Obviously focusing on referral sources is a really smart bet, but if you want to improve your odds for success, you have to be willing to up the ante and invest the time to educate them.
To really improve your payoff, you need your referral sources to say great things about you. Not just broad generalities, like that you’re a really smart lawyer who works with really great companies and who went to a really good law school. While all of that may be nice, it doesn't set you apart - and it's not likely to get you hired, especially by sophisticated buyers of legal services in the current hyper-competitive legal marketplace. In this game, frankly, being qualified is table stakes. Getting hired requires value – and value is about helping people.
So your referral sources have to understand the value you bring to the table. They should know your area of specialty, your ideal Client, your target market and any niche expertise you may have. Even better, they should be able to convey how you help Clients find creative solutions to challenging problems or achieve superior results.
You also want them to communicate not only that you are a great lawyer, but also that you are a great person to work with - someone who understands the Client’s business and industry, is responsive, provides great service and doesn't overcharge. Ultimately, this will position you as a trusted - and there is no better position to be in.