Attorney Referral Marketing Technique: Add Partners with DMs

Attorney Referral Marketing Technique: Add Partners with DMs

Joe Volta, who practices injury law in the Carolinas, has been successfully growing his book of business using attorney referral marketing.  The vast majority of his open case files have come from lawyers he met on Instagram.  He has spent zero dollars building his productive referral network.

The referral marketing technique

Two years ago Joe began contacting lawyers who had a lot of Instagram followers.  Through regular contact using Direct Messages, Joe worked to build relationships with those lawyers.  Over time those relationships turned into referral partnerships.  Using that technique, Joe has built his referral network to 50 sources.  

Joe: “I started in January 2021.  I followed other lawyers to see what the accounts with a lot of followers did.  I then reached out to those attorneys using DMs, and commented frequently on their posts.  If you send random DMs you are often not going to hear back.  But I would comment regularly and try to become part of their community, which led to becoming friends with them.  That led to me obtaining cases in the Carolinas from them.”

Kara: “You’re looking to attract referral sources rather than prospective clients, right?”

Joe: “Exactly.  A lot of my page is geared towards meeting other attorneys.  In the Carolinas you can ethically fee split.  So I promote to attorneys with big national followings.  I’m trying to become the lawyer they know, like, and trust.”

“I’ve let those lawyers know that I will do everything by the book – I never solicit clients, and I share fees.  I’d rather have a 2/3s, 50/50, or 60/40 of a dollar than have no case at all.”

“I have 115 open files.  100 of those files are from attorney referrals.  If I didn’t have those lawyers who know, like, and trust that I’m going to take care of their clients and their brand, I wouldn’t have anywhere near the number of files I have now.”


You can’t just barge in and ask for referrals.  Just as you do when pursuing clients directly on social media, you first need to become a familiar and known presence to the prospective referral source.

Joe: “I build my referral relationships by continually talking to these folks.  I comment on their posts, and have conversations.  I comment on their successes, things they’re doing with their kids or families.  Or if they lost a family member or friend, I offer my condolences.  A lot of it is trying to build friendships.”

“If they’re handling a case in the Carolinas pre-lit and don’t want to refer it, I give them my pleadings and case law they can use to put pressure on insurance companies.  It is a long game.”

“I use social media to build people up, to get friends I would not ordinarily have because of the distance.”

Your posts

Ideally the prospective referral sources will follow your page, where you can periodically post information that demonstrates your competence and soft-sells the advantages of referring local cases to you.

Joe: “On my Instagram page I try to do some of those educational posts for the organic reach and for people who might not understand insurance.  Then I mix in posts that talk to other lawyers.  ‘Our laws in the Carolinas are different from New York’s, California’s, or Wyoming’s.  Send the case to me.  You might make more from a referral fee than if you try to handle it yourself.”

Major social marketers

Your initial targets are the attorneys with large social followings.  They are receiving leads all over the country, and likely don’t have trusted names in every state to whom they can send their out-of-state cases.

These same attorneys are also likely receiving leads outside their specialty, so don’t limit your targets to lawyers in your specialty.  If their social videos are discussing a variety of legal situations, or they are commenting on high-profile legal news stories, they are receiving leads in multiple specialties.

Joe: “I’m licensed in North and South Carolina.  A lot of attorneys, especially if they have been practicing awhile, are not licensed in both states.  So I let the national marketers know that, ‘I will help you in North and South Carolina, and that I am happy to share a fee with you – anything that is ethical and above board.’  

“Most people are happy to connect, and put their clients in the hands of someone they know will care about those clients and make the referring attorney look good.  Not only am I trying to make myself look good, I really worry about and focus on making my referral partner look good.”


This technique requires an investment of time rather than money.  

But what makes it superior to the old face-to-face approach at lunches and networking events is its efficiency.  You spend no time trying to schedule a mutually-acceptable meetup time, or traveling to and from the meetup location.

Joe: “Personally, I don’t spend any money on marketing.  It is all sweat equity – DM’g all those attorneys, emailing other lawyers on listservs that I’m a part of to build those relationships.”


Joe strengthens his new referral relationships … and adds new ones … by meeting face-to-face at marketing-oriented legal conferences.  

Joe: “Last year I went to the CEOLawyer conference, which is Ali Awad’s.  He is really big on Instagram and does great things.  Even though he is a younger attorney license-wise than I am, I really respect what he has been able to build.  I met a lot of attorneys there and got 10 new cases, 3 of which are 6-figure cases, just from the lawyers I met there.”

“There are other attorneys I got to meet there for the first time in person who were already sending me cases.  It’s all about fostering those relationships.  I can’t say that enough.  People do business with those who they know, like, and trust.”

“Coming up in July I’m going to the Law di Gras conference in San Diego.  I’m hoping to meet in person the attorneys who up to this point I have only had contact with online.”

Parting tip

Everyone needs and loves positive reviews, so this following approach of Joe’s is a wise one.

Joe: “I ask a lot of my clients, ‘Hey, if you’re happy with what I did, can you leave a review not only only on my site, but can you also leave a review on that attorney’s site because they referred you to an attorney who really helped you out and you are thankful they did.  I’ve found the referring lawyers really appreciate that.”

