One of the first things I learned from other consultants and coaches was that I should have a contract. When I asked why, most of the responses were for the benefit of the consultant or coach, not necessarily their client. Here are a few examples:
- "It gives you credibility as a professional"
- "You have more control over your income"
- "Your clients will do the work and be more accountable for assignments"
- "Business requires contracts so both parties know what is expected"
- "A contract with a no-refund clause is essential so the client knows it's up to them to make it work. You can never get the time back that you spent with the client and they need to understand how valuable your time is."
But here's why I'm resisting:
- "It gives you credibility as a professional" The free 30-minute phone consult we have will demonstrate my expertise, experience, and credibility by the questions I ask and ideas we share.
- "You have more control over your income" Call me naive, but if I do a good job and deliver on what was promised, I have control over my income. Clients will choose to stay until we get the results they desire (2-4 months), not because they are contractually bound. And they will refer non-competitors, referral partners, and co-workers in other locations to me.
- "Your clients will do the work and be more accountable for assignments" I want people who are self-motivated and self-driven... Not people who go through the motions because they signed a contract. If it's not working for us, we need to be able to agree to stop and go our separate ways.
- "Business requires contracts so both parties know what is expected" I get it. But I've signed contracts with consultants and coaches who didn't deliver what they promised, even with the signed paper. So my choice is to send an email before the client submits payment outlining what we are going to work on, in what order, and why. It all goes back to what we discussed on their free call, their business, and where they are in the process. I print out a copy and keep in the client's file. I review this individual "success map" each week for each client. It keeps us both moving in the right direction.
At some point I may need to have a written contract. But I'm going to resist as long as possible. I believe that if I continue to help my clients develop their "talk", use it to fill their funnel with lots of prospects, and then show them how to convert those prospects into buying customers who purchase multiple products or services, the rest will take care of itself. I teach business professionals how to monetize their speaking opportunities, even when speaking for free.
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