How to approach busy referrers without being a nuisance

This is part three of a series on the top five concerns lawyers have about getting referrals.

To recap, I have just concluded a survey of small law firms where I asked then what their biggest concerns were in regard to getting referrals from people within their professional network.

From their replies we have arrived at the top five concerns lawyers have with getting referrals.

They are:

    • 1) What can I offer to a potential referrer so that they get something out of the referral?


    • 2) How do I consistently get true referrals as distinct to an incentivised referral?


    • 3) How to approach busy referrers without being a nuisance?


    • 4) How can I avoid getting the wrong referrals such as time wasters?


    5) How can I price my service to attract high quality referrals?

In the last two articles I addressed the first two issues. If you missed them you can find the links at the bottom of this article.

In this article I will address issue three.

3) How to approach busy referrers without being a nuisance?

Nobody wants to feel that they are being a nuisance. I’m sure that you don’t and I certainly don’t.

That said, we all want referrals and if the potential referrer you are targeting doesn’t know you exist, you are very unlikely to get referrals from them.

So what can you do?

The approach I would always recommend is to adopt the principle of “You reap what you sow”.

If you approach a potential referrer with the mindset of “How am I going to get this person to send me referrals?” who are you thinking about?

You are thinking about you and your problem, namely how to get referrals.

I suggest to you that the referrer, particularly if they don’t even know you, are likely to be far more concerned about themselves and their problems, rather than you and your problems.

Applying the “you reap what you sow” principle, in this situation, could be “If I want this potential referrer to help me, how can I help them first?”

In order to help them, you may need to do a bit of research to understand the sorts of problems or concerns that either they or their clients have. Specifically what you are looking for is problems that you can help them with.

If you are now approaching them with an offer to help them with a problem that they regularly or their clients regularly have, you are much more likely to get their attention, than if you approach them asking for referrals.

Think about this from your own perspective. If someone you didn’t really know, approached you and asked you for referrals, how likely would you be to give them any?

Compare that to a situation where someone approached you with an offer to help you with a problem that you often had.

While you may not take up the offer, I think you’ll agree that you are more likely to view this contact more favourably.

If you are thinking “How do I find out what concerns these potential referrers have?” ,look at what I did to find out what concerns lawyers had with referrals. I simply asked them. Now obviously not everyone I asked responded, but it helped me to understand the sorts of issues that lawyers had with referrals.

You could do exactly the same thing with your target referrers, but either asking ones you already know, doing a survey like I did, or something similar.

Have you missed the first two articles in this series? You can find them on these links:

Article 1 The top five concerns lawyers have with referrals
Article 2 How to consistently get true referrals as distinct to incentivised referrals

For the next article in the referral series, click on the following link ” How to avoid getting the wrong clients such as time wasters?