What Are the Advantages of Referral Programs, and How Do They Work?

What Are the Advantages of Referral Programs, and How Do They Work?

Referral programs are a great way for law firms to expand their clientele, gauge client satisfaction, increase business, and build trust. They are a key part of a law firm’s growth strategy. Read on to learn more about the benefits of referral programs, how they work, and the steps to take to create one.

What Are Referral Programs?

Law firms can use referral programs as a marketing tool to reward and motivate current clients to refer people to the company. These rewards can include discounts on legal fees or other types of incentives. A referral program produces a win-win situation for the law firm and its current clients who refer new business. Because individuals are more likely to believe recommendations from people they know and respect than advertisements or marketing efforts from the company itself, referral programs can be a useful tool for businesses looking to expand their clientele.

What Are the Advantages of Referral Programs? 

Generate New Clients

A well-thought-out referral program can help law firms generate new clients because the referrals come from dependable sources like friends, family, and business partners. Someone is effectively endorsing your knowledge and reputation when they suggest your law firm to their network. You can encourage your current clients to suggest new clients to your law firm by offering referral incentives, which can include discounts on legal fees. These incentives benefit clients and make them feel valued, which encourages them to refer people to your law firm.

Measure Client Satisfaction

Referral programs are a great way to gauge client satisfaction and deal with any potential problems or concerns. Clients are more inclined to recommend you to others if they are pleased with your services. In contrast, unhappy clients might be less likely to recommend you to their contacts. You may learn important information about how satisfied your clients are with your services and spot opportunities for development by monitoring the performance of your referral program.

Build Trust/Credibility

Referral programs build a framework of reputation and trust. Someone is more likely to trust your law firm and have faith in your capacity to provide legal services when they obtain a referral from a reliable source. Referrals and recommendations can also help build your reputation as a thought leader in your industry.


Referral programs are a budget-friendly way to advertise and market a law firm. They are a great way to gain new clients without having to invest any more into the current marketing strategy. Referral programs, as opposed to conventional advertising and marketing strategies, rely on word-of-mouth recommendations, which are free and inexpensive. 


How Does a Referral System Work?

Referral systems work best when they are automated. A law firm establishes the referral program, communicates it to clients, and sets a system in place to track the referrals. The referral tracking software rewards clients for their recommendations and can also offer insight into referral rates and other metrics that can help the business improve its marketing plan.

Here is how referral systems work, and step-by-step instructions on how to get your referral program started.

Define Goals

The first step is to specify the intentions behind your referral campaign. What do you want to accomplish? How many new clients do you hope to attract? What rewards will you give to people who recommend new clients?

Create Incentives

Next, you need to create incentives that reward current clients, staff members, or partners who suggest new clients or consumers. Discounts, cash awards, gift cards, or other rewards are some examples of incentives.

Next, you need to create incentives that reward current clients, staff members, or partners who suggest new clients or consumers. Discounts, cash awards, gift cards, or other rewards such as simply helping someone else are some examples of incentives. Don’t forget that ABA Rule 5.4 prevents sharing fees with a nonlawyer so be sure that any cash incentives or gifts comply with the Rules of Professional Conduct.

Referral Software

A law firm must develop a method for referrals, such as a form, link, or code that current clients, staff members, or partners can use to recommend new clients to the company. Referral software can streamline this process and make it simple for clients to recommend new clients. Choose referral software that will assist in managing the program, tracking recommendations, and rewarding clients.

It’s critical to select a referral software that specifically addresses the requirements of your law firm. Some examples of referral software include Allbound and ReferralCandy.

Communicate With Clients and Promote the Referral Program

Explain the referral program’s operation to your clients. Provide them with the resources and tools they need to refer people, including referral cards or an online referral site. It’s crucial to advertise the referral program to current clients when it has been set up. Email, social media, and other marketing channels can be used for this. Be clear about the advantages of the program and the requirements for participation. If you still use traditional print marketing methods, you can also consider marketing your referral program through the mail (we suggest using custom poly mailers, which are eco-friendly and ideal for businesses).


Keep an eye on the results of your referral campaign and make any necessary adjustments. Track referrals, client satisfaction, and other metrics that might help you enhance your marketing strategy with the referral software.

With a referral tracking system, your law firm can keep track of the referrals made by its clients, staff members, or partners. The referral tracking system keeps track of the referral’s origin, the client’s information, and the reward the referrer received.

Distribution of Rewards

The law firm gives away the reward or incentive received by the referrer when a new client has hired the firm.

Follow Up

The law firm contacts the new client to check on their satisfaction with the services they received and asks them to recommend the company to others. They also follow up with clients who have recommended new business to thank them. This will increase their faith in you and motivate them to recommend more clients in the future.

Consider a Referral Partnership

Partnering with law firms that offer legal services for other areas of law can be an effective marketing tactic. You can also partner with offer businesses who can recommend your firm to potential clients. Depending on the type of law your firm practices, there are a number of different businesses you can partner with for referrals, including financial advisors, real estate agents, accountants, insurance companies, and more. Referral partnerships give you the opportunity to grow your clientele through business partnerships, gain their trust, and offer more comprehensive legal services. 


Partnerships and referral programs can play a significant role in a law firm’s growth strategy. Law firms can become market leaders and expand their client base in a cost-effective manner by creating a referral system that builds trust and credibility, tracks client satisfaction, and attracts new clients. Law firms can automate the referral process with referral software and acquire useful information about their marketing efforts with the use of these tools and resources.

Contact Our Law Firm Marketing Team Today

At ONE400, we pride ourselves on being leaders in legal marketing. Our team of professionals helps lawyers and law firms craft comprehensive marketing strategies that accelerate growth and help them reach their goals and objectives. Our diverse team of professionals helps law firms with a wide range of services, including business consulting, product development, website development, and innovative digital marketing techniques. If you have any questions about the components of your marketing plan or growth strategy, please do not hesitate to contact us to learn more about how we can help.

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About the author

Allen Rodriguez Allen Rodriguez is a legal product development strategist who has been serving the legal industry for over 21 years. Over the course of his career, Allen has built a reputation for creating innovative legal services products as well as developing highly effective law firm business and marketing strategies. Allen is a valued speaker on the topics of law marketing, legal services product development, and future of law issues.

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