Before there was twitter or Facebook, or the slew of social media sites where you can auto-post your desire for business to death, there existed blogs. As there wasn't any place to post links to the blog, except on other blogs, people actually read blogs and because of that, people often wrote things that mattered (without links to their website(s)).
One of the people who has maintained a presence of "real blogging" is Thom Singer. Thom is a speaker, author (9 books) and actually says things that make sense. He doesn't like to be pigeon holed as a "networking" guy, but if you want to learn about networking and business development, Thom's not a bad choice for daily reading.
Today, there is a new "marketing secret," for every hour of the day. Most of those tweeting or copying other people's posts about marketing "secrets" have never achieved any level of business success, nor is their "secret" a secret. Of course there's always the groupies who think if they hear from one of their idols that you should try and give business rather than get business, that they have just heard the cure for cancer.
I don't see many "secrets," most are called secrets to attract readers, but yesterday I read Thom's post on how to refer him business. In that post he revealed some actual secrets:
 No one knows what you do for a living.
 Because of 1, you have to make sure you let people know not only what you do, but for what you are looking in terms of clients.
Let's talk about 2.
Stop wasting time on potential clients, and spend your time educating those that refer you business.
Lawyers love to waste time. Potential clients call and want to "come in." Sure, spend a free hour (free consultations, except for contingent cases, are for losers) with me so I can realize that you and I aren't a good fit. Yeah, I know, the young desperate lawyer is thrilled to have an actual live person come and meet them at their Regus office or Starbucks, but what is the point if 5 minutes in to the coffee, the lawyer realizes that the client needs an employment lawyer instead of a divorce lawyer?
Wouldn't it be better if your referral source knew exactly the type of cases you want, and more importantly, don't want?
We're scared to do this. We're scared to be negative. Send us clients, we'll ferret them out. We'll meet with 4 and maybe 1 will retain our services. We'll spend all day screening bad referrals.
Thom says we need to be clear to people that refer us business.
Recently I spoke to a group of people about this. I told them the cases I didn't want. I told them to ask potential clients what they were prepared to spend on a lawyer. At the end I was told I probably scared a few people in to never calling me to refer a client. Good. They're the people who hear "I need a lawyer," and immediately send the broke asshole with a "great case" to my office.
I have a history of telling my referral sources that they send me a dud. It's called educating your referral sources. Try it.
If you don't like my advice, take Thom's.
Non-anonymous comments welcome. Located in Miami, Florida, Brian Tannebaum practices Bar Admission and Discipline and Criminal Defense. He is the author of I Got A Bar Complaint.