Politeness costs you nothing, but it gets you everything

My bank account is suddenly looking healthy.

I’ve just been to a cash machine in London’s Kentish Town. This machine cheerfully told me my current balance. I nearly fell over with excitement. Had my bank account somehow become muddled up with those of Bill Gates, The Aga Khan and The Queen of Sheba?

How many helipads should I specify for the ocean-going yacht which I would now have to buy?

How did I go from being an impecunious scribbler, marketing consultant and teacher for both The European Association of Communications Agencies and the European Communication School – yes, I know, I get confused, too – to being a Master of The Universe with more than £9.42 in my current account?

The answer is straightforward.

I had help.

But, first, how do you get your way when all seems hopeless?

If you’re Nikita Khrushchev, you can bang your shoe on the table, as he did at the United Nations on 12 October 1960 as he aggressively berated a hapless diplomat from Philippine delegate Lorenzo Sumulong who accused the Soviet Union of having swallowed up Eastern Europe and deprived the population of “the free exercise of their civil and political rights”.

The General Secretary of The Communist Party

Khrushchev: where does a 900lb gorilla sleep? Anywhere he damn well likes.

Or you can loudly berate the North Americans, as José Manuel Barroso, the European Commission President, did in Mexico yesterday, shouting that it was all the North Americans’ fault, and that it was about time they looked at themselves in the mirror before criticising Europe, or words to that effect.

In my case, the situation was that I had worked for a client at half my usual rate for three years in the middle of the last decade. The deal was that I should receive shares in recompense.

They never arrived.

Yes, not quite the trigger for nuclear war, but vexatious nonetheless.

Then something changed, and my former client was suddenly keen to talk, but didn’t seem to be offering me what I thought I was owed.

So, I did what any sane chap would do, and had lunch at Eyre Brothers in Shoreditch with the splendid Andy White of Carter Backer Winter, whom I’ve known since the beginning of the 1970s. Andy is an accountant, and is also Senior Partner in the firm. CBW was named as UK Mid-Tier Firm of the Year at The British Accountancy Awards 2011, so he clearly knows what he’s doing.

Tax expert, Oxford MA and Senior Partner of CBW

Professional, funny and polite, Mr White FCA, Senior Partner CBW

I am very pleased that I kept in touch.

Andy suggested that we involve Adam Blain, a lawyer and a partner in CKFT in Hampstead.

This was a very good decision.

The two of them did a superb job, for which I warmly thank them.

Partner at CKFT, Hampstead

Adam Blain, very bright and very effective, and polite, too

How did they get the right deal which left both sides feeling happy?

All good deals need to have both sides leaving the table with no hard feelings. This was one of them.

The core strategy was to be polite.

Politeness, respect and a strong position put gently go a long way. By comparison, José Manuel’s outburst yesterday was definitely not a good idea.

My former client and I are probably never going to be drinking buddies again, but I feel a lot less heated than I did a few years ago, and I both hope and expect that my ex-clients do, too.

Consequently, if you need a great firm of London accountants, or a great firm of London lawyers, or both, I can heartily recommend CBW and CKFT.

Just ask, politely, for either Andy White or Adam Blain.

You won’t be disappointed.

This will be the last posting on Greensted Blog using the current format, Akismet. The site now has 116 posts, and is too big for Akismet to handle. The next format also makes it easier for guest postings, such as those from John Klawitter and Andrew Levy, for whose terrific contributions I’m grateful. We’re looking for guest bloggers. Please get in touch if you have something to say. The blog is not commercial, so don’t currently expect payment, but we might go commercial depending upon our stats. This is still up for debate. We’d be interested in your views, please. We’re looking for articles on the world economy, marketing, digital , USA and UK politics, and lessons for business from personal experience. Your opinion is as important as the facts you recount, so make certain that the article has a strong point of view, please. Don’t be shy, we can handle three outside posts a day. Max word count: 750.  I’d also be grateful for your comments on the new format, please. And, yes, Greece is still doomed. Anyone want to write about it? The G on my keyboard has worn out.

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