Creating Happy Customers
Do you need to provide a letter of agreement for ease and grace? Yeah, you d'oh you absolutely dio you've got to establish a clear scope of services and deliverables with a letter of agreement to protect you and your client. Now I call it a letter agreement because that sounds friendlier than contract but it's the same thing, ok, it's still a binding agreement and I would highly recommend that you have an attorney review your letter of agreement to ensure there is finding you really want to create a happy relationship from the onset, so you want to go through scope of services, detail your delivery, bols delineate client responsibility and deliverables it's not just what you're delivering, they have to give things to you, too, to make this work, define your deadlines, be very clear on deadlines and determine the final investment have a cap if you're somebody who works hourly what I used to do in that case, I no longer work hourly haven't for years don't recommend it, but what I used to...
do is I would say I estimate this project to come in at no more than forty hours any additional hours will be approved by you in advance, and I stuck to that and it gave my clients a huge comfort factor because the scariest thing about people who work hourly is we're afraid of runaway ours don't let that happen don't even let your client get into that place to fear about it. Okay determine that final investment included termination clause you've got to have an out of working with the crazy people guarantee is optional so what are your deliverables? Take a moment right now and write down at least three deliverables three deliverables on the workbook we are in page forty two because we had a lovely matrix that you get to fill in if you have the workbook right here about impact lovely matrix easy to work with and something you could actually put multiple copies of and use it each week alright so write down three deliverables that you produce on a regular basis and I want my on liners to do the very same work and and the online er's tell me what they are what are your deliverables? Are they tangible or intangible? So is it a piece of art? Is it a new room? Is it a relationship guidance? Remember it's not a better relationship because you can't promise that if you're a relationship coach its relationship guidance it's health strategies it's not better health you can't promise that ok, that is a benefit but it's not a guarantee is it a delicious meal? Are you a caterer? Is it a new website? Is that one of your deliverables? Is it successful business help? What are your deliverables and in this case, if you do not get clear on your deliverables, and you need to be clear as well as your client, you are failing to prepare, which means you are preparing to fail, not a pretty place to bay. Do we have anything coming in from the gallery about deliverables? Yeah, they're starting to come in. I think people are still talking about their celebrations right now and how they're doing that, but, yeah, melinda has a couple that just came in, she said that she has construction documents, elevations and construction details, and the delivery balls are very tangible items in their business. Yeah, they would be on dh. The key is to create that master list of deliverables and share that with the client, so they understand the depth of detail that you are going teo for every single project, because they may think it's just a set of plans and it's a lot more than that. So when you define and detail your deliverables, you're doing yourself a huge favor, because they could become an integral part of the benefit of working with you. Your competitors might not be a specific and detailed as you are, and you're going to win the contract because you pointed every single nuance out, never skip the nuance, never assume that they know what they're getting, they don't and success is about having enough time to do what needs to be done and time left over for your life it's about success, time and money two big things you're working with okay, so you've got to make sure that you're managing your time productively and you also want to make sure that you've got enough money planned you've got to make the money to create the life style can be a fine line you're driving there at the same time you've got to have an exit strategy for a project if you're having a good time in a project with a client, if you're an artist and you've been commissioned and the client becomes extremely difficulty, you want to have an exit clause that may include either re funding them fully or partially get clear on that because there's nothing worse than being commissioned to create something that they're not clear enough that you can create it that really bites and you may have done a fair amount of the work that's cool, you deserve to be compensated for that, but not all of it. So maybe you have to refund a portion, make that clear it the front end so you don't have sticky issues at the back end, nothing worse, and then the guarantee now what I like to do with guarantees is I guarantee the experience of working with me, I guarantee that the strategies I use when you implement them will bring you more business if you don't implement that they're not going to bring you more business I don't guarantee your results your results are up to you I guarantee the process now for some reason we hit a place where we have a personality snag then in that case that's where we have the out clause the out clause kicks in because they have the same clause on their side. Either party can terminate this agreement at any time for any reason money's outstanding owed to the supplier owed to you must be paid moneys that you owe back to the client must be paid it's pretty simple the chances of you ever having to use it slim I won't say known slim but you do want to cover yourself on this and you want to have that that out possibility now what I have done one of the bonuses included in the class is a sample agreement for creative service based providers that also sell product ok it's the agreement I use this an interior designer and it is an example only no legal recommendation intended but there's a lot of different clauses every time something came up in that business for me I would add a new clause and so every time I would send the agreement out I would make a decision okay I have a feel for this client, what they're going to be like. Which closet do I need to include? Which ones can I leave out? And I would leave out the ones I didn't need. You have to be careful doing that. So tweet us. What guarantee do you offer, if any at all? If you're not offering one based on our conversation here, are you willing to change that? Is it a guarantee of satisfaction? Or you'll continue to work on something until they are satisfied. You gotta have it within reason, then. