In Part One, I wrote about the benefits of referrals that you may not have thought of. In this Part Two, I offer a more detailed explanation of each of the benefits.
Here is a more detailed explanation of each benefit:
- NO SELLING REQUIRED.
Almost all the attorneys I know hate the word SELLING and Referrals are great for lawyers who hate the word SELLING.
They do not think they are selling, but what about that lawyer who is arguing to a jury for a million-dollar verdict or trying to convince the jury not to give his client the death penalty, do you not think that is selling. All attorneys are selling whether they like that word or not.
BUT WITH REFERRALS NO SELLING IS INVOLVED.
When you are being referred, you do not have to do the SELLING, someone else is doing it for you.
People listen to third-party endorsements more than you trying to persuade them that you are the best that there is.
- ENHANCED REPUTATION
Referrals increase your integrity and enhance your reputation.
Your business comes from real people, not clever advertising or marketing gimmicks. The fact that you are getting your business from referrals speaks volumes about the quality of your work and what others think of you. Others are putting their integrity on the line to endorse you. That is the kind of business recommendations people trust and the kind of endorsement that others listen to.
Each time you get a referral from a client that client is telling you that you are doing a good job. Many times, clients will not tell you how much they appreciate you but a referral speaks volumes.
People notice that you are the lawyer that gets a lot of referrals, so you must be good.
- YOU GET TO CHOSE YOUR BEST CLIENT (the Client you want to work with)
Often you will be referred to people who have similar personalities, backgrounds and business interest as your referral source. Most people are not going to refer you unless they like you and chances are they will refer people similar to themselves. It makes your life so much easier if you are working with people you like. Just think about how many clients you now have that you do not personally like see and wouldn’t it be nice to get rid of them. We will be talking a lot more about your best Client later in this book.
More qualified clients – You can educate your clients who would make the ideal client for you, so when they spot them, they can refer business your way. These types of clients are usually more qualified than people who respond to your general advertising because they’ve talked with the guy who referred them and he’s done some pre-selection.
- YOU ARE HELPING (not being Selfish)
Something else to think about, getting referrals is not selfish.
You are not the only one that benefits from referrals. Your clients benefit. Their decision to use you is validated, they get a chance to help others, they get better attention from you and they enjoy helping you succeed.
Your new prospects feel more comfortable when they first meet you, they do not feel uncomfortable because in a sense they feel like they already know you.
You are helping people not just helping yourself when you ask for referrals.
Working with referrals is about helping others a client-centered approach when done right.
The right approach is when your referral conversation is focused on your referral sources helping people they care about not me act of desperation. If your referral sources can see that you are sincerely concerned about the welfare of the people they care about, they will take the spirit of your requests seriously. Difficult though this may be when you need business yesterday (this is a process) you must focus on helping others first. Take the leap of faith and your rewards will come.
THE OBLIGATION: If you believe you deliver the best service, do you not have an Obligation to let people know about what you can do for them. You may not have ever thought about this but, perhaps it is time to change your mindset about asking for referrals. It is not about YOU.
- YOU BEGIN TO LIVE A REFERRAL LIFESTYLE
There is no better place to be in your law firm than in a referral lifestyle. As mentioned above, all your new clients are coming to you from strong referrals, the place where you no longer have to chase after prospects. It is also where you have clients that are the most profitable to your firm. They are being referred by clients that know, like and trust. And the clients they refer want to work with. You begin to develop a different attitude in your firm. Instead of wondering where your next client is coming from you know and you can have more fun because you will not always be worrying about how you are going to survive. You should make this your goal, to live a referral lifestyle.
- YOU KNOW WHERE YOUR BUSINESS IS COMING FROM.
You get measurable results every time.
You know exactly where the business is coming from and where it is not coming from. This awareness allows you to focus on the relationships and organizations that are helping your business the most. Obviously, you need to be tracking this and most lawyers I know do not really have a clue where their business is coming from, we will talk more about tracking later.
When you built, a referral based practice, you have created a self-perpetual flow of business and you eliminate the anxiety of worrying where the next client is coming from,
Unlike the results from advertising and other marketing initiatives, your results can be tracked and verified. You can track your ROI so you know your dollars are working
- GREAT RETURN ON INVESTMENT
Referrals are a great way to market yourself because you don’t have to spend lots of money trying to get people’s attention through expensive ads, mailings, internet marketing, or calls. Your cost to acquire a client is much lower. Having said that again, while basing your client attraction on referrals you still have to use other methods, at least for a while.
- SHORTER SALES CYCLE
Law firms, by nature, make great referral-based businesses because you are selling an expensive service, and the higher the expense, the more likely prospects are to talk to their friends about who to hire. Referrals make it easy for prospects to narrow down their choices and make a decision because they already trust the person who referred them and has heard good things about you from that person.
- LESS PRICING CONCERNS
Let’s face it lawyers are expensive, so when someone finds you through the Yellow Pages or through other advertising, they often are looking for the cheapest option. When they are referred to you, they have already heard that you are the best and they won’t be as price sensitive.
- YOUR CLIENTS ARE MORE LOYAL
There are a couple of studies that determine that clients who come to you by way of referrals remain your clients longer. Since your clients entered into the relationship with a higher level of trust you can build on that trust even more quickly.
Further, when they are referred to your business by one of your current clients they know at least one other person who does business with you. This works to continually validate their decision to hire you and to stay with you. It also validates the person who referred you, when you successful represent the person they referred.
It should be your goal to get and keep clients for life and when they are referred there is a better chance they will remain with you. I will discuss the “Lifetime Value” of a client later.
- YOUR CLIENTS ARE MORE LIKELY TO GIVE YOU REFERRALS IF THEY CAME TO YOU BY REFERRAL
Studies have also shown that clients you bring into your business by way of referral are more likely to continue to give you referrals. They know you by way of referral and they see how they were treated and they do not have any problems referring their family, friends and business associates to you. Since they have been referred to you by someone they trust they already understand the dynamics of meeting you from a referral.
What can happen over time is that a critical mass of referred clients gets created and the referral process begins to take on a life of its own. Eventually, you create so much referral momentum that all you need to do is take great care of your clients and you will never lack for new business.
Think about doctors or other you know who work by referral only.
- EACH TIME A CLIENT REFERS YOU, IT MAKES THE CLIENT FEEL GREAT
People love to give referrals – Maybe you’re cynical, but I think fundamentally people like to be helpful when they can be. It feels good to help others. But ok, for those of you who are cynical, they also like to have the answers and show off their knowledge.
People like to talk about how smart they were – how they made their life better, saved money, or got a fabulous deal and of course they will often mention that it was you that helped them.
James E. Thompson, JD is the President of Lawyers Marketing Resource a company dedicated to helping lawyers grow their practice. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
He is the author of “Why Lawyers Fail to Get the Referrals They Deserve and Need to Grow Their Practice” and What They Can Do About It” and “Why Most Lawyers Fail at Getting Referrals From Other Lawyers and How To Change That!” If you would like an E-book copy of these books visit his website: www.lawyersmarketingresource.com and you will find instructions on how to get each book.