If you want to grow your referral network, start following and engaging with lawyers on Instagram who have large followings.  Many of them don’t have their nationwide referral networks fully built out, and you may fill a gap.  

But remember to build the relationship first and ask for referrals second.

7 Steps to More Lawyer-to-Lawyer Referrals

7 Steps to More Lawyer-to-Lawyer Referrals

Referrals are far and away your best marketing channel, as you own it 100% and no algorithm change, price increase, or influx of competitors is going to diminish its effectiveness.

Best of all, the ROI of referrals exceeds that of all your other marketing investments, for small dollars are all that is needed to fund an effective referral-generating program.

In this article, we outline for you the 7 steps we use to generate more lawyer-to-lawyer and other professional referrals. You can readily use these steps yourself or with your team.

For an alternate approach to growing your referral network, you can read here how a young lawyer added 50 referral sources and 100 cases using DMs.

Step 1: Set expansion goals. Can you 2x or 3x your referrals?

Begin by analyzing your current referral flow and efforts. How many are you receiving and what are you doing to obtain them?

3-4x scenario

Maybe your volume is low – 10-20% of your new clients are referred by lawyers, allied professionals, and past clients. And you and your team are not spending much time cultivating those referral sources, let alone seeking new sources.

In this situation, we would set aggressive targets: (1) triple your referrals within 18 months and (2) quadruple them in 30 months.

50% increase scenario

At the other end of the growth spectrum are lawyers who receive 50% or more of their new clients by referral, devote material attention to existing referral sources, and periodically seek out new sources.

Because the base number is already large, a 50% increase within two years would add a lot more referrals. But that target would still be achievable, for it is the rare attorney whose team is doing everything possible to maximize referral flow.

Step 2: Create a growth calendar

We increase referrals for lawyers using five tactics:

(a) Introduce you to new referral sources
(b) Build relationships with those new prospective referrers
(c) Strengthen your relationships with your existing referrers
(d) Keep you memorable and referrable with past clients
(e) Track progress against goals

Before getting started, we calendar what will be done and when. Below I outline what is scheduled for each of the five tactics, and in subsequent emails I detail the work we do for each tactic.

None of the processes requires special expertise so you should be able to readily plug the work into your practice, but receiving guidance the first few times can be helpful.

a. Introduce you to new referral sources

We first create a list of 50 local prospects, obtain your additions and deletions, then begin calling. It takes about two hours of dialing to set each appointment. We begin by setting two appointments a month, with each about two weeks apart.

b. Build relationships with those new prospective referrers

There is an art to doing this effectively. Depending on how the introductory call went, we contact the new source on your behalf a variety of ways four to seven times in the first year. Using scheduled cards, gifts, and emails, we seek to establish a personal connection that lasts.

c. Strengthen your relationships with your existing referrers

Few attorneys regularly reach out to their referral sources, let alone personally thank them for each referral provided. We fill both gaps, and recommend you do the same. Handwritten cards and thoughtful small gifts can have a big impact. Again, calendaring the outreach can ensure it gets done.

d. Keep you memorable and referrable with past clients

We email an engaging and branded newsletter each month on your behalf. The content is mostly non-legal, as the recipients are typically past their legal problems. You don’t have to send a newsletter, but some form of contact that keeps your name fresh is important.

e. Track progress against goals

We match every referral to its source, and record whether the referral becomes a client. This allows us to target our education, in case a source needs additional guidance on who you serve, as well as reward your prolific referrers.

Step 3: Expand your network

The surest route to more referrals is to get additional lawyers sending them your way.

More sources typically means more referrals, so the first step we take when retained is to set phone appointments with local lawyers and allied professionals who are interested in discussing a referral relationship. Here is how we:

Introduce you to new referral sources

We begin by compiling a list of 50 local professionals, with 80% being attorneys and 20% allied professionals who in our experience are likely to be interested in discussing a referral alliance with you. We share the list with you, and you have the option to add or delete names.

We then start calling each name on the list. We explain that we are calling on your behalf to ask whether the professional is interested in discussing a referral relationship on a 15-minute call with you. If we are unable to reach the professional, we leave a voicemail and send an explanatory email. Those explanations frequently result in a return call.

It takes us about two hours of dialing and emailing to set one telephone appointment. To calendar these appointments, before we begin dialing we ask you to give us some times each week when you are likely to be available.

You and the interested professional will receive text and email reminders of the appointment. Sometimes one party re-schedules, but most phone appointments are held at the time initially set.

To quick-start your partnerships, we set two appointments per month for your first three months. In subsequent months we calendar one appointment per month with a prospective referral partner to give us time to help nurture the new relationships.

We have set hundreds of appointments for lawyers using this approach, and have a good understanding of which professionals are (1) likely to be interested and (2) willing and able to refer.

The phone appointment

Your primary goals in your introductory call should be to: (1) learn about the professional’s practice and clients/patients, (2) listen twice as much as you talk, and (3) establish a connection.

Ideally, you will have a few minutes before your call to prepare by reviewing the professional’s website, LinkedIn profile, Facebook page, and any other Google search results. You will also want to have several questions ready so you (1) are listening more than talking and (2) learn about the professional and his or her practice. Potential questions are:

— How did you come to start your practice?
— What do you enjoy the most about your work?
— What about your practice drives you nuts?
— What are your favorite types of clients/patients?
— What constitutes a great outcome?
— Who is an ideal referral?
— What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?

