Networking your way to a dream job in law! Interview with David Artingstall

David Artingstall

How did I start my career as a legal recruiter?
I was senior partner at a substantial firm of Solicitors in Greater Manchester. The firm had grown to around 100 staff and I had worked my way up from joining the firm as an assistant solicitor to senior partner. I had been at the firm for over 25 years. There were only 2 equity partners including myself and I received an offer to buy my shares from a couple of ambitious salaried partners. Having worked in the law for such a length of time, and believing the offer to be a fair one, I sold my shares and decided to work outside the law but still keep my connections within it.. Hence the move in to legal recruitment.
I work essentially on my own with a handful of lawyers at any time helping them find new career opportunities. Often the solicitors I work with are at associate / junior partner level and have hit a glass ceiling at their current firms. I will make enquiries on their behalf, maintaining their anonymity, and generate interest in them with suitable firms.

Networking
Networking is essential to my business. That said it is important to network wisely. Good networking events for me are those where there are plenty of lawyers, and people who work with lawyers, present. Many of the lawyers I have helped up the legal ladder, I have met at networking events.

Is it hard to find a good job in the law?
Yes it is. It’s very hard to get in at the ground floor. Training contracts are very hard to come by. Once you are in the profession try and choose a pathway that will see you working in an area of the law where you will have a busy future. Things change. Some areas of the legal market are very susceptible to the health of the wider economy. When the economy is prospering lawyers in property and in corporate / commercial are much in demand. When the economy slows they are often the first to go! Some areas are influenced by Government policy. Cuts to legal aid have affected areas such as crime and family law. Personal injury faces challenges in light of Government reforms.
Whatever role you take its important to try and build your own contacts of referrers and clients. Firms will pay more for people who have their own business plan and connection. Back to the importance of networking!!

Networking Tips
Don’t talk too much about yourself. If you are meeting people possibly for the first time don’t launch off all about yourself and your business and try to sell yourself and your services. The hard sell approach puts people off. People don’t like pushy people and remember…People do business with people they Like!
Instead ask people about themselves, their businesses, the challenges they face, why they chose to go into that area of work etc. People often like to talk about themselves and if you find out about them you may spot opportunities where you think you might be able to help them in the future.
Don’t be afraid of networking. It doesn’t come easy to a lot of people but it makes it easier if you remember – everyone is there at a networking event for the same reason. To meet people whom they might be able to do business with
Always take some business cards along. Ask if people are on Linked In and suggest it might be good to Link in as a means of keeping in touch. Follow up after the meeting with a brief e mail saying it was good to meet and hopefully see them again in the future. That way they have your contact details to hand. Then keep in touch.

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BNI meetings: Should I pass or should I go?

BNI meetings: Should I pass or should I go?

For years I have been a very active networker and I have been able to connect quite confidently with other business people. I go to about three or four different networking events every week and some of them are free events, some of them are paid. When I found out about BNI (Business Network International) in 2015, I was really curious. Before I attended my first BNI breakfast meeting I had done a lot of research and asked various entrepreneurs for their opinion. Oh my! What an interesting feedback I gathered from various sources, namely:

 

  1. BNI is like a cult or sect
  2. Bunch of lunatics
  3. Commitment & structure is close to army drill
  4. Relentless as Jehovah’s witnesses

 

Oh dear! Despite that I decided to attend and make my own mind about this organisation. I was invited to Bury Stronghold chapter by Maria who has been an active member for years and claimed that significant percentage of her business is coming from BNI. My 2 visits to Bury chapter saw me introducing myself and being introduced to a number of professionals in varied industries. It was amazing to see all traders, engage in their own power team, exchanging referrals and business opportunities. The structure, flow of meetings was immaculate and all members share such a great sense of humour making the whole process very enjoyable. When I first sat down at the meeting there was a number of things in front of me like business card box, referral slips, list of members and many other items. There was an education slot delivered by Chris which talks about some of the elements of being in BNI, a round of 60-second presentations, a 10-minute presentation and most important the passing of referrals.

