Attorneys From Building A Referral-Based Practice

Referrals are the lifeblood of many law practices, and building a good referral program takes a proven process.  Stephen Fairley unveils the 4 Myths That Keep Attorneys from Building a Referral-Based Practice in his new free report.  Read and discover:

  • How to determine the best source for your referrals
  • How to explain your ideal target market to a referral source
  • How to get referrals from other attorneys
  • Whether online directories are a good referral source
  • How to network effectively
  • And much, much more!

Click now for your free report on 4 Myths That Keep Attorneys from Building a Referral-Based Practice.

 

How to Help Clients Help You Build a More Successful Law Practice

I'm convinced one of the biggest reasons that attorneys don't receive more referrals is because they don't take the time to inform and remind their clients of the various services they offer.  Most clients immediately put their attorney in a box and believe the only service the lawyer offers is the one they used. 

How much business have you lost because your clients simply aren't aware of the various services your firm can provide?

One sure way to increase client referrals is to make certain that your clients can accurately describe your ideal target market.

Your ideal target market is the person or company most likely to hire you initially, repeatedly and at the highest profit margin. With so many attorneys struggling to define their ideal client, it's no wonder your clients don't know who they should refer to you.

Here's a small challenge: ask three of your clients to describe your ideal client and listen to how accurately they respond.

Remember that memory is elusive and just because you wowed them once and they sent you a referral doesn't mean they will ALWAYS remember.  So don't take referral relationships for granted.  Finding a high-quality lawyer is easy and it takes more than quality to make an impression - it takes a relationship.   

Just like any relationship, you need to be connecting with your current and former referral sources every four to six weeks to ensure the health and longevity of the affiliation. 

Rainmakers don't wait for the door to knock or the phone to ring or the referral to come in. They take the initiative, stay in touch, and focus on serving their referral sources. 

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Free Report: 4 Myths That Keep Attorneys From Building A Referral-Based Practice

Referrals are the lifeblood of many law practices, and building a good referral program takes a proven process.  Stephen Fairley unveils the 4 Myths That Keep Attorneys from Building a Referral-Based Practice in his new free report.  Read and discover:

  • How to determine the best source for your referrals
  • How to explain your ideal target market to a referral source
  • How to get referrals from other attorneys
  • Whether online directories are a good referral source
  • How to network effectively
  • And much, much more!

Click now for your free report on 4 Myths That Keep Attorneys from Building a Referral-Based Practice.

 

How to Build a Steady Stream of Referrals

If you ask many attorneys where most clients from, they say referrals.  But if you ask them exactly where their referrals come from, you usually get a blank stare in response.

The problem with random referrals is that they are...well, random. You can never count on when you might get one. So how you can go from random referrals to create a referral-based practice?   

Here’s how:

Click here to fill out our short contact form and someone will contact you shortly to answer any questions you may have about the Rainmaker Retreat and how attending our two-day law firm marketing boot camp can help you create a referral-based practice.

Here are the dates for upcoming Rainmaker Retreat sessions in 2013:



January 18-19, 2013 – Las Vegas, NV



February 15-16, 2013 – Orlando, FL

March 15-16, 2013 – Newport Beach, CA

To register, call 888-588-5891 or visit www.RainmakerRetreat.com.

 

10 Tips for Staying in Touch with Referral Sources, Part 2 of 2

Here are the second 5 of 10 tips for staying in touch with your referral sources:

Send them a holiday card, but not on the major holidays like Christmas. Instead, visit www.holidayinsights.com, which lists a lot of minor and just plain fun holidays. 

Set-up a Google alert for a topic of interest to your referral sources. For example, “tax law changes” for CPAs or “Los Angeles commercial real estate market update” for a commercial real estate broker.  (www.google.com/alerts)

Ask them if they would like to receive your monthly newsletter or e-newsletter. Use an email service provider like Constant Contact to manage and send out your monthly electronic newsletter (e-newsletter). Send a copy to your referral sources (with their permission, of course.)

Invite them to connect with you on LinkedIn. This powerful social media tool is a great way to stay connected to referral sources. Be sure to set-up a free account, fill in your profile information, and update your status. You can connect with me at www.LinkedIn.com/in/StephenFairley. Also, be sure to check out the various groups for attorneys you can join. Use the “status update” to keep in front of people.

Invite them to connect with you on Facebook. What started out as a college phenomenon has quickly grown into a marketing tool for small business owners. Set up a profile (it should be more personal and a little less professional than your LinkedIn profile) and start to add friends. “Friend” me at www.facebook.com/fairley.

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Get All the Law Firm Marketing Strategies You Need to Create A 7-figure Law Practice with Rainmaker In A Box: Volume 2!

Newly released! Rainmaker in a Box: Volume 2 includes:

8 Proven Steps for More & Better Referrals

Discover the proven step-by-step system used to double your referrals from current and former clients and how to build a network of strategic referral partners. Top attorneys have used this exact system to double their referrals in 6 months or less!

7 Strategies to Recession Proof Your Law Firm

Watch and learn as I walk you through the specific strategies top lawyers are using to increase their revenues in this tough economy-and it doesn’t include reducing their fees!

6 Keys to Unlocking the Secrets of Social Media

Social media has emerged as the fastest way to build a massive platform of prospects! I pull back the curtain and let you in on little known secrets of how attorneys are generating dozens of leads every month from social media.

5 Core Components for Highly Successful Websites & Blogs

My interview with nationally recognized personal injury attorney John Bisnar on how his law firm uses search engine optimization and internet marketing to drive tens of thousands of unique visitors every month to his 30 websites and 10 blogs. Discover proven techniques for converting website visitors into paying clients.

