Does the Legal Referral System Work?
The short answer is “yes it does.” But as we explain below, it doesn’t work alone. While we do the heavy lifting, you have an important role to play.
Calendaring Phone Appointments
We begin by compiling a list of 50 local professionals, both attorneys and non-attorneys, 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.
Similarly, most phone appointments result in a positive connection. A small percentage do not, and when we are alerted that the conversation did not go well we quickly set a replacement appointment.
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.
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?
The last question will help you learn personal information that can assist with your gives and enable a connection, as we explain below.
After the Appointment
Because establishing new referral relationships is mostly about giving and not taking, especially in the beginning, we work to help the professionals with whom you have promising initial calls. Being a publisher at heart, we do that primarily with content.
We begin by sending every-other-month in your name a print copy of our private journal “The Prosperous Professional.” This practical periodical covers Management, Marketing, Technology, People, and Outside the Office for private practices.
In the alternate months, we email an educational piece on techniques for building a referral-based practice. We include offers to brand our educational booklets in the professional’s name. Those offers are always well received.
We also provide a link to our full-length book 33 Marketing Tactics Working at Small Law Firms.
You can supplement our efforts with more personalized gives based upon the personal information you obtained in your introductory call. Consider sending (1) a link to a great article about the professional’s hobby, (2) a small gift related to that hobby, and (3) holiday greetings.
What Results Can You Expect?
Roughly half of our introductions will result in productive referral relationships. The volume of referrals will of course vary with both the source and the strength of your relationship.
If you want referrals to be a material contributor to your client flow, your goal should be 10-12 productive referral partner relationships with each partner sending you a minimum of 3-4 clients per year.
As your new referral partner relationships evolve, you will learn which ones are most fruitful and deserve the most attention from you and us to further tighten the bond.
75% Us, 25% You
Our Referral System is not 100% done-for-you. You need to show up for the phone appointments prepared, and you need to make an effort to establish a personal relationship with the partners we introduce you to.
But if you participate in a modest way and give the program time to deliver, working with us to grow and cultivate your referral network will pay off in a steadily expanding group of productive referral sources.
Ready for a demo of our Referral System?