When my husband first started speaking for a living he’d excitedly come and tell me that he had been asked to speak and the date. He would have received an email responded to it to say yes he could do the date, possibly give a price and hey ho he was booked.
I asked him one day, “So when people book you what is the process that they go through to do so?”, “What do you mean” he asked me? I explained that I wanted to understand how the process of booking him actually worked, step by step. Did they complete a booking form? Had he given them terms and conditions? What if they cancelled at the last-minute? What if they moved the date? How did he know that they were committed to the booking? He looked at me… he didn’t know.
When I work with business owners, coaches, consultants, freelancers and speaker I always ask them questions about their booking process. More often than not they have not put a process in place for their bookings. Many do not have a booking form which clarifies the details of the booking or commits the purchaser to book. Terms and conditions tend not to exist and they are a little lost about asking for deposits and even for payment.
If you are selling your services then it is imperative that some sort of booking form is used. This not only helps you gain the information that you need and gain the commitment of the client but it also lets your client know that you are serious and professional about what you do.
It is so easy for circumstances to change in an organisation and you can be left out in the cold at the last-minute. I know people who have done masses of prep work for a client and have turned down other work because they thought that they were onto a sure thing. Then the client cancelled on them and because they had nothing in place they are left out-of-pocket. It’s a horrible feeling especially when you know you’ve got bills to pay.
Don’t put yourself in this situation, ensure that you have a client booking form or contract with clear terms and conditions about your intellectual property, media terms, payment terms and anything else that is relevant. This should also cover information such as your contacts details, the company details, event details, what they specifically want from you, where they heard about you and lots of other information that will ensure that both parties are clear about the agreement to work together.
Success should be on your terms and you have to protect what you offer. Remember if you don’t protect your business no one else will.
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