Nothing affects your firm more than its reputation. Whether you’re getting business from client referrals or from other law firms that know of your expertise, your reputation is your greatest asset. By focusing on increasing your word of mouth referrals, you can expand your client base and your firm’s reach.
Word of Mouth Referrals Are Crucial for Your Firm’s Growth
The marketing world is always changing. In today’s environment, a professional website and solid ad budget may not be enough to catch a prospective client’s eye. People know that slick marketing doesn’t always mean an excellent client experience, so they want to know what other people think. If they know others who have experienced similar legal concerns, they’ll likely turn to them first. If not, they will look for other forms of social proof.
This can work for or against you. If a prospective client looks you up and finds largely positive reviews, they may feel confident that they will have a good experience if they choose you. If they look you up and find a mix of positive and negative reviews, they may be less willing to take a chance on you.
You want to ensure that you are solidifying your reputation in both ways. First, make sure that your outgoing clients are pleased with your service and ready to talk about you in a positive way. Second, make it easy for satisfied clients to review you positively across multiple platforms.
Getting the Referrals You Need
It can be uncomfortable asking for referrals if you haven’t relied on them in the past. When you automatically build a referral request into your communication with clients, you significantly increase the chances of securing positive reviews and referrals.
Consider adding it after you connect with a client at the end of the case. After you review their case and discuss any concerns they may have, follow up with a referral request. You can ask them to pass your business card along to acquaintances, request reviews on specific platforms, and find out how they found out about you.
Choosing Your Ideal Clients
As your law firm grows, you’ll gain clarity about where you want to spend your time and which types of cases are most fulfilling for you. You can let clients know what types of cases you’re looking for and build your client base that way. If you handle an estate plan for a client but you’re more interested in the family law area of your practice, let them know that you’re looking to take on more divorce cases. The more people you tell about your plans, the more your network grows.
Don’t Be Afraid to Follow Up
Few people keep their past legal needs at the forefront of their mind. If someone asks for a referral three years down the line, they might remember that they were satisfied with your service but not remember your name. That’s a lost referral opportunity. Stay fresh in their minds by reaching out occasionally. Add satisfied clients to your firm’s annual Christmas card list, send them a congratulations card if you see that their business has closed a major deal, and send out postcards when your firm expands or moves. In your mailings, you can remind them to pass your name along if they know someone in need of your services. The easier it is for clients to remember you, the more likely they are to pass your name along to others.
Happy clients are one of your best marketing tools. By investing in your client relationships and making it a point to ask for referrals and reviews, you can provide the same excellent service to people in your clients’ circles.