Here’s the 1 Vital Lesson You Can Learn from Jim Gavin, Aidan O’Brien and Willie Mullins

jim-gavin-man-management

Are you running a business?

Do you manage people?

There is one thing that Jim Gavin, the Dublin football manager, Aidan O’Brien and Willie Mullins, the racehorse trainers never fail to do.

Let me explain.

Aidan O’Brien

Last week, I was, as usual, watching the racing on Channel 4.

Aidan O’Brien’s horse, The Ghurka, had just won a group race.

In the after race interview O’Brien did what he always, without fail, does: he name checked all his stable staff who look after the horse on a daily basis.

Not a generic thanks to “all the staff” but along these lines: “Mary looks after the horse every day, and Jimmy rides him out, and Timmy, Susan, Aidan, and Shane-they all look after him and love the horse and said he was in great form, so we couldn’t have been happier with him…”

O’Brien name checks, and recognises, individual stable staff after big (and all) successes as a matter of course.

If he had named the local postman as being instrumental in the horse’s performance and rude good health I would not have batted an eyelid.

He always thanks “the team”, and deflects individual glory as if it to say, “this is not about me, it’s about my team, I’m very lucky…”

Can you imagine the pride these employees, and their families, take from their daily work being recognised by the boss from the parade ring at Royal Ascot or Epsom in front of millions watching live on television?

Do you imagine it would engender some loyalty from those staff?

Some serious commitment?

Would they take pride in their work?

Would they really look after the horse in their care, even when nobody was watching?

Willie Mullins

Willie Mullins, the national hunt champion trainer, does the same thing in virtually every interview. Listen to him closely on television at Cheltenham or Leopardstown or Punchestown, or anywhere else, for that matter.

He name checks the individual member of staff who rides out or mucks out on a daily basis, or travels with the horse, or makes any contribution.

 

It would be easy for O’Brien and Mullins, champions of their sport and geniuses of their profession, to take all the credit.

Nobody would quibble, as their brilliance is rightly recognised, spoken about and written about in the media.

Yet they take every opportunity to thank and recognise each worker involved, no matter what their rank or position in the organisational structure.

Jim Gavin, Dublin Football Manager

Last weekend the Irish Times trumpeted the fact that they had an interview in the paper with Jim Gavin. They described it as his first “one on one interview”.

They told us this was unusual because Gavin had not, since taking over as manager of Dublin, given interviews to anyone.

Here’s what the Irish Times said:

But you must understand something. Jim Gavin has been the manager of the best team in the country’s biggest sport since late 2012 and this is the first time he’s sat down alone with a newspaper reporter. We’ve asked countless times and the answer has always been polite and always been no.

This is in sharp contrast to many managers who cannot resist a microphone or reporter’s note pad and pencil.

So, I was intrigued because I thought to myself, “why now?”, why is he giving this interview?

When I read it it soon became clear: the prime purpose was to promote the Bray air show which was on the same weekend, and which Gavin is involved in as a pilot and safety officer with the Irish Aviation Authority.

And the reason for not doing interviews before this one was set out very clearly by Gavin:

“I’ve always steered away from one-on-ones,” he says. “Because it genuinely is not about me. It’s about the team.”

And this one philosophy was the only football related comment Gavin made in the interview. The rest was about flying, his life as a pilot, how it all started etc.

But it’s an important one, especially if you are managing people in any capacity.


Conclusion

From these 3 masters of their sport/profession you can see the one common philosophy and dogma: it’s all about the team.

Is this the case in your business or organisation?

If it’s not, I invite you to reconsider and learn from Gavin, O’Brien, and Mullins.

Social Proof-Don’t Overlook This Stunningly Effective Tool for Your Business

social-proof

Holy s**t!

That was my son’s reaction when I showed him the Facebook page.

Do you know the way young people know everything?

The way they are all full of piss and vinegar?

My son’s 19, so anything that would impress him in relation to social media is worth a second look.

