Generate Referrals from Colleagues

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Solo and small firm attorneys get a large portion of their clients as referrals from other attorneys.

Other attorneys, however, will only refer cases to you if they actually know what you do. Here are some tips to generate referrals from other attorneys.

Give them a solid target to aim for

I recently had lunch with a personal injury attorney who also handles workers compensation and disability claims. Generally, I know what those terms mean. But I have no clue what those cases actually entail, or what you look for in potential cases. So, I asked what he looks for. Fortunately, he was able to succinctly explain to me what to look for in potential cases.

When other attorneys ask me what I do, I tell them I sue debt collectors. Then I explain to them what that means. I always start with big picture concepts “if they have been contacted by a debt collector, I can probably help.” If the other attorney works in a complementary practice area and knows the lay of the land, I will get more specific—“it cannot be a business debt and it cannot be an original creditor.”

If you can find a memorable concept, that makes it much easier for them to remember what you do, and send people your way.

Tell them how you help

Explain how your retainer works. Do you bring cases on contingency? What do clients typically recover? Those details will allow other attorneys to explain why a potential client should call you. If you can solve an issue on contingency, that is good information. If you require a fee up front, but can recover big damages, tell them.

If your clients always walk away satisfied, be sure to explain that too. Attorneys want their clients to be happy. If they know that you do good work and make clients happy, that will make them even more likely to send referrals your way.

(photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/meddygarnet/2907641419/)

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  • I only refer to people I know are going to properly handle the matter. The worst thing is to refer out a client, and then hear back from that client that the case was not handled properly… or that the person was not equipped to handle the case.

    At the very least, I want to make sure that the client referred out was properly taken care of. If not, why bother with a referral. Better to just say, “Unfortunately I don’t know anyone who handles that type of case.”

    The next best thing is to have an attorney who refers back clients.

  • This is an interesting topic, especially in our mobile notary industry. Mobile notaries are generally freelancers and work for a few dozen signing and title companies, plus perhaps an attorney here or there. A successful notary who has too much work will need to refer work to a colleague from time to time. However, this is how nightmares happen if you don’t know the other notary’s track record well enough. My prize winning story is that my friend referred a notary job to another notary who “couldn’t” make it to the signing because it was raining! My friend never referred another job to that individual ever again. Be careful who you trust!