Data DVD: 
Includes all 4 PowerPoint slides for all 4 presentations. We recommend you print all these off and take notes on them as you experience these information-packed DVDs!

***For Blog Readers, Facebook Friends, Twitter Followers and LinkedIn Connections – we are offering you a $50 discount for Volume 2 and a $100 discount for both Volume 1 and Volume 2 because of your social media presence with The Rainmaker Institute.

Click here now to order!

 

How to Build a Referral System That Delivers Results

Referrals don’t just happen.  They must be cultivated.  While you may get an occasional referral from a former client or someone you know, if you want to take your legal marketing to the next level, you need a referral system.  How do you do build a referral system that will bring you the results you need?

You start by developing relationships with potential referral sources and generate consistent referrals from them.  These sources may include accountants, investment advisers, business leaders, or anyone who has influence with your target market.  Depending on your practice area, your referral sources will vary.

Developing a relationship is a two-way process.  It can’t just be you asking them for referrals when you see them.  It requires regular contact and you showing as much concern for their business as you are asking them to show for your practice.  Ask them how you can assist them in achieving their goals.

Another key component of your law firm referral development plan is to create a system for connecting with prospects, clients and referral sources on a regular, consistent basis. This should include:

Monthly newsletters – keep them apprised of what your firm is doing, new employees, and content that is beneficial to them.

Annual Client Satisfaction Survey – find out what your clients think about the service they have received from your firm.

Keep In Touch letters – on a regular basis, every 2-3 months, send a letter to referrals, prospects and clients just to touch base.  This top-of-mind awareness is crucial for generating referrals.

Referral Education System – your referral sources need to know what kind of prospects you are looking for.  It does no good for them to refer prospects to you who are not looking for what your firm offers. 

Keep your referral sources updated on your practice areas and any changes in your firm if you want to receive high quality referrals.

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Free Report: 4 Myths That Keep Attorneys From Building A Referral-Based Practice

Referrals are the lifeblood of many law practices, and building a good referral program takes a proven process.  Stephen Fairley unveils the 4 Myths That Keep Attorneys from Building a Referral-Based Practice in his new free report.  Read and discover:

  • How to determine the best source for your referrals
  • How to explain your ideal target market to a referral source
  • How to get referrals from other attorneys
  • Whether online directories are a good referral source
  • How to network effectively
  • And much, much more!

Click now for your free report on 4 Myths That Keep Attorneys from Building a Referral-Based Practice

Law Firm Marketing: How to Develop Referrals

Developing referrals is important for just about every law firm, and has the added advantage of being both low-cost and high-reward. To build a solid list of referrals, you will need to:

Classify – the two primary categories for referrals are current clients and strategic partners. Examine your client database to identify clients who have already sent you referrals, those that are happy with your service and are most likely to refer and those that might need some added attention or incentive to become a good source for referrals. Look at your database again and think about other businesses that your clients also patronize – that will provide you with potential strategic partners.

Inform – it will be important to inform your referral sources about the kind of clients you want, so they will be able to refer potential clients that are a good fit for your firm.

Inspire – be sure to reward referral sources for sending you potential clients with a free consultation or a gift card. 

Follow Up – the most important thing to do is to follow up with referrals as soon as you are provided with a lead. If you don’t, your sources will likely stop sending you referrals. Also, be sure to keep your referral sources in the loop on how the new relationship is progressing – a quick, periodic email update will do.

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Free Report: 4 Myths That Keep Attorneys From Building A Referral-Based Practice

Referrals are the lifeblood of many law practices, and building a good referral program takes a proven process.  Stephen Fairley unveils the 4 Myths That Keep Attorneys from Building a Referral-Based Practice in his new free report.  Read and discover:

  • How to determine the best source for your referrals
  • How to explain your ideal target market to a referral source
  • How to get referrals from other attorneys
  • Whether online directories are a good referral source
  • How to network effectively
  • And much, much more!

Click now for your free report on 4 Myths That Keep Attorneys from Building a Referral-Based Practice.

 

 

Law Firm Marketing: How to Cultivate Strategic Referral Sources

Strategic referral sources are people who already have a relationship with the people you want as clients. 

For example, if you target small business owners, you would look for those who already have a relationship with small business owners. These could be accountants, financial planners, chamber of commerce, community leaders, local bankers, CPA’s, commercial real estate agents, payroll processing companies, the list goes on and on with people who have relationships with small business owners.

So how do you build a referral network with them?

One of our clients sends out a letter to 75-80 targeted professionals that basically says:

“Hello, I’m Attorney Jack Smith with XYZ Law Firm.  We know that competition for professional service advisors is getting more and more intense with more people entering the field.  We are building a cross referral network with other trusted advisors who are experts in their field.

Over the last 15 years we’ve been practicing law, we have really focused our practice on working with small business owners and high net worth individuals on estate planning, wills and trusts and asset protection.

Through a series of breakfast meetings and private meetings at our office, we’re going to build a cross referral network with a limited number of other professionals who are committed to growing their practice and sending cross referrals.

We’re not looking for any kind of a fee for facilitating this network, but we would like to officially invite you to check it out and see if this is something you’d like to support.

For more information, give us a call at this number or visit our website to learn more about our practice.”

From this mailing, our client got a group of about 25 going.  They get together about once a month and send cross referrals to each other.

