Meeting people and just handing them a business card doesn’t accomplish much where marketing is concerned. How do you turn the people you meet and those you already know into referral sources? Let’s start by talking about what marketing is.
Marketing is communicating value to quality prospects. To communicate value is to educate potential clients and referral sources about the value of your service. Although impersonal appeals such as advertising and mass mailings have their place in some practices, the best way to communicate with quality prospects and get the best clients remains personal contact. Few sophisticated shoppers for legal services find their lawyers by answering ads or responding to mailers.
It’s Whom You Know
Start by taking an inventory of the people you already know—both business and social contacts. Then look at the list. How many qualify as possible prospects? How will you nurture those relationships and generate high-quality referrals?
Your social contacts can provide an excellent core of potential referral sources. Yet many lawyers resist looking to social contacts as sources of business for fear of contaminating the social relationship. But it’s all a matter of how you do it. It’s common and accepted in this country to ask people, including new acquaintances, what they do for a living. When they ask, tell them, and trust your judgment about how far to take it. It’s one thing to disclose that you are a lawyer. It’s quite another to corner a new acquaintance at a party and enumerate all the people they should sue.
In addition to your existing social and business contacts, consider groups you belong to, where the common bond of belonging to the same group will make people more open to your message.
For more tips, check out our article “Marketing Your Law Practice Part 4: Developing Your Referral Sources.”