Contract signing might seem a trifling matter. The catch is that clients tend to make countless edits, delaying the process. Then you can get tangled up in the pile of copies you must read over and over to get through to the right version. A trifling matter turns into a traumatic experience…
We aren’t therapists, but we do suspect what prevents you from closing the deal. Let’s check what mistakes can delay your contract signing ceremony.
Top 8 Mistakes That Keep You From a Successful Deal
The mere intention of cooperation doesn’t guarantee success. The contracting process involves many stages, from the initial draft to the final negotiation. You have a long way to go. And these dire mistakes can prevent you from taking a shortcut.
#1 – You didn’t determine the client’s goals clearly…
…but already started drafting the contract. That could be reckless. Too reckless. You must collect all the necessary details before creating a contract file. Some of them are:
- Specific goods or services to be contracted
- Payment terms: how much, how often, and through which method
- The customer’s expectations regarding the timeframe and delivery of goods and services
- The customer’s expectations regarding progress reports
- Specific legal or regulatory requirements
- Potential issues or risks the customer is concerned about, such as lack of resources or conflicting priorities
- Conditions of termination or dispute resolution
You must have a crystal-clear understanding of the client’s needs. Otherwise, you’ll get stuck with endless adjustments.
#2 – You set unreasonable deadlines or don’t set them at all
As we said, the contract process consists of several stages. It’s crucial to consider each stage and its needs before scheduling a meeting to sign the contract.
For instance, one party may need legal or financial advice to work out a legally binding, beneficial agreement. What’s more, contract signing may require consent or participation from other parties, which can slow down the process.
Tight deadlines pressure the parties. Just imagine them hovering over their heads. Suddenly, everyone is in a hurry to sign—only to end up with a nuisance.
However, this doesn’t mean you should ask your clients to sign a contract “at their leisure.” It’s a delicate process that requires patience yet discipline. The key is to find the middle ground.
#3 – You want to draft a contract perfectly from the first attempt
Indeed, it’s all about the middle ground. It’s a tough call to make a contract perfect on the first try. Perfectionism aside! Start small and go slow to go fast.
In this respect, creating a contract is similar to drawing a picture or editing a movie. What’s more, clients’ priorities may change over time. Keep some questions open for negotiation. This will save you from double work in the long run.
#4 – You pay too little attention to design and structure
A contract should look like it whispers, “Sign me.” Place your logo to give a document a professional look. However, avoid overly decorative or fancy fonts, as they can be difficult to read and may distract from the contract matter. The middle ground, remember?
Also, make sure your contract isn’t just a solid longread. A document structure is key for a clear and enforceable agreement. Consistent, crisp layouts can help parties quickly locate and reference important information.
#5 – You use inconsistent language and terms
Legal documents are not fiction or poetry. Using different terms in real-estate contracts, such as “yard” and “garden,” while referring to the same thing, may lead to confusion down the road. Let’s face it: contracts can be pretty boring to read. Using inconsistent language makes it even harder.
Make consistent language your priority. Always have a contract template at hand and submit the final draft to a legal professional for review. Otherwise, you risk getting bogged down in legal battles.
#6 – You don’t encourage your sales and legal teams to collaborate
You might counter that by saying that your sales and legal teams hate working in tandem. Well, you don’t ask them to travel to the Caribbean together. Although, you might, as the collaboration between these departments can speed up the contract signing. Nearly 58% of legal experts think it gives a serious boost to sales negotiations.
Your sales team might find it challenging to cooperate with legals. For example, the sales might prioritize closing deals quickly, which may not align with the legals’ goal of cutting risks.
However, if these departments follow the same procedure, each on its own battlefield, they won’t even need to fully understand the specifics of each other’s work. Their contracting will run like clockwork anyway.
A bit later, we’ll explain how to build a well-coordinated workflow for your sales and legal departments. In the meantime, let’s look at the key metrics for sales and legal and how measuring them can help close deals faster.
#7 – You don’t measure critical sales and legal metrics
Sales and legal metrics highlight areas where these departments should work harder to close deals faster.
Let’s take a deal slip rate, for example. This sales metric measures the percentage of contracts that fail to close at various sales process stages. To calculate it, divide the number of deals slipped by the total number of contracts in the signing stage.
If a high percentage of deals fall through at this stage, you can investigate and determine that the contract review process is taking too long or that there are issues with contract language causing concern among clients. Understanding your problem is half the solution. The second half is automation.
#8 – You undervalue automation
Where would we be without automation? Perhaps, wallowing in the slush of suspended contracts. Automation eliminates all the mistakes listed above in one fell swoop.
If you haven’t discovered the contract lifecycle management system (CLM) for yourself yet, now is the time. This all-in-one solution facilitates contract management at every stage, resulting in fast and transparent closings. A CLM system centralizes all necessary tools and data and automates manual tasks, such as contract routing and signing.
On top of that, CLM software offers ready-made templates with sophisticated designs and fixed language for different contract purposes. Your sales teams won’t have to wait around for lengthy and tedious legal approvals, while legals won’t deal with endless hurry-ups from sales.
A CLM system unites them in their efforts to get a contract signed as quickly as possible. It makes the workflow consistent, automates a range of tasks, and provides a full overview of the negotiation process.
With a CLM system, sales teams can focus on communicating with clients and capturing specific details such as contract deadlines and preferred payment methods. Legals, on the other hand, can stay on guard against non-compliance and watch for ambiguities and unenforceable provisions. CLM software facilitates these tasks.
That sounds hopeful, so who knows—maybe one day, sales and legal departments will truly enjoy working together.
One of the gravest mistakes you can make during the sales process is overlooking the contract signing stage. A handshake alone does not equal an agreement. Too much is at stake: you will undo all your previous efforts by suspending or losing a contract. A well-rounded agreement, duly signed by all parties, is your path to success—and comfortable figures in your bank account.
AXDRAFT CLM can help you achieve this goal. Our comprehensive contract management platform automates contract routines, eliminates compliance uncertainties, and speeds up contract signing by 80%. Try our free demo to see for yourself.