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How to Get your Client to Sign Your Contract

How to Get Your Client to Sign your Contract

As a freelancer or small business owner, you know the importance of having a contract in place for your services. It not only protects you legally, but it also sets clear expectations for both you and your client. However, getting your client to actually sign the contract can sometimes be a challenge.

You may have experienced situations where a client verbally agrees to your terms, but when it comes time to sign on the dotted line, they become hesitant or even disappear altogether.

So, how do you get your client to sign your contract? In this article, we'll explore some proven strategies and tactics that will help you secure those signatures and ensure a smooth and successful relationship with your clients.

But first, why contracts are important for freelancers and businesses

Contracts serve as a legally binding agreement between you and your clients. They outline the terms and conditions of your services, including project timelines, payment schedules, and any other expectations. By having a contract in place, both you and your client are protected in case of any disputes or misunderstandings. A well-crafted contract not only protects you but also sets a professional tone for your business. 

In addition to legal protection, contracts can help to manage expectations and ensure that both parties are on the same page. Without a contract, it's easy for misunderstandings to arise, which can lead to frustration and disappointment for both you and your client. By having a clear and concise contract in place, you can avoid these issues and build a stronger relationship with your clients.

Contracts also help to establish trust with your clients. When you present a contract, you demonstrate that you're a professional who takes your work seriously. This can help to build confidence in your abilities and increase your chances of securing future work with the same client.


Common reasons why your client may hesitate to sign your contract

Despite the benefits of having a contract, some clients may hesitate to sign on the dotted line. There are a few common reasons for this, including:

Fear of commitment

Some clients may be hesitant to sign a contract because they're afraid of committing to a long-term relationship. This could be because they're unsure of the quality of your work or they're simply not ready to make a long-term commitment. 

Lack of understanding

Clients may also hesitate to sign a contract if they don't fully understand the terms and conditions. This could be because the language is too technical or confusing, or they simply haven't had enough time to review the contract thoroughly.

Trust issues

In some cases, clients may be hesitant to sign a contract because they don't trust you or your business. This could be because they've had a negative experience with a freelancer or small business in the past, or they simply don't know you well enough to feel comfortable signing a contract.



How to address client concerns about contracts

If a client is hesitant to sign your contract, it's important to address their concerns in a professional and understanding manner. Here are some tips for addressing common client concerns:

Fear of commitment

If a client is afraid of committing to a long-term relationship, try to reassure them that that the term is set so you can understand their business better. You can also offer a shorter contract with a termination fee if this could work for your business. Just make sure this is clearly set out in your agreement. 

Lack of understanding

If a client is struggling to understand the terms and conditions of your contract, take the time to address their concerns. Be patient and answer any questions they may have. You can also provide examples or case studies to help illustrate your points. If you are finding your clients often don't understand the terms of your agreement, it's likely your contract needs to be written, in plain english. 

Trust issues

If a client is hesitant to sign a contract because of trust issues, try to establish a rapport with them first. Take the time to get to know them and their business. Offer references or testimonials from past clients to help build their confidence in your abilities


Best practices for presenting and explaining your contract to clients

Once you've addressed any client concerns, it's important to present your contract in a clear and professional manner. Here are some best practices for presenting and explaining your contract to clients:

Use clear language

I know I sound like a broken record, but when drafting your contract, use clear and concise language that's easy for clients to understand. Avoid technical jargon or legal terms that may be confusing. Your client shouldn't have to have majored in Shakespearean studies to understand the document they are signing!

Highlight important terms

Make sure to highlight the most important terms and conditions of your contract, such as payment schedules, project timelines, and any other expectations. This will help to ensure that clients understand what they're signing up for.

Provide examples

If possible, provide examples or case studies that illustrate how your services have helped other clients. This can help to build confidence in your abilities and increase your chances of securing the contract.


Tips for negotiating contract terms with clients

Negotiating the terms of a contract can be a delicate process. Here are some tips for negotiating contract terms with clients:


Be flexible where you can

It's OK to be flexible with your contract terms.  If a client has a specific request or concern, be open to discussing it and finding a solution that works for both parties. However, if what your client is asking for is unreasonable, stick to your contract. If you think their request might affect your rights under the contract, it's a great idea to check in with a local lawyer or attorney to you.

Know (and be clear about!) the value you provide

Before negotiating, make sure you know your worth and the value of your services. This will help you to negotiate from a position of strength and ensure that you're being compensated fairly for your work.

Don't be afraid to walk away

If you're unable to come to an agreement with a client, don't be afraid to walk away. It's better to lose a potential client than to agree to terms that aren't in your best interest.

The importance of clear communication throughout the contract process

Clear communication is key throughout the contract process. Here are some tips for ensuring clear communication with your clients: 

Set expectations early

At the beginning of the project, set clear expectations for communication. Let clients know how often they can expect to hear from you, and how they can reach you if needed.

Follow up regularly

Throughout the project, follow up regularly with clients to provide updates and ensure that everyone is on the same page.

Be responsive

If a client has a question or concern, be responsive and address it as quickly as possible. This will help to build trust and ensure that the project stays on track.

and my last tip...

Don't start work without a contract signed and delivered to you. It's really hard to enforce a contract that doesn't exist!

As always, you'll get better at dealing with these kinds of situations the more and more you have to deal with them as a small business owner.  



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