The end of the year is rapidly approaching. Have you started to analyze your law firm’s performance? One of the top areas that you will need to audit when you begin to make plans for 2022 is your law firm‘s referral strategy.
Hopefully, you already have a strong referral strategy in place that works. In this case, you may need to make some simple adjustments to your plans to optimize them. If you do not already have a referral network in place that is working for you, now is the time to start. Here’s how you can audit your law firm's referral sources and strategy before the end of the year.
The Importance of Auditing Your Law Firm Referral Strategy
2021 will be over before you know it. And if you do not know where most of your business came from, then you can’t be prepared for the following year. If you are not already taking the time to obtain this critical information, you need to start! It is essential that you start keeping track of your referral sources.
Referrals are one of the most common and important ways that most law firms go about obtaining the leads they need to be successful. If you do not know where your referrals are coming from, you cannot continue to nurture those sources. Get a realistic sense of the value of certain relationships so that you can offer up holiday or annual gifts, too.
If you have the opportunity to audit your law firm's referral strategy before the end of the year, you may even still have time to send out end-of-the-year cards or gifts. Of course, if you are going to do this, be sure to be mindful of ethics rules. The end of the year is the perfect time to send out thank yous, and other notes that show your referral sources how much you value your relationship with them.
The Look Back: Strong and Weak Referral Sources
When you are going through all of your referral sources over the last year, think about which ones lead to the best results for you. Which of your referral sources resulted in the best leads that actually lead to cases that could or are expected to be successful. Once you have identified which of your referral sources are preferred and ideal, you also need to consider what efforts you have been putting in to cultivate a relationship with these sources.
While you are considering the various ways that you have put in efforts with your ideal referral sources over the last year, you should also be thinking about which referral sources have not been ideal. Were you taking those same steps to maintain a strong relationship with the sources? Or did they fail to make attempts as well?
Now might be a good time to see if you can touch base with these rocky referral sources to see if you can strengthen this relationship and build better sources moving into the next year. Throughout this process, you might also be able to identify whether there was something else you were missing in building, establishing, and strengthening your relationships with your referral sources.
What Are You Looking For in a Referral Partner?
In going through all of your referral sources over the past year, it may become more obvious to you who and what you are looking for in a referral partner. Are you looking to partner with people who work in opposing practice areas so that you can reach a broader audience? Or are you turning your attention towards getting referrals from your previous clients? Or maybe you have a combination of different types of referral sources and partners that are working and not working for you.
The point is to identify which ones are working best for your law firm and attempt to strengthen those referral sources and then seek similar referral sources. You might also want to consider where there may be new opportunities for you to reach out to a new group of referral sources and expand into additional areas. This could go a long way in helping support and grow your law firm in 2022.
How to Strengthen Your Law Firm’s Referral Strategy
Once you understand the importance of a strong referral network, you may be feeling even more overwhelmed than you were before. This is especially true if you are just getting started with your solo practice or have only just begun to build your referral network. But every law firm had to start somewhere.
You can begin by eliminating the methods of referral business building that have not been working out for your law firm. If you have an existing referral strategy that has not been bringing in leads or clients to your office, then there is no need to continue putting money or efforts there.
Instead, evaluate how you can bring in more of the relationships that do work for your law firm. Are you finding success through referrals with your peers? Or are your former clients doing a lot of the grunt work in sending referrals to your law firm?
In either case, you will want to take action to nurture these relationships so that you can continue to reap these benefits and obtain additional referrals going into the next year.
Nurture Your Firm’s Referral Strategy in 2022
Getting the referrals that you need to build your law firm can be a daunting task. But when you take the time to analyze how your efforts have paid off and how they have not paid off over the last year, you can make the adjustments and changes you need to make sure that 2022 is the best year yet for your law firm’s referral network.
Do not make the mistake of wasting your time trying to continue obtaining referrals from sources that have not paid off. Instead, devote your time and energy to nurturing strong referral sources and seeking the same types of referral sources in the next year.
Meranda M. Vieyra is the owner of Denver Legal Marketing LLC. She is one of the most visible legal professionals in Colorado law with over 20 years of service in the Denver legal community. Her award-winning marketing firm has earned a strong reputation as the go-to for impactful, cost-effective legal marketing strategies. She has helped her clients secure coverage by well-known publications and has obtained local, national, and international awards on their behalf. Meranda enjoys working with solo practitioners and small law firms helping them attract recognition, promotion, and visibility to their practices. She also advises medium-sized and national law firms on business development and marketing strategy. Meranda is a lecturer and author on issues related to marketing including how lawyers can use LinkedIn effectively, how to develop a personal brand, and the promotion of legal services through community service. In 2018, she was honored to be named to the 40 Under 40 list by the Denver Business Journal and to be given the 10 Under 10 Award by the Metropolitan State University of Denver Alumni Association (top 10 alum of the decade). In 2019, Meranda was named in the Top 25 Most Powerful Women in Business by the Colorado Women's Chamber of Commerce and in the Top 100 young professionals in Colorado through the Gen XYZ Awards published by ColoradoBiz Magazine.