How do you continue to build relationships with referral sources when you are always crunched for time? Just like anything else that matters, you have to carve some time out for the things that are meaningful to you — and few things are more meaningful when it comes to building a profitable law practice than a constant source of referrals.
Developing that referral network takes time and attention, but if you get organized, you can still do it no matter how many balls you have in the air. Here are 3 steps you should take to keep the referrals coming your way:
Step 1: Be Proactive
There is an old saying that “to have a friend, you must first be a friend.” Don’t wait for someone to take the initiative to contact you – be the first to reach out. In the last few years we have coached and trained thousands of attorneys and the ones who are the best Rainmakers are those who make at least 3-4 contacts with potential referral sources every week.
Take a few minutes and scan your contact list. Select 15 to 20 names of potential or current referral sources and send them an email or better yet, pick up the phone and call them with an invitation to lunch or coffee. Set a goal of having three face-to-face meetings per week for the next month.
Step 2: Increase the Frequency of Your Contact
Try as we might, it’s difficult with our hectic schedules to meet with every potential referral source on a regular basis. Here’s one strategy I teach lawyers: Set up a Google Alert for a specific phrase that would be of interest to your referral sources. When one you think will hit your contact’s hot button hits your Inbox, forward it to him or her with a personal note.
Several of my clients have doubled and tripled their referrals in six months using this simple technique to stay in front of their referral sources on a frequent basis. You can set up a Google Alert at google.com/alerts.
Step 3: Focus on Serving, Not Selling
When you meet with referral sources, don’t make the mistake of dominating the conversation. You are there to listen. Any attempt to “sell” them on your services will be a complete waste of your time and theirs. Look for ways you can serve them and their clients by connecting them with other resources or pointing them in the right direction regarding a legal issue. Ask a lot of questions about their business. Ask them about the attributes of their ideal client or customer so you can reciprocate when appropriate. Then be sure you keep educating them about your ideal client so they don’t waste anyone’s time sending you people you can’t help.
Attorneys who want to become top Rainmakers don’t wait for someone to knock on the door, for the phone to ring, or for the referrals to come in. They take the initiative, stay in touch, and focus on serving their referral sources.
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