Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Saying Thanks For The Referral

I make referrals to other lawyers.  I make those referrals so that the client can be introduced to a qualified attorney.  I also make them so that the attorney can land a new, paying client.  When I make a referral I go out of my way pair the two people, and to pass on to the potential client the contact information for the potential lawyer.  I also let the lawyer know that he or she can expect a contact.  I don't expect a return contact from the attorney, but it is nice when I get one; and I pay more attention to those who do respond to my referrals.

When I receive a referral from another lawyer (or from anyone else for that matter) I go out of my way to say thanks.  At the very least I send a handwritten note to the referring attorney.  Not an email, not an e-card, but an actual note written in ink on paper, that is then mailed to the lawyer.  I also make a thank you phone call.  If I get a series of referrals from someone I will typically send a gift (a nice bottle of wine, a hosted lunch, or a copy of a popular book are examples).

I am sure there are many of you out there asking "why go to the trouble?"  I know you are asking that because I know you are not thanking me when I send referrals to you.  You aren't doing it, but you should be doing it.  Referrals are the life blood of every practice.  If I want you to keep sending me more referrals, I need to keep my name fresh in your mental rolodex. Taking the time to send a note of thanks demonstrates how much I appreciate the thought and effort that goes in to a referral.  You appreciate my return effort, you make a mental note of it, and my name magically moves to the top of your mental referral list.

If you are like me, and you don't get that acknowledgment, you move that attorney to the bottom of your referral list, or you scratch him or her from the list altogether.  Some lawyers can afford to lose that $10,000, $20,000 a year in referred income.   Good for them.  Other cannot afford that loss. Those are the lawyers that need to stay on top of their referral thank yous.

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