Your shared law office space should be your most valuable asset in the entirety of your business. Using it as such means your suitemates are an imperative source of referral revenue that only helps to strengthen your practice.
Referrals from suitemates are probably the easiest form of revenue because you can network with other attorneys while just going about your everyday business. You don’t have to make time consuming trips to networking events or meetings that only take up valuable time and energy.
This perk in a shared law office space is not only an added benefit, but a necessity altogether. This is most true for the attorney who has little time for nonsense and takes on all the responsibilities of client work, administrative tasks, marketing, and so forth.
Remember, working in a shared law office space does not guarantee immediate referrals or any referrals from your suitemates at all. The likelihood of trading business is definitely high, but there are still rules to be followed when seeking referrals:
1. Referrals are sent when there is a relationship that includes mutual professional trust, and
2. It helps if you have sent a piece of business before you receive one.
If done right, you can easily find enough referral business from your office space to pay for your rent many times over. We know, because we use this same system at Law Firm Suites to generate over $3 million in yearly suitemate referrals in each of our two NYC shared office spaces.
There is a right and wrong way of seeking out referrals from your shared law office space. When done the right way, these referrals can help you offset the costs of your rent. We know, because we use this same system at Law Firm Suites to generate over $3 million in yearly suitemate referrals in each of our two NYC shared office space.
Here’s how we do it:
1. Do the walk-around.
Doing a once-around at any time of the day to greet your neighbors can do wonders for referrals in a shared law office space. If the suitemate is not busy, interacting with them and discussing topics like family or even what they did over the weekend can really boost your referral potential. This is true because you build a connection over time. A connection equals “like” and “trust” of the other and is required for any referral relationship.
2. Be a good listener.
Listening seems simple enough, but it is a skill that must be acquired. Turning listening into a skill opens the door for being a great conversationalist and adding that to your reputation. It is also a good alternative tactic for someone who may not be very outgoing but wants to take advantage of the referral potential indefinitely.
3. Keep them wanting more.
If you have done a stop-in to a colleague’s 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 neighbor’s 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 with suitemates.
It may be a good option to leave the office with your suitemates so they can see you in a different light. This can be done every couple of weeks so that a foundation is maintained for a good relationship.
At lunch, keep 90% of the conversation about things other than business. Only about 10% is shop-talk and the rest is something fun like your shared interests and so forth.
5. Market THEIR business too.
An introduction to other possibilities is great for anyone’s business and if you actively suggest opportunities for someone to grow his or her business, it creates a stronger relationship altogether.
This does not mean only mean client referrals. It can mean creating connections that will likely be returned as a favor.
6. Be generous.
If your neighbor is on leave for any reason, offering to cover them for that time or even helping them with a simple problem can do much to solidify your business relationship. Even if the help is not needed, the offer alone makes the person remember your generosity.
Every few months, buy a few pizzas and a bottle of wine and sponsor an informal happy hour for your neighbors after work hours. It will give you all a chance to blow off some steam without being too formal.
7. Seek their advice.
Never be afraid to ask for advice, especially from other lawyers. Being appreciated or even being given the chance to appear knowledgeable is sometimes all it takes to create a stronger relationship.
These tips may seem, well, almost obvious. However, 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-generating machine.