Given the number of critical projects on your to-do list, it can be easy to let minor tasks fall through the cracks. But maintaining a consistent flow of referrals is not so minor when you consider its role in the health of your practice. So whether your referrals come from colleagues within your firm or from other professionals outside your firm, you should make it a priority to let them know that their thoughtfulness is appreciated.
1. The first step is to track your referrals so you know who to thank, and for what. To do this, you can use CRM (if you have the patience), a simpler pipeline management tool like Practice Pipeline, or even an Excel spreadsheet.
2. Next, institutionalize a referral appreciation policy. This can range from a heartfelt email to a thank-you note to a gift of some sort, but regardless of the gesture, personalize it to the referral source. You can do this by asking your secretary to call your referral sources' secretaries and inquire about their tastes. Otherwise, you may find yourself gifting dinner for two at a nice steakhouse to a vegetarian or sending that bottle of Malbec to a recovering alcoholic. And if you send a thank-you card, take a moment to personalize it with a sincere sentence or two. There's nothing more superficial than a preprinted sentiment.
Once you institutionalize your referral appreciation policy, every incoming referral will trigger your secretary to place a notecard on your desk and/or have a personalized gift set for delivery. This way, you won't have to invest a lot of additional effort or mindfulness, and your referral source will be thanked for theirs.