This marketing strategy may be the only one you ever need

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If you like referrals, if you like working smarter not harder, if you don’t want to spend a lot of time or money on marketing, if you want to build your practice organically and know you will never run out of clients. . .

I have some advice for you.

You can start doing this immediately. You can take tiny steps or go whole hog. You can do it in addition to everything else you do to bring in clients, or you can replace everything else with this one, simple strategy.

This:

Get to know everyone your clients and contacts know.

If you handle consumer matters, get to know your clients’ friends and neighbors and the owners and employees of the businesses they patronize.

If you have business clients (even if you don’t practice business law), get to know their customers or clients, vendors or suppliers, colleagues and competitors.

Instead of building your practice linearly, one new client or new contact at a time, build it geometrically–10, 50, 100 at at time.

Because each new client or contact is the gateway to hundreds more.

Because everyone knows other people who might need your services at some point, or know someone they can refer.

The average person knows 250 people. If you have 250 people on your current list of clients and contacts, your list can potentially reach 62,500 people.

Think about the leverage this gives you. People who know, like and trust you recommending you to people in their warm market.

When you meet someone new, don’t just look at them, look “through” them, at the people they know, because there are a lot of them.

How do you implement this? There are many things you can do.

Here’s a great place to start.

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The value of building an exceptional client experience

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It takes a lot of effort to attract good clients. It takes even more effort to keep them happy.

Is it worth it?

All of the time, energy, and money it takes to treat clients “better than they have a right to expect” is one of the best investments you can make.

Here are a few reasons why:

  • Clients who receive exceptional service are far more likely to stick with you for the long term. Their lifetime value might be ten times what you earn on their first case or engagement.
  • Happy clients are easier to work with. They are less likely to cause problems, more likely to let you do your work.
  • They are more likely to be fee sensitive. You can charge more because you’re worth it, and your clients will usually pay on time.
  • Satisfied clients are willing to provide referrals. Clients who are thrilled with you go out of their way to find clients they can refer.
  • They promote your offers, share your content, and send traffic to your website.
  • And they provide testimonials and positive reviews.

As a practicing professional, you can do the minimum required to satisfy your clients or you can consistently look for ways to do more.

Most lawyers go for the first option, giving you the opportunity to stand out from the rest and build an incredibly successful, profitable and satisfying practice.

So, you tell me, is it worth it?

How to (easily) get more referrals from your clients

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Help your clients help you

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You want your clients to provide you with testimonials, reviews, and referrals. Many are willing to do it but don’t do it because they don’t know what to write or how to do.

Help them. Teach them what to do and show them how to do it.

You can put instructions on a web page or in an email that goes out towards the end of the case or engagement.

You can provide them with checklists, sample language, and examples of what other clients have said or done.

You can teach them what a good referral looks like, what to say to their friend about you, and what to do to comfortably make the referral.

You can also create a review/testimonial template–something like this:

Testimonial/Review Template

  • I contacted [lawyer/firm] because. . .
  • I needed/wanted [desired outcome]
  • The result was. . .
  • One thing I liked best was his/her/their. . .
  • I will hire [them] again if I need [more legal work/updates/other]
  • I would recommend [lawyer/firm] to people who need. . .

You could also provide clients with a handful of good reviews (or testimonials) you’ve received. Not only will this give them ideas about what to say about you, it will also empower them to do it by providing social proof that this is what satisfied clients do.

Make it easier for your clients to provide reviews, testimonials, and referrals, and you’ll get more of them.

Get more referrals by teaching your clients how to make referrals

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Here’s your referral ‘Plan B’

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You probably know you’ll get more referrals if you say something like this to your clients and contacts:

“We’re always looking for more clients and your referrals would be appreciated”.

You just don’t want to.

Well, here’s something else you can do.

It’s something you see and hear all over the Internet–in every video, podcast, article, and blog post. Everyone asks readers or listeners to “Like, Share, and Comment”.

It’s so common, many people don’t notice it. It’s part of the furniture.

And yet, it works. People do share, and when they do, new people come and watch or read or sign up.

So, if you’re uncomfortable directly asking for referrals, do this instead. Ask people to share your post, your video, your link, an invitation to your upcoming event, or a replay of your recent one.

You can “ask” in the content itself, on social media, and at the bottom of your newsletter. You can even ask at the bottom of your regular emails.

Add one sentence–an offer of a report or checklist or resource guide–and a link to a page where readers can download it or get more information.

Easy, right?

You can even do this in person (if that’s ever a thing again).

Hand the client print copies of your article or report, or extra business cards or brochures. Ask them to share with people they think might like a copy.