Existing clients are also a good source for you and your referral partners.  If you partner with a CPA or financial planner, each of you would send a letter out to your respective client databases offering a free consultation on behalf of the other as an added benefit of being a valued client.



Co-sponsoring an event or a seminar series is another excellent way to build relationships with strategic referral partners.  Technology makes it easy and inexpensive for an attorney and another professional to host a webinar or teleseminar on topics of interest to small business owners. 

Your local bank branch is another source waiting to be tapped.  Banks generally have a generous local marketing budget, and frequently don’t know what to do with it.  Offer your services as an expert speaker for a small business seminar that the bank could host – they do all the work in setting it up and getting an audience.  You now have a room full of prospective clients and all you had to spend was some time preparing your remarks.

Professionals are always looking for good strategic referral partners.  You can ensure that you’re a good partner by educating them about who you are, what you do, the kind of clients you target and the great service you provide.  Reciprocity is the key:  to get referrals, you have to give them, too.

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Free Report: 4 Myths That Keep Attorneys From Building A Referral-Based Practice

Referrals are the lifeblood of many law practices, and building a good referral program takes a proven process.  Stephen Fairley unveils the 4 Myths That Keep Attorneys from Building a Referral-Based Practice in his new free report.  Read and discover:

  • How to determine the best source for your referrals
  • How to explain your ideal target market to a referral source
  • How to get referrals from other attorneys
  • Whether online directories are a good referral source
  • How to network effectively
  • And much, much more!

Click now for your free report on 4 Myths That Keep Attorneys from Building a Referral-Based Practice.

 

Law Firm Marketing: If You Target the Wealthy, This Post is For You

I can think of a few practice areas off the top of my head that target the wealthy: estate planning and tax attorneys, business law, real estate...maybe even a few divorce lawyers who specialize in wealthy clients. 

I would also venture to guess that most of you would prefer a wealthy client to a poor one any time.

Russ Alan Prince, president of Prince & Associates, a leading marketing research firm specializing in global private wealth, is one of the leading authorities on the topic of private wealth. He contributes regularly to Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times, and is also the editor of Private Wealth

Prince published a book last year entitled, In the Line of Money: Branding Yourself Strategically to the Financial Elite. In it and some of his other books, he discusses the critical importance of Influencer Referrals, or what I call Strategic Referral Partners – other professionals serving the same market you do but who don’t compete with you. 

As Prince notes, if your goal is to build a successful practice with the financial elite, it’s a necessity to understand and be able to work with these other professionals. Unfortunately, he says most professionals who want to serve the wealthy neglect influencer referrals in favor of client referrals, even though his research of more than 1,500 professionals who serve wealthy clients shows that influencers are the primary source of their wealthy clients:

He also details why influencer referrals are superior to client referrals:

Now I know that for some attorneys, a referral is a referral, and highly coveted. But influencer referrals are commonly a much more powerful prospect – even though Prince’s research shows that less than six percent of attorneys have a systematic process for sourcing wealthy clients from influencers.

Smells like an opportunity to me.

 

Law Firm Marketing: How to Motivate Prospects To Contact You

Millions of people purchase products every day because they were enticed to do so through a strong call to action – a Buy It Now, a Limited Time Offer, a Click Here, a Sign-Up Now – whatever the incentive, it moved them to a purchase decision.

Calls to action work for several reasons, chief among them is that it’s human nature to follow instruction. A great call to action is one that creates a sense of urgency in a prospect’s mind, offers a solution to a problem or stimulates a desire. 

A great call to action works when it:

  • Triggers an emotional reaction;
  • Shows exactly how to make a purchase;
  • Creates a sense of urgency to make the purchase;
  • Provides incentives or an offer that is too good to ignore.

There are many ways to integrate a great call to action into your law firm marketing efforts, including:

On your website. Even when you’re selling a service, you should create calls to action on every page of your website. Have a sign-up for a free report, a webinar or e-newsletter on every page.

In your newsletter. If you have a monthly newsletter, you should be featuring a new incentive every month to entice prospects to get in touch with you.

On your blog. Use your blog to connect on an emotional level with prospects. Tell a story about how your legal service has solved a problem. Include calls to action in your sidebars where they are easily visible.

On your social networking sites. Facebook and Twitter are great vehicles for reaching prospects in real-time and testing a variety of calls to action to see what works best for your legal service. These venues are an inexpensive and effective way to test what works best for your target market.

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FREE REPORT: 8 Reasons Small Firms & Solos Should Publish an E-newsletter PLUS 3 Steps to Get Started

In less than a few hours a month, you can produce an effective electronic newsletter, also known as an “E-newsletter.”

An E-newsletter is a customized electronic newsletter that is commonly used in business, but rarely in the field of law. If you are truly interested in the long-term success and sustainability of your practice, you need to learn how to leverage technology and the Internet to build it.

Here’s what you’ll discover when you read this report:

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Law Firm Marketing: 10 Steps to Build a Referral Machine for Your Law Firm

If you have more referral business than you can handle, you are obviously doing something right.  But from what I hear, most attorneys are still scratching their heads trying to figure out how to boost their referral business.

Follow these 10 steps to build a referral engine for your law firm:

Set specific goals. Set a specific goal for a specific number of referrals within a specific time frame as part of your law firm marketing plan.

Express gratitude.  Thank your referral sources and keep in touch, just to say “hi.”  Thank people online who say nice things about you.

Timely response.   Always respond to a referral in a timely manner and let your referral source know when you’ve made the connection with the person they’ve referred to you. 

Engage.  Engage potential referrals on your social networking sites, don’t just use your posts to sell.

