By Joryn Jenkins

I’ve known Brian and his wife, Patrice, far longer than I’ve known his cousin, my husband, Todd, despite that they live in Boca Raton and I reside in Tampa. I was dating a lawyer here in Tampa before I met Todd. He introduced me to his college roommate and best bud, Brian Simms. In fact, Brian, Patrice, my boyfriend, and I spent a week vacationing together on St. John’s, when an older friend of mine very graciously loaned me his holiday retreat.

That was all years ago.

Much later, in 2014, Todd and I were in South Florida on business when we discovered that, serendipitously, Brian’s kids were both acquainted with Todd’s associate’s two children; they were attending the same school, and in the same grades. So, we arranged to have dinner with both families at our favorite Boca restaurant, to celebrate a deal with the associate and to catch up with Brian and his family at the same time.

We Grew Up Within Two Miles Of Each Other

We were seated at opposite ends of a twelve-person banquet table when I heard Brian mention where he’d grown up. I couldn’t prevent my impulsive reaction; I leapt to my feet and echoed what I’d heard (without quite yelling, I hope, but with a very loud question mark in bold at the end). “What the heck, Brian! You grew up in New Rochelle and never told me?!!!”

Imagine how freaked out I was to discover, at our impromptu dinner party, that Brian and I grew up within two miles of each other. That we both ice-skated on the lakes in front of New Rochelle High School every winter. And that we shared a dentist, who practiced out of his basement office next door to my home.

Perhaps the only reason we had not met way back then was because Brian had attended private school, while I had attended the local public school.

Life is jammed full of both valued relationships and missed connections. It’s almost as if every person you meet is a dollar you’ve added to your savings account. That connection accrues interest until you need it to climb up to the next step in your life.

Brian and I missed connecting with each other when we were young. We ultimately connected years and years later through my beau. Then, we reconnected when I began dating my husband. And we’ve continued our relationship ever since, although now as family.

Common Experience Creates Deep Connections

But our discovery changed that. Brian and I now have a deeper, more profound connection than ever before. We both have friends and relatives who still live in New Rochelle. We both share memories of the same places, although we didn’t share our time back then. We even share memories of some of the same people, our dentist, the local pet store owner, and the ice cream shoppe manager. This type of personalized connection has a different kind of value.

Why should we care? Studies show that we are attracted to what is familiar, hence the “familiarity principle of attraction.Repeated exposure to certain items or people increases our attraction to them. We are attracted to familiar people or things because we now, after repeated contact to them without ill effect, consider them safe. This also applies to things or people who look familiar or who behave in ways that are familiar to us.

Thus, as the public is increasingly inundated with ads, service providers like you and me can’t just rely on getting in front of our customers’ faces. We need to ensure that we’re establishing real connections with them.

How Do You Connect With Potential Clients?

How? If you’ve kept up with my blogs and YouTube videos, you know that referral marketing can cut through the din and create those connections because it’s a recommendation from a friend rather than an unsolicited and anonymous ad.

So, you should hyper-personalize your referral program. It should accentuate that as much as possible—something as seemingly insignificant as displaying a photo of your face on your message boosts conversion by more than 3%.

And referrals don’t just get more clients; they get better clients. In a landmark 2011 study at Wharton, researchers analyzed a bank’s referral program, measuring the disparities between referred customers and average customers. They discovered that referred customers were 18% more likely to stick with the bank and generated 16% higher profits.

The good news is that referral isn’t complex. It’s about folks you know sharing stuff they like with people they know and like. And today, with so many choices of communication channels, that’s easier than it ever was before.

Is Brian more likely to refer me business than he was before? You betcha! Are his referrals more likely to follow up on that referral? You know it!

For more on how to build a collaborative practice, reach out to me at or find me at Your Collaborative Marketing Coach. Your marketing is my marketing! And if you’d like to learn more about how to become a Collaborative Champion or a Legal Influencer, buy my toolkit or attend my training!

Joryn, attorney and Open Palm Founder, began her own firm here in Tampa after a 14-year career in law, 2 of which she served as a professor of law at Stetson University. She is a recipient of the prestigious A. Sherman Christensen Award, an honor bestowed upon those who have provided exceptional leadership to The American Inns of Court Movement. For more information on Joryn’s professional experience, take a look at her resume.

Brighten Up Your Inbox

Let’s Hang Out

Most Popular