Speech: Teaching International Law and Accounting Firm Networks to Generate More Referrals and Revenue
As I’ve frequently mentioned, I’m a big fan of international law and accounting firm networks. I’ve seen countless times how global networks and affiliations generate intra-network referrals worldwide, while helping member firms retain their clients by ensuring that the referrals to other jurisdictions go to qualified firms that won’t poach their clients. It’s a win-win… win.
But it doesn’t happen automatically; like anything else, it takes work to maximize the number of valuable intra-network referrals.
I was recently speaking to a Legus International global meeting on this topic — teaching the terrific lawyers how to use their membership in the international law firm network to generate referrals and increase each firm’s revenue.
The presentation was organized into four sections. There are actually four different tactics to (1) create more referral opportunities, and also (2) increase the chance that you’ll receive them once they’re available.
These strategies include marketing:
(a) Yourself within the network
(b) Your firm within the network
(c) The network within your firm
(d) The network to your clients
They involve building awareness of yourself and your firm, and connecting both to a particular geography, so that you become synonymous with that jurisdiction.
For example, I’ve traveled the world for 35 years. In the 1970s and early 1980s, wherever I went, from Spain to Sri Lanka, “Chicago” meant “Al Capone, bang bang!” In the mid-80s, it meant “Oprah.” Then “Michael Jordan!” Today, it means “Obama.”
Within your global network, you and your firm must be equally emblematic of your city, state, or country. Therefore, when a professional has a potential referral to your location, they immediately think of you and know you can be trusted. At Legus, when the lawyers were introducing themselves at the morning session, the Kansas City lawyer put on a Royals baseball cap — to the chagrin of many other baseball fans. We all got a laugh out of it, but he firmly branded himself as “the lawyer from Kansas City.” I’m a Cubs fan.
The networks must also strive to brand themselves deeper into each member firm. In this way, instead of a relative handful of member contacts who are motivated to share intra-network referrals, nearly every lawyer, accountant, or other professional in the firm becomes a potential referral source. Going from 250 to 5000 active referrers would mean an enormous leap in shared business.
Finally, it’s helpful to inform the member firms’ clients of the firms’ membership in a particular global network, and educate them regarding the value it brings to them. Their affiliation with the network enhances the member firms’ credibility and the network’s overall brand. This is particularly true when clients see other firms they respect that are also members. That’s why it’s so important for networks to require their members to add the network’s logo on their business cards and websites.
Explaining this to lawyers, CPAs, or consultants, including showing lots of persuasive examples, takes about an hour. But it’s worth it.
If you’re interested in having Ross Fishman present to your national or international network of law firms, accounting firms, or other professionals, contact him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some attendee testimonials are below:
“Ross’s presentation was first-rate. It was thorough and entertaining, and I walked away with specific, concrete steps. A perfect ’10.’” (Mark Carta, Managing Partner, Carta, McAlister & Moore. Darien, CT)
“Interesting presentation; very thought provoking! 10/10″ (Paula Yu, Partner, Grandall Law Firm. Shanghai, China)