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The power of proper referral relationships between professionals

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Attwood Marshall Lawyers have been helping clients with their legal needs for over 75 years, and over those years we have built valuable referral relationships with likeminded professionals and their businesses. We act for people in some of the most stressful periods in their lives and they also need help from accountants, financial planners, insurance brokers, finance brokers or bankers, and health providers. We believe it is very important to refer clients to people who share our intent or purpose to help people and change their lives for the better, explains Legal Practice Director, Jeff Garrett.

Introduction

For us, referral relationships are so much more than simply dropping a name or handing someone a business card (or worse, 3 business cards!).

We believe in building strong foundations with likeminded and skilled business professionals so that we can support our clients in a holistic manner, ensuring any overarching issues are handled in alignment with their legal affairs. We believe in maintaining positive relationships and seeing our referral business partners as an extension of our business.

Our clients often require multiple advisors to meet their financial, taxation, health, and legal needs.  We often see a disconnect where professionals do not work together or are not aware of what the others are doing. As all advisors have different skill sets, it can be extremely beneficial to interweave these skills to give a comprehensive service and ensure the client is being looked after at all angles. It is also important that the professionals are consistent with their advice to the client and, even more important, that the client understands that advice.

Rather than leave things to chance, we like to understand the businesses of our referral partners and be able to properly position them with our client at the time of the referral. Likewise, if a fellow professional is referring a client to us, we want them to know enough about how we operate to be able to tell the client what to expect and position them in the correct way. It makes the referral process so much smoother and avoids the old ‘3-card trick’ of handing someone 3 business cards. That is not a proper referral, in our respectful view.

The results of a strong referral relationship

A happy client is generally a returning client, which can also turn into a referring client.

Here are some referral statistics that may surprise you:

  • 84% of people trust recommendations from people they know making the referral, and this is the most influential form of “advertising”.
  • Clients who are referred to a business convert 30% more than those generated from any other source.
  • Clients are 4 times more likely to commit to a product or service when referred by a friend or trusted professional.
  • Referrals are the best types of clients you can get because they have a higher conversion rate, they commit faster, and have a 16% higher lifetime value.


How does Attwood Marshall Lawyers facilitate a referral relationship?

When exploring a new referral relationship, first and foremost we like to meet face to face with businesses who offer services of value to our clients. During an initial meet and greet, it is important to identify whether both businesses are a potential match to build a referral relationship.

As part of this process, we drill down to uncover:

  • Each business’s key drivers
  • Why working together may be beneficial (or if it may not be)
  • What both businesses can expect from the referral process
  • How both businesses operate and what the customer experience looks like
  • What would be considered an effective communication method between both businesses and the key personnel.  


It is common for business professionals to have fears about referring their clients to another business, and we believe in addressing these fears at the earliest opportunity when identifying potential referral relationships.

The five most common fears many financial and legal professionals have when approaching a new referral relationship include:

  1. Trust: Worrying if the lawyer will treat your client the way you want them to.
  2. Quality: Questioning if the service will be up to scratch.
  3. Control: Losing control over the matter or client and not being kept in the loop or being fearful that your client will not return to you.
  4. Consistency: Worrying that not all lawyers will deliver the same consistent service and advice. Just because you had one client obtain a positive outcome, the next may not be the same.
  5. Time: Believing that investing the time to build a referral relationship will not be worth it.


We take these fears very seriously. It is through the implementation of our staff training, our systems, and our business structure and culture that we can stipulate the many benefits a referral relationship with Attwood Marshall Lawyers can achieve.

There are also some great benefits of having a strong referral relationship:

  1. Revenue: reciprocal referrals can build revenue through increased fees and creating more work for each business.
  2. Loyalty: the referral relationship helps create loyalty in the client because they are having their needs met through our businesses. They don’t go elsewhere.
  3. Referrals: the referrals themselves are a huge benefit to each business and often result in further referrals to and by other professionals in your network.
  4. Knowledge and resources: you get to learn about each other’s business and what help is available to the client. This knowledge is invaluable and extends your ability to identify issues that need to be addressed (e.g., in estate planning)
  5. Protection (Legal): getting the right advice to the client can help them with compliance issues but it also gets you off the hook and avoids any liability.


Our lawyers are trained to listen and connect with their clients to provide a personalised service. A client is never treated as a number, and we take great pride in supporting them through every stage of their life.

There is a reason that we maintain our Quality Management System ISO 9001:2015 Accreditation and can display the internationally recognised red-five-tick standards mark. This has only been made possible through our ongoing commitment to improving our processes and procedures and should give our referral partners confidence that their clients will receive the best customer experience and quality legal services. Everything we do is centred around a better experience for our clients.

We are not your typical cut-throat law firm, and we will always return your client and keep you in the loop as part of the process. For us, we enjoy working together with referral partners, not simply taking the lead, and running with it.

There’s a reason we don’t believe in offering incentives for referrals, because the true value we can offer is supporting a client through their needs. A happy client is a returning client, and when we deliver a positive service, this helps cement the relationship with clients and secure future revenue for both businesses.

We also believe in sharing our knowledge, whether it be at a service level, or within the industry.

A structured process

We have the systems in place to be able to ensure any clients who are referred to our business by another professional can be labelled in our system so that we can identify the referral source. Our systems allow us to capture the referrers information, keep them aligned with the client throughout the matter, and communicate effectively with both client and referrer.

Not all referral relationships and systems are created equal, and we have invested heavily in our systems to allow for accurate data collection, transparency, and accessibility.

We also have an online referral portal for anyone who wishes to refer a client (click here!).

Do you need a trusted lawyer to refer your clients to?

We have worked with a large number of accountants, financial planners, lawyers, barristers and other professionals to deliver expert advice and exceptional customer service.

If you would like to discuss the opportunity to build a referral relationship, we would welcome the opportunity to learn more about you and your business.

Whether you are looking for a lawyer that can take on a cross-jurisdictional matter, or someone to provide comprehensive legal services to support their current financial goals, we can help.

To discuss referral opportunities, please contact:

Wills & Estates & Family Law:
Donna Tolley, Department Manager
Ph: 07 5506 8241
Email: dtolley@attwoodmarshall.com.au

Property & Commercial:
Jess Kimpton, Department Manager
Ph: 07 5506 8214
Email: jkimpton@attwoodmarshall.com.au

Commercial Litigation, Estate Litigation, Equine Law, Criminal Law:
Amanda Heather, Department Manager
Ph: 07 5506 8245
Email: aheather@attwoodmarshall.com.au

Personal Injury Claims and Compensation:
Kelli Costin, Department Manager
Ph: 07 5506 8220
Email: kcostin@attwoodmarshall.com.au

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Jeff Garrett - Legal Practice Director - Wills & Estates, Estate Litigation, Property & Commercial, Compensation Law, Commercial Litigation, Criminal Law, Racing & Equine Law

Jeff Garrett

Legal Practice Director
Wills & Estates, Estate Litigation, Property & Commercial, Compensation Law, Commercial Litigation, Criminal Law, Racing & Equine Law

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Disclaimer
The contents of this article are considered accurate as at the date of publication. The information contained in this article does not constitute legal advice and is of a general nature only. Readers should seek legal advice about their specific circumstances. 

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