Whether you call it a service contract, maintenance agreement, or other terminology the document you present to your prospect needs to look good. It also needs to contain easy to find information for all parties reviewing it. One of the most common errors I find in working with service providers is how little effort is put into creating their service agreement template. They’re not well constructed and do not present the firm in a way that enhances its value. Typically a great deal of effort is made convincing the prospective client to entertain your proposal. Time is spent on a sales call, on the phone, or emailing. Additional time is spent developing and discussing the right price. Unfortunately much of that effort is compromised once the number is inserted into a sterile document.
Your service agreement should represent your brand and your value proposition. It should look good and be easy to read. It shouldn’t look like an assembly line produced contract, or something that is cut and pasted from parts unknown. I don’t know of a better ROI than developing an attractive and informative document. In reality it’s your product in the eyes of the readers.
Approximately 40% of the time your proposal will be reviewed by someone you have not been in direct contact with. In most cases this happens and you’re not ever aware that your document is traveling. It may go to a purchasing agent looking at escalation or renewal terms. It may go to legal for review. It’s also not uncommon for it to go to someone higher up in management or someone at the operational level. All of these parties must be taken into consideration when designing your document.
Firms make huge investments in manpower, infrastructure, and training. Yet in the majority of cases they overlook the impact their service agreements appearance and structure has on closing the sale.