For most international lawyers, referrals are the primary source of new business. As Debra Andrews details about the importance of referrals: “[They] are the bread and butter of a law firm’s marketing and business development, but they rarely just happen. While you may get an occasional referral from a former client or someone you know, this is inconsistent and won’t make a big impact on the firm’s revenue. [Therefore] you need to step up your game and actively cultivate referrals to grow your firm’s business and bottom line. How can you proactively build referral sources and sustain these relationships to really grow your legal practice?”
The basic methods of referral generation
Andrews details the following basic referral methods as required for successful referral generation:
- Reinforce relationships with current clients.
- Give a referral to get a referral.
- Schedule a “meet and greet.”
- Build your reputation as an “expert.”
- Maximize networking opportunities.
Develop “door-opener” conversations
And as Mike O’Horo details, it’s important for lawyers who are seeking referrals – to lead with conversations about specific ways you can help those clients which would be referred to you. O’Horo explains: These are called “demand-triggering problems Door-Openers, because they open the door to relevant conversation…referral sources will easily recognize the correlation between the business problem you mention and the industry that faces it with frequency. They’ll easily see the legitimacy of introducing someone knowledgeable about the issue — such as you — to discuss such issues with others. Let the Door-Opener facilitate this interaction.”
Advanced referral generation: Work proactively with referral sources to identify opportunities for each other’s clients and facilitate introductions around opportunities for clients
Following on with what O’Horo and Andrews detail – I can suggest one discipline to establish with your lawyer referral sources from throughout the world: Make a commitment to provide your referral network partners information of relevance in your home market which may provide commercial opportunity to your referral partner’s clients. For example, are there any acquisition opportunities in your market for specific companies they may represent? I could list hundreds of similar potential opportunities here. Make this effort proactive rather than reactive. What I mean by this is – try to make sure you consistently communicate these messages to your referral network – and they to their clients – and vice-versa. This exercise will produce more introductions to more potential clients. I have conducted many such referral relationships between international lawyers, and they are very productive and do produce more clients for both referral partners — when both referral partners participate proactively and in an informed fashion.
Lawyer Business Development Coaching
I help lawyers develop personal business development plans custom-tailored to their unique practices — via one-on-one video or audio coaching sessions. My experience includes hundreds of face-to-face meetings with prospective clients on behalf of law firms – where I helped clients realize how lawyers can help them achieve their commercial objectives. These meetings first required me to identify client needs – reaching out to those prospective clients and securing meetings with them on behalf of my clients and succeeding in securing those meetings. And shepherding those relationships to becoming new client engagements. For more information about how I might be able to help you build your law practice, please complete the form below and I’ll contact you promptly.
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