Being a creature of regularity, most Saturdays I go to the butcher. I have been doing this for longer than I care to admit.
Until about 10 years ago, there used to be a florist shop next door. My wife likes fresh flowers, so (depending on how much cash was in my wallet), I would go into the florist first. I would just tell him how much I had. I would then walk next door to the butcher. Coming out, I would get the flowers. The arrangements were never boring, always fresh and would often last a week.
The florist shop was something of a Richmond institution. Its business was mostly weddings and other social functions. I had been to a few of those events and his arrangements were usually kind of cool. (For me to notice at all is noteworthy.) In the day, it was a go to business for the social elites in the old part of the city. It was not, however, a very appealing place. Messy was an understatement.
As I was a regular, I got to be friendly with the owner, Tom. Often, we would talk for a while and I used to look forward to visiting with him. He was an interesting guy and knew everyone. We often had a good laugh.
One Saturday, I was there to get my flowers. They were getting ready for some event and it was chaotic. Two burly young guys were having an argument over who could tie a better bow. Tom and an assistant were frantically searching for some particular flower. It was messier than usual.
Right behind me, two well dressed and attractive women walked in, a mother and daughter. They looked around and you could sense that they were about to walk out. The mother said that the florist had been suggested for her daughter's upcoming wedding. Her tone was distinctly dubious.
As Tom was plainly distracted, I spoke up. I quickly figured out that they were not Richmond natives and lived out in the much newer distant suburbs, far from this urban setting. I told them about Tom and how creative he was. There were people I knew who swore by him. I bought flowers every week. I gave a bit of a sales pitch. They seemed slightly more interested so I left and then went on about my errands.
A couple of weeks later, I was doing my usual run. When I went to pay for the flowers, Tom waved me off. He had gotten the wedding business - and it was a good one for him too. He thanked me for helping him out.
My point: Lawyers are not florists, but happy clients/customers are an incredibly effective marketing tool.
We have gotten many referrals from existing and previous clients
Moral to the story: Take care of your clients, always.
Sadly, my friend went out of business. I lost touch with Tom and I think he may have passed.
A tattoo shop took Tom's space. I still go to the butcher most Saturdays. I do not get a tattoo, however.