Pop quiz: Who are your best referral sources? List the top 10 of each right now. If you are a more junior lawyer in a law firm and don’t yet have your own clients, list the senior lawyers for whom you do the most work.
Were you able to make the list? This information should be at the tips of your fingers at any moment. If you don’t know who these people are, your activity this week is to find out.
Assuming you know who your top clients and referral sources are, the next question is:
How often are you in contact with them? One of my clients recently realized that his top referral sources send him at least 5 substantial matters a year, resulting in several hundred thousand dollars of business. And then he realized that as he’d become busier, he moved away from the close contacts that had helped to build those referral relationships. Yes, he sent business to them as well and he attended mettings with them frequently, but he couldn’t remember the last time he’d had lunch or played golf one-on-one with these people.
Relationships, like anything else, are always in motion. Are yours growing closer or more distant? If you don’t stay in good contact with others, the relationships will grow weaker and you may find that the support that you enjoyed is transferred to others who are more attentive. There are no bad motives in play, but absence in business rarely makes the heart grow fonder.
Take a few minutes now to set times to check with the people who think enough of you to send you work. Make it a point to reconnect and to find out what’s going on with them. At the same time, express your appreciation for their referrals. And then lay your plans so you can be sure to check in with them at least quarterly.