Why an Effective Referral System is the Lifeblood of Your Growing Business

It is impossible to sustain your business long-term without referrals. To grow your firm, you must develop a referral system. Read 8 Figure Firm’s blog to learn why referrals are the lifeblood of your business and how you can be intentional about your referral development.

What are referrals?

Before we can discuss why referrals are the lifeblood of your business, we need to define the term. A referral is when someone recommends your law firm to a potential client, either organically or through intentional marketing efforts.

Why are referrals necessary?

Referrals are essential for many reasons. For one, the cost of acquisition for clients is growing every single year, and the competition is becoming more fierce. For this reason, you must rely on referrals to lower the acquisition cost and increase your base. 

Referrals are an indication that your business is providing good customer service. A failure to develop referrals indicates that you are not committed to your customer journey and the client’s experience while working with your firm. 

If you want to create more referrals, you have to be intentional about referral development. You will naturally gain referrals by working through your customer journey – but that isn’t the only way that you can develop referrals!

The 3 Types of Referrals

However, before getting into ways to develop your referral system, we must discuss the three types of referrals.

Other Attorneys

Networking with other attorneys is crucial for several reasons. Networking with and referring clients to other attorneys can maintain a solid relationship and increase the number of cases you receive. 

Non-Attorney Professionals

Non-attorney professionals are also a good source of referrals. Non-lawyer professionals like barbers, insurance agents, primary care doctors, accountants, or dentists work with many people and can point potential clients in your direction.


Lastly, referrals can come from your current and former clients. Client referral-building is the easiest of the three types because you already have a relationship with the people you’re asking for referrals from.

How do you develop a system for referrals?

There are a few different ways to develop a referral system, and each strategy varies depending on who you’re asking. Let’s look at referral systems for clients, non-attorney professionals, and other attorneys.

Referrals from Clients

Client referrals can happen organically, and many firms rely on their good work and above-par customer service to generate new leads. You’re more likely to get referrals if you do your job well. The key to procuring those coveted and organically manifested client referrals is to go above and beyond customer expectations.

These naturally occurring client referrals are great, but unfortunately, they don’t happen nearly as often as they could. The good news is that it’s relatively simple to ramp up your client referral marketing if you act with intentionality.

Planting the seed of referral in your clients begins long before you wrap up their case. It starts with their customer journey and proceeds through each touchpoint along the way. You may benefit from asking for a referral on day one and throughout their case.

You should also provide tools for your clients to promote you more effectively. Newsletters, videos, and blogs make your content easily shareable. Additionally, you should let all of your clients know that they will receive a discounted rate or lowered contingency fee if they refer people to you. 

Referrals from Other Lawyers

Most successful law practices provide services within a specific legal niche and aren’t equipped to handle unrelated cases. When that happens, most attorneys will point the individual toward another lawyer who can adequately handle the case.

However, many lawyers won’t risk their reputation by referring potential future clients to unreliable attorneys. Your reputation and visibility are the keys to obtaining organic lawyer-to-lawyer referrals

You must build relationships with other attorneys to develop your system for lawyer-to-lawyer referrals. These relationships often grow out of interactions during business development opportunities, courthouse interactions, or continued learning events.

Once you contact other attorneys, you will need to stay in touch. Business relationships are much like any other type of relationship, requiring work. Sometimes the work looks like maintaining an active membership with various organizations, while other times, it looks like participating in programs put on by your local and state bar associations. 

Referrals from Non-Attorney Professionals

Organic referrals from professionals occur similarly to referrals from clients and other lawyers. Similarly situated people tend to run in the same circles, so if you’re already catering to professionally inclined clients, you’ll likely see some professional referrals funneled your way.

Any number of day-to-day interactions can lead to professional referrals, but why stop there? An excellent strategy for boosting referrals from professionals outside your immediate legal sphere is to elevate your visibility in the community.

Professional and community organizations offer numerous opportunities for exposure. Most groups regularly host guest speakers to help inform their members on specific topics, policy changes, or best practices. You can offer to provide insight on recent changes in statutes or interpretations of the law.

Even when you aren’t offered an opportunity to speak directly to an audience, sending an email or making a phone inquiry counts as a touchpoint that raises your firm’s brand awareness. Consider that every moment in your life is a potential touchpoint for a lead. You are your own living, breathing touchpoint machine. 

Speak to an Expert

Developing your referral system is crucial to experiencing exponential growth. Referrals increase your base, decrease the cost of acquisition, and improve your brand awareness and authority. You will need to develop a system to get referrals from clients, other attorneys, and non-attorney professionals.

Referrals are crucial, but developing a system to get them can quickly become complex. That’s why 8 Figure Firm is proud to offer programs to help you build your referral system. With programs like ONE.Client Journey and ONE.Coach, you will get the guidance you need to grow your firm. 

If you’re ready to take your law firm to the next level, register for ONE.Client Journey today. We’ll help you turn your law firm into a law business.