THE SEEDY UNDERBELLY OF REFERRALS.........by Steve Duhl 
Sunday, December 4, 2011, 11:00 AM
Posted by Administrator
As the recession progressed and business slowed, business people and professionals I knew began to suggest that I join a networking group. The manager (now gone) of a bank I frequented wanted me to meet her at 6:00AM to have breakfast with her group. My insurance agent talked to me about his group (though, now that I think about it, there was no offer to join). The idea was this: there would be one lawyer (maybe more, if each had a different specialty), a chiropractor, a banker, a plumbing company owner, a dentist, etc.... The group would meet, more or less, once a week and trade busines ideas. And, anytime a group member had the opportunity, they would refer friends or acquaintances to other group memebers.

So, unless your group was the best of the best at everything, group members would refer to the lawyer or the dentist or whoever based not on qualifications or excellence but merely because they were members of their networking group. Since one hand washes the other, the referrer could expect to get referrals back to them in return.

My insurance agent recommended me to a chiropractor (hand pain...from years of grabbing onto vibrating bicycle handlebars and typing--like I'm doing now). The chiropractor ruled out carpal tunnel and, as he did, he gave me news and information about all of the Jewish lawyers he knew. Now, I am Jewish and I like other Jewish lawyers as much as the next guy but I thought it was kind of a strange topic for gossip. He was probably an okay chiropractor but, I began to think...shouldn't my insurance agent have reffered me to a great chiropractor and not just someone who was in his group and who made referrals to him.

A large part of the lawyer business, for me, is to refer people to lawyers whith a different area of expertise than my own. I know I claim to know everything---but, secretly, I know I don't. Since I am not a part of a networking group, I have no obligation to refer to anyone in particular. I try to base referrals on who I think is best and who will take the case. Hopefully after 30 years in town, I've got some idea, for most problems that I don't handle, of who the go-to lawyer is.

Not that there is anything wrong in referring to someone merely because you have a busines relationship (or a friendship) with them....as long as you tell the person you are referring: "This man/woman isn't the best...but he/she's done me favors so that's why I'm sending you to them."

Except that nobody is going to tell you that.
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