As lawyers embrace marketing and business development, participate in social media, and build websites, client testimonials have become a hot topic. Many lawyers find it hard to ask for referrals from their friends or family. Soliciting for referrals can make anyone uncomfortable and this does not just apply to lawyers. Some social media platforms such as LinkedIn have an in-built mechanism for client testimonials that they refer to as recommendations. Platforms such as Avvo which are particularly for lawyers also provide an opportunity for clients to comment on their experiences with lawyers. Nevertheless, the question still remains, should lawyers ask for client testimonials?

How to ask clients for referrals and testimonials

Even if they express their appreciation directly, not many satisfied clients will think to offer or provide their law firm or lawyer with a testimonial. However, as a lawyer, you need positive testimonials so as to build your reputation. That exact moment when a client expresses their gratitude is the perfect time to ask the client for a testimonial. Irrespective of whether the client expresses their appreciation in writing or verbally, find out from them whether they would be willing to share their thoughts with others, and whether you can use them in your marketing provisions. It is absolutely proper to ask a client for a testimonial, just as it is to ask them to refer you to other people who may require your help.

Even though unsolicited testimonials are the easiest to obtain since the client does the work for you, it is possible that you may also have many satisfied clients who do not go out of their way to let you know about their experience. You may still be able to obtain testimonials from such clients by asking them for their feedback. Client surveys should be part of your regular routine to measure your own performance and the client’s satisfaction throughout the interaction, to identify extra needs and improve your services to present and future clients.

How to obtain more referrals

Studies reveal that lawyers get more than 70% of new business from referrals. The secret to obtaining more referrals lies in knowing when and how to solicit for them. Here are a few ideas on how to get the most referrals.

  • Ask your clients for referrals- Through the course of your law practice, you will come across clients that you will develop meaningful relationships with and who trust you. Ensure that they know exactly what you like, what area of law you specialize in and how you can be of help.
  • Build a network of referral sources- Your sources do not have to be your clients. It could be other lawyers who do not provide the same services as yours, or professionals such as teachers, doctors, and bankers in your network.

Before you rush to ask for referrals, ensure that you establish a relationship. Avoid looking desperate when asking for referrals and remember to let your clients know that you are ready and willing to serve their family and friends as well as you have served them. Simply put, it will be easier for you to get referrals if you deliver exceptional work, appreciate your clients and charge reasonably for your services. Whenever you get a referral, send an appreciation note or even a small token.

Keep the client’s voice

Even though you may want to direct your clients in writing their testimonials by using questions designed to ask for particular kinds of feedback, the best testimonials originate from the client. For it to be believable, the testimonial should sound like it came from the client and not the lawyer. It does not have to be slick, and it actually should not be. When testimonials tell the clients’ story in their own authentic voice, there will be no question that they are genuine, even if they are anonymous.