As an attorney today, you know your reputation and your skill as an attorney are highly important to the success of your practice.

However, to build a thriving practice impervious to ebbs in the economy, client referrals are of the utmost importance. They should play a key role in your law firm marketing approach.

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 message thank you note the very same day you.  

3.       Reward: Within the next 48 hours, send your referral source a small gift of appreciation such as a business card holder, a gift card to a popular coffee shop or book store.

4.       Recognition: Once you’ve successfully scheduled a meeting with the new, 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 substantial and meaningful. Something your referral source will really value. However, be aware of dollar-amount gift limits your referrals are able to accept. Some excellent online resources that specialize in business gifts just right for law firm marketing referral gifts are MyBusinessGiftsBrookstone and eCorporate Gifts.

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.

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.