And if you are a business owner, or thinking about starting up a business, or you need to sell a product or service this piece about what I showed Paddy will be useful.

Sounds good? Let’s take a look.

Firstly, we need to understand and recognise social proof.

Social Proof

Wikipedia defines social proof as

Social proof, also known as informational social influence, is a psychological phenomenon where people assume the actions of others in an attempt to reflect correct behaviour for a given situation.

If you have teenage kids you will know that when they tell you all their friends are going to the concert, or all their friends have a particular brand of runners, or football boots, or other brand you will have to start reaching for your purse or wallet.

Because your kids won’t want to be left out. They won’t want to be seen as socially gauche, or nerdy, or geeky, or “uncool”.

And you won’t want that either.

Social proof was described as one of the 7 principles of persuasion by Dr. Robert Cialdini in his seminal work, “Influence-The Psychology of Persuasion”. At its most basic Cialdini recognised that we are hugely influenced by what others have bought and approved of.

Another example of social proof at work is when you are invited to a party. There are two sure things:

  1. You don’t want to go if nobody else is going, and
  2. You don’t want to be first.

So, what’s this got to do with the Facebook page I showed Paddy?

Let me explain.

I have this Facebook page about employment law in Ireland. There is quite a lot of useful information, links to articles, videos, employment related stories in the news etc.

When someone lands on the page, and they are researching an employment related problem, one of the first things they will consider is whether I, as the man in the videos and owner of the page, actually knows what I am talking about.

Am I spoofing, or am I an authority, someone who knows their stuff?

On Facebook they will invariably check how many fans the page has.

This is social proof. This is what I showed Paddy.

The number of fans is over 10,000.

This is what prompted the “holy s**t” remark.

Ireland is a small country; employment law is not the sexiest topic in the world. We are not talking about a fan page for Justin Timberlake or Miley Cyrus.

So, 10,000 fans is pretty good; it’s pretty impressive social proof.

Social proof is incredibly powerful. You need it in your business, no matter what you are selling.

Because nobody wants to be first, nobody wants to be the guinea pig, nobody wants to discover that you are completely untested.

You may not have a Facebook page with 10,000+ fans. But you should make it your business not to overlook the power of social proof.

Perhaps start with a testimonials page on your website or blog?

Or on your YouTube channel?

Or on Facebook?

The 3 Most Important Questions for Consultants and Coaches to Ask Clients

coaching-questions

Are you a coach or consultant?

Or maybe you are involved in another role which requires you to spend time helping colleagues or clients.

The easy thing to do, and a common mistake, is to jump in and try to help immediately by giving advice.

Or posing questions which are really pieces of advice masquerading as questions eg have you considered x, y, z?

The bottom line, though, is that in order to help them you need to figure out, and let them recognise, what their problem or issue is.

To do this you need to ask questions.

Not just any old questions.

The questions you ask are absolutely critical.

Have you given much thought to the most effective, useful, powerful questions to ask?

In this piece I am going to share what I consider to be the most effective questions-there are only 3.

The rest is window dressing.

These are the questions I use myself in my law practice when I meet clients or prospects.

I didn’t learn them in law school, though.

I use the exact same questions when I am consulting with small business owners and start ups and entrepreneurs.

You could waste a lot of time asking the wrong questions.

And there is a multitude of questions you could ask.

Questions beginning with who, what, why, how, when, which etc.

The three most important questions begin with the same word.

Let me explain.

Ready?

1st Question is on Facebook

There are three questions you need to ask.

The first you will find on Facebook.

This question has been an integral part of Facebook’s growth into a worldwide phenomenon.

Take a look at the box at the top of your Facebook page, the one that invites you to comment or share something or update your status.

There’s a question in that box to encourage you to do that. It’s the question that Facebook has used, save for one short period, from the early days.

It still uses it today.

The question is: What’s on your mind?

This gives your client the opportunity to open up and tell you what the issue(s) is.

But it’s almost certain that what they tell you will not be the real problem, or if it is a real problem it will not be the only one.

Or the most important.