Or. . . don’t say anything. Most people know what to do.

More ways to get referrals without asking

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Compounded Referrals

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You’re going to love this.

You’ll love it because it’s a simple (and proven) way to bring in more referrals.

A lot more.

Instead of getting referrals onesy-twosy, you’ll get them in bunches.

Two referrals lead to five. Five referrals lead to ten.

When referrals beget referrals, your client base grows geometrically, not mathematically.

The referrals come from the new clients who are referred to you. They also come from the original referring clients who see that their referral was appreciated by the client they referred, and by you.

Treat your clients right and they come back to you and refer others.

It’s called “client math”.

A new client is worth more to you than the value of their initial case or engagement. Their value includes the fees you earn from their repeat business, over their “lifetime” as your client, and from all of the referrals they send you.

You could also include the value of the fees that come from the clients they refer who themselves send you referrals.

Oh, so now you like math!

Okay. What do you have to do to foster this growth?

I hinted at this above, when I used the word “appreciated”.

When you show people you appreciate their referrals, or anything else they do for you, they tend to do more of it.

When you recognize and thank someone for sending you a referral, they usually repeat that behavior.

Yes, it is that simple.

All you have to do is tell the person who made the referral that you appreciate them, and say “thank you”.

Send a thank you note. Not a form letter, a personal message that shows them you noticed what they did and that it means a lot to you.

Send a letter, not an email. A hand written note is even better. It shows you took your valuable time to pen a personal message.

You may do this already. But you may not be doing it as much as you could. And by that, I mean thanking the client or referring party at each stage of the process.

Don’t wait until a referral or introduction turns into a new client. Thank the client or contact for the referral or introduction immediately, because you appreciate what they’ve done and you want them to do it again.

Then, after you speak to the prospect or the professional, thank the referring party again. “I spoke to John Jones and you were right–he’s a great guy! Thanks again for introducing us”.

Then, if that introduction or referral leads to new business, send another thank you. (If appropriate, or you get the new client’s permission to tell the referring party that their referral signed up.)

A small gift (e.g., a book) is also a good way to say thank you.

Well, there you have it. Smother people with appreciation. Make them feel good about what they did and they’ll do it again.

How to get (a lot) more referrals from your clients

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If your net isn’t working

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Many lawyers find networking to be a waste of time. Ditto for networking online, aka Social Media. 

Some have been at it for a long time with little to show for it. They may have collected 1000 business cards from events they’ve attended, or have thousands of connections on LinkedIn (et. al.), but, their phone isn’t ringing. 

That’s because it’s not quantity that’s paramount, it’s quality. 

A handful of high-quality connections can eventually lead to a steady stream of new business for you. 

What is a high-quality connection? 

Someone who has influence in your target market. They know people who might need your services (or have clients or customers who do) and will listen to them when they recommend you.  

In other words, they have the ability to send you referrals or introduce you to business and professional contacts who can do that.  

That’s the easy part. There are plenty of people who meet that definition. 

The hard part is finding people who are willing to send you those referrals or make those introductions.

That’s a daunting task when you’re trying to sort through a thousand contacts. 

That’s why the best networkers don’t show up at events seeking to meet everyone they can. They don’t follow anyone they find on socials, hoping they will follow them back. 

Instead, they have found that the best way to meet and connect with the right people is to deliberately target them. 

Make a list of 25-50 of the most influential people in your target market. Contact them, introduce yourself, and find out what you can do to help them. 

Because helping them is the best way to get them to help you. 

Here’s how to find and approach influential people in your target market

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The future of your law practice

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It should be obvious that some practice areas will soon be “hotter” than others, if they’re not already. Divorce, bankruptcy, foreclosure, loan workouts, evictions, and other areas are likely to be in high demand.

What can you do with this information?

If you’re starting (or re-starting) a practice, it makes sense to practice in one of these areas. Get ready for the coming wave.

If you have a general practice right now, get prepared to emphasize these those practice areas. Work on your skills, create more content, and explore ways to market your services to clients who need those services.

If you don’t practice in any of these high-demand areas, consider adding them to your repertoire.

Finally, if you don’t practice in any of these areas and you’re not inclined to start, align yourself with lawyers and firms that do.

When the wave hits and your clients and prospects ask you for help with something you don’t handle, you want to be able to refer them to someone.

Helping the client, and scoring points with attorneys to whom you’re referring business, can only lead to more business and good will for you.

Of course, this is something you should be doing anyway. It’s a smart way to build your practice.

Start by making a list of practice areas you predict will be in high demand. Then, make a list of attorneys you know who practice in those areas.

After that, begin looking for attorneys you don’t know. Start by asking your current contacts who they know who specialize in those areas.

