Referral Relationships

Gyi Tsakalakis
July 13, 2010

While those in the legal profession, and legal marketing industry disagree on a lot, there is one thing on which most of us agree:

Referrals are one of the best sources of new business for any law firm.  However, generating consistent referral sources alludes even some of the most experienced attorneys.

On his Rainmaker Institute Blog, Stephen Fairley provides 6 Ways to Increase Client Referrals:

  1. Get Contacts Thinking Referral: Don’t assume your contacts are thinking about referrals for you. Let them know your practice relies on referrals and how much you would appreciate them passing your name along.
  2. Immediate Appreciation: When a contact does refer you, call or send a thank you note the very same day. 
  3. Reward: Within the next 48 hours, send your referral source a small gift of appreciation such as a business card holder, a gift card to a popular coffee shop or bookstore.
  4. Recognition: Once you’ve successfully scheduled a meeting with the referred potential client, e-mail your referral source to let them know you have scheduled that meeting and that you will update them again.
  5. Reward and Recognition 2: When the referral becomes a new client, send a “level 2 gift” to your referral source. A level 2 gift should be substantial and meaningful. Something your referral source will really value. However, be aware of dollar-amount gift limits your referrals are able to accept. Also, be sure to include a personal note that tells your referral source the positive outcome of their recommendation.
  6. Stay Top of Mind: Even when your referral sources haven’t referred, stay top of mind. Send a note 1-2 times per year to your entire contact list thanking them for past and future referrals.

Here are some ways to implement these techniques to nurture client referral relationships online:

Thank You Posts

Show your appreciation with a Thank You blog post.  Publicly thanking your referral source not only demonstrates your appreciate for the referral to the specific source, it also demonstrates your appreciation to other potential sources.  Furthermore, it gets visitors thinking referral.

Make sure your post is genuine and sincere.  Depending on your relationship with your referral, you may also consider getting the consent prior to posting, or keep the source anonymous.


Relationships matter, and LinkedIn provides a variety of ways to nurture your professional referral relationships.  Openly discussing referrals in groups, questions, etc. on LinkedIn can attract new referral sources.  Further, post recommendations for referral sources in your network.

Make sure to include referral information on your profile.


Avvo is another great place to nurture relationships.  Acquiring and posting endorsements, testimonials, and recommendations on the profiles of referral sources, will show your appreciation for those relationships.

Link Building

Links are still the currency of the web and providing links to both current and prospective referral sources will be appreciated by those that understand their value.  Linking to the quality content of your referral sources shows them respect, endorses them as an authority, and expresses your interest in fostering new referral relationships.

Gyi Tsakalakis
Co-Founder of AttorneySync
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