Step 4: Build relationships with your new referrers

As you meet new referral sources, either on your own or through the phone appointments we set up for you, it is important that you plan how you are going to strengthen those new relationships and then follow through on your plans.

Touch points

We recommend you nurture those new relationships with 4-6 contacts of varying types each year. Below we describe the different types of contacts you can make.

Words. Periodically sending thoughtful notes, ideally handwritten on your personal stationery, is a quick, easy, and inexpensive way to connect with a referral source. The note can reference something that made you think of the referrer, provide some personal news, or just express thankfulness for your new relationship.

Gifts. Ideally you have learned enough about your prospective new referral source so that you can tailor your gifts to their hobbies and interests. The gifts should not be expensive; something small but thoughtful is best. Maybe a team jersey or other alumni wear for a sports lover, travel memorabilia from a location the source loves, or bagels or other goodies for the office. Avoid branded swag that advertises your firm.

Time. An occasional face-to-face meeting, even if just for a few minutes in between CLE sessions or other Bar gatherings, can help cement new referral relationships. The trick is making the meeting about them and not you. What’s new in their life, practice, or outside interests? Do they have anything big coming up, whether hire, trip, or family addition?

Assistance. Providing a cross-referral remains the gold standard of helpfulness in referral partnerships, but there are many other ways you can assist. You can direct them to a new contact, whether potential hire, advisor, or vendor. You can recommend new tools that have proven useful in your practice.

The unifying thread in all these contacts is giving. You are never asking for anything, including referrals. You are instead seeking to be a good friend, staying in touch and being helpful whenever you can.


We suggest you focus on the types of contacts you enjoy, for those are the ones you are most likely to stick with.

Some of these contacts can be delegated. In addition to setting up the initial phone appointments with prospective new referral sources, we typically handle gifting, thank you cards, and notes as part of our Referral Amplifier service.

Be sure to track your contacts so you know when the next one is due. Without that tracking you are likely to neglect some of your referral sources.

Whatever contact type or frequency you use, never fail to send thank-you’s for each referral received. That is the surest way to make that the last time a source sends you a referral.

Step 5: Cultivate your existing sources

When meeting with lawyers interested in our Referral Amplifier service, I frequently learn that they have no organized system for staying connected to the firm’s existing referral sources.

Contacts are haphazardly made, if done at all. Thank you’s for new referrals are infrequently sent. And updates are often not provided.

In these scenarios, the fixes needed are relatively straightforward. The trick is systematizing them so that they occur every time, and on schedule. The two most useful tools for creating your own referral-enhancing system are:

1. Referral-tracking sheet. All that is needed is a simple spreadsheet which notes: (a) the date a referral is received, (b) who provided it, and (c) whether the referral was signed as a client.

This is the data that will be used to determine:
– Are your referrals increasing?
– Who are your VIP referrers?
– Do any referral sources need additional instruction on who you serve?

2. Outreach calendar. Any digital calendaring software will work for this purpose. On it you will annually schedule 4-6 varying touch points every 2-3 months for each of your referral sources, both existing and new.

As detailed in my prior email, those touch points can be personal notes, gifts, get-togethers, or assistance. Varying them is helpful. And they should always be about giving, not receiving.

In addition, a handwritten thank you card should be sent each time a referral is received, along with periodic updates on matter progress and completion.

Implement this straightforward program of touch points, along with the steps I previously listed to add and cultivate new referral sources, and watch your professional referrals steadily increase.

Step 6: Stay memorable and referable with past clients

My interviews with nearly 100 successful attorney-marketers have identified 3 techniques for obtaining referrals from past clients:

1. Requests. I don’t recommend you directly ask for referrals from lawyers and other professionals, but I do for clients.

Lawyers understand that every professional wants to receive referrals. Clients do not know this and need to be told that referrals are important to your practice, you value them highly, and referrals receive special attention.

In the words of interviewee Chris Earley:

“We call it a culture of referrals. We can’t assume that people know we want referrals. ‘Just so you know, we are built on referrals and we would love and appreciate your referral. That would mean a lot to us.’ The more we said that, the more referrals flowed.”

2. Check-in calls. A useful technique during slow periods is to call past clients, inquire how they are doing, and then ask for referrals. Here is how interviewee Jennifer Gore-Cuthbert goes about it:

“In legal and other service businesses you have these meaningful relationships with clients, and then the relationship ends and you can fall out of touch. Every so often we like to call and say, ‘Hey, we were thinking about you and wanted to touch base. Are there any referrals you have outside of what we do? We have a large network of lawyers we can connect you with.’”

3. Newsletters. Old school? Yes. Effective? Also yes. Here is what interviewee Jason Melton says about them:

“Have a newsletter. How many times have I run into old clients and they don’t remember my name? If you asked me, ‘Who is my plumber,’ I don’t know. I can look it up in my phone, but don’t know off the top of my head. We are drinking our own kool-aid if we think people remember our names.”

Adopting even one of these 3 techniques will increase the number of referrals you receive from past clients. Adopting all 3 will have a sizable impact.

Step 7: Track results and expand your winning techniques

The last step in increasing your referrals is simple: track your results and do more of what is working.