It’s almost certainly something that concerns them, but may not be the real crux of the matter.

2nd Question-3 Short Words

The second question is designed to deal with this.

The question is: and what else?

This is only a short one, but it’s essential and critical.

Because it will almost certainly get you to the real concern, especially if What’s on your mind has not elicited the real meat of the problem.

The third question is a natural follow on from the other two, because now you know exactly what the real issues are.

Let’s recap.

Question 1: What’s on your mind?

Question 2: And what else?

The third question is what do you want me to do?

Conclusion

Resist the temptation to immediately jump in with advice.

Lean back.

Listen actively.

Ask these 3 questions.

Then you both know exactly what the issues are, and what each of you have to do.

 

Do you need a small business consultant who has actually walked the walk?

Who has built businesses in Ireland since 1986 in a variety of industries?

Who understands and leverages digital marketing, email marketing, social media marketing to continue to build businesses?

If you do, feel free to contact me.

Rent Review Clauses in Commercial Leases-What You Should Know

rent-reviews-commercial-lease

Do you occupy a retail, industrial, or office premises?

If you do you will probably have you a commercial lease?

If you have, it will almost certainly provide for a rent review.

And you could be in for a very nasty shock.

Let me explain.

Over the last few years, since the property crash at the end of the Celtic Tiger years, quite a few commercial property owners were just happy to get their commercial premises let.

Any rent is better than an empty commercial unit or office.

Many of the leases granted then were on initially favourable terms for tenants, simply to get them let.

However, many of these leases are coming up to their first rent review, typically 5 years after commencement. The big problem for small business owners is that these rent reviews provide for “market rental value” which is causing a nasty shock, and in some cases unaffordable rents, for small business owners.

Because in some cases they are seeing their rents double, or more.

What is the legal position?

Is there anything you can do about it?

How does a rent review work?

Let’s take a look.

The purpose of a rent review clause is

  1. to protect the value of the landlord’s property
  2. to reflect the changing value of the property during the term of the lease.

What will normally happen is the landlord will serve a notice on the tenant seeking a significnatloy higher rent. Generally, time is not of the essence in relation to the service of notices by either landlord or tenant.

The tenant should then write back indicating his disagreement and asking what is the basis for the figure sought, and how was it arrived at.

Landlord and tenant will then instruct representatives such as valuers/surveyors/auctioneers to engage with the other side and attempt to agree the new rent.

Reviewing the Rent

The rent review clause will normally provide for the rent to be reviewed by an independent expert if the landlord and tenant cannot agree on the new rent. This independent expert will either act as an arbitrator or expert; in practice, the difference is not hugely significant.

Generally, the appointment of the expert will be the prerogative of the landlord if the landlord and tenant cannot agree on who to appoint.

If the landlord fails to make the nomination the tenant may be able to nominate, or the rent review clause may provide for appointment by the President of a professional body such as the Law Society or the professional bodies for Chartered Surveyors or Auctioneers/Valuers.

If there is a delay in agreeing the rent the tenant will be liable for the back-dated rent, plus interest at a “base rate” provided for in the lease.

The basis for reviewing the rent will almost certainly be to “current market rent” or “market rent”.

Up to the passing of the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act, 2009 rent review clauses provided for “upward only” rent changes.

However section 132 outlawed “upward only” rent reviews in leases created after 28th February, 2010.

Therefore, it is possible, albeit unlikely, that the rent can be decreased to reflect market value. This was never the case with leases before the passing of the 2009 Act.

The critical date is 28th February, 2010; leases before this date can have “upward only” rent review clauses. After this date such clauses are of no effect.

Assumptions and Disregards

The basis on which the new rent will be determined will be on the basis of certain assumptions and disregards:

  1. that the premises will be let as a whole
  2. what it would fetch on a free and open market
  3. with vacant possession, that is, as if the premises was being let with full vacant possession as it was at the granting of the lease
  4. for a term of the greater of 15 years or the residue of the lease
  5. on the same terms and conditions as the present lease, including with a rent review clause
  6. that the tenant has fulfilled all his repairing and decorating obligations as provided in the lease, and has fulfilled all covenants in the lease
  7. no work has been carried out on the premises that diminishes its rental value.

