How to approach a meeting with a referral source with confidence (and a thirty day challenge)

meeting with a referral sourceLast time I talked about one thing that you could do, today, to help drive more clients to your law practice. It involved picking up the phone and scheduling a meeting with a referral source once a day, everyday, for the next two weeks, (and beyond). Lots of lawyers are scared of taking this type of action, for a number of reasons, that may include:

  • They are scared of rejection, i.e. “who would want to meet with me?”
  • They are scared of success, i.e. “I just don’t have the time to conduct all of these meetings.”

More than anything else, I think lots of lawyers are scared of what they are going to talk about with the potential referral source once they get to the meeting. Well, lucky for you, that is actually the easy part because you can “systematize” that part of the process.

What do I talk about at the meeting?

You should have one goal going into that meeting (aside from not being late and looking presentable), and that goal is to talk about the other person. So what do you talk about? Glad you asked. Years ago, I read a book by Bob Burg titled “Endless Referrals”. In this book, Bob gives a list of 10 fantastic questions that you should memorize and ask when you go on these networking lunches. He calls them his “Feel-Good Questions“, because they make the person you are talking to feel good about themselves – and that’s the whole point of this exercise, right? Here are the questions:

  1. How did you get started as an accountant, therapist, financial advisor, etc.? In other words, what is your story?
  2. What do you enjoy most about being an accountant, therapist, financial advisor, etc.?
  3. What separates you and your practice from your competition?
  4. What advice would you give someone just starting out as an accountant, therapist, financial advisor, etc.?
  5. What one thing would you do in your business if you knew that you could not fail?
  6. What significant changes have you seen take place in your profession over the years?
  7. What do you see as some coming trends in your business?
  8. Describe the strangest or funniest incident, client, etc. that you have experienced in your business?
  9. What ways have you found to be the most effective for promoting your business?
  10. What one sentence would you like people to use in describing the way you do business?

Bob also adds an extra, “bonus” question, which he calls the “one ‘key’ question that will differentiate you from other people this person talks to. Here it is: “How can I know if someone I come into contact with is a good prospect for you?

I’ve taken Bob’s questions and gone a step further in my marketing efforts. My goal is to really become a resource for the person I am meeting with. I want to help them build their practice and generate more business for themselves. If you look to help others first, it is amazing the transformation that you will see in your own lives and law practices.

What I do is prepare a one-page document that lists a series of questions about the practice/business of the person I am speaking with. It is meant for the person I am meeting with to fill out and email back to me with an electronic photo that I can upload to my website. I have developed an entire resource page on my website of other lawyers, accountants, therapists, etc. that I can refer my own clients to. (Full disclosure here, this program is still in it’s infancy, and the resource page I am referring to is just getting started.)

Here is a link to the questionnaire I use to give to therapists to fill out.

What is my end goal here?

My end goal is to develop a resource page that includes my “top 20” list of best referral sources for my practice, as well as any other professional providers that I think would be a good resource for my clients.

So what are you waiting for? Get on the phone and start calling some people. If you don’t want to call them all in one day, that is ok. Call one or two people a day to start. See how that goes. If all you can do is call even one person a day, that’s over 200 potential new contacts that you will make in one year alone. Call 2 people a day and that is over 400 potential contacts you could make in one year. What kind of impact do you think that will have on your law practice?

My thirty day challenge

You could feel this coming. Here it is – my thirty day challenge. Every workday, for the next four weeks, call at least one person that has the potential to refer you business. That’s all. One person per workday and try to schedule a coffee or lunch meeting. I’m going to do the same thing in my practice. I’ll discuss this on the podcast this week and share with you my results.

We can always make excuses. “I have court.” “The holidays are coming up an nobody will want to meet with me.” Blah, blah, blah. Excuses, every last one of them. Pick up the phone and give someone a call. It will be amazing how good it feels to get this one thing done every single day.

Next time, I’m going to talk about what to do after the meeting, so that all your hard work doesn’t go to waste.

Have you taken this challenge? Have you started meeting with referral sources to build your law practice? Tell me more about it in the comments below.