Learn how to build your law firm’s referral network in a shared law office rental space with these great tips!
How can I increase referrals?
This is a question solos are constantly asking themselves. It is the driving force behind many of the decisions they make for their law practice. A steady flow of referrals means accelerating the growth of your firm and easing your worries regarding getting new clients.
One easy way to start getting more referrals is to move your law office into a shared office space, where you’ll be surrounded by lawyers who can refer you new business. However, getting referrals isn’t as easy as showing up. Some effort is required in order to see a return on your investment.
Here are some tips to help you increase your chances of getting referred new business in a shared office space:
1. Carve out your brand.
Developing a personal brand means taking the time to define who you are. If you know who you are then it becomes easier for other people to find commonalities with you. Soon, other lawyers in your shared office space will be able to bond with you because people are drawn to those who are like-minded.
How you treat your suitemates, your clients and the staff at the office will reflect your brand. Make sure you’re building a brand based on positive qualities and behaviors that attract people.
Think about the type of person and lawyer you want to be known as and come up with ways you can build that brand within your shared office space. You should always be yourself but think about the strengths you have and how you can demonstrate those to your colleagues.
A memorable brand that your peers admire and trust will ensure referrals in the future.
2. Pay attention to your physical appearance and gestures
“Do you know so-and-so down the hall who works in family law? The one who always wears bright, colorful socks?”
“Oh yeah, I know who that guy is. We haven’t really met, but I know who you’re talking about.”
This might seem like shallow advice, but it is true that people who dress well are more successful and well-liked. Additionally, your clothes, gestures and catchphrases are what help you stick out in someone’s mind.
Believe it or not, these are things that make you interesting to people. They make you recognizable. When someone mentions you in conversation, you’ll be more likely to be remembered if you have some type of signature.
It’s much easier for someone to feel comfortable meeting you if they can recall who you are and feel as if they could recognize you.
3. Check in with your suitemates
It’s easy to get busy and forget about touching base with people, even if they have an office down the hall from you. If you’re both moving in and out of the office going to court, meeting with clients or attending events, it can be difficult to stay in touch.
Remember to ask your suitemates to grab lunch, convince them to attend a networking event with you or simply stop by their office and ask them how they’re doing. People appreciate that you’re thinking of them.
You need to constantly market yourself to the attorneys in your shared office space. You never know where your next referral will come from and someone who is actively networking has a better chance of receiving one.
4. Share opportunities with the staff
Have you ever discovered an opportunity that would be perfect for a lawyer in a different practice area? You don’t have to ignore these matters simply because they don’t fit your law practice.
You can increase the return on investment of your networking by telling the staff in your shared office space about the opportunities you’ve come across. They can share those opportunities with the other lawyers in their network. They do all the work and you get all the credit.
After the staff member sends the referral and introduces you, don’t be shy about reaching out and requesting a meeting. Even if you don’t know the lawyer, they will appreciate new business and will become more open to getting to know you.
It’s sort of human nature, that attorneys will often feel compelled to return the favor and send you a referral if one comes up. This is an easy way to earn the gratitude of lawyers who can provide you with qualified leads down the road. It’s like having money in the bank.
5. Be helpful
Give people what they need and they’ll keep you in mind when a referral opportunity comes up. Many attorneys get new business by simply being helpful to other attorneys.
Whether it’s giving advice on a case, sharing a tip or pointing someone to a resource, there will always be some way you can help another attorney in your shared office space.
People do business with people they like and they also refer business to people they like. The easiest way to get people to like you is to be friendly and helpful. It’s that simple.
This advice should not suggest that you go around doing favors for people and harbor the expectations that they owe you. Some attorneys might never have the opportunity to refer you business, but they will help build your reputation within the community and within their network.
The most valuable things you can have in life are your integrity and your reputation. Being the type of person who is known for being helpful and generous will only benefit you, both personally and professionally.
6. Share what works for you
As an extension to being helpful when you see a need, try to share what works for your firm when you see positive results. For example, if you’re experiencing success with one of your law firm marketing tactics, make an effort to share it with your community.
What works for you may not work for everyone, but sharing knowledge will earn you appreciation and respect. In the event that a marketing or business development tactic you suggested does work for someone else, they’ll remember that you were the one who gave them valuable advice and will likely want to return the favor in some way.
Again, even if no one does return the favor you’ll still be building a reputation as someone who actively tries to help his or her peers.
If you’ve developed close professional relationships with colleagues in your shared office space, then it doesn’t hurt to simply ask them if they have any referrals they could send your way.
Many people are reluctant to ask for favors because they fear rejection or don’t want to come off as desperate. Keep in mind that you’re running a business and your pride should not come before your bottom line.
In all honesty, most people like being asked for favors because it makes them feel valued. Trust that your peers want to see you succeed and being able to help you will make them feel good.
Implementing these tips can help you solidify a reputation that can give you a continuous stream of referrals to help you build your law practice.