Respond.  If someone comments on your blog, then follow-up with an email to further the discussion.

Participate.  Don’t just join the social networks, actively participate by commenting on other people’s posts to encourage a connection.

Ask.  If you don’t ask for a referral, chances are pretty good that you won’t get one.  Encourage everyone you communicate with through email or e-newsletter or on your social sites to tell a friend about you and your services.

Consistent communication.  Keep in touch with past and current clients, even if they are not currently shopping for an attorney.  You never know when they may need you, so staying top of mind is important.

Give.  When it comes to referrals, you need to give as good as you get. 

Be real.  Let your true self shine through in everything you do.  People do business with people they like and trust.

 

Law Firm Marketing: Make Getting More Referrals Your New Year's Resolution

When it comes to the different kind of leads that attorneys can generate for new business, referrals are the gold standard.  They come to you pre-qualified and ready to “buy” from a source they trust – and with a trust transference to you that is built-in.

If you do nothing else with your law firm marketing this year, make a resolution to cultivate more referrals.  Cultivating referrals is low-cost and high-reward, and should be at the top of your list when it comes to new business development for your law firm.

Consider the following as you build your base of referrals this year:

Categorize – there are two categories of referrals for attorneys: current clients and strategic partners.  Comb through your client list and identify those clients who already refer, those most likely to refer (happy with your services) and those that will need some special attention to become a good referral source.  To develop a list of potential strategic partners, examine that client list again and see if you can find some commonality among other professional service providers that your clients also utilize – other attorneys, accountants, CPAs, business coaches, etc. 

Educate – your referral sources will likely need to be educated about the kind of referrals you are seeking.  Teach them about who your ideal client is so they won’t waste their time and yours referring potential clients that are not a good fit for you.

Motivate – look for ways to incentivize and reward your referral sources for sending you potential clients.  Maybe it’s a free consultation or a gift card to a favored store.  Be creative about it.

Follow Through – one of the worst things you can do is not follow through with potential clients who are referred to you.  This will dry up your referral pipeline faster than anything.  Let your referral sources know how you plan to follow up with the people they are referring, then do it.  Keep your sources up to date periodically on the new relationship and be sure to thank them again.

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Free Report: 4 Myths That Keep Attorneys From Building A Referral-Based Practice

Referrals are the lifeblood of many law practices, and building a good referral program takes a proven process.  Stephen Fairly unveils the 4 Myths That Keep Attorneys from Building a Referral-Based Practice in his new free report.  Read and discover:

How to determine the best source for your referrals

How to explain your ideal target market to a referral source

How to get referrals from other attorneys

Whether online directories are a good referral source

How to network effectively

And much, much more!

Click here to get your free report today.

 

Law Firm Marketing: Give Yourself the Gift of More Referrals This Holiday Season

The holidays provide an excellent opportunity for attorneys to rededicate themselves to cultivating referrals for the upcoming year. Interestingly, many attorneys fall short when it comes to cultivating referral sources as part of their law firm marketing efforts.  

Below are six proven steps you can take in your law firm marketing and referral strategy to build a large referral base and to catalyze multiple, repeat referrals from each contact.

All are designed to keep your name and your reputation top of mind with your contacts and to reward and recognize them appropriately to encourage referrals short-term and long-term as part of your overall law firm marketing strategy.

1.       Get Contacts Thinking Referral: Don’t assume your contacts are thinking about referrals for you. Let them know your practice relies on referrals and how much you would appreciate them passing your name along.

2.       Immediate Appreciation: When a contact does refer you, call or send a thank-you note the very same day.  

3.       Reward: Within the next two days, send your referral source a small gift of appreciation like a gift card to Starbucks.

4.       Recognition: Once you’ve successfully scheduled a meeting with the potential client, e-mail your referral source to let them know you have scheduled that meeting and that you will update them again.

5.       Reward and Recognition 2: When the referral becomes a new client, send a “level 2 gift” to your referral source. A level 2 gift should be something your referral source will really value. However, be aware of dollar-amount gift limits your referrals are able to accept.  Also, be sure to include a personal note that tells your referral source the positive outcome of their recommendation. 

6.       Stay Top of Mind: Even when your referral sources haven’t referred, stay top of mind. Send a note to your contacts 1-2 times per year to your entire contact list thanking them for past and future referrals. The holidays provide you with the perfect opportunity to get back in touch.

Implement these six simple steps, and you will see a sharp increase in referrals while adding to the positive reputation you strive for in your law firm marketing efforts.

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If you want to learn more about the Rainmaker Retreat and why it is a proven legal marketing system that has helped over 8,000 attorneys find more and better clients, then register now for one of our one-hour complimentary teleseminars:

Thursday, December 8

12pm PT | 1pm MT | 2pm CT | 3pm ET 

Thursday, December 15

11am PT | 12pm MT | 1pm CT | 2pm ET  

Tuesday, December 20

1pm PT | 2pm MT | 3pm CT | 4pm ET  

Join us and learn why the Rainmaker Retreat is the one law firm marketing boot camp you cannot afford to miss!

 

Law Firm Marketing: How to Build a Referral System That Delivers Results

While you may get an occasional referral from a former client or someone you know, if you want to take your legal marketing to the next level, you need a referral system.  How do you build a referral system that will bring you the results you need?

You start by developing relationships with potential referral sources and generate consistent referrals from them.  These sources may include accountants, investment advisors, business leaders, or anyone who has influence with your target market.  Depending on your practice area, your referral sources will vary.

