Q&A: Vivienne Corcoran on building referral networks

Vivienne CorcoranVivienne Corcoran, Marketing and Client Specialist at Marketing Logic, answers questions regarding referral networks, her useful tips and tricks, and what she recommends for success. You can hear Vivienne speak at the upcoming Saturday 10 Points in One Day, streaming live online on March 19.

What’s a common mistake you see people make when building a referral network?

People often assume there is only one sort of referrer – accountants might look to lawyers, lawyers to financial advisors and so on.  The truth is that referrals come from every part of your personal and working life.  Friends, relatives, school colleagues, can all be good referrers depending on what they do and the kind of work you are looking for.

The other place people hesitate is they think building a referral network involves lots of almost aggressive “sales” type pitching which they understandably find distasteful.

By far the commonest mistake though, is to assume everyone knows what you do and the kind of work you want.  They will not know that until you tell them.  That is not hard core selling, that is just a conversation.


Have you had any matters in this area recently? Any useful tips or takeaways from that matter?

One of favourite firms of lawyers is a family law firm where they get referrals from clients and from other lawyers but importantly they get referrals everywhere they go.  They love what they do, they strike up conversations, listen to people, talk about what they love doing and they get referrals everywhere they go.  No hard selling, just conversations.


What’s one thing you can recommend in terms of processes or best practice?

The example I give is the perfect start, love what you do, practice how to describe it in a way that reflects that passion and is interesting. So, rather than “I am a family lawyer”, try “I work to help families achieve good outcomes and get on better”.  Think about the questions people ask – Google is a good start, and practice what you will say in response. Think about what good clients look like and think of people who already work with, or want to work with those people too.  Talk to them about what you do, what they do and whether there are ways you can work together. When in doubt – practice!

Vivienne is an experienced professional services strategist, mentor, facilitator and marketer with law firms and legal professionals across Australia, Asia and the UK.  She has written articles, a book and trained hundreds of professionals on business strategy, development, and management and has held executive marketing and business development roles in a wide range of firms.  Vivienne is a qualified company director and currently on the boards of Victorian Opera and ICON APAC. She is a teaching fellow in the Masters of Legal Business Course at the College of Law. Vivienne is a keen paddle boarder. Speak with Vivienne on LinkedIn