How to Maximise Referrals

How to Maximise Referrals

How to Maximise Referrals

Referral marketing has always been a key method of bringing in new business, particularly within the legal sector.

That’s because prospective clients are more likely to use a service if they have been given a recommendation by a trustworthy source.  According to a recent report, in 2023, referrals in the legal industry had an average conversion rate of 3.6% – higher than leads converted via email (2.6%) or social media (1.7%). Although word-of-mouth may seem to be a more traditional form of legal marketing, there are many ways to utilise technology to maximise referrals to your business.

Where to start?

Having a referral process doesn’t have to be costly or time-consuming. As with all aspects of marketing, it’s about having a plan. For example, your strategy could be to ask clients for a referral at the end of a case. You could prepare an email template in advance, so that all you need to do later is press send. Alternatively, you might wish to set up an automated email that invites a client to make a referral via a form – this could be triggered by a particular action, such as submitting a contact form, or subscribing to your emails.

Professional referrals

While you may need to offer clients an incentive to encourage them to make a referral, there is perhaps more motivation for other professionals to recommend you if it is a reciprocal arrangement.  You should therefore do your research to see if there are any local solicitors that have different practice areas to you. If someone enquires about a service they do not offer, they can then point the prospect in your direction, and vice versa. The professional referrals could come from outside the legal sector, too – for instance, if a financial adviser is working with a client looking to buy or sell their home, they may be asked to recommend a lawyer to take care of their conveyancing.

Of course, fee sharing and referrals is an area that is closely monitored by the SRA, so you need to ensure that any arrangements you make with other professional services firms, or any incentives you offer to clients or prospects, are compliant with SRA regulations. For example, fee sharing with other professionals or giving inducements to clients are banned in personal injury cases. Read more about fee sharing and inducement rules on the SRA website.

Whatever route you decide to take, networking is key. If you make yourself known as a respectable business and attend events, you never know the connections you could make.

Keep track

With referrals potentially coming from multiple sources, it is important to keep track of where your new business is coming from. You can do this with a CRM system that keeps all the information about your clients (and where they came from) in one place. Going forward, you can then assess where to direct your efforts.

In conclusion, each firm’s referral strategy will likely look different. But the golden rule is to never be afraid to ask. If you have delivered a great, professional service, a client will most often be happy to share their experience with someone else. If they do, don’t forget to show your gratitude and personally thank them.

TOMD has been advising law firms on their marketing strategies for more than 20 years. If you want to maximise your referrals, please get in touch on or 01279 657555.


About the author
Chloe Wingate is a legal copywriter and digital marketing specialist at The Outsourced Marketing Department (TOMD), a marketing agency specialising in practical marketing, content and client communication solutions for professional services firms. Chloe helps law firms to communicate complex legal concepts in a way their clients can understand, in a wide range of content formats...