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Merager Financial Solutions
So, I wanted to talk a little bit today about having clients that ask for their money back. And if you’ve been in business for any amount of time, you’ve likely had this as one of your scenarios. If you haven’t, good for you. You’re doing a great job. Or it might just be like. So, I just want to go over a few of the things that we can do to keep ourselves out of that type of situation.
One of the things that I do is budgeting for businesses, and what that does … The fundamental thing that that does, is that we have a conversation beforehand. The client … I have, in this case, a conversation with the client before the time the money needs to be spent. The takeaway from that is that we want to have a conversation with our potential clients before something might happen. So we really want to have some really in-depth conversations, have a really good onboarding system. Questions where we’re asking them what their business is, how they conduct business. If they’re the right fit for our business. We don’t want to just work with every business, and clearly it’s not just because of the money. It’s because we may not … We simply many not be a good fit.
And so the first thing we want to do is really have a clear onboarding system where we’re having some really deep, good discussions, we’re figuring out what the client needs, and we have an honest thought within ourselves of, “Can I actually provide this to my potential client?” And if we can’t, we need to have that wonderful backup of hopefully you know some people. You’ve been doing some networking. I can give you a good person that can help you with that. That really … It’s great for your reputation. It’s the best place to be so that you’re not doing work, spending time doing work that you’re hoping you can get paid for, and then having to possibly refund the money. It can damage a reputation. It can take our time, take the money back. But it can also make us question what we’re doing in business. So we want to just absolutely make sure that we do an good onboarding process.
The second thing is to avoid having to return money, or have wasted time, is to have a really solid engagement letter. A lot of business owners, especially new business owners, they think that it’d be too much of a burden, or they might think they’re might be an, “Oh, no!” That the client might say, “What is this? Well, I’m not going to do business with you.” But really, any business, any person that’s been doing business for any amount of time, really, they expect that. They expect that, and what the engagement letter is simply is it’s not confrontational. It’s simply saying this is what you, client, are expecting of me. This is what I, business, can do for you, client. This is what the charges are going to be. This is if we decide to stop doing business. We’re going to give each other, let’s say, a month notice, a week notice, whatever you think might work.
And it helps everybody out. It really is great for the relationship. Your relationship with your client. Because if anything comes up, you can simply point to the engagement letter and say, “Well, you know, I understand that this is your concern. This is what we agreed to before and we may need to change it going forward.” And you can have that discussion afterwards. But if you can show a client that you had an agreement, it makes it such that it’s not acrimonious and you can still have a good relationship with that client.
These are some of the things that I speak with about clients so that it’s not just the money that’s coming in. You want to make sure, really, that everything that you’re doing … That you have the backup for it. That you have the agreements. That you have the bill of sales for any type of disbursement. All the things that you’re doing, anything that you’re doing, there should be some documentation so that maybe even years down the road, if something comes up, that you have something that you can refer to, and it’s not just your memory. Our memories are great. They’re helpful. They can be great. But when something happens and a situation comes up, we really want to make sure that we keep a good relationship with our clients.
And again, the money part of it … I think it’s secondary to the trust and the good relationship that we maintain with our clients, and we want to … I think, if you’re like me, you want to have long term relationships with our clients. We want that trust. And we find it one of the most valuable things in our company.
So, I hope you found this useful. If you need any help with this, please contact me, my company, and we can sit down for half an hour, 45 minutes, and have a complimentary discussion. We’ll talk about some of these things, and I can almost guarantee that you walk away quite pleased with our conversation.
I’m Steve from Merager Financial Solutions. Contact us, and we can find out the true story in your books.
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