May 3, 2006.
Sounds pretty obvious, I know. You say you KNOW that....well this is easier said than done. It is so easy to get all excited over a handshake or a or a phone call conversation. I can tell you from experience if you don't get it in writing, it may be too good to be true.
Here are a few things I never got in writing:
- Feature one of my products in major magazine
- Products carried in a catalog
- High-End website agreed to carry my products
- Store samples ordered over phone, but owner refused when products received
- Boutique agreed to carry products
- Sales Representative agreed to represent my line of products
- Check is in the mail
- Project finished by certain date
- My company's name would be listed in newspaper article
- Competitor's products would not be sold on website
- Competitor would not copy my products
- A contract employee promised to work till a certain date
All of these things were things I was promised, either in person or via phone conversation. None of them came to fruition. Sometimes I have been wrong, but more times than not - it never happens if it's not in writing.
The key takeaway is that if someone commits something important to you, then get a confirmation in writing, whether it be email or on letterhead. Once you have it in writing then you can fall back on it, besides, it is a binding agreement. Again, easier said that done, now I try to send a follow-up email to my partners, contract employees, or channels to verify what we discussed.