If you find you have been successful at adding and cultivating new referral sources, keep it up. If paying more attention to your existing referral sources is increasing their productivity, try adding touch points.

If asking your past clients for referrals, calling them periodically, or sending them a newsletter is helping, try adding a second contact technique.

In summary

Quickly recapping, the 7 steps to more referrals covered in this email series were:

1. Set expansion goals. Can you 2x or 3x your referrals?
2. Create your referral growth calendar
3. Expand your network
4. Build relationships with your new referrers
5. Cultivate your existing referral sources
6. Stay memorable and referrable with past clients
7. Track results and expand your winning techniques

I hope you have found this introduction to increasing your referrals helpful.

10 Attorney Marketing Tips From My Interviews

10 Attorney Marketing Tips From My Interviews

So much helpful advice is contained in my past interviews that I thought I should organize it by topic.  When the recommendations of these successful attorney-marketers are grouped together, you can learn a lot about marketing your law firm.

This article focuses on affordable changes you can make that will lift the results of the marketing you are already doing.

1. Brand yourself

Brandon Pettijohn recording

[13:59] “I purchased the name The Port City Attorney while still in law school. I have been building The Port City Attorney brand since 2017. Having enough time in the space has helped, and the resulting brand recognition has been a big part of our growth.”

Josh Hodges recording

[4:25] “A lot of people in smaller towns don’t want to go to the big city if they don’t have to. And I wanted to brand as the local guy. I know having a nickname like The Bulldog works, but I thought it was cheesy and didn’t want to do that. But I knew that having something you’re known for was needed.”

 [4:50] “The best name thing I could think of that did not embarrass me was The Hometown Lawyer. But then I really have to be Mr. Hometown and publicize other local people. So we do a lot of videos where I shout out local restaurants. I’ve done that for a couple of years.”

My comments

You don’t need to go to extremes to have a memorable name.  You may not be comfortable with combative brand names like pitbull, hammer, or bulldog, but many less aggressive names exist.  Examples from my interview list include: money lawyer, breakup lawyer, justice team, brand attorney, lemon law queen, case handler, Myrtle Beach biker lawyer, MVP accident attorneys, and CEO lawyer.  

Using a brand name instead of your name also increases the value and salability of your practice.  New clients will not expect you to be available.  However, rebranding takes time and repetition, so is best done early in your firm’s life.

2. Locate in a growing area

Brandon Pettijohn recording

[10:27] “Wilmington is the base metropolitan area of southeastern North Carolina. One of the growing communities just outside of Wilmington is Leland, where they’re putting hundreds of million dollars into the community. Lots of people are moving here. So I moved my office across the river to Leland because there were no attorneys here in the area besides real estate closing attorneys. We have noticed steady growth in qualified leads coming from organic Google searches since we are the only litigation attorney in town.”

[11:07] “That relocation has been good for our growth. We gambled moving out of the downtown because I knew people might not want to cross the bridge for meetings. But I also factored into the decision the effect the Covid era had on everybody. People are more comfortable with Zoom meetings. While clients still come into our office, we don’t have the volume we did in 2019. We kept a small office in Wilmington just in case, but we haven’t had to use it.”

My comments

Brandon physically relocated, but you can obtain similar benefits by inexpensively obtaining co-working space in a growing or low-competition locale, and setting up a Google My Business profile for that location.

You can shorten the time it takes to obtain business from that profile by (1) beefing it up with photos, videos, and reviews, and (2) regularly adding content to your site which includes that location’s name.

I know one large injury practice that now obtains 40% of its new clients from a neighboring city where it has one unstaffed co-working space costing only $150/month.

3. Monitor your intake

Josh Hodges recording

If you recommend them, can you share the answering service that you use? 

[20:05] “I give every answering service I have used a B- or C+. The last one I used provided great service but were sometimes rude to callers. The new service is peppy and nice on the phone, but when I have a problem they don’t get back to me quickly.”

[20:53] “You need to listen to the calls and give them pointers. You can’t assume they’re picking up every time, either. With CallRail you can see if your calls are being answered. If  people think they can get away with being lazy or not doing their job, sometimes they will.”

Do you listen to the calls or make mystery calls? 

[21:36] Yes, I have mystery called, I have had my mother in law call, and I have had my mom call. They  know my number now so I have had to get a new phone. I also send in forms under goofy names to learn how quickly they get back to me. They do pretty well.”

[22:04] “Lawyers who have large and successful firms tell me that they still worry about their intake and are always trying to make it better. It is just something that’s never perfect.”

[22:15] “I think compared to a lot of firms my age and size, we do pretty good, but I’m not happy with pretty good. I’m trying to get to very good. I’ll call back when I get there.”

My comments

If you are not regularly monitoring and training your intake team, then I’ll wager that your signup percentage can be improved.  I know one firm whose conversion rate jumped 40% with some instruction and incentives.  

A past interviewee whose business is training intake teams finds that his client firms frequently double their signup rates once they learn how to close during the initial consultation.

You should begin the improvement process by tracking the number of calls, appointments, and signups daily, weekly, and monthly.  Don’t let software slow you down; a simple spreadsheet can be used for this tracking.  Next, be sure to record your calls and periodically listen to them.  

