Every time I speak with an attorney who has been practicing for at least 10 years and has not invested in a website, the feedback from them is mostly the same: “I just don’t think a website is important. I have built a practice on word of mouth referrals.”
I get that, I really do. Word of mouth referrals are how most law firms have built their practices historically. That’s the keyword, though: historically. Whether you like it or not, the game has changed. The old way of asking a friend or family member for a referral is the old way. While word of mouth referrals still happen and are, in my opinion, still the best types of leads, the process has changed and your firm needs to change along with it. This is what I tell those attorneys who are website skeptics — and the following is my explanation of one way your website is a doorway to client acquisition.
Before I explain how word of mouth referrals have changed, let me first give you a couple of solid examples from an attorney listserv called Solosez. For those that don’t know, Solosez is run by the American Bar Association and is wildly popular among solo practitioners. Here are just a couple of recent requests for referrals or assistance on the listserv:
Someone requested a referral to a Seattle per diem attorney and here is one response:
“Roger Siegel is one of the regular per diems there. Google his number. Siegel and Elber is the firm”
This was in response to someone asking about speakers at an ABA conference:
“Judy will be giving the keynote at this Conference, and, if you Google her, you will see that her presentations are outstanding.”
Here is one where I’ve included the subject line for context. The response says it all:
Re: [SOLOSEZ] What are your best practice tips for establishing a referral relationship?
“My suggestion is: Do a google search for whichever type of legal work you’re trying to get. See who the top 10 results are. They may be swimming in more work than they can handle. If you know any of them, approach them and explain that you’re looking for referrals.”
I could go on and on with several examples but I think the point is pretty clear. Even when people are trying to provide a referral, they often don’t have direct contact information and are now suggesting that you to turn to Google to get the information you need about the person they wish to refer. Guess what? Without a website, you just won’t show up.
While I think the examples above make a fairly strong argument for how your website is a doorway to client acquisition, I’ll give you another scenario.
Person A is talking with Person B at a cocktail party and Person B discloses a legal issue to Person A. Person B has no attorney for their matter and Person A suggests that they speak with someone. Person B asks Person A if they can recommend someone and Person A says, “Sure, call my former attorney, Person C.” Person B asks Person A for Person C’s contact information and Person A says, “I don’t have it, just Google him.” That right there is the new word of mouth referral. Google is your new word of mouth conduit and Google requires you to have a website, social media profile, or online directory listing in order to refer you business. By the way, all three together are the best way to be found online.
There are several other ways a website can help you acquire clients, but you’ll have to circle back to our blog for those additional tips. For now, I just wanted to be sure the skeptics understand the necessity based on how the referral process has changed. Even a minimal investment in a website is worthwhile. Ignoring this as a necessity will come at the cost of potentially losing business that you’ve worked hard to earn. If you don’t want to wait for future tips on our blog and would prefer to speak with me or any of the ONE400 team members for tips on how you can use your website for law firm client acquisition, simply give us a call or contact us here. We are always available to help.