 

BNI’s culture is built upon the philosophy of “Givers Gain”

I could easily notice that BNI’s mission is quite simple, to help businesses both large and small, grow their business and make more business!

This is a culture of caring about giving quality referrals, providing professional development and building consistent, proactive and reciprocal business relationships.

 

I have just got it and decided to join the team.

The general format is that you pay a membership fee and then attend local meetings which last for 90 minutes, normally early morning and once a week.
Members need to arrive on time and stay for the entire meeting. BNI Bury like many other groups meet early doors – 6.30am, so attendees will always be finished by 8.30am, allowing all to carry on about their business. It seems early, but once you get in the habit of going then it’s really not so much of a hassle. Please find below a typical BNI agenda, however some of the groups may meet at a lunch time or other times:

BNI agenda:

06:30 Arrival and Registration
06:40 Open Networking with tea & coffee
07:00 Introduction from Chapter Director
07:20 60 second presentation
07:50 10 minute speaker
08:00 Exchange of referrals
08:25 Closing reports and announcements
08:30 Meeting Closes

It is all about referrals!

BNI is a business referral organisation rather than networking group which I found personally appealing as all members genuinely wants to grow their business.  A referral or recommendation is a chance to do business, not a guarantee of revenue. I also learned that it is important that the referral should be “warmed up” – that is, the client whose contact details you are given is expecting your call. The word of mouth marketing is so much better and effective than cold-calling. The group is also measuring our efforts, therefore it can be more effective and tweak a strategy. Make no mistake we are all there to generate more business!

 

Relationships means business

I have been with BNI for almost a year and in a very short time I was able to build some strong relationships with other members. Sometimes, it seems like we are one big family of support group.

You may laugh now, but it is a fact that the successful career and business development is based on building strong and trusted relationships.

 

Benefits of BNI meetings according to Life Networker:

  • Massive exposure to many other business professionals and industries
  • Will surely increase your word of mouth business [ provided that you do it all right ]
  • You will have an opportunity to practice your 60 seconds presentation on weekly basis
  • Train your presentation and public speaking skills
  • You can visit other BNI groups in the region or in other cities
  • You have access to BNI connect web tool that will help you to expand your network
  • Access to trainings and workshops

Thinking about visiting a BNI chapter?

Remember about:

  • Bringing money to pay for your breakfast ( it is usually about £10 )
  • Taking your business cards
  • Bringing your promotional materials
  • Preparing your 60-second presentation
  • Arriving early to give you extra time for connecting with all entrepreneurs

Visit a chapter: [link]

Thinking about joining a BNI chapter?

Consider these points:

  • Shop around by visiting a few groups if you prefer to get a feel for different members but remember you may miss your chance to apply to the perfect group if you do this.  BNI allows only one person per profession so if the first group feels right, explore the application process there.
  • Be prepared to commit to regular weekly meetings.
  • Evaluate your industry—B2C and B2B businesses alike can grow their operations if they engage with the structure, adopt good networking skills and are patient
  • Find a group of unfamiliar faces to ensure you get the most out of the new relationship-building opportunities.
  • Be open to bring a contribution and help others and engage in the lifelong learning to ensure your success. This can be a referral, a visitor or a testimonial. – it’s essential to BNI.
  • Brush up your elevator speech/ 60 seconds presentation as you will be introducing your business in front of other people
  • Be aware of the dress code depending on your profession as traders tend to be ready for work.
  • Be willing to hold 1-2-1 meetings with other members in order to establish more business opportunities.
  • Be prepared to invest considerable amount of time and effort to engage with other members
  • The last point is that you need to be ready to embrace your BNI membership to its fullest, otherwise you are wasting your time!

 

Contact me on wojciech@lifenetworker.com if you want to learn more.

Useful Links:

http://www.bnimanchesterwest.co.uk

 

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Bombarded with ads

Do you know that you are exposed to approximately 5,000 marketing messages a day?

