THE SMALL PRINT – Best Sales and Marketing Ideas #94

101 Best Sales and Marketing Ideas

IDEA 94:


Many a deal has founded on the small print. The customer likes the product, they want to buy the product, May even at some stages they intend to do so, and then – suddenly – they decline. Something about the terms of the deal destroyed their intent.


From the conference industry …

 The terms and condition you state for contracts must protect your financial position as supplier, and in particular, protect your profitability. At the same time it is important that they:

  • are communicated clearly and prevent misunderstandings
  • project efficiency
  • enhance the client relationship (for which, they must be seen as acceptable and necessary)
  • encourage conversation of business effectively and promptly
  • Link to any other necessary arrangements and documentation.

I first worked on the detail of what is best here during some research with the Meetings Industry Association. They key here and elsewhere is that when discussing terms and conditions you should never apologize. Stress the mutual advantage of clearly specified contract conditions. Talk about working together, and if necessary use a checklist to ensure you deal with everything systematically. Specifically you want to evolve a step-by-step way of introducing and describing terms and conditions, and making them stick. This is the kind of progression involved:

  • Introduce the concept of contractual agreement. You need to consider the timing of this in the context of your type of business, but it is usually best early on rather than later.
  • Make clear the detail. You must be careful to spell it out accurately, and not assume the customer is familiar with everything, least of all figures, costing, and timing. Always check understanding (this may need only a simple question).
  • Document your side of the arrangements. Tell the customer what you will do, and follow it up efficiently and promptly in a way that sets the pattern for clear written communications. Make it easy for the customer (you set out the details), but ask for confirmation, chase if necessary to get it, and keep clear records throughout the process if it takes any amount of time.

In practice

  • Adopt the appropriate manner throughout the process and make it clear that none of this is a negative procedure.
  • Stress the advantages to the customer of having things clear. Link to any follow-up, and ultimately this includes invoicing. (Here it is most important that the invoice reflects – accurately – the agreed detail, and is straightforward and clear).

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