Also, the following will be disregarded:

  1. any effect on the rent of the fact that the tenant has been in occupation and disregarding any goodwill he has built up and is attaching to the premises
  2. any effect of improvements or works carried out on the premises by the tenant.

In summary, the lease to be valued at rent review time is a hypothetical lease identical to the existing lease so that the rent will be calculated on the same basis as the existing lease.

Conclusion

Leases can be confusing, technical documents which require careful drafting and interpretation. Mistakes and oversights can be made in drafting them, including in relation to the rent review clause.

If you are facing an eye-watering increase in your rent on foot of a rent review it would probably make sense to have your solicitor take a close look at the lease.

A Simple, Inexpensive Way to Take Credit Card Payments in Your Business

aking credit card payments

Are you a small business owner or start up who would like to be able to take credit card payments from customers/clients?

This used to involve a fair degree of expense because you would have to pay an ongoing fee for a dedicated phone line, for the credit card machine itself, perhaps for installation, and your ongoing transaction fees.

Well, that’s not necessary anymore as I discovered recently.

I wanted to be able to take credit card payments in my solicitor’s practice in Enfield as a service to my clients. However, I was concerned about the cost of providing this service and, therefore, did a little shopping around.

I came across a solution from an Irish start up: sum up.

The tiny card reader I needed to buy from them cost 79 euros and this was a one off payment. The only ongoing fee I would incur would be the commission fee per transaction.

I had to download an app to my phone or iPad. Once I did this, and setting up was easy, I could simply enter the amount I wanted to charge on my phone, insert the client’s credit card into the little card reader, ensure bluetooth was enabled on my phone to allow it to connect to the reader, insert the card in the reader, give it to the client who entered his pin, and the job was a good one.

So far, after about 3 weeks, I have had no problems whatsoever with it and would strongly recommend it as an excellent cost-effective option for taking credit cards.

You can check out sum up here.

Why You Should Get Rid of the Fear of Selling Once and For All

sales-marketing-ireland

Do you ever worry about being seen as a sleazy salesman?

As a cheesy slimeball?

Do you feel uncomfortable trying to make sales?

Well, you shouldn’t.

Because “nothing happens until someone sells something”.

This quote has been attributed to Thomas J. Watson, the former CEO and Chairman of IBM and to Peter Drucker, the legendary management consultant.

Regardless of which man said it, it is worth hardwiring into your brain for the rest of your (business) life.

“Selling” is not a dirty word.

In Ireland and the UK, we have a different view of selling.

We don’t like the “hard sell” and we’re uncomfortable with what many people view as a grubby, slightly seedy necessity.

Unlike the attitude in other parts of the world, most notably in the United States.

Ironically many of us are “fan boys and girls” of one of the greatest salesmen of the 20th century-the late Steve Jobs, the founder and main man of Apple.

Cast your mind back to the occasions you saw Steve Jobs in the news. He was nearly always selling something.

You should have a positive view of sales, especially when you are bringing real value to your customer or client.

If you are really providing value, you’re doing them a favour, after all.

Let me explain.

Hopefully I can change your view as to how you should view selling and sales.

Selling is Not a Zero Sum Game

Selling is not a zero sum game. There doesn’t have to be a winner and loser.

In fact, there shouldn’t be a winner and loser. I only really grasped this when I read a book by a fascinating millionaire American investor and libertarian who ran for the presidency of the United States-Harry Browne.

Harry Browne wrote a little book which you can read in one or two sittings called “The Secret of Selling Anything”. (You can pick it up on Amazon).

I strongly recommend it, and not just if you sell for a living.

Remember: we all sell stuff.

Every day of our lives.

We sell ourselves, our ideas, our philosophy, our opinion, our world view, our products/services.

You have no apology to make in this regard.

