Consulting Proposals, Agreements and Attorney Advice

“I think I hit a nerve,” I said, when I wrote about Kate’s
agreement adventures with a young designer.”

Proposal vs Agreement

“What happened bre’r rabbit?” asked Bob.

“My phone and e-mail lit up with comments. You all know I’ve
worked with a number of attorneys…well a couple of them checked in along with
some management consultants, coaches and professional speakers…any way the most
outspoken members of the tribe.

Jim, an attorney, friend and former client said:

Here are
two contrarian thoughts about the last sentence in the post:

1. Any agreement to provide
services in exchange for money is a contract. Regardless of the label, putting
the deal in writing allows the parties to clearly state mutual expectations and
responsibilities up front.

2. The shorter a contract, the more
you need to make sure that it contains all essential terms, so don’t overlook
the value of having an attorney draft or review even one-page documents.

Gail said, ”Nice to see he picked up on the same thing I

“Meaning what?” Rick asked.

“Meaning that if it is important to the customer, then put
it in. If it isn’t leave it out.”

Rick replied, “Yes. That is why you do proposals so that you
can get all the mutual expectations and responsibilities on the table up front,
discuss them and put the ones you agree on in an agreement or like Fletch’s
friendly lawyer says, the contract.”

“It’s a process,” Bob said. Young’uns just don’t get it.
Tain’t their fault. Nobody ever shows you how to make grits you make a mess of
it ‘til you learn how. They go to school to learn a skill but nobody teaches
‘em how to run a business using that skill. They don’ know they need to
understand bookkeeping and marketing and how to turn a contact into a
contract. Trouble is they don’t get to trust before they start puttin’ boilerplate nonsense on paper. ”

“Fletch, didn’t you write a program called How to Turn Contacts into Contracts” asked Kate.

“Yes, I did. That program looks at how to ask the questions
that need to be asked by the service provider and how to determine what is
important to the prospect. But I think Rick and Bob really got at the heart of the

Youngsters are so eager and hungry they just want the deal signed rather than making sure everyone is on the same page. They forget that every relationship, short or long term, begins with trust.

How do we fix that?

Jerry Fletcher is an expert at business development. Learn more at

Jerry provides trust-based marketing programs on three continents Video of signature stories at www.Networking

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