A Rookie Error


I made a rookie error on Friday that may cost me my yellow belt this month.I had a training day scheduled this week for a large corporate client for $7k - enough to push me into yellow belt.

I received a panicked call on Friday from the HR woman organising the day. A couple of people can’t make it, a couple of others hadn’t told their managers who are now pissed off that they are losing them for a day, some marketing people are also pissed off that they hadn’t heard about it and weren’t invited. Is it possible to postpone?

I was reeling a bit - to be honest my first thought was of my yellow belt slipping through my fingers. I couldn’t very well say “but I was counting on this day for my yellow belt”, so somewhat weakly I said I’ve already booked flights and a hotel room. That’s fine, she said, we’ll still pay any out of pocket expenses.

For my small business coaching and mentoring clients I’ve got a clear policy. I need 24 hours to reschedule a session. Its in the agreement that a new client signs, and everyone is clear. And given the client has normally paid monthly in advance for a certain number of sessions in a month, and they are one hour sessions, I’m happy to reschedule.

Unfortunately I didn’t have a policy for my corporate clients - this is a new game for me. So I didn’t have an answer, and ended up rescheduling the session.

What I should have said was something along the lines of “you are giving me less than one business day’s notice, I’m obviously not going to be able book anyone else in on that day, and my normal policy would be to charge the full rate. However given how much I value the relationship I’m happy to reschedule and only charge half the rate for Monday” or words to that effect.

And now I have a policy that goes on any proposal or invoice - 50% paid on booking the day, 50% cancellation fee more than one week out, 100% cancellation fee if its within a week of the event. We live and learn.

I’m still going for my yellow belt this month. I’ve got two shots at it - first one is to get this training gig rescheduled and paid for by the 30th. The other one is a speaking event on the 29th - I’ll be selling stuff at the gig, and could sell enough to get me over the line. Stay tuned!

And I’d love to hear about either your rookie errors, or your policies around making sure you get paid! Please leave your comments below.