Before I get into how you are likely losing money because of the way you are presenting your agreements, I want to give you a little backstory …
Last night, Craig was sharing with me his vision for a new app he is building around his Purpose Mapping program. His program triangulates your Myers-Briggs, Astrology and Enneagram to determine your purpose, strength, achilles heel and shadow. The app will allow you to share your typology with others in your community for instant deepening of connection. Pretty cool, huh?
I got really excited and I said, “ok, what’s next? How can we move this forward?” And he said “well, I’m stuck because the gal I chose to work on the app with has sent me an invoice and a confusing agreement that I haven’t had time to review adequately.”
Of course, I asked him to show me what was going on thinking I could quickly review the agreement for him, sign off and move things forward. This project is too important to be stuck behind a slow contracting process.
When he opened the email from his app developer, I saw that they’d been in conversation about this for over two weeks and there had been no forward movement.
That’s two weeks that his project hasn’t moved forward and that the app developer hasn’t collected payment. All because her agreement process sucks.
When I clicked through to see the agreement she was asking him to sign, which she presented with the caveat “My lawyer is effing hard core so his wording is pretty legit” I was able to quickly see the problem.
Her lawyer may be “effing hardcore” but his agreement sucks.
Here’s a screenshot:
Here’s the truth about this agreement …
It doesn’t matter how legit the wording is in this agreement because the formatting makes it nearly impossible to easily read it and understand what it is.
All the words are smooshed together in large paragraphs, making it almost impossible to read.
Beyond the formatting, there’s no context for the agreement in the words either.
It just jumps right in with NonDisclosure without any sort of introduction or explanation of what the agreement is, why it’s needed, who the parties are, or what they want to accomplish.
All around … suckish-ness. I couldn’t advise him to sign this. I could barely read through it myself, and honestly, I wasn’t about to. It was so bad, in fact, that I almost recommended he just find someone else to work with who has her shit together more and can present a solid agreement that we can easily read and understand.
I probably won’t go that far because he likes the app developer and we have agreements he can use from our LIFT Foundation System & Toolkit, but it’s quite possible that your agreement process is costing you clients, and you don’t even know it. The easier you make it for people to engage your services and write you a check, the more they will say yes and the more they will be willing to pay.
Many professional service providers deal with this by just not using agreements at all and doing everything on a handshake deal. Bad idea. Especially when it comes to intellectual property, software, and content you are selling in the marketplace.
Sure, I’ll work with a service provider who doesn’t have his or her own set of good agreements, but I’m going to pay less because I can tell they aren’t the best. At least that’s the impression I’m left with when I come across it.
So, if you want to command premium fees for your work, get paid on a timely basis and not leave your prospects projects stalled out while you get an agreement in place, get your agreements set up right.
- Make them easy to read.
- Present them in a clean and clear format so that anyone receiving it can scan through it, easily understand it and simply sign it.
- And always present your agreement for electronic signature. These days, emailing, printing, and faxing agreements back and forth is simply ridiculous and a waste of time. We use EchoSign.
By the way, this isn’t just for the newbies. A few weeks ago, a good friend and very well known internet marketer asked me to get in on a new project he was creating. I was a big yes and then he sent me over the agreement and it was so horribly written I almost backed out. It was confusing, clearly copied from another transaction that wasn’t that similar and just wrong in so many ways.
He thought he was being smart by putting an agreement in place, but instead he just looked novice because it was so evidently the wrong agreement. I began to doubt whether he could really pull off the big project he was proposing I put my energy into.
Because he’s my friend I didn’t just back out, but instead worked with him on it, gave him feedback, and he’s making it better, but now it’s weeks later and he still hasn’t gotten my full-bodied yes because there’s no signed agreement.
So don’t let lack of clear agreements or a clear agreement process stand in the way of you working with more clients, collecting checks and moving your projects forward. Get your shit together. It makes a big difference to the people you want to work with.