Finally, always seek to close in one call.  Depending on your specialty, closing can mean setting an appointment with an attorney, or it can mean sending a retainer agreement and getting it signed within 3 days.

4. Improve your customer service

Adam Rossen recording

How do you keep that high level of customer service consistent throughout your firm, from the person answering a phone all the way through?

[14:23] “It takes a lot of coaching and a lot of mentoring. But it goes back to having clearly defined core values and then hiring, firing, and training based on those core values.”

[14:36] “It’s something we have learned a lot about in the last three years. It starts with hiring, which is designed like our marketing to attract and repel. So first and foremost, it’s about people who wouldn’t be a good fit or don’t fit our core values or don’t understand what we do for people here.”

[15:09] “We have invested heavily in training in the last two years, and we have built tons of modules, videos, and tests for training for many of our departments. We record our calls, and go over them as a team. We have scripts, but always want to make sure we don’t take out the human component of it. Right? ‘I got arrested and the police beat me up.’ ‘Okay, where do you live? Because that was the next question, right?”

[15:46] “We want to hire naturally empathetic people and then continue to motivate them and give them tips, tricks, and responses for different scenarios that they might encounter like objections to price.”

My comments

Great customer service is typically only achieved with the regular monitoring, training, and motivating that comes from paying personal attention like Adam does.

Yes, it starts with hiring empathetic people, and scripts and worksheets will help, but if you or a senior team member have the time available, role-play sessions will be the most effective way to bring new people along.  Alternatively, have them sit near your best role model so they can hear how various situations are handled by a pro.

5. Check up on your agency

Adam Rossen recording

[10:34] “With any agency a lot of oversight is required. They have other clients. Nobody will ever give it the full attention that you would yourself. So there is lots of communication.”

[10:55] “I used to be the lawyer to every client. And then for a few years we had two lawyers, me and Manny, who is now the managing partner. Now we have eight attorneys and it is making sure they have that deep personal relationship with say Susan, one of our board certified criminal defense attorneys. We have internal controls to make sure that the legal work, the communication, and the relationship building with our client, that Susan will do the same thing in the same way as if I was representing that client.” So it’s the same thing with BluShark. It is work that you can delegate, but you still have to manage it.”

[11:48] “That is so often overlooked and a very important piece of advice. Sometimes when I hear agencies are not delivering results, you have to look in the mirror and ask, ‘How are you tracking their progress? Have you set up the internal processes and foundation to make sure you are properly handling those precious leads?”

Samah Abukhodeir recording

[8:11] “Yes, absolutely. ROI is super important. We have a practice management system that all of the leads go through. And within that practice management system we are able to see what call number the lead came through. We create reports every month and review those reports with our vendors to make sure that we are getting bang for the buck that we’re spending on these marketing leads. Marketing is not cheap.”

[8:11] “This is something that I have been studying. It is one part of the business that I didn’t know anything about. For the last 9-12 months I have been researching marketing left and right.”

Josh Hodges recording

How did you vet your SEO vendor and the PPC agency? That is a question I hear frequently from attorneys. 

[8:35] “The first year or two that I was in business, I had no money to put into it. So I read a lot about SEO and PPC and started doing them on my own. I had some success early on and learned enough to know which questions to ask.”

[9:00] “An SEO vendor needs to talk about more than impressions and rank. I want to know, ‘Did I get calls? Were they good calls? Did I get consultations? Did they turn into cases? What target KPIs are we talking about?’”

[9:40] “I have my own AdWords account that I set up, and I let them into it. I’m not going to let them run ads for me with me not being able to see results for myself with them providing me a report. Are they counting as a conversion a prospect who types in my name?  That person would have found me anyway.  I care about people typing in ‘car accident near me.’”

My comments

Someone has to police your digital marketing agency.  Josh has a background in SEO and PPC, which allows him to keep his agencies on track. 

If you don’t, consider using someone knowledgeable about the work your agency should be doing to monitor them.  Unmonitored agencies are more likely to give your account less attention, for they nearly always have more work requests from clients than they can handle.

I recommend that you communicate regularly, require reports containing the proper metrics, and share detailed results with your agency like who is actually signing up and which signers are quality clients.  This sharing will help your agency focus on generating wanted prospects, rather than just prospects.

6. Track your numbers

Joe Nazarian recording 

How do you stay on track and get your team to understand the importance of those numbers?

[16:08] “We have a weekly meeting. We input all of our numbers and track them on a quarterly basis. When we have our quarterly meetings, we discuss all the numbers to see where we are off and what is a problem. We immediately adjust, address the issue, and get it fixed as soon as possible.”

[16:30] “We understand exactly what’s happening, what needs to be strengthened, what is going wrong, and what is going right. Even if I miss a meeting, I can pull up the company scorecard and see if things are falling apart or going well. I can read the numbers and see if they are off.”

My comments

While your agency needs to know the end result of its marketing, you should know the beginning of the agency’s effective marketing – the marketing that delivers clients and wanted but unconverted prospects.  

How many leads, appointments, and signups do you need each week and month to hit your growth and profitability goals?  Are you ahead or behind plan?  By how much?  These performance indicators should be monitored daily by you and the key members of your team.

7. Solicit reviews

Adam Rossen recording

How were you getting your satisfied clients to leave you those positive reviews?