Developing a relationship is a two-way process.  It can’t just be you asking them for referrals when you see them.  It requires regular contact and you showing as much concern for their business as you are asking them to show for your practice.  Ask them how you can assist them in achieving their goals.

Another key component of your law firm referral development plan is to create a system for connecting with prospects, clients and referral sources on a regular, consistent basis. This should include:

Monthly newsletters – keep them apprised of what your firm is doing, new employees, and content that is beneficial to them.

Annual Client Satisfaction Survey – find out what your clients think about the service they have received from your firm.

Keep In Touch letters – on a regular basis, every 2-3 months, send a letter to referrals, prospects and clients just to touch base.  This top of mind awareness is crucial for generating referrals.

Referral Education System – your referral sources need to know what kind of prospects you are looking for.  It does no good for them to refer prospects to you who are not looking for what your firm offers. 

Keep your referral sources updated on your practice areas and any changes in your firm if you want to receive high-quality referrals.

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Law Firm Marketing: How Social Media Accelerates the Referral Process

Social media has become a fundamental shift in the way we communicate and find information -- or rather, the way information finds us.  

When you consider the overwhelming number of people who are now using social media, the question you should be asking is not, are my prospects, clients, and referral sources using social media? The question you should be asking is, which network are they using most often?

A recent survey by the American Bar Association's Legal Technology Resource Center found that 56% of attorneys are already using a social network! This means for you skeptics out there, if you are not maintaining a presence on at least one social network you are already behind the curve. Of those networks, LinkedIn is the most popular at 83%, Facebook is second with 68% and Plaxo is third with 18%.   

However, for attorneys who are looking to connect with consumers (versus business owners), like criminal defense, personal injury, bankruptcy, estate planning, and family law just to name a few, Facebook should be your primary focus because of the sheer number of people that can be found there (over 750 million registered users and growing).  

Depending on the demographic of your clientele, you may have more success with one social media platform compared to another -- but it is important that you have a presence on them all.  For example: Business oriented attorneys, like business litigation, securities, and intellectual property, should focus more of their efforts on LinkedIn. However, LinkedIn also has the highest number of attorneys who use the network so it's a little more difficult to stand out as compared to Facebook or Twitter.

What many people fail to understand is how people are starting to use social media.  Social networks are more and more being used as personal search engines mainly because Google has become too generic and they often don't trust what they find there.  

This trend is especially true in the under-30 age group. In fact, many social media experts are starting to point to Facebook as the new Google! Tens of thousands of searches are conducted every day on Facebook for resources and reviews of products, services, and service providers.  

As Bob Burg points out in his excellent book, Endless Referrals, all things being equal, people buy from people they know, like and trust. By extension, people trust their personal networks to point them in the right direction more than a generic Google search.  

When you think about it, this is common sense. When you are looking for a recommendation, who would you trust more-a Google search or one of your friends who personally vouches for a specific service provider?   

This long-time phenomenon of asking your friends and colleagues for a referral has simply gone viral and online. Social networks are quickly multiplying the number of connections a person can ask when seeking a referral to a trusted advisor.  

Smart law firms are starting to see the importance of "fishing where the fish are" instead of trying to drag them to their office or by using interruption-based marketing like television ads or billboards.

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FREE REPORT: How to Use Blogs as a Secret Weapon in Your Online Arsenal

One of the secret tools of Internet marketing for attorneys is the power of having a targeted blog. In a new report on the influence of blogs, eMarketer.com found that in 2010, 51% of Internet users in the U.S. (that’s over 91 million people) read blogs, and they project that usage will go to 60% (150 million) in the next four years!

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Law Firm Marketing: How to Help Your Referral Sources Keep Making Referrals

According to a recent ABA survey, 46% of those surveyed say they go to a trusted source like a family member or friend to find an attorney. That certainly comes as news to no one.  Referrals continue to play a huge part in new business for attorneys because they are based on trust, and trust is based on the customer experience.

I'm convinced one of the biggest reasons that attorneys don't receive more referrals is because they don't take the time to inform and remind their clients of the various services they offer.  Most clients immediately put their attorney in a box and believe the only service the lawyer offers is the one they used.

I remember a conversation I had with an attorney who practices business law. He was upset because a former client, whom he'd helped set up an LLC three months earlier, referred a competing law firm to a friend looking for representation in a multi-million dollar lawsuit.

When the lawyer explained that this was precisely his specialty, the client was shocked and said, "I'm sorry, but you really need to do a better job informing me of what you do and what kind of cases you want because I don't know."

How much business have you lost because your clients simply aren't aware of the various services your firm can provide?

Another way to increase client referrals is to make certain that your clients can accurately explain your ideal target market:

Your ideal target market is the person or company most likely to hire you initially, repeatedly and at the highest profit margin. With so many attorneys struggling to define their ideal client, it's no wonder if your clients don't know whom they should refer to you.

Remember that memory is elusive and just because you wowed them once and they sent you a referral - doesn't mean they will ALWAYS remember.  So don't take referral relationships for granted.  Finding a high-quality lawyer is easy and it takes more than quality to make an impression - it takes a relationship.  

Just like any relationship, you need to be connecting with your current and former referral sources every four to six weeks to ensure the health and longevity of the affiliation.  In my E-newsletter last month, I wrote about keeping in touch with referral sources - it is full of great suggestions.
 
Rainmakers don't wait for the door to knock or the phone to ring or the referral to come in. They take the initiative, stay in touch, and focus on serving their referral sources.  

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Law Firm Marketing: The Top 10 Reasons You Don't Get Referrals

If you have more referral business than you can handle, you are obviously doing something right.  But if you want and need more referrals and they aren’t coming to you, maybe you are doing something wrong.

