A Quick Guide


How to Craft a Contract to Win More Business

Everyone in the advertising and media industry wants to win more work, now more than ever.

Let’s be real, lawyers don’t make the deals, agencies and their clients do… and you win the work with your talent, expertise and ideas. But there are many ways a lawyer can actually be used to your competitive advantage.

First you want to have a contract that fits your business, your brand and your ethos. A contract that gives you worthwhile safeguards, but without being overly tough on the client or too soft on you – after all,

giving a client a 40 page contract that reads like a fortress, can put a client offside before you even get started, and get you stuck in negotiations. It is a delicate balance.

Similarly, if a lawyer takes a client’s agreement and makes excessive changes, you are again butting heads with the client and getting off on the wrong foot.

Being too aggressive on contracts can negatively colour the early part of your work together.


1. The devil or the angel in the detail

The key is to hone in on what the big issues are in a contract (sometimes buried in the detail) that are really going to cost you money or sting your business at the worst possible time, and to know the critical safeguards you are going to need. Focus on these.

2. Keep the focus

We all know contracts have become much more complicated over time, and we have faster lead times to get the deal up and running. You can use your lawyer to adopt

a commercial strategy that helps reach agreement in a faster, less painful and adversarial way. If you can stick to the key commercial risks in your contracts, you don’t get stuck in the weeds. Your focus is on winning the business, and getting on with business.

3. RFP’s – Don’t get me started!!

The RFP is an ever increasing reality of securing big pieces of new business, and agencies need to navigate the RFP process, which can involve upfront contract review, and negotiating with procurement, legal and marketing teams, all on a tight timeline!

If your legal response puts up too many roadblocks (or takes too long), it puts you at a competitive disadvantage. With some clients, you know there is little value in pushing for too many changes. You don’t want to be pushing for things other competing tenderers aren’t. But there are those big ticket items where you need to hold firm.

There are ways that your lawyer can make
this a streamlined process: by choosing the right issues, already knowing your internal risk tolerance, and giving you a pre-completed contract response, geared towards maximising your competitiveness, without giving away the farm.

Your industry is one that takes a commercial, pragmatic and can-do approach. You look for solutions, you want to impress the client and keep them happy, and not get bogged down in legal arguments.

It is all about striking a balance commercially to secure the business and get things signed.

4. The power is always in your hands

Businesses have the power to decide how their lawyer works, not the other way round.

Every deal is different, depending on the services, the value, the client, and the commercial approach you want to take.

For example if you are confident with your contracts and just need a second opinion on a liability or a privacy clause, then choose that as a way of streamlining the deal and keeping costs on track. In other cases you can use your lawyer every step of the way through the negotiation process.


5. Detours exist for a reason

The trick is to know how to find workaround solutions to find common ground – it is possible! Being able to explain your practical and commercial drivers, to know what works, and what is likely to be accepted by the client, keeps the wheels turning.

In this way our clients are able to get agreement negotiations through to signing, managing various stakeholders, which are legally watertight but remain commercially competitive.

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