[33:13] “It is one happy client and one review at a time. It starts with our strategy session, building know, like, and trust, and treating them like people. It starts with getting to know them rather than just talking about their case or what they’re accused of doing.”

[33:47] “We are relationship builders. Yeah, I’m good at marketing, and I was good at law. But it is about the relationship. Not every client is going to say, ‘I was wasted and hit five cars and ran, but my lawyer got me off.’ Some will put the juicy details in their review, but they don’t have to. We tell clients that they can just say how they felt when they got arrested, how they found us, and how we made them feel. Were we easy to talk to, how did we treat you during the case, did we get you amazing results? A lot of people will say, ‘I don’t want to go on video for you, but I’ll write that all day.’”

At what point are you asking for that review? Are you sending them an email with the link? 

[34:56] “People differ on this. They say you can ask for a review at any time. We prefer to ask when the case is over. We ask by email and text. And if we just finished their case in the courthouse and got him a reduction of charge or dismissal, we will ask, ‘Do you mind writing it right now? It will really help us.’ We tell people, ‘When you were stressed and didn’t know where to turn, your review helps us help the next person who is stressed and doesn’t know where to turn.’”

Arkady Frekthman recording

You have impressive past client reviews. How are you getting those?

[21:53] “We have a system where we ask clients to write us a review, usually at different stages. It doesn’t have to be when we’re giving them the check. Of course, that’s the best time. But if you do something nice for them in the beginning like getting them a payment to get their car fixed, then you could ask them, ‘Hey, do you mind writing us a review?’ We’ll send them a link either by text or email, whatever they prefer. And then just a little bit of a follow up and then they’ll click and they’ll write us a review.”

[22:30] “Another thing I’ve been doing, when somebody calls you about a matter that you don’t handle, say real estate or divorce, but instead of saying, ‘We don’t do that’ and hanging up, I’ll speak to them for a few seconds and recommend somebody else who does. Then if they’re happy with the consultation, we will ask, ‘Oh, do you mind leaving us a nice review because we helped you?’ Oftentimes they will.”

My comments

Reviews need to be pursued.  To remain competitive with firms which have an active review solicitation effort, you need to devote effort to building up your review collection.  

Seeking them needs to be part of your firm’s culture.  Obtaining good ones should be celebrated.  And those who obtain the most or the best reviews should be rewarded.  A solid incentive program can be all that is needed to get and keep the reviews flowing.

8. Stay in touch

Samah Abukhodeir recording

Do you have any follow up for those folks who inquire but do not sign up right away?

[15:35] “We have different campaigns through our lead management system. Depending on how that call goes with the attorney, the attorney will put them in a different campaign depending on if we want to nurture them as a future client or if this is definitely not the type of client we want. So there are different campaigns that they can be put through.”

Have you tried text campaigns?

[16:04] We use texts, emails, and phone calls. They are called gas calls. Even when a client finishes their case, we will still check up on them after 6, 12, and 18 months.” 

I’m sure the regular check-ins contribute to your referral flow. Do you keep in touch any other ways? 

[16:36] “We have a newsletter that goes out once or twice a month.  In it we will touch upon something that is going on in the family or probate world.”

Adam Rossen recording

How do you stay in touch with your past clients?

[22:16] “We mail a printed monthly newsletter. We also send an e-newsletter. We want to stay in touch with past clients as many ways as we can. We encourage them to follow us on social media. Everybody on our staff is encouraged to send out birthday, congratulations, sympathy and thank you cards. We have internal metrics of how many cards we are supposed to be sending out per month.”

Joe Nazarian recording

[5:48] “One other thing we do is we make sure that we send gifts to all of our clients, friends and family once or twice a year. And we’ve gotten a lot of great results from that.”

My comments

I like Joe’s approach of – as he phrases it – watering the green grass. Promoting to your fans to obtain more referrals like Joe does generates calls from the best kind of prospects – ones who aren’t lawyer or price shopping. 

A newsletter is another proven way to lift your past-client referrals, for they can’t recommend you if they don’t remember your name.  Most of my interviewees send one at least monthly.

9. Tighten your focus

Adam Rossen recording

[31:51] “My advice is to focus on one or two marketing channels, and commit to them.  That is hard for a lot of people. You get FOMO that somebody else is doing something and you are not.  For us, it was getting reviews because the reviews help with our Google business profile and improves conversions because of the social proof.”

[32:50] “Six years ago people were telling me it can’t be done in criminal defense. We have over 750 reviews now, and we will probably have over a thousand within six months.”

I like your advice of picking a few high priority items to focus on. Some attorneys I speak with have 100 things they want to do.

[36:03] “Paralysis by analysis. Our third core value, which is one of our most important, is take action. Don’t confuse activity with accomplishment. It is better to go deep to accomplish a goal than to take a shotgun approach and dabble in a bunch of little things.”

[36:26] “We don’t handle any other type of law. I know you know about the importance of niching down. That advice applies to marketing as well as to a practice area.”

My comments

It takes patience, but Adam’s advice to focus on a limited number of marketing channels is solid.  You want quick results, but the channels that deliver quick results aren’t the best ones to use long-term.  

The channels that time to deliver, like SEO, social media, reviews, and client referrals – are the ones that will deliver over the long haul.

