No business can be successful without a steady stream of clients. And for service-based businesses like law firms, finding new clients is one of the trickier aspects of day-to-day business life. Having comprehensive marketing and PR campaigns is one way to attract new prospects, but even they can have their limitations.
However, there is another method that can generate consistent results and bring in a steady stream of new clients…
Investing time and effort into setting up an established referral network will pay dividends in the future when it comes to finding new clients. First, however, the setting up of the system needs to be taken seriously with a structure and consistent approach in place.
And there’s a range of methods service-based businesses and family law firms can use to help set up a referral network.
Asking for referrals
One of the easiest ways to get referrals is through building excellent working relationships with existing clients. In addition, providing excellent customer service ensures all clients will be happy to use your services again.
The more visible and accessible you are, the more you’ll be at the forefront of client’s minds. So stay in touch with past and present clients regularly using email and newsletters. And ask for referrals as part of your messaging.
Asking for referrals shouldn’t be frowned upon. Happy clients will be glad to provide testimonials and pass on your details to friends, family, and acquaintances.
Make the most of networking events
Whether it’s online or in-person, networking is one of the best ways to make connections. But to maximize the impact of networking, it requires a little forward planning. It’s not just a case of handing out a few business cards.
Get the most out of networking by –
Knowing your goals in advance. If getting referrals is the primary goal, figure out how you can best represent the firm to get them.
Practice your pitch. You don’t want to sound robotic, but have in mind precisely what points you want to get across.
Listen attentively. Don’t make it all about you.
Collect business cards and, where possible, arrange follow-up meetings. If a new connection specializes in an aspect of your service you don’t provide (and vice versa), there’s scope for a workable referral scheme.
Offer an incentive
Many companies offer incentives in exchange for referrals. And there’s no reason why this can’t work for a service-based business.
Think of a few ways you can give something back as a thank you for the referral. It doesn’t need to be anything hugely costly. The referral should always bring in more than given out.
Discount vouchers or small gifts work well – anything that conveys appreciation.
Referral can sometimes be tricky to get because it takes up an existing client’s time. So make the process as easy as possible. For example, provide all clients with a referral email address or, better still, create an easy-to-follow referral form on your website.
The easier it is to refer, the more likely it is to happen regularly.
Be visible online
If people don’t know much about you, they’ll find it tricky to refer you. Consistent content marketing plays a significant role in gaining conversions from referrals.
Think about it for a moment and imagine this scenario.
Imagine you’re going through a nasty divorce, and a friend has referred a lawyer to you. But you want to make sure it’s the right lawyer for your family situation. So you go online and check out the website, testimonials, and any other information you can find.
If that information wasn’t there, would you be so inclined to pick up the phone and follow up on the referral?
Make sure you have a customer-focused website and visibility on other platforms and channels. For example, social media is a good channel on which to ask clients to share their reviews.
Informative blog posts also have the potential to generate referrals, especially if the content is shared.
Be visible in person
As well as marketing online, it’s also essential to market your business in person. Getting out and about in the local community helps get your business known.
Be sociable and pop along to local events in a professional and non-professional capacity. Mixing socially helps create a more human aspect to the business, especially with law firms which can sometimes seem a little intimidating to the general public.
Another great way to build a caring reputation within the community and lead to more referrals is to donate to or attend local charity events.
It doesn’t need to be massive amounts – remember you’re building a referral scheme, not a sponsorship deal – but contributing to the local community builds trust and loyalty.
Referral Schemes Take Time To Build, But If Successful, They’re An Asset To Any Business
It takes time to create a well-established referral network. But it’s well worth the effort. Word-of-mouth is one of the most powerful marketing tools out there, and those clients who come to your business through referrals tend to be the ones who stay.
Maxwell Hills is the founder of Hills Law Group, a premier Orange County family law firm with a concentration on high net worth divorces. Max’s entrepreneurial career stretches back to his teenage days when he had his music used in Grey’s Anatomy and ESPN. Today, Max has used that experience to build Hills Law Group with 0 customers and $0 in revenue to a respected firm in the industry.
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