Think of your Agreements as Marketing – Six Things to Avoid

Have you ever thought that the contracts you hand out to your customers are another part of your marketing strategy?  If not, think again.  Everything you present to your potential customers (i.e. market) is marketing.  Here are six things that can damage your otherwise perfect marketing script:

1.  Agreements that are too long.  Almost every agreement can be shortened.  ("Unless you are going to pay me to read your never ending agreement, I am not going to hire you"). 

2.  Agreements that are full of "fine print."  Use a decent sized type font. 

3.  Agreements that are disorganized.  Price in the beginning, payment terms in the middle and payment due dates at the end of the agreement is confusing, results in missing or duplicative terms and leaves your customers irritated and suspicious ("don’t make me think").

4.  Agreements that are full of legalese or have sentences like this one:

The parties hereby and herewith agree that any and all, heretofore and hereinafter existing, documents, including but not limited to, papers, letters, briefs, postcards, white sheets made out of trees, received by one party, its subsidiaries, affiliates, partners, agents or secretaries shall be forwarded to the other party by certified mail, return receipt requested, double stamped, blessed and notarized.

I made this up, but you get the picture.  Nobody likes it, it is rarely necessary, so get rid of it.

5.  Agreements that have a rude and suspicious tone to them.  Granted, you are trying to prevent disputes and cement rights and obligations.  Still, an agreement can be phrased so that it doesn’t sound like the other party is already guilty of having breached all of the terms under the sun.  In other words, if you already have a right under the law to sue for damages if your customer breaks your equipment or whatever, why state it again in your agreement.  It will irritate the customer.

6. Agreements that look like you bought them for $9.95 at AgreementsOnline.com.  In other words, your agreements should tell your story.  The story of your particular deal with your business partner.  The drafter of the $9.95 version has never heard of you, your business or your deal.

About Imke Ratschko


Imke Ratschko is a New York Attorney helping small businesses, business owners and entrepreneurs with all things "Small Business Law," such as litigation, contracts, business owner disputes, shareholder and operating agreements, sale or purchase of a business, investors, and starting a business. You can reach her at 212.253.1027.

2 comments

  1. Thanks for the compliment. I’ve straddled the state line a few times while enjoying a nice cool beverage at the FloraBama. It’s on my list of faves.

  2. Thank you in the mean time for taking the time to give MY spirits a lift.
    Now for the rest of you who posted comments