My biggest pet peeve is clients who procrastinate on returning the contract in a timely manner. This is especially true for popular dates with multiple requests or when I send one out and someone else inquires ten days later. What can I do to get contracts turned in faster without losing additional revenue?
Waiting on a Contract
This is a great question. One, you could go with digital contracts – I’ve used EchoSign before – which usually results in a pretty fast turnaround time. But I’m still old school and prefer a hard copy with signatures in ink, as it seems you do, too. So here’s a very simple solution:
Set an expiration time and date on the contract.
After I meet with a couple, I inform them their date is still open until I issue them a contract. Once I issue a contract, they have a seven day temporary hold while the contract is active. If I don’t have the client-signed contract in my possession by the expiration time and date (and with the initial payment), that specific wedding date is re-opened first come, first serve.
Here’s an example:
John and Sally met with me last Saturday and this morning, June 23rd, 2015, Sally emailed to say they would love to book me! I send John and Sally a contract and in the email containing the contract – as well as on the contract itself – I set an expiration date of 4:00 PM on June 30th, 2015.
As long as I have the contract in my possession by or before 4:00 pm on the 30th, their wedding date is formally reserved. If it doesn’t come back at 4 pm on the expiration date, I will send a courtesy email to see what’s up. Typically, one of two things have happened: they forgot and ask if they can send it in IMMEDIATELY or they have decided to go in a different direction.
SIDE NOTE: Someone asked what about if the contract arrives the next day, or even a month later? Or what if when I contact the couple and they say they simply forgot – life happens, ya know – and they ask to send it in immediately post expiration date and time? Simple. From a legal standpoint, a new contract must be sent out. I put a much tighter window on this one, and I make sure they understand that.
Here’s another reason why I put expiration time and date on all of my contracts: it goes on the calendar of her smart phone as a reminder. I, like most people, tend to remember deadlines when I put them on my calendar. Things don’t get forgotten as easily.
So, give this a try and see how it works out for you. I have a hunch you’ll love it.
Your Contract Crusader,
This post was originally published on June 23, 2015 at www.TonySchwartzBlog.com
Filed Under: Business, Sales & Marketing
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