The 4 Truths Every Attorney Needs to Know About ReferralsAt The Rainmaker Institute, we specialize in helping legal practitioners generate more revenue and increase the quality and quantity of their referrals. One of the things attorneys most frequently ask us is: “How do I find more clients fast?”

The answer to this question is deceptively simple, yet amazingly complex to resolve. Referrals are near the top of the list when it comes to the best ways of finding new clients, but there are four truths about referrals that most attorneys don’t know:

Truth #1: Clients are NOT the best source for referrals

Clients are generally not the best source of referrals to your law firm. This surprises a lot of legal professionals when I tell them this is a myth. Clients are merely the most obvious source of referrals, not the best source.

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

  • Do they know all the different services you offer?
  • Will they remember you when they meet someone who needs your legal services?
  • Can they accurately tell others what makes you different from your competitors?
  • Did they hire you to resolve a legal issue that could be potentially embarrassing to them?
  • Was their entire experience with your law firm positive or were there some “issues”?

The truth of the matter is that clients are not dependable. That being said, you shouldn’t intentionally ignore potential client referrals. Every law firm should have a long-term client education plan that positions your law firm, explains your current services, and keeps your current clients informed as to what’s going on in your firm.

One of the most cost effective ways to do this is with a monthly newsletter. Our clients consistently tell us sending out an electronic newsletter every month is one of the best ways to keep their firm in front of their potential referral sources.

Truth #2: Other attorneys do NOT provide the most referrals

Another commonly held myth among attorneys is that the most and best referrals come from other attorneys. According to industry research, only about 25% of an established attorney’s practice is referred from other legal professionals, so logically about 75% of clients come from other sources (this may vary greatly by practice area).

A good tip is to set up an easy tracking system as part of your client intake file and then review on a quarterly basis to discover where your leads are coming from.

Truth #3: Networking does NOT typically provide great referrals

We have found that formal networking events (like trade shows and chambers of commerce, etc.) work exceptionally well for a very small group of attorneys — and not at all for the majority of attorneys. There are a few reasons why:

  • They attend the wrong kind of group-one filled with their peers, not their prospects.
  • Most attorneys don’t know how to network properly.
  • Attorneys do not create a plan for following up in a timely manner.

Truth #4: Building a good referral network takes a system!

A key component of your referral plan is to create systems for staying connected with prospects, clients and referral partners on a regular, consistent basis. Part of this system should include:

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

Annual client satisfaction survey – find out what your clients think about the services they have received from your firm and how you can improve.

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.


New! Free eBook on How to Avoid the Top 10 Marketing Mistakes Attorneys MakeNew! Free eBook on How to Avoid the Top 10 Marketing Mistakes Attorneys Make

Several years ago I sat down and wrote one of our most popular eBooks ever: The Top 10 Marketing Mistakes Attorneys Make. Since then, we’ve emailed out thousands of copies by request and I want to believe that it has helped lots of attorneys become better at marketing their law firms. Because we can all learn from mistakes.

I have just finished updating this eBook with what I think is even better information: how to avoid these 10 mistakes! This updated version will teach you:

  • How to avoid the top 10 marketing mistakes before they destroy your practice
  • 3 tools top Rainmakers use to automatically attract more and better clients
  • Specific keys for building a powerful online presence
  • How to market and position yourself as a recognized specialist
  • The 1 thing you must never do when marketing your law firm

You can get your copy here now.