10. Get help from peers

Diego Bustillos recording 

Tell us about the community aspect of your coaching program.

[11:43] “The community has been a huge part of our growth in the coaching program. We get to exchange ideas and especially ask questions. Everyone is very open. It’s like we are part of a global law firm. And when we all are growing, we are all helping more people.”

[13:29] “Reaching out to other attorneys, not being afraid to be vulnerable and saying, ‘We’re struggling with this. Has this ever happened to you? How did you solve it? What tools did you use?’ Three attorneys may provide three different answers, but we will pick one and implement it.” 

My comments

Periodically meeting either in-person or virtually with improvement-oriented owners of small law firms can accelerate your growth.  As Diego says, a group can be especially helpful in moving you past an issue that is slowing your progress.  

You will also learn what is working for others, whether in management, marketing, or technology, which can save you much experimentation.  And perhaps most valuable, you are no longer alone.  Now you have colleagues you can confide in, sharing your concerns and learning that you are not the only one struggling with growth challenges.


Improving your marketing results

  1. Brand yourself
  2. Locate in a growing area
  3. Monitor your intake
  4. Improve your customer service
  5. Check up on your agency
  6. Track your numbers
  7. Solicit reviews
  8. Stay in touch
  9. Tighten your focus
  10. Get help from peers

That wraps up my interview excerpts.  I hope you found them helpful. 

Another way to obtain more clients is expanding your referral network.  We have introduced 170 lawyers to over 900 prospective new referral partners, and can do similar work for you.

Click here to learn more about our 90% done-for-you service.

How I Get Clients with Attorney Nima Etemadian: Maximizing Past Client Referrals

How I Get Clients with Attorney Nima Etemadian: Maximizing Past Client Referrals

Personal injury attorney Nima Etemadian has rapidly grown his firm’s revenue 3x over the past two years. He credits referrals from satisfied past clients as a major contributor, alongside attorney and medical referrals.

Nima shared his effective techniques for keeping past clients engaged to drive ongoing referrals with James Amplifier President Kara Prior during an interview on the Grow With Kara show.

Remaining Top-of-Mind Through Regular Check-Ins

A cornerstone of Nima’s referral strategy is consistent communication with current clients every two weeks, regardless of case updates. This strengthens those relationships in the long-term.

Additionally, post-resolution his team nurtures past clients with mailed thank you notes, birthday cards, e-newsletters and diligent database management. This keeps the firm visible as clients’ needs evolve.

Positioning as the Go-To Resource for All Legal Issues

When speaking with injury clients, Nima emphasizes, “I want to be the first person you call for anything legal.” This positions his firm as a broad resource beyond personal injury.

Consequently, past clients now regularly contact Nima regarding issues like wills, divorce, and other practice areas that he then ethically refers out.

Maximizing Referral Value

By sending non-injury referrals to attorneys who reciprocate with PI referrals, Nima has created a mutually beneficial loop. So past clients drive new cases both directly and indirectly.

As Nima notes, responsively maintaining past client relationships enables achieving the full lifetime referral value lawyers often leave on the table.

In summary, through regular check-ins, post-resolution nurturing, and positioning as a trusted legal advisor, Nima builds enduring goodwill and visibility with past clients. This loyalty directly converts into new referrals while keeping his practice top-of-mind.

Webinar: Low-Cost, Rapid-Start Legal Marketing
Attorney Nima Etemadian: Website | Instagram | Facebook
In just 4 years Nima Etemadian and his partner have built an exceptionally fast-growing injury firm in the competitive SoCal market. They doubled revenue their second year, tripled it their third year, and are on track to triple again this year.
How Long Does It Take to Get Law Referrals from Professional Sources?

How Long Does It Take to Get Law Referrals from Professional Sources?

If you only have a couple new referral partners, timing can vary widely … from almost instantly to waiting six months for the first referred clients to appear. We have seen both outcomes.

However, if you assemble a larger group of partners, timing as well as volume of referral flow become more reliable and predictable. This latter approach is what: we recommend, detail below, and takes six months to achieve.

Finding New Law Referral Sources

In your first three months as a subscriber to the Marketing Amplifier, we guarantee you two phone appointments each month with high-quality and interested referral partners. After the first three months, we calendar one or two appointments for you each month.

We follow that approach to kickstart your new referral partner group before dropping down to a volume of introductions that is more readily handled.

While we assist with cultivation of your new partner group, your personal attention to the new relationships is also needed. For that reason, once you have a core group of partners, you will find that talking to one or two new prospective partners each month will keep your referral group growing at a healthy but manageable pace.

Expect that some new partners will send no referrals, others will send modest volumes, and a few will be highly productive. You only need four or five prolific referrers to give your practice a material boost. Be on the lookout for those especially productive sources while you continually seek and cultivate new partners. When you find those winners, pay special attention to them.

Ways to Cultivate New Referral Sources

We help you cultivate your new referral sources. How we do that is detailed in our article How Do You Help Me Stay in Touch with My New Referral Sources? Here we provide ways you can supplement our efforts.

  • Visible effort to refer. Inquire about the type of legal business wanted. Learn the characteristics of your new referrer’s ideal client. When and where is that ideal client likely to surface?
  • Inclusion. Invite the referral source to your firm parties and client gatherings. Introduce them around.
  • Publicize. Welcome and describe your new referral partners in your law firm newsletter. Follow them on social media and share their articles on your pages.

