This is something old-school lawyers say a lot: “Your best sources of referrals are your existing clients.”
And, for word-of-mouth, referral-based law firms, it’s probably true that referrals from other lawyers or from existing clients are 1-2.
However, your existing clients will only remain good referral sources if you determine to stay in contact with them, making your desire for receiving their referrals known — and not in some indirect way, either.
Make Excuses to Contact Your Existing Clients
If you don’t have an effective way to stay in touch with your existing clients, outside of required case updates or asking them for money, there are a plethora of options to choose from, including:
- Sending a regular e-newsletter.
- Starting a blog.
- Establishing social media accounts and posting your blog posts there.
- Starting a pet grooming business on the side … oh, sorry, that was a different list.
Of course, it’s not just existing clients who can make referrals. In fact, I bet you’ve got a hell of a lot of other potential referral sources, many of whom you’re probably neglecting or refusing to access — including those folks who never became clients.
Don’t Forget About the Leads That Didn’t Convert
Just because a potential client doesn’t sign on the dotted line right away, that does not mean an attorney-client relationship is foreclosed forever. Sometimes, things come back around in the most unexpected ways, if you give them a chance to.
Not only may those potential clients actualize at some later time, they may have referrals for you as well. It’s more likely that they will pass leads along if your initial engagement with them is professional, and if you continue to stay in contact over time.
The key to staying on top of staying in touch? Build out your contact lists. If you want to get real technical, you can create specifically targeted lists of contacts. For example:
- Existing clients
- Leads that never converted
- Attorney referrers
- People who make you cookies when you do nice things for them, etc.
Broadcast to your lists using e-newsletters or email alerts. Amass social media followers and post regularly in your specialty. Every chance you give yourself to communicate in a professional setting is another opportunity to remind someone of what you do for a living, and to get them thinking about how they themselves, or someone they know, may need your services.
You never know when a specific need will arise, so it’s imperative to present yourself as a solution at regular intervals.
Subscribe to Attorney at Work
Get really good ideas every day: Subscribe to the Daily Dispatch and Weekly Wrap (it’s free). Follow us on Twitter @attnyatwork.