Make it Easier
For Prospects and Clients to Work With You
One of the easy-to-implement practice development tips proposed by the author, who coaches, is this: If you are looking to build/grow your practice, start by making just one thing easier for your prospects and clients to use or understand. Identify something they do, read, or experience and answer this question: How could I make that easier? In this article, four courses of action are presented.
One of the easy-to-implement practice development tips I talk about with coaching clients is this: If you‚Äôre looking to build/grow your practice, start by making just one thing easier for your prospects and clients to use or understand. Identify something they do, read, or experience and answer this question: How could I make that easier?
Here are four things I‚Äôve done:
- None of my consulting engagement letters have to be ‚Äúexecuted‚ÄĚ by the soon-to-be-client and returned (mailed or e-mailed) to me. Here is the language I use: Remittance of the requested [retainer/fee] constitutes [your/XYZ Company‚Äôs] full acceptance and agreement with all terms and conditions noted in this letter. People can just pay me (see #2) and be done. Check with your insurance carrier before you try this at home.
And the side benefit to me: less paper to file or e-mails with attachments to track.
- I accept funds via PayPal, Stripe, ACH payment, and wire transfer. It gives clients options. The first two alternatives allow clients to use their credit cards and accumulate their coveted perks. All three options don‚Äôt require clients to write checks, which, if you think about the steps required in a larger company, takes a lot of time and requires the right people to be there at the right time to keep the process moving along.
And the side benefit to me: no more ‚Äúthe check is in the mail.‚ÄĚ The money is either in my business account or it‚Äôs not.
- Prospects and clients can schedule calls with me by clicking on a link that I include in my e-mail trailer or add to a LinkedIn message that shows them openings in my calendar. (I even have different links for different kinds and lengths of calls.) It gives them a feeling of control over whether they can be available versus must be available.
And the side benefit to me: no more annoying phone tag or e-mail chains trying to set up a simple phone call.
- I got rid of all the legalese in my engagement letters. No more shall(s), therefore(s), above-noted(s), or anything else you wouldn‚Äôt say in a conversation with a prospect or client. All of which makes it easier for the prospect to understand the two basic functions of any engagement letter: here is what you will do and are responsible for; here is what I will do and am responsible for.
And the side benefit to me: I am tickled by the feeling that I am doing my part to reduce obfuscation in the world.
By the way, this re-write inspiration came from a short, December 18, 2014 blog post by Seth Godin that is copied verbatim below. (See, I am making it easier for you to read by reproducing the post instead of making you click on a link that takes you to it!)
‚ÄúOur connection economy thrives when people understand what to expect from one another. We’re more likely than ever to engage in interactions that involve an exchange, something that deserves a specific clarification. I’ll do this and you’ll do that.
‚ÄúMore and more agreements are being made, because more and more transactions happen outside or between organizations. The question then: What does good drafting look like?
‚ÄúIf the agreement starts with “whereas” and continues along with, “notwithstanding the foregoing,” and when it must be decoded by a lawyer on the other side, something has gone wrong. These code words, and the dense language that frequently appears in legal agreements, are symptoms of a system out of whack. It’s possible to be precise without being obtuse.
‚ÄúThere’s actually no legal requirement that an agreement not be in specific, clear, everyday English. To do otherwise disrespects the person you’re hoping to engage with. There’s no legal requirement that even the terms of service for a website can’t be clear and easy to understand. In fact, if the goal is to avoid confusion and the costs of the legal system when conflicts occur, the more clear, the better.
‚ÄúConsider this clause, which can change everything: ‚ÄėAny disagreements over the interpretation of this agreement will be resolved through binding, informal arbitration. Both of us agree to hire a non-involved attorney, submit up to five pages of material to state our case, and abide by her decision.‚Äô
‚ÄúThe best thing about this clause is that you’ll almost never need it. Mutual respect and clear language lead to agreements that work.‚ÄĚ
What have you implemented? If you‚Äôve done something cool, or even tried something that didn‚Äôt work, e-mail me.
Rod Burkert works with BVFLS practitioners and firms that have hit a time or income ceiling and want to grow faster and smarter. If you are feeling frustrated by those limitations, e-mail Mr. Burkert at firstname.lastname@example.org.