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How Salespeople can Help Streamline Contract Negotiation

May 16, 2014

I asked my son Ben, who is a lawyer in the Metro Phoenix area to blog about how salespeople can help reduce the sales cycle by helping expedite the signing of a contract.  I have seen way to many deals in my career that were held up because of attorney reviewing.  So here is my son Ben’s comments.

I know it’s weird, but I actually love drafting contracts (under the right conditions). Because part of my practice is litigation, I try to approach drafting contracts to create the most easy to understand, readable document. After all, it is more likely that the parties to a contract will end up in a dispute if they do not understand their respective rights, obligations and liabilities. While it is impossible to predict all situations that could arise in a contractual relationship, I try to help the parties address the issues that are likely to occur.

 

What will save the parties time, money and effort when actually drafting these contracts? The easy answer is clarity. When a salesperson or point-of-contact finally “closes” the deal, and now needs the legal team, what can they do to make sure that contract is completed quickly and efficiently, so the deal actually does close and your prospect signs on the dotted line?

 

First, bullet-points, bullet-points, bullet-points! While lawyers seem to endlessly drone on much of the time in contracts and pleadings, they are usually pretty busy people. I know this is somewhat hypocritical, but we do not have time to read a three page email dissertation. We just need to know what the deal points are. Give them to us briefly and efficiently. If we have questions, we will ask. If the deal is complex or layered, just give it to us in bite-size chunks.

 

Next, start thinking about what situations could possibly arise during the relationship. For example, if you are delivering goods to the client and the goods get destroyed en route, which party will be responsible for the loss? If your company gets sued by a third-party, will your client defend you? What forum or place should you decide disputes? The answers to these and similar questions should be addressed in the actual contract so that you are not fighting about these issues if they arise later down the road.

 

Finally, make yourself available to discuss the finer points of the contract. Even though it is true that many lawyers like to hear themselves talk, we do want to make sure that you understand the provisions of the contract so that we get it right. This is also important when the parties have exchanged numerous drafts because what may look like minor changes may actually modify something very important, so it is integral to understand what the modification actually means.

 

 

2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 17, 2014 5:16 pm

    Nice quality post, Allan! I have found it is really important to say any modifications aloud so that you catch “the modifiers”. All that extra verbiage is usually restricting or conditioning something, so it helps to have an attorney clarify how that alteration affects your understanding and intention. Great tips!

    • May 18, 2014 11:24 am

      Good points Cheryl. My son Ben really knows his stuff. It is good to get the perspective from the other side. Thanks.

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