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How to Get Referrals for Your Law Firm

Want to supercharge your law firm's growth? Learn the insider tips from Stacey Brown Randall in this podcast episode on increasing referrals.

9 min


Jan 9, 2024
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Referrals are one of the hallmarks of a successful law firm. Not only do they provide you with quality leads, but they also come with a built-in level of trust that can be a game-changer for your business growth. When potential clients receive a referral from someone they trust, they're far more likely to choose your legal services over competitors. And the best part? Referrals don't come with the exorbitant costs of extensive marketing campaigns.

Generating referrals may seem like a challenging task, but it doesn't have to be complicated. In fact, it primarily involves creating a plan to nurture existing relationships and using language that feels authentic and natural.

Recently, our Grow Law Firm podcast episode featured host Sasha Berson and guest Stacey Brown Randall discussing how to get more referrals. And in this blog post, we're going to share 10 strategies on how to do just that.

"They don't even know the results of what they're sitting on in terms of all this opportunity that exists for them to be generating referrals."
— Stacy Brown Randall

Strategies for Getting Law Firm Referrals in 10 Simple Steps

Reputation management for law firms and growth depend largely on referrals from satisfied clients, colleagues, and other professionals in the industry. Referrals are the ultimate validation of your hard work and dedication to your clients, and they can help you build a loyal base of customers who keep coming back to your firm. So how can you get more law firm referrals?

1. Ask for Referrals Without Really Asking for Them

An answer from a lawyer to a referrer
An example of an email letter for previous or existing clients

A typical strategy for collecting attorney referrals looks like this:

  • Send your referral request at a specific time: This could be after a successful case outcome, a positive client review, or simply when the client expresses gratitude for your services.
  • Be direct when asking for customer referrals: Clearly express that you would appreciate any referrals the source can provide and explain how it would benefit both parties.
  • Attend networking events: Attend local networking events and industry conferences to meet new potential clients and referral sources.
  • Provide excellent service: Clients who are happy with your work are more likely to refer you to others. This will be discussed in-depth under the subsequent heading. 
  • After asking for business referrals, follow up with the client: express your gratitude and keep them updated on any progress made as a result of their referral.

That's a nice and trustworthy strategy, yet not the only way to get more client referrals. Check this simple, yet brilliant insight from Stacy Brown, author of the book "Generating Business Referrals Without Asking":

"Being memorable and meaningful is what generates referrals. Focus on existing clients' needs. For instance, as a business and productivity coach, I recognized that my top referral sources were business owners who were also parents. On Mother's Day, I sent female referral sources a Wonder Woman water bottle, celebrating their heroic nature. This unique gesture made them feel seen and appreciated, ensuring they wouldn't forget who gave them that water bottle."
— Stacy Brown Randall

Implementing this win-win strategy ensures that not only do your potential referrals remember you, but also recognize that their attorney genuinely cares and remembers them. This creates a lasting impression and fosters a strong referral relationships that benefits both parties.

2. Provide Excellent Customer Service

The most important factor in lawyer referral marketing is providing excellent customer service.

When someone likes and trusts you enough to refer someone to you, it carries a lot of weight.

Ensure your team is responsive, courteous, and attentive to client needs. Go above and beyond to provide personalized service and attention to detail, ensuring clients feel heard and valued.

A testimonial from a satisfied client

Though it may seem difficult, here are some steps to take: 

  • Listen actively to your clients and understand their needs, which will help you provide better services. 
  • Respond to your client's inquiries and concerns promptly
  • Be honest and upfront with your clients about what they can expect from you and the legal process. This will help manage their expectations and avoid misunderstandings.
  • Use plain language when communicating with your clients. Avoid legal jargon and explain complex legal concepts in a way that is easy to understand.
  • Follow up with your clients to ensure they are satisfied with the outcome after resolving the case.  
  • Thank your clients and other referral sources for their referrals.

3. Build Relationships with Other Professionals

While it may initially seem counterintuitive to ask other lawyers for referrals, leveraging your lawyer referral network can create a mutually beneficial network that benefits not only you and your fellow attorneys but also your clients.

The key lies in identifying lawyers who excel in practice areas that complement, rather than compete with, your own. So, if you specialize in intellectual property law, you could reach out to a corporate law attorney and ask for their referrals.