The solicitor or barrister seeks to persuade the Judge or jury that his client’s version of events is more credible than the alternatives.

As children we sought to persuade our parents that going to a disco or club was a good idea. (Our children do it to us now).

As adults we try to persuade our kids that they shouldn’t go out in “that dress”.

Fundraisers solicit donations on behalf of their charities and seek to persuade us that making a donation is a better use of our money than the many alternatives.

As an employee you seek to persuade their employer that you are worthy of a pay rise or promotion.

As an employer you try to persuade that your organisation is worth joining and contributing to.

Organised religions sell their interpretation of the bible, Qoran or the idea that their tradition and philosophy is worthy of support and more credible than not believing.

Politicians sell us their persona and policies (until they are discarded post election).

Selling is not dirty or grubby.

It should be mutually beneficial and enriching for both you and your customer. If it’s not, change what you are selling-tweak it, replace it, or drop it altogether.

But once you are proud and certain that what you are selling will genuinely help the other party, take pride in the activity.

Because nothing happens until someone sells something.

Free Report: “9 Simple Money Saving Tips for Irish Employers”

business-report

Are you an employer?

Do you worry about the cost of employment related claims against you?

Would you be ready for a NERA inspection next week?

Do you know how to safely carry out a disciplinary procedure?

Are you concerned about the correct way to deal with an employee absent on long term sick leave?

Or how to handle bullying in the workplace?

Employers face a huge number of issues on a regular basis. And it’s easy to get things wrong leaving you open to a successful claim by an unhappy employee.

I’ve written a free, short report which gives you 9 problem areas of employment law which can cost you money.

And I give you the solution to each problem.

When you sign up for the report I will also send you regular tips, information and best practice for employers.

These are common problem areas I come across regularly in my work.

Please bear in mind, though, that I make my living by selling my services to clients and I need to attract and win more clients.

So every now and then I’ll email you about my paid services.

There’s no obligation to buy. I won’t overdo the promotion, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

But please remember that this is how I make my living.

I think it’s a fair exchange – and I hope you do too.

Finally, I want to assure you that your email address is safe with me, and it would never be disclosed, traded, exchanged, sold.

And you can unsubscribe from my list of subscribers anytime because in every single email I send you there will be an unsubscribe link.

Simply click on that link and you won’t hear from me again.

Right, ready to get started?

Simply put your name and email in the box below and you will receive the free report immediately.

And after that you will receive my regular money saving tips for employers who want to avoid unnecessary claims and get some peace of mind.

Sign up below. Delivered directly to your inbox.

9 Simple Money Saving Tips for Irish Employers2

Are You Using the Seven Principles of Persuasion in Your Business?

influence-persuasion-cialdini

Influence.

Persusasion.

How do you really persuade?

The psychology of persuasion has been exercised in all types of situations for centuries.

From the disciples in the Bible to prisoner of war camps to quasi religious cults to the science of selling and the marketplace.

And to Moore Street traders in Dublin.

Yes, Moore Street.

“Get the last of the red apples” (scarcity).

Since time immemorial there have been a number of fundamental principles of influence which have worked to persuade others of our point of view.

Influence-the Psychology of Persusaion

A thirty five year study based on clinical research and evidence by Dr. Robert Cialdini, an American professor of both marketing and psychology, identified seven principles of persuasion.

These seven principles applied in the area of small business work as well today as they have down through the centuries.

“Influence-The Psychology of Persuasion” is widely regarded as one of the most powerful and informative books about marketing written in the last 3 decades.

The 7 Principles of Persuasion

These principles are

  1. Self interest-the consumer or potential customer wants to get the maximum for the least cost.

This may appear self evident but it is easy to overlook it. Always answer the question of your potential customer or website visitor: “what’s in it for me?”.

  1. Consistency-we are greatly influenced by people and businesses who are consistent, not those who change their message or opinion at the drop of a hat.

We as humans have a strong desire to be and to appear to be consistent. This is why salespeople will always attempt to ask you a series of questions which elicit a “yes” response in the early stages of their pitch.

