By Ken & Tiana Hardison

More Cases. We all want more cases.

Wouldn’t it be fantastic to get them without spending a fortune chasing down the latest digital marketing strategies? 

But avoid getting drowned out by other law firms that are all clamoring for the same client, and trying to differentiate your firm isn’t easy.

If it were, every law firm would be generating 8-figures- and you wouldn’t be reading this blog- you’d be in Fiji sipping cocktails- 

Getting more cases doesn’t have to be a mystery or elusive objective. And your size or marketing budget is irrelevant.  

One of the BEST and most timeless marketing strategies for any smart law firm owner is nurturing and orchestrating Referrals from existing clients. 

Here’s the BIG MYTH– If I provide exceptional results for my client and they’re happy with my firm, they will automatically refer their friends and family to me whenever they need representation

Sounds great. But it’s dead wrong. 

Life gets in the way. People forget the lucrative settlement you got for them. They forget how hard you worked to resolve their liens and put more money in their pockets. They forget how many times your case managers talked with them and made time to listen to their frustrations with the legal process. They just forget – unless you take active steps to NURTURE these relationships.  

The lawyers who figure this simple concept out and take systematic steps to increase their referrals will realize a steady stream of new cases every month. 

Nurturing your past clients just means staying in contact with them so that you create “top of mind” awareness. 

Send cards on their birthdays.

Send greeting cards at various holidays throughout the year. 

Send out a short white paper or digital newsletter every month or two. 

Send texts or emails periodically-

Just stay in touch. It’s that simple. 

But that’s not the only way to start signing more referral cases- Where the real value is, and where the real opportunity is- and where you have a chance for actual control- is the ORCHESTRATED REFERRAL. 

What is an orchestrated referral? This occurs when you ask for and receive a very specific type of referral. 

Let’s go a bit deeper and get a little philosophical about referrals. 

What is really going on when a client makes a Referral? The FEEL GOOD MAGIC

To start the Referral ball rolling, you must understand what and how to make or orchestrate the referral process.

You want your best clients- the ones that are your raving fans to be proactive- on the lookout for how they can refer people to you. That’s when you will really see your new case numbers start to increase without you spending a dime. 

I want you to realize that the REAL reason people refer others is not as a favor to you. Nope. Not at all. The real reason that people make a referral in the first place is to make themselves feel good. 

No one is referring anyone to you as a favor to you

Surprisingly, this simple concept is something that lots of lawyers struggle with. Many lawyers are reluctant to ask for referrals because they perceive it as asking for help from someone else. 

That is the wrong mindset. 

I get it – who wants to be perceived as asking for a “hand-out?” or appear weak as if you aren’t capable of generating enough business on your own that you are out there “knocking on doors.”

 But when it comes to Referrals, that is not what is going on, far from it. 

Think about it this way: Whenever we tell someone else about the great movie we saw or the fantastic meal we enjoyed at a new local restaurant, we are making an implicit Referral. And we do this all the time.

Humans are wired to share good news. We are wired to tell someone else about something good that we’ve found out about. When we do, it makes us feel good. It makes us feel that we have an inside scoop and that we are “in the know.” We are naturally excited to let others in on what we’ve discovered—human nature. 

When it comes to books, movies, restaurants, or businesses- if something is going to make someone laugh, smile, fill their belly with good food, or provide something that will improve someone’s life- If we know of a company, service, or person that can do that- we share the info. We just do. 

Your clients are no different. They get the same good feeling when they tell someone about your firm. 

If a client has had a great experience with your law firm, and you keep up the top-of-mind awareness, then telling friends and family about you makes them feel good. It isn’t about you. It’s about them. Period. 

Everyone wants to feel better about themselves and sharing the inside scoop on a great law firm with a friend or family member who suddenly needs a lawyer makes your client feel good. 

It’s not about you. It’s about them.

And when that friend or family member takes their suggestion- and also has a great experience with your firm, guess what? It makes that referring client feel good all over again. It confirms and affirms that they were right all along! 

It’s a win-win. 

So now that you understand the concept, don’t shy away from orchestrating referral situations that make your clients feel good and bring you more cases.

Next, realize that all referrals happen as a result of a conversation. No referral can happen until two people are involved in an exchange. For that exchange to turn into a referral, three important things need to happen:

  1. They have to notice that the conversation is about hiring a lawyer.
  2. They have to THINK about you. 
  3. They have to Introduce you into the conversation. 

Here’s an example of how this works in real life: Just a few months ago, I was having lunch with a friend. He sat down and I couldn’t help but notice that he looked like he was in pain. I asked him about it, and he told me that he had twisted his back the night before and that it had been bothering him all day. 

As it so happened, I had just come back from my massage therapist, so that experience was fresh on my mind. I took out my phone and called my therapist to ask if she could fit my friend in after lunch. Then, I handed the phone to my friend, and the therapist scheduled to see him that day. He has been her client ever since. 

After making that referral and helping set my friend up with the therapist, I felt great. I had helped my friend feel better. And my massage therapist, who was also trying hard to build her own business, had a new customer. The funny thing is, while I felt great about helping them- each of them appreciated me for facilitating their connection—triple win. 

Here’s the secret- These kinds of conversations are happening to your clients about something that applies to your business every day.

Are you taking advantage of that? 

Are you being proactive to create the top-of-mind awareness needed for your client to remember you? 

Are you giving them the encouragement and tools they need for sharing your firm’s info? 

Have you made it clear to your past and existing clients that you LOVE referrals? 

Start TODAY- making sure all your existing clients know that you love REFERRALs.  

Have little stickers printed that say, “We Love Referrals” and put them on every single piece of mail that goes to your existing and former clients.

Make sure you have this simple phrase on your website- and that it is communicated in your social media and as a tag line on all your emails.  

And make sure you have it as a tag line or banner in your firm’s newsletters, too. 

Orchestrating Referral Opportunities for your clients isn’t rocket science, but it is powerful marketing for the lawyers who make the intentional effort to generate these opportunities. We all like that feeling we get when we share helpful information with someone else. Capitalize on this marketing nugget and start increasing your Referrals today. 

** For more strategies to help you build a powerful Referral System that generates ongoing referrals- JOIN PILLMMA

** Join us in Washington, DC for PILMMA’s 2021 Legal Marketing & Management Super Summit, Sept 29-Oct 2, 2021, at the Grand Hyatt Hotel. Live and Livestream.