Quick Contract Tips #1: What Does Your Contract Branding Say About You?

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The template contracts you use in your business are an under-recognized expression of your brand. Think about it. Have you ever received a contract from your customer that has been poorly drafted with loads of spelling errors? What if the contract doesn’t contain important clauses - such as what happens if you decide to stop doing business together? Do you feel confident or hesitant about embarking on a business relationship with that customer? 

The standard of your template contract really does give your customer a first peek into what their customer experience is going to be like with you. Let me give a recent example – one of my maturing business clients – let’s call them “SmallCo” - received a Services Contract from a big company – let’s call them “BigCo” - where SmallCo was providing bespoke training for BigCo’s employees. It was clear that the contract was not tailored to the transaction so SmallCo changed/added clauses and prepared a note to explain to BigCo the most critical changes. BigCo admitted that customers never made changes to their template. But BigCo also said their immediate impression was that SmallCo would be super smart in delivering training to BigCo’s employees because SmallCo had been diligent in reviewing BigCo’s contact. BigCo even said it would adopt SmallCo’s revised contract as their new Service Contract template! 

This experience illustrates how contracts reflect your business brand. Your contract is an extension of the brand you portray to others just like your website and business card. But many of us have a blind spot to the brand that is intertwined with one’s template contracts. 

Here are your takeaways:

1.    It can really hurt your brand to use contracts that look like came off the internet and are not specific to the actual deal, just because “having something is better than nothing”. Smart clients pick up on that and take advantage of that failure. 

2.    If you use sloppy contracts, your customers are going to sense you don't take yourself as a professional and so they won’t treat you that way. 

3.    Your contracts mirror your brand in the market and something about you and the type of services you provide. 

4.    Make it easy for your customer to download your template and provide a super simple process to sign and return. Going the extra mile for your customers makes an impression and sets you apart from your competition.

5.    A great contract template protects you and allows you to be perceived as a professional, giving you the confidence to step forth with your business.

Here’s your homework:

Set aside time to review your contract templates. Do they make you look like a real pro and brand you as well as your logo does? For help with your contract branding contact me at catherine@catherineoconnelllaw.com

Catherine O'Connell