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Use Email to Nurture Your Referral Network

When solo and small firm lawyers ask how they can gin up their business development, I start by asking them where they already get their business.

That answer is almost always “referrals.” It could be referrals from other lawyers and professional colleagues, clients and former clients, or any number of sources. So then I ask, “What are you doing to stay on your referral network’s radar?”

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Those answers can run the gamut and include holiday cards, social media and personal networking at bar association and professional events, among other methods. All those are great and I encourage them to keep it up. But holiday cards are typically an annual affair, social media can become overwhelming, and personal networking — though undoubtedly effective — can be exceedingly time-consuming, expensive and calorie-laden.

One answer lawyers almost never give? Email.

Of course, we all spend our day on email, but those are almost uniformly transactional emails, to and from clients and colleagues, getting things done. And we’re all accustomed to getting marketing emails from potential vendors, news sources, and online stores we bought something from in 2013. So why send another one to your network’s already bulging inboxes?

Simple: Email remains one of the most cost- and time-effective ways to make regular, nonintrusive contact with people you may not see all the time but who you want to remember you the next time someone asks them, “Do you know a bankruptcy lawyer?”

For tips on how you can use email to nurture your referral network, see my article on Attorney at Work.

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