An efficient and effective way to do this is for lawyers to use personal CRM.
It is not just a nice-to-have – a personal CRM is a significant value-add for any lawyer or firm serious about strategic networking and business development.
A personal CRM is typically a contact database. However, if used right, personal CRM can provide a range of benefits for firms who want to generate more business from a legal referral network.
NEXL’s CRM, for example, provides lawyers with a system for developing, nurturing and maintaining relationships with attorney contacts.
Below we will discuss some of the ways that a personal CRM will help lawyers generate more referrals and build meaningful referral relationships:
1. Centralise contact information using a personal CRM
2. Identify your most likely referrers (top valuable contacts)
3. Achieve top of mind status with referral sources
4. Track your referrals in your personal CRM
5. Thank and reciprocate your referral partners
Centralise contact information in your personal CRM
A CRM helps lawyers be proactive about keeping relationships personal, consistent and strong. Use a CRM to track your activity and interactions with contacts, so you can have more meaningful conversations when you meet up.
You can also use the stored personal and professional details like their birthday, their role and where they work for recounting personal interests, special occasions. This helps with nurturing relationships with contacts
Using this kind of information is great for not only growing your network but fostering strong relationships with potential referral partners and professional acquaintances.
Keeping your contacts and information centralised creates a more productive and efficient system for you, your colleagues and firm. You can access the history, past engagements, details and interactions for instant access.,
You can keep everything organised, get reminders to stay in touch, reconnect with contacts and keep track of your tasks.
Identify your most likely referrers (top valuable contacts)
As you get to know your contacts more, you’ll start to see patterns, learn behaviours and understand better insights. This will help you identify who your most valued relationships are when it comes to business and referrals.
Similar to moving through a sales process with client referrals, you can use a personal CRM to ‘move’ lawyers through the referral process, and keep track of your referral relationships.
You’ll better understand where to focus your efforts, and nurture relationships with your best referral sources.
Achieve top of mind status with referrals
So now you’ve identified your most likely refers or your most valuable contacts, now you need to keep top of mind so that the relationship doesn’t fizzle out.
You want to develop stronger referral relationships by making an effort to consistently engage and communicate.
By using a personal CRM, you can record things you learned about your contact in a meeting and then set up a reminder to contact them again in the next two weeks.
When you do connect, you won’t be just ‘checking in’, but you’ll be able to use your recorded information to provide them with real value on a regular basis.
As you keep relevant with your contact by staying in touch often, the more effective your efforts will be and you’ll be staying top of mind.
Find the right time to give/ask for referrals
Now that you’ve cultivated stronger relationships with your referral sources and contacts you can start to think about developing a referral arrangement. The wrong way to go about it is by using traditional hard-selling tactics. It rarely works and can damage your brand.
One way is to establish a collaborative partnership with your top trusted contacts, the one that you keep in touch with on a regular basis. Try reaching out via email or using the NEXL messenger to invite them out for lunch to propose your venture proposal.
Another way is to make the first move and send a referral to an attorney who you’ve developed a close relationship with. As you’ve developed a cadence of communication and demonstrated value, you’re more likely to get reciprocated in the near future. Be generous with your referral efforts and be proactive about opening a dialogue with your contacts.
Track your referrals in your personal CRM
When you have received or sent a referral, you can track your referrals inside your personal CRM.
It is very useful to use your CRM for referral network management, so you can analyse your strength of relationships, and see the return of investment in your business development efforts.
Using a personal CRM to track your referrals helps both the individual lawyer and the firm value their network and make sure they can reciprocate, and build on successful relationships for conscious business growth.
Give thanks and reciprocate
Signs of gratitude go a long way and certainly help to maintain a good relationship with attorney contacts. While a message or email is a quick way of saying thanks, it’s not the most impactful way.
You can use your CRM for details about your contact’s interests to send a meaningful present like a bottle of wine, or if you have recorded their favourite cuisine, treat them to lunch. Do check though, depending on your country or state there may be rules around gifting.
You can also use this as an opportunity to share updates, matters or achievements with your firm so your contact is kept up to date and can consider you for future referrals.