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. That terrible event and happen revisions. Are you willing to d'oh? So do we have anybody sharing? Do they do any guarantees? No guarantees coming in just yet, but people are talking a little bit about their pricing structure. We have a lot of freelancers in the chat room, people doing hourly rates. Project based great. So it's the project faces way better. An hourly a lot of good, extraordinary information. Way better than hourly. You always want to be project based. Now you can put a cap on the number of hours you'll include so that you don't wind up with runaway ours. Because you should be able to know by going through the detail of any project how many hours should be expected if the client becomes extremely labor intensive and you didn't anticipate that you need to have something built into your agreement that allows you to go back to them and say, you know what? Our original scope we've had scoped creep you know? And the way we're working together is not really time effective and to continue this I'm going to need to add this piece to the project cover yourself but definitely project based instead of hourly works much better. So what do you need to know before diving in with any new client you want to create a client in take a client in take each one of you here had the benefit of seeing what my intake iss gives me a lot of information about you doesn't it completely confidential but that's like homework? You probably not going to want to fill more than one of those out for one business coach or success strategist are you? So what happens is they bond to you during the homework process? So as a freelancer as an artist as an artist accepting a commission, you should have a questionnaire for that collector that they complete assessments history a style finder as a designer have a seven page questionnaire as a business coach, I have a five page questionnaire if I don't get the questionnaire back before I meet with you I don't meet with you because it means you're not committed to my process I'm in control right? You're in control strength finder you confined these online you can license them it's easy idea you several of these personal inventory a wish file I always do that artist creatives you're working with somebody branding you definitely that wish file I want to see a list of web links websites that you love so I could see what kind of branding you like when I was catering I when I was in taking new clients I spent about three and a half hours with them wow okay and see I find that relation I usually spend an hour to two hours in taking on morning somebody um so it's not quite as time intensive but I also had a lot of questionnaires that I haven't complete first so I have their information in front of me at the front end in writing because I'm such a high visual it would be very hard for me to do it all editorially if I am speaking with him by phone I have a pad out in front of me I have their name and their phone number written at the top and I'm taking notes I'm taking a lot of notes and I'm already creating a file for them as if they're my client even before they are I act as if I haven't assumpta of kind of clothes that I use it bonds them to you lose them to you they're glued to your process they've got to do the homework if you just assign it and they don't do it and then you say it's ok I'll come out anywhere it's ok we can have that conversation anyway you're spinning your wheels big time their brain pickers they have no intention of working with you they're kicking your tires don't let it happen you're smarter than that you're more valuable than that and you deserve to be treated better than that so please don't let that happen really in true my process because you're such an integral part of the family it was really important to see the dynamics and we're not you wanted to be involved in that dynamic yeah yeah that is very important yes catherine I uh would you generally do the klimt and take form before telling your prices is that is that they are you know, just another timeline okay I think because you wanted you want them bonded to you before you even go in prescott's if they're bonded to you they're going to be okay. Okay? There might be that sharp intake of breath and that that momentary like I had no idea be so much and that's where you zip it really important that if you state a feat and they have a reaction and you immediately go into defensive mode. You immediately start saying, well, it's, because of, you know, zip it the hardest thing you'll ever do and the longest silence you'll ever endure it will feel like it's days and it's five minutes or three minutes or two minutes were used tio chatter zip it and let them voice their objection. If you don't do that, you will potentially tank your sale. You really will so very important that you allow them to take the investment in, analyze it, assess it, get comfortable with it before you start never defend, never defend you can educate further, they can say I didn't expect it to be that. Well, tell me what you were expecting and let me tell you why it's this ok, you're not defending you're explaining you're sharing your educating really important. So what type of homework write down what type of homework you're going to get your client do for you is gonna be an intake and assessment a questionnaire could be shorter could be long I like long ones because of I have a high level of investment if you have a low level investment it short, but high levels of investment require higher intakes, so how can you truly set yourself up and your client for a successful relationship and it's about outlining the expected pliant behaviors? They have to behave a certain way in order to work effectively with you, don't they? You're hoping that they will, but you're not really sure if you're not outlining it properly it's going to be a challenge tell him exactly where they're going to start. We're going to start with step one is you can have this all written out in a document at your fingertips, so you're not having to do this every single time so much simpler because the steps really are going to be the same. You might have a master list of this, and depending on the size and scope of the project, you might customize it each time but it's, so simple to do you've got a temple, it'd you go in boom boom take the things out that you don't need and there's your master document hey, if you re create this every time it's like reinventing the wheel, you're making this so much harder on yourself and your zapping your time there was a client I worked with recently on this and she's not getting proposals out the door fast enough because she doesn't have anything template id she's doesn't have a master contract, I have several master contracts on file and that makes an enormous difference, so one of the things we did was create that master contract