Just imagine a nice person standing on one side of a gate and letting in all kinds of referrals to your business each time the gate is opened.  You could even have each referral be a real qualified lead and if you have trained your gatekeeper correctly, it will be.

OK, we all feel this would be great for our business. But how do we know what our own gatekeepers looks like? Going back to the basics, what is your target market?  Hopefully after all my blogs you have come up with at least one target (best client) profile.

To help you understand, let’s use my example from the time when I practiced personal injury and workers’ comp law.  My best client was someone injured in an accident which, for PI, was not their fault and for WC it didn’t matter as long as it happened at work.

After identifying the target client, I needed  to figure out what person or profession finds out about the problem of that injured party.  In my case, I decided for a lot of injuries it was chiropractors.  Additionally, they might see the injury first but then refer the patient onto other medical professionals if the injury is outside their scope of practice.  This then brings them into contact with other professionals who also treat injured people and might eventually become referral sources for me.

So I chose my Gatekeepers as chiropractors who lived in my community. Now the question is: what do I do next to meet these gatekeepers and get them on board.  Working from the Zig Ziggler premise of doing something for other people as your best marketing tool, I wrote a book in collaboration with a Chiropractor titled: The Medical-Legal Survival Guide, A Handbook for the California Chiropractor.  We published it ourselves and marketed it to all Chiropractors in California.  More importantly, I had my best business card available when I met a chiropractor. I could give them something of value.

Additionally, I gave seminars in my office about how to do depositions, ethics and writing reports.  I taught at some seminars and the book was used by two chiropractic colleges in California as a text book.  Well worth the hard work and expense!

This partnership went onto produce many cross referrals over the 21 years I had my solo practice.  I could refer accident victims to a doctor I knew could write a good report and also give outstanding service to my client.  The chiropractor knew, in turn, that I was ethical, experienced and trustworthy. They could also reach out to me for advice if necessary.  I was available!

So that’s my story about gatekeepers.  Who are your gatekeepers?  Again, start with your target market.  If you are a business attorney, it might be small and mid-sized start ups.  Who knows of their problems?  CPA, Financial Planners, other attorneys, bankers, etc. Next question is how do you reach those people? Get creative.



I was looking through a bunch of attorney business cards that I have collected at various events and I was shocked.  By and far the majority were plain white with only the name, sometimes the address, phone number and email on them.  What a waste!

So here are the Southers’ Business Card Rules:

  • Always have color on your card. It’s best to coordinate your color with your website or other marketing materials.
  • Always, Always put the area of law you practice on your card.  A person meeting you at an event will forget immediately what you do, but the card will remind them.
  • Use the back of the card to enlarge your description of services or focus on your target market.  Could be something like “Helping people with their wealth building through careful planning” for a Wills and Trust Attorney.
  • Put the important parts of your card in bold:   Name, phone number and email address are the most important.
  • Project the image you want.  Add your picture so people can really remember who you are.
  • Make your card standard sized.  Many people are annoyed with over sized card

What do you do with the business cards you get?

ASAP put them in your contacts list.  Categorized them as A, B or C contacts.  A are those who you know will refer.  B are those who you have meet and might someday refer and C are your hairdresser, cleaners, plumber, distant relatives.  Most cards you pick up at meetings, etc. will be Bs.

  • Pick out at least one to write an email to following up your conversation.
  • Maybe make a date to meet if that seems appropriate.

Additional hints about business cards:

  • Hand a small wrapped piece of chocolate with the card to the person.
  • Use cheap printing like Vista Prints to do your cards, etc.  Change them until you finally get someone to say “What a nice card!” when you hand it to them.
  • If you have several areas of law that you practice, think about having a different card for each area.  Marketing one area at a time is easier and makes a lot of sense.  This is especially true if you do research for attorneys as well as other areas of the law.  Having a card that just markets that area is essential when you are talking to attorneys.  You can always bring in the other areas that you do after you have establish the relationship of offering services to attorneys for appeals and research.  People get confused.  Even Attorneys!