We used to deliver these great gift baskets to referral sources around the holidays. We enjoyed doing it, and the referral sources enjoyed getting an assortment of wine, cheeses, cookies, chocolate, and other goodies. Everyone was happy.
Then along came our state bar with new opinions interpreting our rules to prohibit certain gifts to certain people.
Oh well, another rule making it more likely that lawyers will lose business to non-lawyer competitors adopted in the interest of protecting consumers. Whatever.
So how can you show your appreciation for the help your referral sources have provided to you and your clients if evil gift baskets are outlawed?
One approach, and it's a win for everyone involved, is to provide links.
Yes, a link from your website to their website is a terrific way to show your appreciation.
It's a way for you to say thank you and help them grow their business at the same time.
Who wins from the link?
Your referral source wins because his or her site climbs in the Google rankings as a result of increased inbound links.
Your referral source wins because he or she gets new customers as a result of your link.
You win because you encourage your referral source to keep referring each time he or she sees the traffic coming from your site in a website analytics report.
You win again because your site visitors appreciate that you've identified helpful resources for them.
Your site visitors win because they find trusted resources who have been vetted by you, and they avoid the need to search for themselves.
On top of all that, the link is lower in calories, fat, salt, and sugar than the gift basket. It's also cheaper, and it gives all year long rather than just at the holidays.
You see, links really are the new gift basket.