Referrals don’t just happen. They must be cultivated. While you may get an occasional referral from a former client or someone you know, if you want to take your legal marketing to the next level, you need a referral system. 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 practice is too valuable to be left in the hands of random acts of fate.
So how do you do build a referral system that will bring you the results you need?
You start by developing relationships with potential referral sources and generate consistent referrals from them. These sources may include accountants, investment advisers, business leaders, or anyone who has influence with your target market. Depending on your practice area, your referral sources will vary.
Developing a relationship is a two-way process. It can’t just be you asking them for referrals when you see them. It requires regular contact and you showing as much concern for their business as you are asking them to show for your practice. It requires a system for connecting with prospects, clients and referral sources on a regular, consistent basis.
A firm’s entire staff is key to the recruitment process, but is usually not nearly involved enough.
LinkedIn LNKD has built a new product called “Referrals” aimed at solving this problem. On Wednesday, LinkedIn unveiled Referrals, an extension of the site aimed at making it easier for employees to recommend their first-degree LinkedIn connections for open positions at their firms. The product, which will be available on Nov. 1, will cost companies about $10 to $12 annually per employee using the service and should make recommending qualified, interested job candidates much less painstaking, a LinkedIn spokesperson said.
“I’m thrilled to introduce LinkedIn Referrals – our brand new referrals product that makes it dead simple for employees to make quality referrals, and helps you unlock your employees’ networks to hire the best talent faster,” LinkedIn’s head of talent solutions Eddie Vivas said in a blog post.
About 80% of recruiters think referrals are the best way to recruit quality candidates, according to a LinkedIn study. Employees who have been referred are generally higher performs, stay at the firm longer, take less time to hire and are a better cultural fit. But the referral process is often cumbersome. Making a referral requires employees to know about job openings at their company. What’s more, internal referral software is often slow to use, and if employees make a referral, they tend not to receive updates about the candidate they referred, Vivas said. As a result, fewer employees make referrals than companies would like. Less than 20% of recruiters are satisfied with the level of employee involvement in their referral process, LinkedIn’s study found.
Facebook is an important source of traffic for many companies, including online publishers.
And a new search engine Facebook is testing in its iOS mobile app could enable the world’s largest social network to generate even more referrals for third parties.
As reported by TechCrunch, some users are seeing a new “Add a Link” button when they post status updates. When clicked, this button allows users to enter a search query and displays relevant links that Facebook thinks the user might want to share.
While it’s not obvious how exactly Facebook is determining which links it returns in search results, TechCrunch’s Josh Constine observes that “results seem to be sorted by what users are most likely to share, highlighting recently published sites that have been posted by lots of people.”
According to Facebook, it has indexed more than a trillion posts so it certainly has a lot of data to work with. Overlaid with data from its vast social graph, Facebook has the potential to do interesting things that Google can’t with its search results.
When it comes to professional services marketing techniques, the referral is as tried and true as it gets. Decade after decade, firms have sought to generate referrals from clients and turn successful relationships into new business. And they’ve continued to follow this strategy because in principle, it works.
But the problem with any longstanding, workhorse technique is that it can grow rote. Stuck in a rut rather than adapting and innovating. And unfortunately, for many firms, this is exactly what has happened with their referral marketing strategies. While the marketplace – and the most effective referral strategies – have evolved, many firms have carried on with the same old habits. And in the process, they’re leaving a startling amount of business on the table.
At Hinge, we wanted to get to the bottom of the story on professional services referrals. We decided to do some digging – and find out how referrals really work today. Then we analyzed the results to show decision-makers the most effective ways to approach referrals today.
Read more: Rethinking Referral Marketing: A New Research-Based Approach To Referrals
Since 2013, the word has been that a lot of real estate brokers are having success on Facebook business pages. Many set them up and spent money on targeted ads trying to reach potential clients outside their direct sphere cutting through newsfeed changes the network put in place. It’s even working well for some. I have tried to convince myself to start up a new business page and join the legions of incoming “like my page” requests I have received, yet my personal Facebook page still is my favorite social media venue.
Why? Because it allows me to connect in a real and authentic way that feels true to me, with my audience who consist of friends, clients and brokers around the world.
My approach is: share, don’t sell on Facebook. We are in a relationship business. Although we negotiate and market homes, we are in the business of helping people through transitions in their lives (getting married, having babies, empty nesting, investing for family reasons) and for someone to invite us into that process is an honor and requires trust in us and our skill set.
Technology is changing the lead generation process and exposing potential clients to more paid-lead agents, yet a significant portion of buyers or sellers still choose their brokers via referral. Why? Trust.
Referrals are the best source for qualified leads. Are you leveraging them to their fullest extent?
Do you have a system for getting referrals for your business, not only from your clients but from other business associates and even friends? Or do you just hope that someone will mention how great you are in passing?
With over 20 years of business, sales, and consulting experience SMS is capable of serving many market sectors. We provide the field level support needed to generate results and grow your business. Other companies may provide appointment setting services; whereas SMS will partner with you to grow revenue.