#1 - Firm Referrals - The Neglected Goldmine
A nasty secret in most firms is that attorneys regularly refer to attorneys outside the firm even when they could refer in-house. One of the reasons they do is because they may not have enough trust and confidence in the appropriate firm attorney(s). Remember that referrals don't happen just because you're a good attorney, but because people know, like and trust you. If there are firm members who could refer business to you but aren't, treat them just like outside referral sources. Invite them to lunch, and work to build a stronger personal relationship. You'll both benefit.
#2 - Focus your Referral Marketing - Identify your Referral Sources
One of the most basic steps in referral marketing is also one of the most powerful. Go through your files and make up a list of every person who referred you business within the last two years. You'll find many you haven't talked with in months or years, and who haven't referred you business recently. Set aside time for "check in" calls. Chat a few moments. Don't ask for business. Just let them know you were thinking about them. Call everyone within the next 60 days and every 60 days thereafter. Business will follow.
#3 - An Easy Way to Create a New Referral Relationship
Ever have the opportunity to refer work not done by anyone in the firm to an attorney outside the firm, but you don't know anyone? Don't let the opportunity pass by. Tell the caller you'll get back to them with a name, then send out a firm-wide e-mail asking for suggestions. When you get one or more, call them and chat briefly, and let them know you're referring someone to them. Take the opportunity to set up a breakfast or lunch to meet them. If the referred person never calls - no matter. You've made a new referral friend. Stay in touch, and business will result.
#4 - Consistent Contact vs. "Yo-Yo" Marketing: No Contest
"Yo-Yo" marketing is the on-again-off-again pattern of marketing furiously for short periods, then doing nothing for months. Marketing power comes from consistent contact with your key referral sources. Conversely, your marketing suffers from long periods of non-activity. Your referral source may like you, but they refer to whoever comes to mind. Increase the chances that it's you. Review your referral list and schedule a regular "touch-base" monthly or bi-monthly at a minimum. A lunch, a call, or even just an e-mail -- consistent contact results in consistent referrals.
#5 - "How Are We Doing?" The power of the check-in call
It's natural to get caught up in a matter, and believe that the copies and filings and updates constitute sufficient client communication. It doesn't. To maintain great client relationships and high trust levels, you need to step above the process for a few moments. Call your client. Let them know this call is "off the clock" and is simply a check-in. Then, ask them a few simple questions. "How are we doing? Is there anything we could be doing better? Do you have any questions or concerns I can answer?" Make this part of your Standard Operating Procedure once a month, or even more frequently with major or busy clients, and watch the additional business - and referrals - show up.