Here are the Top 10 Reasons You Don’t Get Referrals:

No goal.  Have you set a specific goal for a specific number of referrals as part of your law firm marketing plan?  If not, you’re just going down the same old road with no map.

No gratitude.  Have you thanked your referral sources and kept in touch, just to say “hi?”  Do you thank people online who say nice things about you?

No response.  Have you been tardy about responding to a referral?  Or worse yet, not responded at all?  If so, why would your referral sources continue sending people your way?

No engagement.  Are you engaging potential referrals on your social networking sites, or do you just leave sales messages?  Your goal is to engage, not to sell.

No reaction.  If someone comments on your blog, do you respond?  You should then follow-up with an email to further the discussion.

No participation.  Don’t just join the social networks, participate.  Comment on other people’s posts and encourage a conversation.

No request.  If you don’t ask for a referral, chances are pretty good that you won’t get one.  Encourage everyone you communicate with through email or e-newsletter or on your social sites to tell a friend about you and your services.

No staying power.  Keep in touch with past and current clients, even if they are not currently shopping for an attorney.  You never know when they may need you, so staying top of mind is important.

No reciprocity.  When it comes to referrals, do you give as good as you get? 

No personality.  Let your true self shine through in everything you do.  People do business with people they like and trust.

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Becoming a Rainmaker: Business Building Strategies for Lawyers

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Law Firm Marketing: How to Ask for Referrals Without Embarrassment

A member of our marketing team was discussing with me a problem that I find a lot of our clients have:  asking for referrals without feeling embarrassed.  We know that many attorneys build a good portion of their practices on referrals – yet, why is it so many feel almost ashamed to ask for a referral?

I believe that these attorneys are not looking at referrals in the right way.  They see them as asking for a favor, when in fact you should regard it as extending a favor.  That’s right.  You are not asking to get a favor, you are asking to bestow one.

The secret to getting lots of referrals is to make it about them, not about you.  Think about what benefits you offer your referral sources and what problems you may help them solve.  When you help someone help a friend, family member or colleague, you have done them a favor. 

Think about how referring you can make your client’s life better, and you will never be embarrassed to ask for a referral again. 

Attorneys who rely on referrals for new clients also have to have a referral mindset.  Always look for those moments in your relationships with others to create referrals – when you have won a case for a client, when you have helped someone avoid litigation, when you have provided a referral – all opportunities for you to generate referrals.

You also need to make it as easy as possible for people to refer you.  Provide them with a written document that outlines the characteristics of your ideal client.  Create white papers or give seminars that solve problems their clients may be experiencing and co-brand them, so your referral source benefits. 

The real secret to feeling comfortable about generating referrals is to think give, not take.  And to implement a system that creates a referral mindset throughout your organization.

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  • How 1 piece of simple technology in your practice will drastically increase your communication with prospects, clients and referral sources – resulting in a major revenue boost
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  • 6 BIGGEST secrets to generating more and better referrals
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Law Firm Marketing: The Truth About Referrals

Rummaging through the tickler file today, I can across this article that I bookmarked last year by John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing that explains why businesses that rely on referrals (like attorneys) should take a more proactive approach to the process of getting referrals instead of leaving things to chance.

I’ve blogged about that subject many times, but John does a nice job of synthesizing the truths about referrals.  I’ll summarize:

Truth #1:  People Make Referrals to Build Social Capital.  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.

Truth #2:  Mitigating Risk is Important.  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.

Truth #3:  People Refer Great 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.

Truth #4: Referrals Require 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.

Truth #5:  Referrals Require a System.  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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Law Firm Marketing: 10 Tips for Staying in Touch with Referral Sources

The best way to stay in touch with your referral sources is to automate the process as much as possible, utilizing Internet technologies to help you keep in touch. 

First, rank your referral sources based on specific criteria so you know how to allocate your time keeping in touch:

A = Referral sources who have the exact same target market as you and have already sent you at least 1 great referral. Spend most of your time cultivating these relationships.

B = Referral sources who have a very similar target market and have great potential to send you great referrals.

C = Referral sources that have some potential, but may serve a different market and have not referred anyone to you yet.

Here are 10 tips for staying in touch with your referral sources:

  1. Send them an email immediately after each meeting with them. Send it the same day whenever possible. In the email express thanks for meeting with you, add any points you discussed, remind them of what makes a good referral for you: “I help (who your clients are) to (what your solution is or how you solve their problems”) and close with any action items or next steps.
  2. Send them a handwritten thank you card or form letter two to three days after your initial meeting.
  3. After your initial meeting, put a “to do” or task item in your Outlook for approximately 6 to 8 weeks later. Have your staff contact them to set-up another time to get together face-to-face. Make your next meeting more about the relationship than business. Perhaps meet at the golf course, over drinks or in another casual environment.
  4. Use your press releases. Each time you write and submit a press release, send them a copy. It’s easier if you use PRWeb (www.prweb.com) because they will automatically convert your release into a PDF file, which you can email, or print and mail.
  5. Send them a copy of your published articles. As attendees to the Rainmaker Retreat learn, there are dozens of online article directories that will publish your articles for free. When one of your articles is published, print off several copies and send them out with a note.
  6. Send them a holiday card, but not on the major holidays like Christmas. Instead, visit www.holidayinsights.com, which lists a lot of minor and just plain fun holidays.  For example, today is Compliment Day...a perfect time to drop your sources an email complimenting them on something.
  7. Set-up a Google alert for a topic of interest to your referral sources. For example, “tax law changes” for CPAs or “Los Angeles commercial real estate market update” for a commercial real estate broker.  (www.google.com/alerts)
  8. Ask them if they would like to receive your monthly newsletter or e-newsletter. Use www.ConstantContact.com to manage and send out your monthly electronic newsletter (e-newsletter). Send a copy to your referral sources (with their permission, of course.)
  9. Invite them to connect with you on LinkedIn. This powerful social media tool is a great way to stay connected to referral sources. Be sure to set-up a free account, fill in your profile information, and update your status. You can connect with me at www.LinkedIn.com/in/StephenFairley. Just click the button “Add this person to your network” and I will accept your request. Also, be sure to check out the various groups for attorneys you can join. Use the “status update” to keep in front of people.
  10. Invite them to connect with you on Facebook. What started out as a college phenomenon has quickly grown into a marketing tool for small business owners. Set up a profile (it should be more personal and a little less professional than your LinkedIn profile) and start to add friends. “Friend” me at www.facebook.com/fairley.

