The best business in the world is referred business. It comes in the door ready to buy, it comes in with “third-party credibility”, it has a very low acquisition cost, and psychologically, it’s so much more fun to be sought out than to have to pitch yourself.
Each referral source is incredibly valuable, and can send you, not one client, but many clients, and not just this year, but every year. Building a strong referral network can take enormous pressure off your marketing.
The problem is that most professionals build their referral network by happenstance:
"I happened to meet this guy down at the courthouse, we happened to have a drink together, now he sends me a client every now and then."
That’s not the way to go about it. The right way is systematically and continuously.
There are four steps:
- Define the target universe.
- Identify the members of the target universe.
- Initiate the relationship.
Roundtables For Fellow Professionals
An effective tool for building your referral network is the “roundtable” in which you sponsor a lunch for professionals in related fields. For example, an elder law roundtable might include attorneys, financial planners, geriatric case-workers, hospital discharge planners, and Medicaid administrators.
The connections made in such a setting are often invaluable.
Continuing Education Programs for Lawyers(CLE & CE)
One of the best ways to form relationships with other advisors is to offer courses for continuing education credit. This positions you as an expert in your field, and provides the opportunity for the kind of bonding that produces long-term, mutually beneficial relationships.
Law Firm Referral Packets
Often our clients tell us that they have dialogue with a fellow professional that goes something like this:
Fellow professional: “I referred Fred Jones to you. Did he ever call?” Our client: “No, he never did.”
The solution to this dilemma is developing a system where your fellow professionals actually make the appointment for the person they are referring. Key to this strategy is the referral packet (from your office) that they can hand to the prospect. The referral packet contains elements that make the appointment sure to happen.
Ready for a free consultation?