Put this in your “new client” kit

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You sign up a new client and mail them a welcome letter, a supply of your business cards and brochures, and information you want them to know about their case, your firm, and about other matters you handle.

You should also enclose information about referrals: a description of your ideal client, what the client should tell people about you, and how to go about making the referral.

You want to make it as easy as possible for the client to refer others to you, and suggest that this is something clients customarily do.

To make referrals more likely, add an additional document to your new client kit: a sample email the clients can copy and paste and send to people they know.

The email should explain who you are, what you do, and how you can help the recipient with specific legal issues.

It should spell out your address, phone, email, social channels, a link to the contact form on your website and a link to a page where the prospective client can learn more about you and how you can help them.

It should also provide space for the referring client to say something about how they met you, why they hired you, and why they recommend you.

The email should come with “instructions”–who to send it to (your ideal client) and when to send it (when their friend or contact says or does something that suggests they might need your help).

Thank the new client for telling people about you and remind them that their friends will appreciate them for making it easier to get legal help when they need it.

For more ways to get more referrals, get my Maximum Referrals course.

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Send this email to all of your clients

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Your clients (and prospects) have other legal needs besides the ones you handle. They need a divorce and you only handle bankruptcy. The want to start a business and you only do estate planning.

Some of your clients know they can ask you for a referral, and some will, but many don’t know and won’t ask.

Tell your clients (train them) to come to you for ALL of their legal needs.

Why?

So you can introduce them to good attorneys, sparing them the time and effort of searching and the risk of making a bad choice.

And so you can help attorneys you know by sending them referrals, setting the stage for them to reciprocate.

Send your list an email reminding them that you only handle [your practice area(s)], you know they may have other legal needs or questions and you want to help them.

Tell them you know a lot of attorneys with experience in other practice areas.

Tell them to call you, in confidence, about their legal matter or question, so you can refer them to a good attorney.

Put this email into your autoresponder or calendar to send a few times per year.

What if you don’t know an attorney who handles what your client needs? That’s your cue to find someone and thus expand your referral network.

You can do the same thing with other professionals. Businesses, too.

My course, Lawyer-to-Lawyer Referrals, shows you everything you need to know.

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3 Ridiculously Simple Ways to Get More Referrals

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There are many ways to get more referrals. Here are 3 simple, “set-it-and-forget it” ways to do it.

1) Let your correspondence do the talking for you

Every email, cover letter, or invoice you send to your clients is an opportunity to remind them to send business. Add a prompt to the bottom of the document or to your email signature to do that.

Some examples:

  • “We appreciate your referrals”
  • “If you know someone with a legal issue or question, please have them call our office at xxx-xxx-xxxx and ask for me.”
  • “We offer free consultations. No obligation, no pressure. If you know someone who might need to talk to an attorney, please have them call me at xxx-xxx-xxxx”.
  • “If you know someone who might have a legal issue, please forward my contact information to them.”
  • “When you refer a friend or business contact to us, please tell them to mention your name, so we know who to thank”

2) Let your website do the talking for you

Add prompts like the ones above to the footer of each page of your website, at the bottom of each blog post, on subscription “thank you” pages, and on your website’s contact form. The contact form could also prompt the visitor to supply additional information about the referral or to request that you send them a brochure, report, checklist or other information.

3) Let your marketing materials work harder for you

Your marketing materials have a dual purpose. To get the recipient to understand what you do and how you can help them, and to prompt them to provide referrals. So, make sure you add a referral prompt to each document, handout, or download.

Include your contact information and a simple “Referred by________________” so your clients and prospects will be reminded to hand these out or forward them to people who might need your help.

Adding referral prompt to your website, emails, invoices, and other documents, provides a cumulative benefit. Each time a client or prospect sees one of these prompts, they are reminded that referrals are commonly provided to your office, making it more likely that they will eventually make them.

For more ways to get referrals from your clients, get Maximum Referrals

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Better than a testimonial?

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Is there anything better than a glowing testimonial or review from a happy client?

Sometimes, there is.

An endorsement from an influential leader in your target market can enhance your status in that market and bring you a lot of clients.

When you say you’re good at your job, people can doubt you. When a lawyer you’ve worked with (or opposed) says you’re good, that’s a different story.

Endorsements from a fellow professional, business executive, or prominent person in your community are invaluable. When they say nice things about your character, when they attest to your skills or experience, when they say that you’ve helped their clients or friends, their words carry a lot of weight.

How do you get an endorsement? You ask. Tell them you’re updating your website or brochure and you would appreciate if they’d say a few words about you. You might offer to do the same for them.

Who do you know? Who do you network with? Who sends you business or has hired you?

Go through your list of lawyers, CPAs, CEOs, business owners, speakers, authors, and others who sell to, advise, or otherwise influence your target market, and talk to them.

Their endorsement can open doors to you for speaking, writing, or networking. It can lead to new clients, introductions to other centers of influence, and referrals.

Here’s how to get endorsements and referrals from lawyers and other leaders

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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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