How to consistently get true referrals

This is part two of a series on the top five concerns lawyers have about getting referrals.
To recap, I have just concluded a survey of small law firms where I asked then what their biggest concerns were in regard to getting referrals from people within their professional network.
From their replies we have arrived at the top five concerns lawyers have with getting referrals.
They are:
1) What can I offer to a potential referrer so that they get something out of the referral?
2) How to consistently get true referrals as distinct to an incentivised referral?
3) How do I approach busy potential referrers without being a nuisance?
4) How can I avoid getting the wrong referrals such as time wasters?
5) How can I price my service to attract high quality referrals?

In the last article I addressed the first issue. If you missed this you can find it at this link “ What can I offer a potential referrer so that they get something out of the referral?
In this article I will address issue two.

2) How to consistently get true referrals as distinct to an incentivised referral?

In addressing this question, I believe that the underlying question that is really being asked is how can I consistently get quality referrals. Let me explain why.
In conducting this survey on referrals, one comment that consistently surfaces is that most lawyers want quality referrals. By this I mean they want a referral that leads to then working with a quality client. While quality will mean different things to different people, generally the commonalities are things like :

– They are good payers
– They are good to deal with
– They are open to accepting and acting upon your advice
– They want the sort of service that you provide

If you are nodding your head as you read that, do you think that if you offer an incentive for referrals that you are likely to consistently get these types of clients referred to you?

If your referrer is motivated by incentives, I suggest that quantity rather than quality is more likely to be a focus. While getting lots of referrals is on the face of it nice, in the survey, that’s not the primary goal that I saw in the comments I got.

Lawyers it seems generally want quality referrals. Obviously if they got lots of quality referrals that would be good, but generally they didn’t want lots of time wasters, tyre kickers and the like, mixed up with a few quality referrals.

Accordingly then, a referral strategy built around offering incentives to refer, I suggest is not likely to consistently give you a quality stream of referrals.

Having said all of that though, when a referral is made with the sole objective of helping the client with their problem rather than getting an incentive, that client is almost always a quality client to the person receiving the referral.

Think about that from your own point of view. Consider referrals you have made. Did you refer people to your professional network that:

– You knew were poor payers?
– Were difficult people to deal with?
– Were suspicious of advice?
– That didn’t want the referred service anyway?

Of course not. You didn’t want the professional embarrassment of sending these sort of people to your professional colleagues.
If you have referred, I suggest that instead you referred people that you enjoyed dealing with yourself, your better clients.
When writing about issue 1) in the previous article I suggested that referrers needed comfort on two things before they will refer (if indeed they will ever refer):

1) That you have the expertise to solve the clients problem that is being referred to you
AND
2) That the client will have a positive experience in dealing with you and your firm

Now if the aim is to get quality rather than quantity in your referrals, then you need to be able to convince your potential referrer that you can deliver both of these things.
If you can do that, you are likely to get consistent “true” referrals.

Did you miss the first article in the series? You can find it on this link “The top five concerns lawyers have with referrals

For the next article in the referral series, click on the following link ” How to approach busy referrers without being a nuisance?