In the early centuries, the crusaders sought after one treasure. Finding the Lord's cup would be the secret to their success. With attorneys, there is one true treasure that will build your business, and that treasure is more clients. If you seek new clients, you should try law firm internet marketing - the Holy Grail.
There is a myth among many law firms that referrals are all that are needed to build the business.
The story can be told in various ways but the gist is always the same.
I have had my practice since before you started school. All that I need in new business comes from referrals from satisfied clients. Those referrals are free advertising.
Everyone agrees that referrals are a good source for new clients, but they should not be the only advertising that you do. Certainly, referrals should not be an excuse to exclude other strategies for growing a practice.
Referrals are not free advertising. While many attorneys think that a referral is incidental to his practice, this is not always true. The false thinking goes along the following lines: If I represent the client, when his friends or family will be referred to me in the future when they need an attorney.
Alternately, the thinking goes along this line: My other lawyer friends know about my competency or like me so they will refer clients to me. This is not an effective referral network.
Referrals come through building relationships. As with all relationships, this one takes nurturing. There is a cost to nurture a relationship. The cost may be money or it may be time, but to get the best referrals, an attorney must make the investment.
By depending only on referrals, your do not target your best clients. Face it; the people you represent are not attorneys. Without a thorough knowledge of law, they do not know about all your specialties. In addition, your other attorney friends, may only have a general idea of your fields, so they also cannot as effectively target the correct clients for you. In addition, if they are in a closely related law field, they are already taking the best clients for their own firm.
Lastly, there is only a low volume of clients that will be generated through referrals. Even the most extensive network cannot compare to the effect of a good marketing campaign.
Today, some of the most effective marketing in all fields, including law is being done online. By finding an internet-marketing guru, your firm can increase your flow of new clients almost immediately. This will result in a higher profit margin for both you and your partners.
Referrals cannot be the only place your firm looks for new clients. If internet marketing of your firm is not acceptable to you, then you need to find another effective source or finding new clients. Marketing will still cost money or time. However, the fee that you pay a marketer will have a high rate of return. It will most assuredly be higher than your referral network.
To market effectively, you need to know what strategy works in your market. Keep track of both the investment as well as the rate of return. For each new client that contacts your office, ask the question, "How did you hear about us?"