To build relationships with other professionals, you need to: 

  • Attend networking events where you can meet other professionals in your field.
  • Join professional organizations related to your practice area. This will allow you to meet other professionals and stay current on industry trends.
  • Participate in online forums and discussion groups related to your practice area. 
  • Offer to speak at events and conferences related to your practice area
  • Provide value to other professionals by offering free consultations or sharing educational materials.

4. Get Involved in Your Community

The lawyers who visited a seminar
One of the best ways to get involved in the legal community is by attending seminars or workshops

Community events allow you to raise your profile and make yourself more visible to potential clients and other professionals. You can get involved with your community by: 

  • Volunteering for local organizations or events related to your practice area
  • Attending community events, such as fairs and festivals
  • Joining local organizations like the Chamber of Commerce or a community service group. 
  • Sponsoring local events, such as charity runs or sports teams. 
  • Hosting events, such as seminars or workshops related to your practice area.

5. Use Social Media

A satisfied client who always refers a lawyer
Satisfied clients' comments on social media showcase your legal expertise

More than half of the world’s population uses one or more social media platforms, making it a good referral source for law firms. Platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter allow you to reach a wider audience and stay top-of-mind with potential referral sources. The things you can do to get the most out of your social media and obtain law firm referrals are to: 

  • Create engaging content that provides value to your followers. This can include legal tips, news updates, and educational resources.
  • Engage with followers, colleagues, and other industry professionals by commenting on posts, sharing content, and participating in online discussions.
  • Use relevant hashtags to make your content more discoverable to potential clients. This can include hashtags related to your practice area, location, and industry trends.
  • Encourage your clients to leave reviews on social media platforms. Positive online reviews can help build your reputation and attract new clients.

All you have to do is create an account on one or more platforms you think are relevant to your law firm and use them in different ways. You can create a business page on Facebook to share updates about your firm and interact with potential clients and referral sources. Facebook Ads can be used to create ads for targeted demographics. LinkedIn can be used to network with other professionals and join relevant groups and forums. Instagram can showcase your firm's culture and personality, while Twitter can be a great way to stay up-to-date on legal news and trends.

It is not just about creating an account on these platforms. You must have an active presence on these, post engaging and informative content regularly, and engage with your followers.

6. Use Online Referral Platforms

Online referral platforms are websites or applications that connect lawyers with clients who need legal services. These platforms allow you to create profiles, showcase your expertise, and connect with potential clients through a variety of means, such as online chat, email, or phone.

One notable feature of these platforms is the ability for you to create author posts, allowing you to share valuable insights, legal updates, and educational content with a wide audience. Through author posts, you can demonstrate your knowledge, experience, and unique perspectives, which can resonate with potential clients seeking legal assistance.

Some of the most popular online referral platforms for attorneys include:

  • Avvo
  • Justia
  • FindLaw
  • Lawyers.com
  • Martindale-Hubbell
  • LegalMatch
  • LawGuru
  • UpCounsel
  • LinkedIn (through professional networking and publishing articles)
  • Legal Blogs and Legal News websites (e.g., Above the Law, Law360)

7. Keep Track of Your Referrals

Properly tracking your law firm referrals allows you to understand who is referring clients to you and leverage that information to your advantage. You can identify your referrals by utilizing the data from your CRM system. A reliable CRM system allows you to track and document the referral source's name, which is invaluable as it helps you understand who is advocating for your services and generating referral business for you.

For example, you can look at the names of the people who have referred clients to you and see if there are any patterns or commonalities. This knowledge enables you to appreciate and acknowledge those who refer clients to you and build stronger relationships with them.

Law Firm CRMs are very powerful tools you can use for your law firm's growth. Cheack out our top list to make an informed decision!
"We're first going to identify who you federal sources are, and then we're gonna identify who's gonna be the owner of that relationship. And then we're gonna make sure you create the right plan and execute on it consistently throughout the year. "
— Stacy Brown Randall

8. Implement a Referral Program

A structured referral program provides a clear framework for individuals to refer potential clients to your firm, while also offering them incentives for their efforts. This can include monetary rewards, discounts on services, or other benefits that hold value for the referrer.

