I recently read the book, The Referral of a Lifetime, authored by Tim Templeton. For lawyers who want to create an effective referral system, try this book. Its basic premise is that you should inventory your referral network. It suggests creating a list of your top 250 connections. From there, segment the list into categories. The suggested categories are A,B,C & D. I interpret A’s to be your most loyal referrals. D’s are those who you do not know that well – yet. B’s & C’s are somewhere in-between. The list is always evolving, and your goal should be to strategically figure out how to move each contact up the category list.
It’s a System
What I liked about this book is that it highlights the importance of having a system. The system outlined in The Referral of a Lifetime may for work for you. It may not. Regardless, referrals are the lifeblood of generating business for lawyers. As such, a system is key. Any system for tracking and implementing a referral system should have these components:
- Constant and consistent interaction with referral sources.
- The ability to track who sends you work and what kind of work.
- Properly thanks referral sources through reciprocation, notes, gifts, advice, etc.
As the categories in the book suggest, not all referral contacts are the same. Therefore, your system should treat each differently. I recommend having a strategy for each contact. For example, for the A list, you may want to have at least 2 face-to-face interactions per year. This includes meals, drinks, coffee, a ball game, etc. In the world of COVID-19, you may have to be creative. Since the goal of B list contacts is to move them to A, maybe 1 face-to-face a year would suffice, and so on. For all contacts, you should should aim for 6-12 touches per year. This is where technology can help. You can email them a newsletter, comment on their social media posts, say Happy Birthday on LinkedIn, and so forth.
In short, I recommend reading The Referral of a Lifetime. You can implement its suggestions as is or tailor to your unique style and needs. Regardless of your method, it is essential that you give the attention to your referral network. It is that important to your success.