For services professionals, our most important business asset is the relationships we have with our clients. They are the reason we do what we do – and the source of all of our revenues.
The relationships we have with our clients don’t “end at the sale” like most businesses do – our relationships “begin at the sale”. It’s not an over-the-counter, “here’s your product and I hope to see you next time you need one”. For us service providers, the whole process starts with the hiring – they sign our contract – and the delivery of services comes afterwards.
The client relationship begins with and is defined by our service contracts. (Service contracts can be called an Engagement Agreement, a Master Services Agreement, a Scope of Work, Professional Service Contracts – and many other variations.)
Your client relationships are represented by your service contracts. We consider contracts as so much more than technicalities – they are written relationships and they must be treated with care. For some of us, the relationship can last for a long period of time.
So as I said earlier, if your client relationships are the most important asset of your company, then your service contracts are an extremely important part of your legal infrastructure.
Think about your service contract for a moment. How is it written? What does it look like? What impression does it give? Does it show professionalism?
What does it include? What does it leave out? Is it fair?
What does it tell your clients about you – the quality of your work – your attention to detail?
Here’s a big one – Does it show your clients how much you care? Does it encourage them to trust you? Because good relationships – including good business relationships – are built on all those things.