Networking and referrals are an essential part of building a law firm’s client base. Referrals can be especially effective because they typically include prequalified clients who got your name from someone they trust. It’s important to network with other lawyers, people in the legal community, legal organizations, and professionals in other fields. Here are 6 networking tips for lawyers from Client Chat Live.
To receive more referral cases, you will need to build your network. People want to refer cases to attorneys they know and trust. Be personable and friendly to other lawyers, legal professionals, and even people outside the legal field.
Most often, referral clients come from other attorneys. This is why it is vital to build relationships with attorneys in other practice areas. Tell the lawyers in your network about how they could benefit from sending clients your way. Many lawyers have had success by creating a referral network. This is a group that recommends qualified clients to known legal professionals within the network.
You should build relationships with people outside the legal industry as well. Think of people in complimentary industries to your practice areas. These could include bankers, doctors, real estate agents, and more. They work with clients who need your type of services on a regular basis and can provide an invaluable source of referral traffic to your firm.
It is important that you let the world know about your area of legal expertise. An effective way is through your website as well as social networking sites. Get your name and areas of practice out there so that when someone needs a lawyer in your field, your name will come to mind.
When talking to people outside of the legal industry, explain your areas of practice in terms they can easily understand. Rather than saying you are a family lawyer, tell them you handle divorce and custody cases. This will make it easy for people to know when they encounter someone struggling with an area you practice.
Referring clients is a two-way street. You may come across a client with a problem that would be best handled by an attorney in a different practice area. Don’t let these potential clients just walk out the door. This is a good opportunity to make a referral to someone within your network and will often lead to a reciprocal client referral down the road.
An excellent way to meet other attorneys is to participate in legal associations. You could join a state, nationwide, or even a specialty bar association. Becoming an influencer within a trial lawyers association is a great way to build local credibility as well as grow your network.
When an event ends and you have made some new contacts, it’s important to follow-up to further develop the relationship. Many successful lawyers will reach out to the attorneys they met explaining how it was nice to meet them, remind them of their practice areas, and tactfully ask for referrals. You can also follow them on social media or like their firm on Facebook. Seek new opportunities to interact with them again to nurture the relationship. If you do receive a referral case from another attorney, don’t forget to follow up with a thank you.
By providing your clients with excellent service from beginning to end, they will be more likely to refer your firm to their friends and family. Don’t overlook your previous satisfied clients as a source for referrals. Tell them you valued their business and would like to work with more people like them in the future. The key is keeping in touch.
Despite the growing importance of the internet, approximately 29% of people still first turn to referrals to find an attorney. However, building a referral network isn’t always easy. Earning referrals will take time, focus, and commitment. Attorneys who have the most success are those who don’t give up and continue their efforts over time. Happy networking!