For more information on building your referral network, visit www.therainmakerinstitute.com/referrals/.

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Secrets of Building a Referral-based Law Practice for Busy Practitioners:
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Knowledge is power. The most difficult part for most attorneys is putting that knowledge into action. In this DVD you will discover an 8-step system for creating your law firm marketing plan and how to take action immediately.

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To order this information-packed set click here.

 

 

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Law Firm Marketing: How to Find Referrals Through Formal Networking

One law firm marketing tactic that consistently helps most law firms get new clients is referrals. There are several different ways to get those referrals: initiating a strategic referral development program, informal networking and formal networking.

“Formal networking” involves attending an organized group event such as industry trade shows, bar meetings, rotary clubs, special interest groups, political groups, etc. 

Here are 7 tips for finding new clients through formal networking:

Join the right groups: Not legal groups or groups where a lot of attorneys gather (unless you get a lot of your business from other attorneys). You need to go where the decision makers meet, not the gatekeepers.

Join elite groups: Groups that cost several hundred dollars a year are better than cheap groups; groups that require a member to sponsor you are even better.

Use an “audio logo”: An audio logo is an idea or statement that clearly and succinctly tells who your intended audience is and what you can do for them.

Most people want to talk about what interests them. They don’t want to talk to someone who’s only interested in how to get their business. So you can use an audio logo to attract attention. Be prepared to give case examples of how you have helped others.

Here is an example of an audio logo: “I help (who your clients are) to (what your solution is or how you solve their problems.)”

Remember your primary purpose: Remember your primary purpose in going to networking events is NOT to get new clients. Your primary purpose is to BUILD A RELATIONSHIP with potential referral sources and to offer yourself as a referral source to them. If you’re going to networking events to get new clients you are not only wasting your time, but you are also coming across as either pushy or desperate to the people you’re meeting.

When you understand the real reason for going to networking events, it takes all the pressure to perform off and keeps you focused on a more productive purpose—building relationships with people you could help and who may also be of help to you.
 
Ask open-ended questions: Use the 80/20 Rainmaker Rule when you meet them. Ask open ended questions like:

  • What do you like best about the work you do?
  • What are the biggest challenges your industry/company/profession is facing?
  • Where do you find most of your clients?
  • Who is your target market?
  • If one of your prospects asks what makes you different from your competitors, what do you say?
  • How would I know if the person I’m talking to would be a good referral for you?

Be intentional in your follow-up: It does absolutely no good to go to a bunch of networking events, talk to people, collect business cards, and not follow-up. You must have a plan and reasons for following up with people you meet. Your primary reason is to learn more about their business and see if you would be a good referral source for them.

Track your efforts:

  • Contact’s name and full information.
  • Follow-up method used—phone, email letter.
  • Date of 1st follow-up.
  • Dates of each additional follow-up.
  • Date of first face-to-face meeting.
  • Follow-up efforts.
  • Results of efforts.
  • Notes.

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  • How 1 piece of simple technology in your practice will drastically increase your communication with prospects, clients and referral sources – resulting in a major revenue boost
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  • The 1 item you must absolutely have to create a Million Dollar Law Practice (hint: Not having this will almost guarantee your failure!)
  • 6 BIGGEST secrets to generating more and better referrals
  • How to create a proven network of 30 new Strategic Referral Partners in the next 90 days

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Law Firm Marketing: Make 2011 The Year of the Referral

When it comes to the different kind of leads that attorneys can generate for new business, referrals are the gold standard.  They come to you pre-qualified and ready to “buy” from a source they trust – and with a trust transference to you that is built-in.

If you do nothing else with your law firm marketing this year, make 2011 the year of the referral.  Cultivating referrals is low-cost and high-reward, and should be at the top of your list when it comes to new business development for your law firm.

Consider the following as you build your base of referrals this year:

Categorize – there are two categories of referrals for attorneys: current clients and strategic partners.  Comb through your client list and identify those clients who already refer, those most likely to refer (happy with your services) and those that will need some special attention to become a good referral source.  To develop a list of potential strategic partners, examine that client list again and see if you can find some commonality among other professional service providers that your clients also utilize – other attorneys, accountants, CPAs, business coaches, etc. 

Educate – your referral sources will likely need to be educated about the kind of referrals you are seeking.  Teach them about who your ideal client is so they won’t waste their time and yours referring potential clients that are not a good fit for you.

Motivate – look for ways to incentivize and reward your referral sources for sending you potential clients.  Maybe it’s a free consultation or a gift card to a favored store.  Be creative about it.

