Stell: Win Win Referral Strategies
Despite our fears, 2020 is going to end.
Yet, 2021 is not going to look different. At least for a while.
Some of you are calculating 2020 year-end financial reports, others are creating your 2021 marketing budget. But regardless of what the numbers look like, I’m sure all of you would like more work in 2021.
Here is one tip for increasing the pipeline of work in the New Year– pick up the phone.
30 People Who Can Send You Work Today
Take a few minutes and start identifying people who can send you work. Organize your contacts by category. First, current clients. I often find reaching out to current clients reveals projects sitting on their desk that they simply haven’t had time to send my way. Or I discover recent clients who have a new need.
Providing an update on service offerings is beneficial. Make sure your current clients are on your newsletter mailing list. Then make sure that your newsletter content is telling your story of helping clients. Make it easy for your clients to translate what you do to how you can help them. Make it effortless to schedule an appointment and pay. Consider new service offerings for the New Year. Can you offer a consult, audit, review, or strategy session? Can you package this with flat fee pricing, so your client knows what to expect up front?
Next on your list is former clients. Check in with a phone call to see how they are surviving during the pandemic. Share information you know they need or would be interested in. Share an update on the law firm. Update their contact information for your holiday card mailing list or your newsletter distribution list.
And finally, check in with professional friends and colleagues who could serve as referral sources. These could be lawyers that you have partnered on work in the past or have referred work to one another. This list should include your friends, family, and community-at-large connections that need to know what you do and who you do it for.
Share Your News
Come up with five to ten names in each of the three categories. Create talking points so your conversation will flow. Ask how they are doing. Report on how you and your firm are doing. Let them know you have availability for work, or you have a question for them, or you want to add them to your referral network. Provide specifics. If you have created a service during the pandemic they should know about, be sure to share. If you have firm news to report or a change in circumstances since you last spoke, provide them with an update.
Be sure to describe your ideal target client and service offering. If this does not come easy, spending time figuring this out will be a helpful process for you.
And sense the best referral relationships are reciprocal, ask how you can help them. Do you understand their ideal target client and service offerings? If not, be sure to ask for more details.
I love a movie with a legal theme and the stories they tell. Remember the 2010 movie, Win Win? Paul Giamatti’s character is a lawyer struggling during a tough economy. He is in his office after his clients and staff have left for the day and he’s placing random calls to other lawyers asking for work. It’s a hard scene to watch because there is so much truth in it about the fear of a down economy. I’m not suggesting that call, where you have panic in your voice and you’re asking for scraps.
Rather, I’m suggesting that there is work in the world that someone needs your help with. Quite possibly, right now. And the only way they will know you are available is if you call them.
Ideally, this list of 30 people is one that you will move through with regularity. These contacts will become part of your strategic networking plan and as you strengthen these relationships, you will want to continue to add new names to the list.
As you provide value to your network, they will look forward to receiving your phone calls – it’s a Win Win strategy.
Much of your networking will continue to be virtual for the foreseeable future. But eventually, you will be able to gather again over coffee or lunch or local bar events. The time you invest in building these relationships today will result in improved profits tomorrow.
Camille Stell is the President of Lawyers Mutual Consulting & Services. Continue this conversation by contacting Camille at [email protected] or 919.677.8900.