10 Tips for Getting Referrals From Past Clients

A simple way to get business for attorneys is from past clients.  Past clients know you and your work.  If you have done a good job for them, they will be willing to refer business to you or put you in touch with others who have the ability to refer business to you.  Here are 10 tips for getting referrals from past clients.

1.       Keep a database of all your clients.  Besides having the usual information about them like name address and telephone number, rate them as a client.  I use A, B, C and D where A is one you enjoyed working with and who made it easy for you to do your work and D is the client from hell whom you never want to see again.  Obviously you won’t be calling the D clients ever (hope you don’t have many of them!) or the C clients unless there are some extenuating circumstances.  For example: if the client is well connected and has a large powerful rolodex, it might be worthwhile calling him/her.  Since clients tend to refer people like themselves however, beware!

2.       Leave a place in your database for the date of your last contact, how you connected and what the result was so that you can follow up at regular intervals.  Keep your database updated!

3.       Decide on strategy for each client. You might put your client base into groups.  If you have not connected with someone for a while, you may have a different strategy than you have for a more recent client whom you have talked to in the last month or two.

4.       If you do not have a client feedback questionnaire that you routinely send to clients after you have finished their case, now is the time to start.  Listen and learn from any negative feedback. You can acknowledge a client’s response to the questionnaire with a thank you.  This is your first communication to this person as a past client. Write a personal note or follow up with a call which ever seems most appropriate. Of course if there was negative feedback you will need to confirm that you heard what was said and if possible say how you will address the issue. Never argue with client about it.

5.       Create a continuing communication plan for your A and B clients as well as the new clients.  The feedback questionnaire can be the first communication in the plan for recent clients.  Now decide on other ways to stay in touch.

6.       Stay connected on a regular basis by sending articles, books, gifts etc. to the past client.  Your goal is to keep this person as an active member of your network.  Add them to your LinkedIn network too.

7.       Periodically ask the past clients on your list if they know anyone who could use your services.  You might say,  ” I really enjoyed working with you and would love to have more clients like you.  I built my practice on referrals from clients like you who were happy with the way I handled their case and recommended me to their friends.  Do you know anyone that has that kind of a need today? ”

8.       If you have been out of touch with clients for a while, make a special offer for past clients to reconnect.  One possibility if you have several practice areas, offer your past clients a discount for using your services in a different practice area.

9.       Another way to stay connected to past clients is by sending a periodic newsletter updating them on changes in the law, interesting cases you or others have had, or useful tips for their family or business.

10.   Have an open house, holiday party or summer barbecue and  invite past clients. This is a simple one time investment of time to stay connected.  Some attorneys have found this to be such a good way to stay connected that they do it annually.



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