Think about how your clients come to you. What percentage of your clients find you through your blog? Your website? Your TV or radio ads?
However many clients those channels generate, it’s probably not nearly as many as referrals from other people who have worked with you.
According to attorney service organization Above the Law, 62 percent of potential law clients found their attorneys by asking friends and family for recommendations. That’s double the number that asked other lawyers for referrals and 25 percent more than the cohort that searched online.
Attorneys notice this trend as well. When the founder of a website for small law practices interviewed 30 lawyers, she found that referrals were the best driver of new business for all 30 respondents, even more so than internet marketing.
Why do referrals work?
According to the American Bar Association, referral-generated business continues to dominate the field because it creates a personal connection. Unlike prospects that come to you from paid advertising or content marketing, the referred client has heard from someone they trust that you are skilled, effective, and likely to be a good personal match.
This last element is particularly important. Clients care about your credentials, but they tend to make final hiring decisions based on connection.
How can you get more client referrals?
The quality of your service makes the most difference to how many referrals you receive. If you get results and show your clients that they are your top priority, you will become the kind of lawyer that people eagerly recommend to others.
That said, some clients will need a nudge or a reminder before they refer you to friends and family. Here’s how to jump-start your referral business.
1. Close with the ask.
When you end a case with a client, assuming the results were in their favor, include a request for a referral in your closing message. Make this standard practice so you don’t miss any opportunities.
2. Be specific.
When you ask a client for referrals, be concrete in your request. Ask the person if he or she has one contact who needs representation, and mention the practice area in which you worked for that client. The request will be more personal and the client will be able to give detailed feedback about your work.
3. Create a referral form on your website.
The more work a client has to do to recommend you, the less likely he or she will be to follow through. Make it easier by creating a simple referral form on your website, then embed a hyperlink to that page in every email that mentions referral requests. Make sure the page is mobile-optimized so that your client can text it to friends or family.
4. Thank the clients who refer you.
Every time you get a referral, send a thank-you note to the person who set it up. You can even include a small token such as a gift card if it’s appropriate for your practice. Show the client that the referral matters to you.
Referrals are the least costly and most time-efficient way to keep your business growing, and they’re one of the most effective. Many will happen naturally if you do good work, but remember to make it as convenient as possible for clients to send people your way.