The key to the salesperson getting you on a path of his choosing is if he can get you to make a commitment at the outset; the desire to be consistent will take care of the rest.

This desire to be consistent often pushes us along a path that we know to be wrong but from which we’re unable to depart.

This has been recognised by prominent psychologists such as Newcomb and Fritz Heider.

  1. Reciprocation-this refers to the sense of obligation most people feel when somebody does something or gives them something for free. Because it creates a tremendous sense of obligation in the recipient to return the favour at some point.
  2. Social proof-we are hugely influenced by what others have bought and approve of.

This explains the enormous amounts of money that celebrities and sports stars can earn from endorsing products, services and businesses.

Much as we all hate canned laughter on many tv programmes, tv studios still employ canned laughter because it is simply effective and works.

  1. Authority-we are influenced by people and businesses in positions of authority.

“Follow an expert”-Virgil

We pay greater attention to so called experts, academics and people who can demonstrate authority than we might to the person working in our local supermarket, for example.

  1. Liking-liking is a tremendous and underrated source of influence.
    You are infinitely more likely to be influenced by someone you like.

The Tupperware party is a good example of the power at work here and the hostess ends up selling a lot of stuff to her friends, not because here friends want Tupperware storage containers but because they like the hostess.

  1. Scarcity-the power of scarcity is clearly demonstrated at sales time in shops and stores or when great works of art are auctioned.

This same principle is a very powerful source of persuasion in any business regardless of whether you are selling your goods and services online or on the high street.

“Get the last of the bananas” works on Moore Street and Henry Street.

If it didn’t the street traders wouldn’t be shouting it for decades.

This cry relies on the power of scarcity to work.

Your business website or blog should have most or all of these fundamental principles of persuasion at work.

The absence of these principles when you take your business online is a common mistake.

Many small business owners think that doing business on the internet is somehow different.

Yes, it is different but not as different as you might think.

Because the internet is only the medium through which you transmit your message and offer-the fundamental principles of persuasion outlined above stay the same.

Do you use any or all of these principles in your business?

Which one have you found most effective?

You can check out Cialdini’s book on Amazon below:

3 Stunningly Effective, Free Ways to Promote You or Your Business

Westminster Abbey

I attended Evensong in Westminster Abbey last week.

Evensong has been sung, celebrated and offered up in worship on the site of Westminster Abbey for over 1,000 years, originally by the Benedictine monks who came to the site in the tenth century.

For me, though, it was a free way to get into Westminster Abbey as religious services don’t have an entry fee-the regular visitor entry fee is £20.

Lest you think I am a complete cheapskate I did go back some days later, bought a ticket and did the tour myself. And I would strongly recommend it.

I wondered afterwards, though, would I have bought the ticket had I not got in free in the first instance.

And I also gave some serious thought to things you can do in your business which doesn’t cost you a cent but offer serious return on the small investment of time and/or effort.

I noticed two things in my own business which I did last week, and which are incredibly effective to ensure satisfied, loyal clients/customers.

As I walked back to my office at lunchtime I noticed a client of mine waiting for the lights to change to cross the road. I had drafted wills for her and her husband and a letting agreement for her daughter. I quickened my step and got to her before she crossed the road and asked her had her daughter any difficulty with her new tenant. She was happy to report that there were no problems.

And I think she was also happy that I was concerned enough to make it my business to enquire were things going alright with the new letting.

Now, this isn’t rocket science, but if I had not made it my business to speed up to reach her before she crossed the road we would not have had this pleasant encounter.

And speeding up to meet this lady didn’t cost me a cent.

Are there similar opportunities-cost free ways to impress existing clients or perhaps attract new ones- in your business? Marketing your business doesn’t have to cost a fortune each and every day, you know.

A couple of days later I had a man in the office who was buying a house and had, remarkably, saved the entire price of the house to buy his first property in Ireland.

