Stephen Fairley, The Rainmaker Institute - Use Client Satisfaction Surveys to Create a Stream of Referrals

One of the greatest ways to get referrals is from other business professionals, such as CPAs and financial planners. You can also obtain referrals by identifying which of your clients are more likely to send people your way.

I recently interviewed Stephen Fairley, CEO of The Rainmaker Institute, on one of our monthly coaching calls.  He had some valuable insight into generating referrals, which I thought I would share.

The key to setting up a referral network is to be able to have referrals to send to your “allied professionals,” because when you are able to send them business, they will send clients your way as well.  However, putting yourself in a position to be able to send other professionals a steady stream of referrals can be challenging.  This area is one that most attorneys struggle with and is considered one of the black holes in referrals for lawyers, according to Stephen Fairley.  He believes that you can overcome this obstacle by using an annual client satisfaction survey.

The annual client satisfaction survey can be sent out at any time during the year.  You can include many different questions to help you get a pulse on your business.  For example, include a question asking about your client’s first impression of your law firm.  Find out how they felt about their treatment as a client.  Even though it may be difficult to hear, you should ask about the areas that you need to improve on and what they thought about your firm. 

To get referrals you can pass along, your survey must also include a section that inquires about the areas in which your clients may need assistance.  The question could read, “out of the following 5 areas, which one do you anticipate needing in the next year?”  The areas might include tax help, retirement planning and so on.  Once they check the box that applies to them, you can use the information to generate referrals to other professionals who are not in your line of work.

You can also use your client satisfaction letter to determine which of your clients are more likely to send you referrals.  Stephen Fairley mentions a survey methodology that helps identify the best potential people who will send you referrals.  This methodology includes one single question that should be included in your survey.  The question is – “on a scale of one to ten, how likely are you to recommend us to a friend, family member or colleague?”  The answer choices should be ranked into three groups - one to three, four to six and seven to ten.  The people who check the box at seven to ten are up to five times more likely to send you referrals than anyone else.

By utilizing your client satisfaction survey, you can increase the number of referrals you receive on a regular basis. 

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Ben Glass
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Ben is a nationally recognized expert in attorney marketing and the owner of Great Legal Marketing.