There are two questions just about every attorney has asked at one time or another. At every Rainmaker Retreat – our two-day law firm marketing seminar – I answer dozens of questions that are top-of-mind for attorneys who have come from across the nation and these two consistently pop up:
Why am I not getting more referrals? Why are they not better qualified?
There are four primary reasons attorneys don’t get more and better referrals:
- Lack of client education. It’s your responsibility to properly educate clients and referral sources about what you do, who you can help, and what makes a good referral for you. Take 10 minutes and write down everything you know about your perfect client. Then practice describing who that person or company is so you have a standard answer you can share with referral sources.
- Lack of client communication. Telling people once who your perfect client is not sufficient! You must remind them at least 4-6 times every year. The best way to do this is by sending them a monthly newsletter. You never know when a potential referral might come in to their office so it is up to you to stay at the top of their mind.
- Lack of request. Do not assume people know you want more referrals. You need to ask directly for them. Here’s a way many of our clients have used: anytime a client or referral source says “thank you” respond with, “One of the best ways you can say ‘thank you’ is by sending us a referral and here is what a good referral looks like…”
- Lack of reciprocation. To receive referrals on a regular basis you must be willing to give them out. Actively look for ways to send referrals to the professionals you most want referrals from.
What’s a good way to ask clients to give a testimonial?
It depends on your practice area, but timing can be very important. For example, if you are a personal injury attorney, you might want to ask for the testimonial when your client comes in to pick up their settlement check. This is when the client will be the happiest.
If you’re an estate planning attorney, ask when the client comes in to finalize their estate plan. If you’re a commercial litigation attorney, ask right after you get a motion to dismiss the lawsuit filed against your client.
If you practice in other areas of the law, find a good time when your client is pleased with your work. That’s the optimal time to ask!
You also need to make it easy for people to give you a testimonial. Let your clients know why a testimonial is important to you. Make it part of your process, like an exit interview. Guide the client with questions so you can get strong testimonials. Position the testimonials as “before” and “after” scenarios—this is what my life was like before I hired this attorney, here is what they did for me, and here is what it’s like now. These are powerful!
Also, if you squirm at just the thought of asking for a testimonial, then don’t be the one to ask. Have your administrative assistant or paralegal do the asking as part of your closing-the-case process. By the way, written testimonials are good, but video testimonials are way better and more believable to consumers.
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.