two people shaking hands making a referral deal

Cultivate the Best Referrals Possible: Focus on Clients First

By Kimberly Rice, President and Chief Strategist of KLA Marketing Associates
Kimberly Rice headshot

Lawyers struggle with cultivating and nurturing relationships with clients to broaden their network. There is significant fear and lack of confidence over not fully grasping the client attraction process, and a process it is. Too often, we see lawyer clients frustrated that while their efforts are unabated, their client generation is minimal.

Often, lawyers focus too much on their qualifications and not enough on what the client/contact may be focused on: their industry, their business performance, opportunities, threats and the constant changes they confront.

If attorneys would reflect on how they desire to be treated by their service providers, the level of service they expect and the responsiveness they require, providing that same level of service to their clients could be more meaningful for them.

Have you evaluated how “client focused” you are? Do you make a concerted effort to be attentive to your client’s needs first and keep conversations about the client, not you? Below are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Listen more, talk less
  • Ask thoughtful, open-ended questions to learn more
  • Avoid promoting your experience and that of your firm
  • Identify clients’/contacts’ pain points and address how you may be of service in these areas
  • Under promise and over deliver with work product
  • Exceed expectations, every time

In this competitive legal services environment, the client is in the drivers’ seat. To advance strong relationships, lawyers are well advised to adjust their mindset and best practices to be more “client centric” than ever before. You cannot afford not to be. Often, this shift requires learning and practicing new disciplines and behaviors, and that’s ok as long as the result is still the same: clients are happy with your relationship and it becomes long-term.

The best way to generate client referrals is by practicing the tactics above and only then share with your clients your gratitude of them passing your name on to others whom may benefit from your services. With that, you want to ensure that your clients understand clearly the full range of your services, which is often not the case.

Often, we find that one of the hesitations our clients have for not asking for referrals from their clients is that they are uncomfortable with how to raise the issue, exactly what to say and what the client’s reaction may be. While this conversation may be outside your comfort zone, that is not reason enough not to make the ask.

Watch the Webinar on Cultivating Client Referrals


About the Author:

As President and Chief Strategist of KLA Marketing Associates, Kimberly leads her team to provide strategic marketing advisory services to forward-thinking law firms and lawyers seeking to attract new client and business opportunities. Nationally recognized as one of the top leaders in law firm business development strategy, Kimberly collaborates with lawyers and law firms of all sizes to guide them in building, growing and sustaining a prosperous business and educate them on how to exceed clients’ expectations and increase revenue.

KLA works with clients daily to unpack their unique client situation and craft a solution to help them move forward. Contact KLA today to learn more.