Why you’re not getting more referrals (and what to do about it)


Referrals are the Sina Qua Non of a professional practice. No doubt, you get referrals, perhaps a lot of referrals, but I promise, you can get more. 

Maybe enough more to pull back on (or eliminate) your other marketing strategies, because referrals are extremely profitable and relatively easy to get. 

If that sounds good, I suggest you begin by figuring out why you’re not getting more referrals. 

The simplest way to do this is to survey your clients, especially at the end of the case or engagement. Ask them about your legal work and the “customer service” provided by you and your staff.  

What did they like, what do they think could be improved, and why?

You need to know.

They may have misunderstood something or expected something different. They may have had a bad experience with someone on your staff. They may think you did a good job but had an issue with some minor aspect of your service that is bothering them. 

After they fill out the survey, talk to them to learn more. You may not be comfortable hearing negative feedback, but it is important to hear it because it will allow you to improve your services and client relations and thus get more referrals. 

Besides improving your service, there are other reasons you might not get as many referrals as you could. Here are a few of the more common reasons:

  • Your clients are satisfied with your services and willing to send you business, but don’t have the business to send. The solution is to target other types of clients and markets.  
  • Your clients may not know who would be a good referral for you. Teach them about your practice areas and the kinds of clients you serve or want to serve. 
  • Your clients may know people who need your services, but think you’re successful and busy and don’t need or want more work. The solution is to educate them that your practice was built on referrals and you appreciate receiving them. 
  • Clients might not know the value of referrals. Make sure they understand that the referred client gets help without taking time or risk shopping around, the referring client gets the satisfaction of helping a friend, and you get a new client without advertising or networking in the cold market.
  • Your clients may be uncomfortable making referrals. Make it easier for them to do it by telling them what to tell the referral about you and how you can help them, and also what to tell you. 
  • Finally, you may not be getting as many referrals as you could simply because you haven’t shown enough appreciation for past referrals. Make sure you thank your clients who send you referrals orally and by sending them a handwritten thank you note. 

Referrals the lifeblood of your practice. This is how you get more of them.