Client referrals

How to lay the foundations to generate more client referrals

How to build the necessary foundations to generate more client referrals.

There are many ways that a law firm can grow their client referrals.

One of the most effective categories of growing your practice is by getting referrals directly from your clients.

Happy clients can mean more referrals which means better firm growth. In this article, we’ll take a look at how to generate referrals from your current clients and why it is an effective tactic for growing your practice.

Product-led growth

In the world of business, a key framework for growth that is commonly followed is called ‘product-led growth’. This means that your product or services grow in popularity, not because of marketing, sales or distribution channels.

It grows but because the product and services themselves demonstrate their value to clients strong enough for them to share it amongst their network. Free advertising through word of mouth is one of your best ways to grow organically and establish yourself as leaders in your field.

Get feedback from your clients

Before you go ahead and ask for referrals, the first thing you want to do is get some feedback from your clients. By communicating with clients about the quality of your service, you are able to gain an understanding, gather data look for trends, and create a feedback loop that will help you increase the quality of your service over time.

By asking for feedback and starting a conversation, you’re building the necessary foundations to open up a dialogue about client referrals, and ultimately help grow your practice.  

So how can you go about gathering feedback from your clients?

One way you can do this is implementing a ‘Net promoter score’ after each piece of work you do for a client.

When you wrap up the work for your client and have your final consultation, send them an email asking them the following question:  

  • On a scale of zero to ten, how likely are you to recommend our business to a friend or colleague? 

After this question, you can ask them: 

  • How would you describe your experience of working with us?

This can be used to gather feedback on the positive areas of your service. It can also be used as a testimonial on your website. Then, ask one final question to improve your service: 

  • Is there any way we can improve our service? 

After a month or two of doing this, you will start to accumulate a great range of data-points on the quality of your service and how you can improve.

By implementing these suggestions over time, you will find that the average number of your ‘Net promoter score’ will increase.

This means that: 

  1. You will have more of your customers recommending your firm to others in their network, and 
  1. The general quality of your service will increase 

Both of these things are fundamental to growing a practice and gaining more client referrals. Next, you will need to create structures to analyse and implement this feedback. 

Gather and Analyse Feedback

When gathering and analysing feedback, there are two important points to remember. 

First, know there are two key ways that feedback can be gathered. In this simple model, ‘breadth’ and ‘depth’ are the key factors to consider. 

The first is essential, the second optional. ‘Breadth’ refers to general data that comes in through unsolicited feedback or through simple questionnaires like NPS.

This will help you discover pain-points as they arise en-masse over a large cohort of your clients. This is useful as it helps you to capture any pressing problems that arise when clients interact with you and your firm.  

In-depth Feedback

‘Depth’ is the deep questioning of a small number of clients. This is best done by digging not into the solutions that users may provide, but the pain points themselves – the core of their motivation to seek your service at all, and the key concerns that they want satisfied.

 If you wish to discover more about how your clients experience working with you, you will need to set up interviews. An interview with five to eight of your clients for around half an hour each will uncover a deeper understanding and qualitative insights.  

Second, it is important to know how to treat the feedback that you receive. It’s not necessary to implement every suggestion that you get as customer feedback. The idea here is to look for: 

  1. Any major issues that are hampering the quality of your service (high priority), 
  1. Any trends that your clients suggest would be good to have (medium priority), and 
  1. Individuals that provide very in-depth feedback and seem passionate about helping you improve your service. These folks can then be asked to take part in the ‘deeper’ interview process (lower priority) 

For example, it is possible that you receive occasional feedback saying ‘your service is too expensive’. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you will need to lower the cost of your service, as there are many ways to fix this issue. 

Expand your target reach

One alternative is to market to a different (higher paying) segment of clients, for example through rebranding. 

Another alternative is to include more services that are ancillary to your client’s needs in the package. Another option is to rebrand the ‘calibre’ of your products and service by shifting the design of your documents, responding more frequently to emails or calls, or sending a ‘thank you’ bottle of wine at the end of the service.  

Having insight into your clients’ experience is a necessary foundation to improving the quality of this experience. This will encourage your clients to become your proponents, by effectively ‘promoting’ your services to their friends, family, community and networks.

This is the natural outcome of a high-quality service, and implementing a referral strategy.

It is the essential foundation for getting more referrals directly from your clients rather than other attorneys or legal professional.

 In the next article, we will look at more tools that you can use to get referrals from your clients.  

Want to generate more referrals from your clients? Then try using a CRM to manage your relationships

From exclusive lawyer-to-lawyer community and a legal directory to a powerful contact relationship management and referral tracking tool, NEXL’s membership plans are packed with great legal business development and client management resources

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