Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Lawyer Referral Network v. Contact Database

What is the difference between a lawyer referral network and an attorney's contact database? It's a good question, and one I was just asked the other day.

A referral network is a group of 5-10 professionals who have the ability to send you high quality business leads. As an attorney, your referral network may include non-competitive attorneys, bankers, accountants, consultants, financial planners or others. If you don't have a strategic referral network in place working for you, set one up soon. It is like have your own personal sales force without having to pay commissions!

You should plan to meet with each referral network member individually every 30-45 days. Also, be sure to reciprocate by sending business opportunities to those who are providing you with leads. If you find that a network member becomes less productive over time, replace them with a new player.

Your contact database, on the other hand, includes your clients and prospects, as well as members of your referral network. You can prioritize them on an A/B/C basis. You may want to make personal contact with your "A" (best) candidates every 2-3 months, while you contact "B" prospects by phone or in person every 6-8 months. Maintain communications with "C" prospects via email or direct mail.

You can maintain your contacts in some type of contact management software like Act!, Goldmine, Contact Ease, Interaction, or similar services.

If you want to read more about legal marketing and attorney business development, read my new book "Courting Your Clients: The Essential Guide to Legal Marketing." See