We are bombarded with advertising messages everywhere we go on streets, on trains, buses and via old standbys like TV, newspapers and radio or newer media like mobile push up notifications, email marketing, posts on social media or other approaches of brands trying to get our attention.

According to Jay Walker-Smith, who’s the president of the marketing firm, Yankelovich, says “We’ve gone from being exposed to about 500 ads a day back in the 1970s to as many as 5,000 a day today.” [Source: CBS News]

It is why people are confused and prefer to search for recommendations!

Consumers are 81% more likely to trust their peers over advertising when it comes to purchasing decisions. [Source: Nielsen.com]

When you are looking for a good gardener, who do you turn to? You ask your friends, family and work colleagues—because they are the ones who can tell you about the experiences they have personally had.

Life Networker’s advice: Keep networking, keep building strong relationships with people and get your message via powerful word of mouth marketing.

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Paul T Lajszczak – investor in people with passion

Hi Paul, it is a pleasure to interview one of the most successful investors and networkers in the UK. Can you share with us how it all began? 

Im in UK for over 12 years before I did several businesses in Poland. Since I was child I always did something and was very active. I was playing violin, selling goods on market in Poland during, selling insurance, running recruitment business and many other things.  I just love changes, new projects and challenges which are very often crazy that people around me do not believe whether it was a joke or real plan for future.  I love meeting people and do business with them. I cannot work as employee as I am very independent and always see new opportunities or trying to improve existing projects. 

You are also an unique networker who as a resident of Dubai is connecting with businesses in the Middle East. How different is to network in Dubai in comparison to UK or Poland? 

Yes, I have been dealing with entrepreneurs from Middle East market for more than two years now. I also have been doing business in UK, Poland and many other countries. Actually, the question is very good as I am currently in Dubai on yet another business trip. There are so many differences between Europe and this region’s way of doing business, in particular you have to take into account:  1. Culture and Religion  2. Way of life 3. Trust   UK 1,2,3 is mixed everybody do things as they like and  in my opinion, there are not really set of business rules.   In Poland, you need to understand point 1 before you get into 2 and earn trust. Middle East is similar but you need to first start from point 3 and earn trust, then you have an opportunity to understand real culture, religion and after way of life  

That is very interesting. Can you share with us any tips that has been a key to your success? 

There are many things which makes us successful and happy, however each person needs find his/her own way. I am 36 now I follow 36 guidelines which I learned over the years.   1. Everyone has some uniqueness & value 2. Kids teach you as much as you teach them 3. Every solution is hidden in plain sight 4. Mistakes are gifts 5. Critics just want to be loved & understood 6. The more you learn, the more there is to learn 7. You don’t need money to be happy, but it helps 8. Charity is caring about others 9. Leadership is nurturing other leaders 10. One act of kindness can change someone’s life 11. Don’t be bullied, but don’t hold grudges 12. Podcasts are the future 13. Never overthink if you do something that you believe in 14. Extreme/one sided opinions are dangerous 15. You get more haters the more fans you get 16. You know what to do, you just have to do it 17. If you don’t take things personally life is better 18. If you do the right thing it will pay no matter how long it seems to take 19. Someone is good at things that you’re not & will help you if you ask 20. If you understand money you understand people 21. Your best ideas are in alternative niches 22. Patience is advice none of us take but all of us need 23. Property keeps going up, even when it goes down 24. Anything can be an asset if set up wisely 25. Deep conversations with great people are a great fuel for fulfillment 26. No one wants to hear you whine 27. Relationships are never done & always need working on 28. Growth & contribution lead to happiness, not happiness itself 29. It can get better, or worse, in a nano-second 30. Before you try to change someone, look at yourself first 31. If you keep changing, you make little progress 32 The amount of sleep we all need is different so test your own 33 Technology is making life easier but making us more demanding/petulant 34 Everyone has a purpose & life transforms when you find yours 35 If you hate what you do, you change it 36 Money isn’t good or bad, it’s a reflection of you  Being alive is a great gift & you can get grey hair in your beard like me the day you wake on your 36th birthday.

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