Bruce StoutBy Bruce Stout

With the Zoom revolution, attorneys are reaching out to network on an unprecedented scale. Increased receivables instill a new energy to make rain. They often spend hours cultivating what they believe to be potential referral sources only to be disappointed later when no prospects materialize. Or the ones that are referred are either unqualified or underqualified.

What is happening? They are networking with people with little or no ability to make appropriate referrals. The most common reasons why the “suspected” referral source does not deliver:

  • Little or no influence with the prospect: The prospect has a casual relationship at best.
  • Irrelevant type of prospect: The attorney does not service the prospect category.
  • Lack of follow-through: The referrer gets busy and forgets about the referral.

Perhaps the biggest reason: The referrer really does not know how to explain the value proposition of the attorney. Referrers have a challenge explaining their own value propositions. So there should be no surprise that they have difficulty explaining that of an unrelated professional.

The solutions:

1) Always ask a potential referral source questions that will help you determine if the referral potential is real. Examples:

  • What is your relationship with the prospect?
  • What are the typical profiles of referrals that are made by you?
  • If you get too busy, should I remind you?

2) Most important of all: Script an introduction for the referral source to use when referring to you. In that way, you are assured that your value position is clear and not misleading.

Following these few steps will help you identify bona fide referrers and reduce your time cultivating those that will lead nowhere.

Bruce Stout is a practice development advisor for professional firms.

He is available for free initial consultations.