Sales agreement language may be the only way to protect yourself from unruly clients once they’re in your portfolio.
What I’ve found is that there aren’t really “bad” clients, just uneducated clients.
But if for some reason things go sour, strong language in your sales agreement may be your only saving grace.
Here’s how to protect yourself.
Using the term “bad client” may conjure up Maleficent, but it’s not as if clients set out to be evil or malicious (at least ours don’t).
I used to work with someone who had soooo many “bad” clients. Eventually, I realized this person was the problem more so than the clients; the lesson here is to remove the phrase “bad clients” from your vocabulary (maybe save it for clients who don’t pay).
Our Substandard Client Example:
Client A and Client B are both clients, and both make soap.
While Client A makes every single weekly call, comes armed with feedback on reports and ideas for upcoming campaigns, Client B rarely makes their calls.
In fact, they usually answer emails days or weeks later when we ask for critical campaign information or updates.
Which client do you think would have more success with an outsourced social media management partner?
If you said Client A … ding ding ding!
What we’ve found over and over again is that clients who make the weekly meetings almost ALWAYS see the most success.
Therefore, we felt we needed to underscore the importance of what it means to be a “good” — successful! — client with our company.
Client education goes a long way with curing “bad” clients, and this includes using your sales agreement language as an educational moment.Use your sales agreement to educate clients before work even begins!Click To Tweet
Using Sales Agreement Language To Educate Your Clients
For us, our partnership means everything and is paramount to show our success.
To help educate clients like Client B in the example above, we added language in our sales agreement that looks similar to this:
“Meetings and client input play a vital role in the success of your service agreement with [YOUR COMPANY]. Please make every attempt to notify your Account Manager when calls will be missed and plan for a rescheduled time to talk. Regularly missing meetings by [CLIENT NAME] may result in the non-renewal or termination of your agreement. Our success relies heavily on having a dedicated partner within your company.”
If meetings, or brand assets, or any other element of the partnership or relationship is crucial to you being able to succeed, make sure you have language in your sales agreement that will highlight this point and protect you.Use this script as a guide to underscore critical elements of your partnership or relationship with clients.Click To Tweet
Other Sales Agreement Saviors
There are two other places I often hear entrepreneurs lamenting about their clients:
- Slow or no pays
- Scope creep
Try the below language examples in your sales agreement for payment issues and/or scope creep.
Spell it out when it comes to slow or no-pays.
“Invoices for ongoing services are sent [when you send invoices] and payment is due upon receipt. A 2% late fee will be assessed for payments received after the 5th of the month. All account services will be stopped if no payment has been made by the 10th of the month, and will not resume until payment and late fees are paid in full. Services not rendered due to nonpayment are not the responsibility of [YOUR COMPANY] to make up to the client.”
Clients often decide they want more work, which is GREAT! However, make sure your sales agreement outlines how that new work will be accepted.
“We’re happy to make changes to the project scope with [CLIENT NAME] request at any time, but please know these additions are subject to additional billing and a signed addenda outlining the new scope of work.
At the end of the day, it’s easier to point to your signed agreement when snafus pop up than it is to try to enforce invisible rules.Use these two sales agreement scripts to help combat slow/no pays and scope creep.Click To Tweet
There Are No “Bad” Clients!
There are very few cases where clients have actually been considered “bad” — refusing to pay for services rendered is awful.
It’s your job as an entrepreneur or sales associate to educate your clients on your partnership and processes.
How do you protect yourself from unwanted client behavior? Let us know in the comments section below!
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