Law Practice Referrals—You Have to Give to Get

Yes, marketing and lead generation is critically important for your business. However, referrals, the age-old and often under-utilized way to gain new clients is still the best way to build your practice. Yep, good old word-of-mouth, whether it comes from friends, current and former clients, your social network, it doesn’t matter—these are people who know, like and trust you and it is still the most powerful and arguably least expensive way to get new clients through the door.

If it isn’t working for you (or should I say if you are not working for “it”), maybe it is time to take a look at what you may be missing. As the saying goes, you “need to give to get”, and this is certainly true in the legal field. Are you referring new potential clients outside your firm’s practice area to other law firms and attorneys on a regular basis? It is really common and easy to see the world as a zero sum game where there are only so many clients and you need to fight to carve out your meager fair share. But the reality is that the marketplace rewards an abundant mindset where being an “attorney of value” and coming from a place of service to ensure that clients receive the best possible representation is the faste
st track to success. Often this means referring the client to someone outside your area of expertise.

Now, as an attorney, it would be easy to see practice of referring to others as simply “quid pro quo”, you know. . .  I give you a client and you give me a client. . . well, it doesn’t always turn out that way. Sometimes you simply need to build a reputation of generosity and service and presto, magic happens, you get referrals from those you give to in addition to unforeseen secondary sources. Sometimes it’s hard to explain but it just works that way, it really does. But it also requires faith and confidence that you have built a reputation and practice that will attract an abundance of new clients. The big thing to watch out for is the fear of not having enough and shoehorning ill-suited clients into your firm just for the billable hours—it is a loser’s game. If your practice focuses on Estate Planning, don’t take on a Personal Injury or Social Security Disability case just because they walked in your door and it looks like an easy paycheck. Hand it off to someone you know will do a fantastic job for those clients!

This concept holds true for referring out to other professionals in unrelated fields, like financial planning, medicine, home repair, the list goes on and on. Remember, people want to do business with people they know, like and trust. Be a connector and the flow of the universe will return the favor. Sure, some of it does rely on banking favors with certain colleagues or structured referral groups, but the real power lies in maintaining an abundant mindset. Program yourself to help others as a natural default and see what happens!

Remember, give to get!