To ensure the effectiveness of your referral program you need to track and measure referrals. Implement a robust tracking system that allows you to monitor the source of each referral and assess its impact on your business. This data-driven approach enables you to identify your most influential referrers, adapt your strategies accordingly, and offer additional rewards or recognition to those driving significant referrals.

9. Thank Your Referral Sources

After receiving a referral, you need to take the time to thank people for every referral they send your way. Sending a handwritten thank-you note every time someone refers a client to you can help you build long-term relationships with your referral sources. This gesture shows that you value their support and are willing to take the time to express your appreciation in a personal way.

A handwritten note has more impact than a digital message, which can easily get lost in a busy inbox. The physical nature of a handwritten card holds longevity and is more likely to be cherished and remembered by the recipient. It shows that you value their support and are willing to put in the effort to express your gratitude.

"I wanna take care of the people who wanna take care of my business."
— Stacy Brown Randall

10. Follow Up with Your Referrals

Once you have contacted the referred potential client, provide them with an initial consultation among other steps after the referral process. Then, make time to follow up with the referred client. While constant coffee meetings or frequent text exchanges may not be necessary, it is important to find touch points that cater to the needs of your referral sources. This means doing something memorable and meaningful so that you're remembered for longer and can do less because what you do actually matters and impacts them.

To create impact, the touch points you choose must revolve around your referral sources and their interests. Instead of self-promoting items like mugs with your logo, think about what they truly need. For example, if you know that your top referral sources are business owners who are also parents, you could recognize Mother's Day and Father's Day with a thoughtful gift, like a water bottle with a personalized message that acknowledges their heroism, demonstrates your attention to their individuality and shows that you value and recognize them.

The Art of Lawyer Referral Marketing: Strategies and Touchpoints for Sustainable Growth with Stacey Brown Randall

In this podcast episode, Stacey Brown Randall discusses the art of lawyer referral marketing and strategies for generating sustainable growth. She emphasizes the importance of identifying and nurturing relationships with referral sources and creating a plan to take care of them. Additionally, she suggests focusing on touchpoints that are all about the referral sources, not just about the lawyer. Stacey believes that by taking the time to understand who these people are and developing relationships with them, lawyers can generate more referrals and grow their business sustainably.

"The easiest thing to do is to generate more referrals from people already referring you."
— Stacy Brown Randall
Stacey Brown Randall

Stacey Brown Randall

Author, podcast host, and entrepreneur — Website

Stacey Brown Randall is a referral expert who believes in ditching outdated strategies that cause discomfort, stress, and procrastination when it comes to generating referrals. With a detailed, non-salesy plan of action, Stacey teaches business owners everything she wishes she had known about referrals, empowering them to attract a steady flow of quality clients. Her journey began in 2007 when she took the entrepreneurial leap, partnering with a small company that aligned with her expertise. Despite facing challenges and a business failure, Stacey learned from her experiences and discovered the power of generating referrals without asking. Beyond her work, Stacey is a Red Sox-loving Southern girl from South Carolina, a wife, and a mother of three.

This Is How Lawyer Referral Marketing Generates Easy Money for Your Law Firm

"Despite their high referability, many lawyers fail to tap into lawyer referral marketing resource. An average engagement for referred business is worth $5,000, with a closing rate of 60%, compared to a mere 25% for leads generated from digital marketing efforts."
— Sasha Berson

Imagine the transformation that can occur when a lawyer goes from receiving just 6-8 referrals to an impressive 40 referrals per year. Taking into account the 60% closing rate, this could result in 24 new clients! And this is only the beginning—the impact can continue to grow exponentially in the years to come.

To get your law firm's phone ringing, it's crucial to recognize the power of referral program. By implementing effective referral marketing strategies and nurturing strong referral relationships with existing clients and contacts, you can unlock a steady stream of high-quality referrals that drive your firm's growth and success.

If you want to take your law firm's marketing to the next level, consider working with a digital marketing agency specializing in helping law firms grow. Grow Law Firm may be the best option for you. Our expertise in attorney SEO, web design, law firm PPC, and other key marketing strategies can help you reach more potential clients and build a strong online presence to increase your revenue. 

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