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Referrals are important for lawyers: Online presence closes the deal

Online reputation lawyersPer the American Bar Association, four out of five people turn to someone they trust when looking for legal services. This per an ABA survey on on the delivery of legal services (pdf).

What do people do when thy get a lawyer’s name? They Google the name of course. No one is going to hire a service provider or buy a product without doing detailed research online.

For an ever growing segment of Americans reviewing a law firm website or a LinkedIn profile is only the half of it. Reviewing a lawyer’s total online presence, including their social media history is next.

Jenna Tomko (@JennaTomko), Client Development Account Executive at LexBlog, wrote about the importance of an online presence by sharing the experience of her recent wedding.

Having attended about 15 weddings in the past 3 years I started my planning process with a stack of recommendations: florists, caterers, venues, coordinators, hair stylists, make-up artists, photographers, bands, DJs…the list could go on. So, where do I start? Easy. I googled each and every one of them. Sadly, I was able to eliminate close to 60% of them based on zero to no Internet presence.

Then came the fun part: I delved deep into their social networks: I stalked Facebook pages, and Twitter streams, I perused Pinterest accounts, read reviews, read other reviews by those reviewers to make sure we had similar taste, studied online menues, scoured the Internet for pictures, dissected LinkedIn profiles, and at the end of it all I had a short list of vendors to call, and only a few restraining orders to deal with (kidding). This is how my generation makes buying decisions.

B2C vendors aren’t the only ones who need to pay attention to their digital footprint. From an article by Brent Adamson, Matthew Dixon, and Nicholas Toman in the Harvard Business Review, nearly 60% of a typical purchasing decision by B2B customers—researching solutions, ranking options, setting requirements, benchmarking pricing, and so on—are made before ever having a conversation with a supplier.

“It doesn’t mean that referrals aren’t valuable, word-of-mouth is what got me that initial stack of cards in the first place,” per Tomko. “But to get your ideal potential client to pick up the phone you better have the online presence to back that referral up.”

Business development professionals such as Tomko are soon to rule the world, or at a minimum fill the roles of executives, in-house counsel, business owners, and consumers hiring legal counsel.

Without an effective online presence, including an impressive social media history, you’re apt not to be selected as legal counsel by them.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Eliminate Bad Reviews.