with all of those clauses and you could do the same thing for your intake for your deliverables here's how we're going to start right show them the starting line and it's about expectations you have to set expectations and manage expectations critically important you can set them but if you don't manage them it's like that client that called me every morning at eight a m or not every morning every sunday morning at eight am completely unacceptable or the client vet would be professional in front of other people and then when he would get me on the phone he'll be a string of expletives not okay with me not okay with me so you have to not only set the expectation you have to manage it was something like that comes up, you have the ability to either stop it or leave the relationship you are in charge but the expectations you want to set them and manage them you want to be honest and transparent and how you're gonna work design has gone through a massive transformation on this front in the last really five plus years didn't used to be transparent at all very murky, very shady and a lot of ways and the internet changed all of that and so designers particularly on the interior design side and decorators have been having a really hard time with that shift so just start out by being transparent start out presuming you can't hide anything so much easier I love work working when it cost plus because I produced all the invoices for the client to see so much easier than doing a retail with a discount yeah, yeah really does make a big difference basically you are the guide for bringing your client out of the dark and into the light there there blindfolded they are there in the dark lee seon yours are they can barely turn on a computer a little alone you know work with ancestry dot com and it's your job to step forward and carry that torch and that confidence and that trust and bill that k lt factor and customer satisfaction is about timely delivery is about being reliable and dependable and calling when you say you will and showing up on time. My clients have always said, melissa you're so prompt even mike, my coaching clients are like you're always on the line a minute before I am I'm like huh? That's how I roll because time is something I honor and it really irritates me when people run late because they're dishonoring my time and they're disrespecting me it's disrespectful if you if you run late constantly it really is there are a lot of factors that contribute quality, but none of these are benefits because there's something everybody can offer okay and it's presumed and persistent consistent just like the salmon going upstream persistent, consistent it's going to feel upstream sometimes. Now I have to confess I included this last one because it has some important words, but I love the misspelling of responsibility. I just thought that was a stitch. This is somebody who did not have good attention to detail and still let it be out there where I could grab it as an image I could use. I gotta take a lot of that I did that it is about perseverance and creativity and experience and focus and skill and design and potential potential. You're also bringing their potential to bear in many, many cases, and you bring in your own. So pack your bag moments, comments on what you've learned here for stories that let's hear a couple of really just your store santa bill and says that she has one client sends me one email for every thought in her head slash revision on a project. I'll get thirty plus emails from her in an hour after I send her a draft. Oh, painful, that is she. Have you addressed that with the client? Okay, because here's the reality about that I had a client I have with my with my private coaching clients, I allow unlimited email and it's very rarely abused, but I did have one client and she wasn't trying to be abusive about it. She had a tendency to send me a cz many as a dozen plus a day and they were very long and so what I did was I said, look, I'm totally cool with you sending me an email a day and you can take it from you can write all these other e mails if you want to just compile them into one male, I would really appreciate it if you sent me one email that had bullet points because I kind of don't need as much stories you're giving me I need to understand the essence where you're getting stuck so I can remove the obstacles and when you explain it with a smile and how you're going to serve that person and how you can solve the challenge for them when they deliver the behavior you need, you're going to find a much bigger win win. I would really do my best and and with somebody is sending you that many, I would probably maybe have a sit down conversation with her face to face and say here's what's happening is I'm going to experience cost overruns in my time and project because our communication isn't as clear as I'd like it to be tell me how I can create the best format for you in that and offer to help her communicate more effectively because she's obviously having a really hard time doing that that's scary, yeah yeah, a few others that came in that williamson just says consistently paying invoices very late a couple of months later on invoices that's always a problem you know what in my letter agreement I have a penalty for that now I will grant you I have not ever acted on that that it is in there and I legally could so that I have the ability to go to my clients say you know what? I'm being hit with fees because you're late so I am going to need to attach those fees to the invoice going forward uh can you even pay a portion of it right now? I used to get to a place where I was carrying a client one client carried six figures for ninety days out and it was all on credit cards for me and that meant interest charges and everything else it was a great client he just didn't juggle has managed juggle same difference in his case money very well um and I trusted him for it but I don't recommend you are not a bank don't become a bank you are not a finance company and if I can remember the resource I will bring it into a future mount better yet I'll put it in the facebook group when I when I come up with it again it was a woman I met out of atlanta she does this nationally you can hand off your collections to her, but it still looks like it's coming out of your company. So it doesn't look like he turned it over to a collection agency, and they're extremely professional, extremely polite. There never ugly. They don't turn off the client, and they pay you right at the front end. So you have your money, and they're responsible for collecting it. So it gets you out of being that banker business it's. Not not a good scene. You're not intended to be the banker. In this, you're not tend to be the financier in this, and you shouldn't have to go through that. So there is a wonderful resource for that, and I will get that out.