“I talk to my clients occasionally about introducing me to someone they know who might need my help,” expressed Art, a matrimonial attorney I work with. “But they always tell me that they can’t think of anyone.”
“Maybe that’s true,” I suggested. “Do you have a value discussion before you get on the subject of recommending you?”
“A value discussion?” Art asked. “You mean, like, asking them what they think of my services?”
“Exactly,” I replied.
“No way, man!” Art protested vehemently. “Most divorce clients are angry at everyone. They hate being in the situation they’re in, they hate paying me, they hate the whole process. If I ask them what they think of me or my services, I can’t imagine what would come out of their mouths.”
“Try it,” I suggested. “On all of your appointments this week, ask your clients how they feel about the service they’ve been getting, and see what happens.”
Art was skeptical, but he agreed to do what I asked.
When we spoke again the next week, I could hear Art trying to hold back his excitement.
“Every one of them said very positive, very flattering things,” he blurted. “The only negative comment had to do with me not checking in when nothing was going on with her case, so I promised to fix that and she was happy.”
“But here’s the real kicker,” he continued. “After we talked about how she felt, without my even bringing the subject up, one of them started to tell me about a friend who might need my help.”
One of the best ways to grow a practice of any kind is through referrals. Most professionals make the mistake of asking for referrals — or for the retainer, for that matter — before they have made sure not only that they’ve given value, but that the client has recognized it.
Discussions about your relationship with clients should come up often. Check in with them. Get them to tell you what is working and what isn’t. Don’t be afraid to hear the bad news.