Results to Expect

If you take the calls we set up for you, use our partner cultivation materials, and add a bit of your own attention and care, you can expect referrals to begin flowing after three months and rise up to a reasonably predictable level within six to nine months.

The keys to obtaining growth in your initial number of referrals are

  • Taking good care of the referred clients
  • Keeping the referrer informed 
  • Thanking the referrer
  • Staying in touch
  • Regularly approaching potential new referrers

Contrary to popular perception, cross referrals are not necessary to a successful referral relationship. They certainly help, and some referral sources will dry up without return referrals, but many referral sources will continue without them. And properly maintained, those sources can remain productive for years.

How Do I Impress My Law Firm’s Leads?

How Do I Impress My Law Firm’s Leads?

How Do I Impress My Law Firm’s Leads?

Half of the competitive battle in turning law firm leads into clients is standing apart from the other lawyers the prospect has reached out to.

With voice search, Google My Business, and click-to-call, it is so easy for prospects to quickly generate a list of qualified local lawyers that they frequently contact more than one. The first law firm to impress the prospect is generally the one to land the office appointment and a signature.

How do you stand apart from your competitors? Here are seven ways. All but one can be created once and used forever.

Starting Strong

1. Lead magnet on your website.

A proven technique that online businesses have been using for years but law firms have ignored is to offer an attractive piece of content on your website using what is called an exit-intent popup.

The exit-intent popup appears when your visitors move their cursors to the website address line, which indicates they are preparing to leave your site. The popup offers an attractive piece of content in exchange for contact information and answer to a qualifying question.

We use an extensive set of frequently-asked questions on our popups, and inquire about the urgency of the legal issue. If the FAQ downloader says the issue is urgent, we call and ask to set an office appointment.

This popup with telephone call generates additional appointments from the same website traffic.

2. Shock-and-awe package.

Every prospect who calls your office, completes your website form, and downloads your lead magnet should receive your digital shock-and-awe package. The best prospects should also receive a hard copy of your package (more on this in the next section).

What should your shock-and-awe package consist of? We use a 200-page book, two educational booklets, a detailed practice brochure, and explanatory cover letter.

The number of lawyers with shock-and-awe packages is miniscule, so the odds are high that none of your competitors will be sending comparable materials to your prospects.

Converting Leads to Appointments

3. Call to offer hard copy and qualify.

We have had excellent results calling leads to offer a free print version of the content they downloaded. Most will say yes to our offer and confirm their physical address. We then inquire about their situation and seek to set appointments with those who are well qualified.

You can readily implement the same approach using your book, FAQs, or other content you offer on your website or through webinars or eblasts. Try it; the technique works well.

4. Nurturing series.

Every lead name you obtain, however you obtain it, should receive a lengthy email series that explains in detail how you help.

Walk your prospects step-by-step through the legal process they will experience when working with you. Empathize with their problem, explain how resolution will occur, and then describe how much better things will be when the problem is resolved. Offer to help and provide your contact information.

Our series run 15-18 letters long, and are sent automatically. The pace varies by specialty, but one email per week is the average. The emails generate appointments that otherwise would be unlikely to occur, for most leads are quick to forget who they reached out to.

Converting Appointments to Clients

5. Office materials.

Your content collection is most effective when tailored to the prospect.

For example, one of our injury-attorney subscribers had an appointment with a seriously-injured prospect who wavered during the appointment and during the follow-up call said he was going to negotiate with the insurance company himself.

The attorney then sent our booklet “How Insurance Companies Work” to the prospect. A week later the prospect retained the attorney, saying he now understood that he was ill-equipped to handle the matter himself.

In addition to sending targeted booklets to wavering prospects, you can display relevant booklets in your lobby, provide them at your front desk, and personally hand them out at the conclusion of your appointment. The key to success is to provide ones directly on point with the prospect’s questions, concerns, or objections.

Avoiding Buyer’s Remorse

6. Welcome kit.

This a modified version of your shock-and-awe package and serves the same purpose — create a positive initial impression. You want your new clients to speak favorably of you and your work, and a well-crafted welcome kit will get them doing so.

In our kits we include a collection similar to the shock-and-awe package, but use booklets that cover questions arising during representation rather than before retention. The cover letter explains what will occur next, and how the client will be updated throughout the matter.

As with many of these techniques, you can create your welcome kit once and use it without modification for years.

7. Reassurance series.

Salesmanship does not end once a client is signed … especially if there is a time gap between signature and visible work. Lawyers are notoriously poor at communicating the work being done behind the scenes.

The easy solution is to create a series of emails that explains what is occurring, and then automatically send these emails at the pace of one per week to every new client. The series, consistent with its name, will reassure clients that work is being done on their matter, all is well, and they don’t need to call your office to ask what is occurring.

We recommend that you set yourself the goal of creating one of these items every quarter. If you have decent website traffic, say several hundred unique visitors per month, adding a popup and placing follow-up calls will prove productive.

Alternatively, you can begin writing educational booklets that can be used multiple ways: as tailored sends and handouts, as part of a shock-and-awe package or welcome kit, and as waiting room reading.

But do begin … before your competition does.

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