Follow Through – one of the worst things you can do is not follow through with potential clients who are referred to you.  This will dry up your referral pipeline faster than anything.  Let your referral sources know how you plan to follow up with the people they are referring, then do it.  Keep your sources up to date periodically on the new relationship and be sure to thank them again.

For more information on building your referral network in 2011, visit www.therainmakerinstitute.com/referrals/.

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Regardless of your specific situation, this free e-book will help you examine how you are currently finding new clients and recommend specific steps you can immediately start using to grow your practice.

We have helped thousands of attorneys achieve their goals of creating a financially successful and personally satisfying legal practice. In this e-book you will discover specific principles and tools you can use to grow your practice, too. 
 

 

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Law Firm Marketing: Dispelling the Most Common Myths About Referrals

Attorneys know when it comes to law firm marketing, referrals are the best way of finding new clients, but there are 4 common myths I would like to dispel about referrals:

Myth 1. Clients are the best source of referrals. This surprises a lot of attorneys when I tell them this is a myth. Clients are simply the most obvious source of referrals, not often the best source.

There are simply too many variables you cannot control when trying to get more referrals from clients:

  • Do clients know all the different services your law firm offers?
  • Can they accurately explain who your ideal law firm clients are?
  • Are they able to give a clear and compelling reason why someone should hire you?
  • Will they remember you when they meet someone who needs your services?
  • Did they just receive a large bill from you and don’t feel especially “good” about your law firm at this moment?

Myth 2. Most legal referrals come from other attorneys. Actually, studies show that only about 25% of an established legal professional's practice comes from referrals from other attorneys, so logically about 75% of your law firm clients will come from other sources (this may vary greatly by practice area).

A simple marketing tip is to set up an easy tracking system as part of your client intake file and then review on a quarterly basis to identify where those leads came from. There are also some legal software products that can be customized to track that information automatically.

Myth 3. Online legal directories can produce a lot of referrals fast. There is some indication that consumers are starting to use online legal directories as a screening mechanism and they may even view attorneys who are listed in the directory as “more qualified” than attorneys who are not, but this is far from conclusive.

Generally speaking, local and state bar directories are more effective, but most non-bar-affiliated online directories have become the equivalent of online yellow pages and do not offer any more benefits than advertising in a telephone book.

Myth 4. Formal networking is a great way to get more referrals. Over the years of helping thousands of attorneys build million+ dollar practices, we have found that formal networking events (like trade shows and chamber of commerce, etc.) work exceptionally well for a select group of attorneys— and not at all for most legal professionals. Here are a few reasons why:

(1) Attending the wrong kind of group—one filled with peers, not prospects. Unless your target market is another attorney, I can't recommend spending much of your valuable marketing time hanging around other lawyers. Go where your prospects are, especially the decision makers, not the gatekeepers.

(2) Going to a networking event to find new clients is like going to a bar looking for your soul mate. While it may happen, the odds are stacked against you. The best way to look at a formal networking event is to go there for two reasons: first, to build relationships with potential referral sources (people you have identified that have a direct connection with your target market) and second, to find out how you can be a referral source to other professional service providers.

(3) Lack of a follow-up plan. When you find a potential referral source, you have about 48 hours to follow up with them or they will likely forget about you. Have a plan for calling them, emailing them, or both the day after the event for the purpose of determining if they are interested in getting together face to face.

So what is the best source of referrals?  Strategic Referral Partners (SRPs) are the best source of new referrals. SRPs are people who already have a relationship with or already do business with the people you want to reach.

How to cultivate those SRPs is something we teach at every Rainmaker Retreat.  Not just theories, but actionable strategies so you can start building your SRP network the minute you get home.

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Referrals are the lifeblood of law firm marketing

I have been talking about the law firm marketing system that every law firm needs to have in order to be successful.  Today’s post wraps up that discussion with referrals, the lifeblood of any successful law firm marketing plan.

Referrals don’t just happen.  They must be cultivated.  Sure you may get an occasional referral from a former client or someone you know, but if you want to take your legal marketing to the next level, you need a referral system.  How do you do build a referral system that will bring you the results you need?

You start by developing relationships with potential referral sources and generate consistent referrals from them.  These sources may include accountants, investment advisors, business leaders, or anyone who has influence with your target market.  Depending on your practice area, your referral sources will vary.

Developing a relationship is a two-way process.  It can’t just be you asking them for referrals when you see them.  It requires regular contact and you showing as much concern for their business as you are asking them to show for your practice.  Ask them how you can assist them in achieving their goals.

Another key component of your law firm marketing plan is to create a system for connecting with prospects, clients and referral sources on a regular, consistent basis. This should include:

  • Monthly newsletters – keep them apprised of what your firm is doing, new employees, and content that is beneficial to them.
  • Annual Client Satisfaction Survey – find out what your clients think about the service they have received from your firm. 
  • Keep In Touch letters – on a regular basis, every 2-3 months, send a letter to referrals, prospects and clients just to touch base.  This top of mind awareness is crucial for generating referrals.
  • Referral Education System – your referral sources need to know what kind of prospects you are looking for.  It does no good for them to refer prospects to you who are not looking for what your firm offers.  Keep your referral sources updated on your practice areas and any changes in your firm if you want to receive high-quality referrals.

There are a number of systems that are vital for your law practice to be successful.  But your law firm marketing system is the one that drives the traffic in the doors.  Don’t skimp on your legal marketing system if you want to achieve the level of success that you dream of. 
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