You already know that I think you should be taking people to coffee and lunch as a primary mechanism for generating referrals.
Among the best people for you to get to know are other attorneys. They should be the principal target of your referral generation activities.
Once you get to lunch, how do you keep the conversation going? This comes easily for some folks. It’s tough for others. If you find it challenging, then memorize this list of questions, and you’ll find the time passes easily as you pop out one question after another.
Here’s the list:
- How did you get started in your practice?
- What do you like best about your practice area?
- What advice would you give to someone just starting in your area of practice?
- What significant changes have you seen since you started practicing in your field?
- What do you see as the coming trends in your area of practice?
- What ways have you found most effective in building your practice?
- What’s the funniest/strangest thing you’ve ever seen in your practice?
- What separates your practice from others practicing the same kind of law?
- How can I know whether someone I’m speaking to is a good prospect for your practice?
- What one sentence would you like someone to use in describing your practice to a prospective referral?
As I sit here looking at the list, it strikes me as a bit of an inquisition. The reality, however, feels different than you might imagine.
The reality is that you’re going to ask your coffee partners to talk about themselves for 30 minutes. They’re going to love it. You’re going to listen carefully and ask follow-up questions, and they’re going to know that you’re interested in them. Most people love talking about themselves, and you’re going to be an appreciative audience.
The more other people talk, the more they like you, the smarter they think you are, and the more likely they are to refer business to you. Get them talking and keep them talking, and you’ll grow your practice.