Learning to love referrals in a law firm: 5 easy ways to get more

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One of the most common questions I get asked by lawyers (usually in the pub after work) is ‘why don’t my colleagues refer me more often?’ 

If you’ve asked that question, then the honest answer is that it’s your fault. And it will always be your fault.

I don’t mean that it’s due to your overly fervent views on the state of the office kitchen, or the noise you make whenever Brexit is discussed. What I mean is, that if you don’t act to fix your referral problem no-one else will

Here’s five ways to fix it:

  1. Teach other colleagues the questions to ask every client that will uncover any need for your services. As a partner, you should leave the profession in shame if any of your firm’s residential conveyancing clients complete without discussing a new will (and LPA for that matter).

  2. Ask how colleagues make a referral. Someone ‘giving the client your phone number’ has a 70% failure rate. Tell your colleague to make an appointment straight into your diary… tell them to come and get you from your desk… copy you in an email introduction to the client…  teach colleagues to bundle in your work with theirs if you are feeling brave.

  3. Go to the other departments’ meetings. Share knowledge that might help their clients. Raise awareness. Schedule your own regular meetings with them. In the pub is the best place to have this kind of meeting. Alright, it might not be, but I can guarantee attendance would be good.

  4.  Be clear on what a good client looks like for you. Crystal clear. Tell people. Hint: The more specific you are about the ‘who’ you look for, the more referrals you’ll get. Oh, and tell Marketing who you want too…

  5.  Ask colleagues how they would describe you to a prospective client. Hint: If it sounds exactly like your competitors, it will probably fail. And, more importantly, it’s boring. Be brighter and way more specific than that. Let’s use those hard-working chaps in resi for example again “Sarah helps first time buyers take the risk out of buying their new home”. This will have far more success than saying how long you have been qualified for…

I help lawyers earn better fees, by fixing stuff like this. If you have a tip that works, or a lawyer that needs to earn better fees, let me know - 01256 637 936.

Nicky Parker