In an economy that continues to struggle, it is critical to hold onto clients and keep them happy because new ones can be difficult to nail down. Contract renegotiation time can often be dicey but following a few key steps can result in a positive outcome for both parties involved.
- Review the contract and statement of work periodically – While getting the initial contract signed is important, make sure it doesn’t hide in your file drawer until renegotiation time. By staying on track over the course of the contract timeframe there are less likely to be surprises when it comes time to renegotiate. Insuring that you are doing what is agreed upon will likely lend itself to less bumps in the road when you are asking for more budget or less stringent guidelines.
- Communicate, Communicate, Communicate – Being engaged in your client’s programs and setting regular meetings and conference calls to gauge success, review processes, make changes, and brainstorm shows that you are on top of things. Frequent communication allows little room for your client to question how or why something is or is not happening. In addition, being forthright with information in a timely manner puts you on a fast track for gaining your client’s respect.
- Pat yourself on the back – While many clients recognize the amount of work that is being done on their behalf, there are often many things that happen behind the scenes of which they are not aware. Don’t hesitate to compile a list of the “extras” including the associated costs (especially if your company is providing them either at reduced or no cost at all). These items are the keys to showing the added value that you and your company bring to the table and should not go unstated. There is a fine line between bragging and simply stated self promotion and it is necessary and important to do the latter to get the things you want from the contract discussions.
While miring through the legalese can sometimes be draining, contract negotiations don’t always have to be painful. Take the positive approach and use it as an opportunity to showcase how you and your company have shined.