November Luncheon Synopsis – How to Build a Referral-Based Business

Moderator: Anita Henderson

Panelists: Elaine G. Levine, Michelle Koufman, and Lauren M. Greiner, all of Kaufman, Levine & Greiner, LLP

November-LuncheonProWIN’s sold-out November 2015 luncheon featured Elaine G. Levine, Michelle Koufman, and Lauren M. Greiner, along with moderator Anita Henderson. Elaine, Michelle, and Laruen are the three name partners in the law firm of Koufman, Levine, and Greiner, LLP, an Atlanta-area firm that focuses primarily on the areas of business law, estate planning, probate and administration, and elder law. The firm’s business is derived almost entirely from referrals, either from third parties who have developed a trust in the firm or from firm clients. The firm does not advertise, either online or in more traditional media, and the firm’s attorneys engage in no marketing activity other than face-to-face meetings and speaking engagements. The panelists discussed how they have been able to develop and maintain their referral sources.

All three panelists focused on developing knowledge and comfort as critically important in building a referral-based business. People tend to refer to someone they have worked with before because they understand how that person works and the level of service provided, and they trust that person to take good care of the referred person. Each panelist said that getting to know the people to whom you refer is critical. The panelists also said that regular contact with potential referral sources is extremely important because, as Lauren Greiner noted, you need to ensure that your contacts remember who you are and think of you when the opportunity to make a referral comes up.

Some other key points made by the panelists include:

Ensure that you are projecting the right message and the right image when in public and when meeting potential clients or referral partners.

Network often so you can meet people and let them get to know about you and what you do. Elaine Levine recommends finding at least one event to attend or contact to make every single day, seven days a week.

Use examples from prior work when discussing what you do. This helps people understand how you can help them or people they know.

Track referral sources, in detail, so you can see what marketing efforts have the greatest return on investment.

Find ways to give value to those who refer to you; ideally not through referral fees or other monetary compensation, but by other means, such as providing help and service for free when needed, and by helping promote the referral source by speaking highly of their work to the client they referred.

The panelists all agreed that, when making referrals, it is important to provide at least two, maybe more, potential candidates. That way, the selection of a referred professional becomes the choice of the person you referred, and not your choice. They also agreed that a focus on reciprocity of referrals is misguided. Instead, they believe it more important to ensure that the person being referred would be well-served than to worry about whether the person to whom the referral was made would send back business in return.

Photos from the luncheon. Click on an image to see the enlarged version.

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Synopsis by Loraine M. DiSalvo of Morgan & DiSalvo, P.C.
ProWIN Meeting on November 18, 2015
Hyatt Atlanta Perimeter, Atlanta, Georgia

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