Contact them, introduce yourself, and tell them you’d like to know more about what they do. As you get to know them, they will get to know what you do.

Which should lead to some referrals for you.

Start now. Get ready for your clients and prospects to ask you for a referral.

Because they will.

You can learn more about how to do this in my Lawyer-to-Lawyer Referrals Course.

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How to get more clients without advertising

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One of the simplest ways to get more clients is to work with professionals, business owners, bloggers, and other influential people in your niche.–people with clients, customers, or subscribers who might need your services or know someone who does.

Typically, you meet and network with them and eventually get some referrals.

That works, but there’s a faster way.

Step One: Find people in your niche who don’t compete with you and who have a following–a blog, a newsletter, a channel, a podcast, an active social media platform, or other list of people who know, like and trust them.

Step Two: Talk to them about “working together” for your mutual benefit.

That means using your respective lists to promote each other’s practice, newsletter, offer or event.

If you handle estate planning, for example, you might work with divorce attorneys and propose one or more of the following:

  • I’ll write about your practice, you write about mine
  • We do guest posts for each other
  • We interview each other
  • We mention each other’s offer in the P.S. of our newsletters
  • We promote each other’s upcoming events, book launch, or giveaway
  • And so on

You might close your newsletter with something like this:

“My friend Joe Lawyer has a successful family law practice and is offering a free report, ‘How to Lose Your Spouse Without Losing Your Shirt’. If you know anyone who might like a copy, give them this link: xxxx”

It doesn’t get any simpler than that.

Step Three: Rinse and repeat. Run more promotions with them and find others with whom you can do the same.

I show you everything you need to know in my Lawyer-to-Lawyer Referrals course. You can read all about it here.

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How to get more referrals without mowing lawns

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Our new gardener is doing a great job. He shows up on time, does a thorough job–our yard has never looked better–and is very easy to work with.

Having gone through so many gardeners over the years, we’re happy campers.

My wife found him by posting a notice on a digital community bulletin board. Several neighbors chimed in and provided recommendations, and we hit pay dirt.

On that same board, my wife saw another neighbor asking for recommendations. My wife gave her our gardener’s name and number and told her how happy we were with him. She told the gardener to expect a call from Nancy; he was very appreciative.

Referrals rule.

The gardener got the referral by doing a great job for us. Is there anything else he could do to stimulate more referrals?

He could give his customers business cards or brochures to hand out to neighbors.

He could provide a few talking points about his services, explaining all the things he does, the neighborhoods he services, mentioning that he’s licensed and insured, etc.

And he could offer an incentive for protectively passing out his cards and talking about his services. Perhaps, “Refer a neighbor and get one month of service free”.

So, can you do these things?

Give your clients cards and brochures to hand out? Yes.

Give your clients talking points about you and your services. Yes again.

Offer incentives for referrals? Probably not, but you can do the next best thing by “rewarding” them after the fact.

If your clients own or manage a business or practice, you can reciprocate. Send them referrals. Feature their business in your newsletter or blog.

If your clients are consumers, you can send them a small gift (a plant, a book, a Starbucks coupon) to express your thanks.

And you can always show your appreciation by sending clients a thank you note or card.

When your clients know you appreciate their referrals, they’re more likely to send more of them.

My referral marketing course shows you how to create handouts and talking points that bring in more referrals. Details here.

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The simplest way to get more referrals

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I built my practice with referrals, prrimarily from my clients. What was my secret?

No, it wasn’t asking for referrals, although I did that and it’s a lot easier (and more productive) than you may think.

It wasn’t giving them something I call “referral devices”–a report, brochure, or referral card they could pass along to friends and family. But that works, too.

And it wasn’t doing good work for my clients, exceeding their expectations, and treating them exceptionally well, although that always has been, and always will be, the foundation of repeat business and referrals.

These strategies work, but I promised to tell you the simplest way to get more referrals. My secret, only it’s not a secret at all. You hear me talk about it all the time.

The simplest way to get more referrals is to stay in touch with your clients, past and present, because while they may never need to hire you again, they can and will send you referrals, and they’ll do that more often when you stay in touch with them.

Stay in touch with the people who already know, like, and trust you and they will lead you to other people. It really is that simple.

What’s the simplest way to stay in touch with people? You already know the answer to that, too. Email is easy, inexpensive, and massively effective. And because you can automate your email stay-in-touch efforts, it doesn’t take up much time.

Would you be willing to invest 30 minutes a week writing an email to your list if it allowed you to triple your referrals?

What do you write? How do you get started?

I show you everything you need to know and do in my Email Marketing for Attorneys program.

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