Friday, September 29, 2006

How to Find Business Referrals

I get calls from my attorneys asking a similar: "How do I find people to start building a referral network with?" The question can come from an associate or new partner just beginning to build their book of business, or a seasoned partner who has been heads down for a couple of years and let their network go stale. Finding people to will help you build your client list is a scary, seemingly impossible task; and most of us have never been trained to do this sort of thing. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
  • Ask your contacts at existing clients about the other professional services people they work with. Who is their banker, accountant, consultants, etc.? Then call those people and set up a meeting to see if you share common types of clients. If it's a match offer to start sharing leads and referrals.
  • Talk to your existing clients and tell them you're looking for new business. They often know their peers at other companies, and you will find, are very happy to help make the introduction.
  • Join an industry or client-centric association and get on a committee. Most committees have other service providers as members. Setup meetings with them to discuss yours and their business development activities.
  • Get on panels at seminars that your ideal prospective client would attend. Fellow panelists are almost always productive if you follow-up with them after the seminar.

There are other paths to meeting people through people; What is above is just the beginning. In every instance above you're not making a single cold-call, which I would never recommend. You already know a huge list of people that would love to help you put your network together.

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