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4 Myths That Keep Attorneys From Building a Referral Based Practice Part 3

May 23, 2008
Law firm marketing is all about building a referral based practice. How are you coming along in that area? As a small or solo law practitioner how many referrals have you received in the last 90 days? Do you know where they came from? What are you actively doing to seek more and better qualified referrals?

In the last two parts of this series we have explored why other attorneys are not the best source of referrals, how to generate qualified referrals from other trusted advisors, and several tips attorneys can use to obtain repeat business and more referrals from former and existing clients.

LAW FIRM MARKETING MYTH 4. Networking is a great way to get more attorney referrals.

There are two types of networking: formal and informal. Formal networking is attending a chamber of commerce event, participating at a trade show, or joining a leads group (like Business Networking International). Informal networking is meeting with friends, colleagues, or potential referral sources over lunch or after work.

Over the years of helping over 6,000 attorneys at small and solo law firms grow their business, we have found that networking works exceptionally well for a select group of attorneys and not at all for most attorneys.

There are a couple reasons why networking is generally not an effective law firm marketing tool:

* Attorneys often attend the wrong kind of group one filled with their peers not their prospects. Unless your prospects are other attorneys, such as with professional liability, focus on attending groups filled with your prospects.

* Many attorneys don't know how to network properly and so it becomes a game to see how many business cards they can pass out in two hours. We have all had a business card thrust into our face followed by the words Call me if you meet anyone who needs. This is not networking, this is card pushing.

* There is no plan for following up in a timely manner. You have about 48 hours to follow up with a hot lead or they will likely forget about you. I once met an attorney who told me she was a member of 22 networking groups. It's no wonder she was struggling to build her practice! She never had time to even attend all the different groups, much less properly follow up with every person she met.


To recap, here are the four major myths that keep attorneys from building a referral based practice:

* Law Firm Marketing Myth 1. Clients are the best source of referrals.
* Law Firm Marketing Myth 2. Most referrals come from other attorneys.
* Law Firm Marketing Myth 3. Online legal directories produce a lot of attorney referrals.
* Law Firm Marketing Myth 4. Networking is a great way to get more attorney referrals.

So how many of these four major myths have you fallen prey to? Let me leave you with three legal marketing tips to remember when working towards your goal of a referral based law practice:

* Don't rely on random referrals. You cannot build a financially successful law firm with random referrals. You need people you can count on who consistently send you highly qualified leads. Your law practice is too valuable to be left in the hands of fate.

* Identify your primary sources of current and potential referrals. Be sure you know who is currently sending you referrals and thank them and then look for the best possible sources for new referrals and cultivate those relationships.

* Create a system for connecting with current and potential referral sources on a consistent basis. You can either wait half your career to build enough relationships with referral sources to fill your practice or you can intentionally take specific steps to create powerful win-win relationships with dozens of referral sources.
About the Author
The Rainmaker Institute is the nation's largest law firm marketing company that specializes in helping small law firms and solo practitioners generate more and better referrals and fill their practice. Over 6,000 attorneys have benefited from applying our proven Rainmaker Marketing System. Stephen Fairley founded the company in 1998. For more information visit www.toplawfirmmarketingtips.com
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