But he was a bit worried about the other costs such as stamp duty, legal fees, Land Registry fees which might leave things a bit tight for him financially, especially in the early days.

He had tried all the banks but none would lend to him even though he was in the same job for nearly 10 years and had managed to save well over €100,000 in that time.

So, I picked up the phone and explained the situation to a bank manager contact of mine who indicated she would be only too happy to meet this man the next day. My potential client was delighted and, again, this action of mine did not cost a cent and only took 60 seconds for the phone call.

Another way of promoting yourself or your business, and one which I’m not so good at, is to smile regularly and often at potential clients, particularly when you first meet them.

And it too is completely devoid of any cost.

We all know the huge, positive impact created by service staff who greets us in shops or restaurants or pubs or hotels with a broad, genuine smile.

So, there you have it-three free things to help you grow your business:

  1. Care for your clients/customers, and show empathy
  2. Do a good turn if you can
  3. Smile.

Are there other things you can do in your business which are as cost effective as these?

Think about it, and you will almost certainly find some more to help you grow your business

Here’s 3 Things Which Would Make Me Fire You as a Client

clients-fired

Let’s be honest.

You’re thinking: “he’s a cheeky bugger”, “who does he think he is?”

And, perhaps, worse.

Hey, it wouldn’t be the first time.

But stick with me because the 3 things might surprise you.

And may even help you get more out of your professional advisor and better bang for your buck.

Let’s get started.

Problem numero uno:

  1. You Don’t Listen

I don’t have all the answers, and I don’t know everything.

But to provide sound professional advice based on logic, professional training, careful analysis, and many years of experience in the crucible of business, and dare I say life, and to have the advice consistently ignored makes life seem too short.

Eventually our relationship must end, and the sooner the better-for both of us.

A closely related problem- the client who listens to everyone-the guy in the pub, the car wash attendant, the lady in the coffee shop, that nice girl in Tesco-and comes back to me and makes it perfectly clear that they are prepared to go a bit of the road with everyone.

If this what you want to do that is a matter for yourself. But I’m not the man for you.

 

The second type of problem that drives me nuts is:

2. You Want to Debate With the Other Party and Show Them a Thing or Two

This person personifies the difference between an amateur and professional.

The professional will generally only write a letter or take a step of action if it is likely to advance the position-even marginally-or because it is necessary to make a position clear.

An amateur on the other hand is happy to attempt to score points, debate, show how clever he is, get a dig in to the other party without much or any focus on the main prize: a successful outcome or resolution to the problem.

Debating is fun. But engaging solicitors to pursue an argument or debate is not the smartest use of your money and my time.

3. You Don’t Respect My Time

As a solicitor I sell chunks of my time and expertise. And there is only a limited and finite amount of time in each day.

So it can be a real problem if you just walk into my office unannounced or repeatedly ring me up on the phone to shoot the breeze about the same problem which we discussed yesterday and the day before and the day before that.

Trust me: I will find out very quickly what your problem is. And I will let you know whether I can help you or not.

But if I can? Let me get on with it-it will almost certainly be best for both of us.

A related problem, one which occurs before you become a client, is one I face on a daily basis. It has its roots in the fact that I provide a lot of useful, free information in a number or areas:

I get a large number of emails entitled “advice please”, and the emailer will set out their problem, send a huge amount of related documentation such as correspondence/contract of employment, and look for free advice.

Many people assume that I provide a free advice service and am a cross between Citizens’ Information and NERA.

In order to advise properly I need to ascertain all the facts, read the supporting documentation related to your issue, almost certainly raise further queries with you to elicit further information, perhaps carry out some research, formulate a considered, professional response, type it out and send it to you.

This takes time, as I am sure you will recognise, and if I get it wrong? You can sue me which will impact on my professional indemnity insurance.

So, I charge for my advice/professional opinion.

I think this is fair and reasonable.

Conclusion

To get the most out of your professional advisor, no matter what sphere of activity, do yourself a favour and listen to them, and give serious consideration to their advice. This will ensure that you get good value for your investment.