Referral Marketing and Networking for Lawyers
Law Firm Marketing
4 min read
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Yes, in-person networking is still around, despite the focus on all things online.
Almost 100% of people say face-to-face networking meetings are essential for long-term business relationships. Plus, 74% of consumers identify word-of-mouth referrals as a key influencer in their purchasing decisions.
When done correctly, lawyer networking and referral marketing tactics are powerful.
Whether you’re a seasoned networker or an attorney just getting started, there’s always more to learn. We’ve gathered some tips over the years that can help you create a lawyer networking strategy that works.
Everything you do inside your firm comes at a cost, including networking. You must value the time you spend networking and meeting prospective clients just as you would billable time.
Beyond time, networking takes hard-earned cash. For example, you might need to pay for traveling to a legal conference, monthly meeting dues, or your potential client’s dinner. This includes virtual networking, too.
To ensure you’re not wasting your time and cash, get specific about your networking possibilities.
Make sure it falls in your niche before you apply to speak at a networking event as part of your lawyer marketing.
Before taking a client out to dinner, make sure they’ll benefit from your services.
Before treating a colleague to a concert, make sure they’re a reliable referral source.
This may feel as though you’re always acting with ulterior motives. That’s not the case. We simply don’t want you to waste your business time and money on things that won’t benefit your growing firm.
As part of your networking strategy, we recommend calculating your current networking costs to ensure they align with your firm’s growth goals.
It’s simple to do using this quick formula:
For virtual events and other marketing efforts, what are you getting out of it? How much time and cost did you have to invest, and how many clients did you get in return?
A concern we come across is networking when you’re an introvert. Scary, right?
Labster Jennifer Winegardner considers herself a major wallflower. She used to hate going to events where she didn’t know anyone. She needed a mindset change, so she stopped thinking of events as working the room and started seeing them as a chance to make friends, invite exciting people to coffee, and learn more about them. This way, networking felt personally valuable.
And with a few tips, you too can be a successful networker regardless of your introvert status.
Embrace your introversion. You don’t have to be an extrovert to be successful. Trying to be something you aren’t will exhaust you and hold you back. Be authentic. Be yourself.
Practice. Sometimes you just have to do the things that scare you. Take baby steps by setting goals for yourself during networking opportunities. For example, set a goal to meet two new people during an event.
Take advantage of other networking opportunities. Face-to-face networking is only one facet of lawyer networking. For example, use social media to join lawyer groups (discussed in Chapter 5).
No matter what, make sure you’re putting your best face forward at networking events.
One of the most common types of networking involves going to events and meeting face-to-face with potential clients and colleagues. As a result, you further your firm’s reach.
And in light of the pandemic, networking events have changed. Many organizations are choosing to go hybrid—half online, half in-person.
Tip: Create your own networking event! Make it fun- there are so many virtual events these days it’s crucial to keep it fun and focused. There are fantastic tools out there to network virtually, so use them to your advantage.
In today’s tech-driven world, more and more people use social media to socialize and network. Online hangouts such as Facebook or NextDoor groups where people ask for recommendations are referral goldmines. Search these social platforms for groups that fit your niche. Once you join them, showcase your firm by answering potential client questions and socializing with colleagues.
Other places for online attorney networking include LinkedIn, online communities such as Reddit, Twitter, and more.
Word-of-mouth referrals work. Not only do referrals help you gather more of your clientele, but they also build loyalty within your current client base. For example, clients acquired via referral have a 37% higher retention rate. Plus, on average, every referring client makes an average of 2.68 invites or referrals.
You can’t control whether clients become advocates for your firm, but you can inspire them to do so. Here are some tips you can quickly implement into your referral strategy today.
Make the experience easily shareable. At the end of an experience, make it easy for your clients to refer others. This can be as simple as asking for a social share and putting a link to Facebook in your final email. Or, give your clients a few business cards in your last meeting together.
Give referrals generously. It’s common knowledge that giving referrals is an easy way to get them. For example, refer them if you have a client who would benefit from another attorney’s services. That attorney is more likely to do the same for you.
Show gratitude. A “thank you” is always appreciated. Thank clients who post on social media on your behalf. If another attorney sends you a client, thank them.
So. You’ve put yourself out there. You have the clients. You’re rolling along. Now how do you handle what people say about you? We tackle client reviews and reputation management in the next Chapter.