Follow these 8 steps and you will turn your shared law office into a referral cash-cow.
Updated for 2016.
Just because you work in a shared law office doesn’t mean you will automatically receive referrals from your legal peers. Even though there is a high likelihood you will eventually trade business, the rules of the referral game still apply:
- Referrals are sent when there is a relationship that includes mutual professional trust, and
- It helps if you’ve sent a piece of business before you receive one.
Here are eight steps for solo attorneys to accelerate referral relationships in a NYC office rental:
1. Do the walk-around.
Once a day in either the morning or evening, do a walk around the office and say hello to your neighbors. If they’re not busy ask them a few questions about their family, weekend plans or something important to them that is unrelated to business.
2. Be a good listener.
Nobody likes a blowhard, but everyone loves to talk about themselves. Being a good listener and you’ll get the reputation for being a gracious conversationalist without having to say much. It’s a great technique for those of us who are not particularly outgoing. What your officemates tell you about themselves will be topics for future conversations and will help accelerate the development of your relationship.
3. Keep them wanting more.
If you’ve done a stop-in to a colleagues’ office, hit the eject button early in the conversation. If you are a constant presence in your neighbor’s doorway and you regularly overstay your welcome, you’ll start to find that your neighbors’ doors may be closed. Always leave them wanting more. You’ll be able to develop trust that your visits will be fun and/or productive and won’t waste their time.
4. Get out of the office.
Have your assistant coordinate a lunch (or do it yourself) once every couple of weeks with one or two of your neighbors. At lunch, keep the conversation about things other than business.
5. Market THEIR business too.
While you are out marketing, keep your ears open for business opportunities that you can direct to one of your neighbors. The favor will always be returned.
6. Be helpful.
Offer to cover for your neighbors while they are on vacation or if they are out sick. Even if your neighbor doesn’t need your help, the offer alone will add value to your relationship.
7. Be generous.
Every few months, buy a few pizzas and bottle of wine and sponsor an informal happy hour for your neighbors in the conference room after work hours. It will give you all a chance to blow off some steam without being too formal.
8. Seek their advice.
Ask a neighbor a question about a legal issue you are grappling with. People love to be helpful, and lawyers in particular like to appear knowledgeable. Be appreciative of the advice and see your relationship grow.
These tips may seem, well, almost obvious. But when done consistently, they will lead to business referrals in your office suite. With a little creativity and persistence, you too can turn your office into a revenue machine.