Consumer Bankruptcy Journal Winter 2016 - Page 26

8 PROVEN STEPS TO DOUBLE YOUR REFERRALS By Stephen Fairley CEO, The Rainmaker Institute Two-time international bestselling author, Stephen Fairley is CEO of The Rainmaker Institute, LLC, the nation’s largest law firm marketing company specializing in marketing and lead conversion for small to medium law firms. Over 18,000 attorneys nationwide have benefited from learning and implementing the proven Rainmaker Marketing System. Over the last 16 years, he has become a nationally recognized legal marketing expert and been named, “America’s Top Marketing Coach.” He has spoken numerous times for over 35 of the nation’s largest state and local bar associations and has a large virtual footprint with his highly successful Rainmaker legal marketing blog and has over 200,000 followers on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. For more information, please visit  www.TheRainmakerInstitute. com or call 888.588.5891. F or many bankruptcy law firms, referrals are the gold standard when it comes to obtaining new clients. However, too many lawyers rely on random referrals, which is just what the term implies...referrals that may or may not come. A strong referral base is only built over a period of time and is based on cultivating long-term, meaningful relationships with referral sources. Most referral sources will only send you referrals if they know you will make referrals back to them. There are five fundamental keys to 26 CONSUMER BANKRUPTCY JOURNAL increasing referrals: 1. Do not try to be a generalist. The fastest way to lose referrals from other professionals is by practicing several different kinds of law. In fact, every practice area you add over your primary one will cost you many, many referrals over time. For example, if most of your practice is bankruptcy and occasionally you take on a family law matter for an existing client, but you introduce yourself at networking events and on your website as someone who does bankruptcy and family law, every divorce attorney will now see you as a competitor, not a potential referral source. 2. Actively build relationships with at least five to ten new referral sources each year. I know, it’s easier said than done, but the best way to have your practice “crash and burn” is to totally rely on a handful of referral sources. As the saying goes, “it’s not a matter of if, but when” one or more of your referral sources will dry up. Make it your goal to meet and develop at least one new referral source per month then cultivate that relationship by staying connected every month. Remember, referrals are a numbers game. Not every referral source will be in a position to send you a referral every month, so if you are relying on three to five people to send Winter 2016 you a bulk of your business you can rest assured that you will have some really slow months. The most vibrant practices have a constant influx of new referral sources on a regular basis. 3. Keep in touch with them on a consistent basis, at least five to ten times per year. This can be a combination of a “reconnecting” email, commenting on their LinkedIn or Facebook post, sending out a monthly newsletter, making a phone call, going to lunch, sending small thank you gifts, and quarterly visits to their office twice per year. If you want to build a thriving network of attorney referral sources you must be prepared to go out of your way to generate referrals for them as well. Developing a relationship is a two-way process.  It can’t just be you asking your legal peers 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 yours.  4. Send a thank you card/gift for every single referral they make. I recently sent a referral to a new Google pay per click company I just met here in the Valley. Within a week I had received a thank you note and a box of brownies…and so did my assistant. It National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys