Every now and then you’ll find yourself dealing with one of those country cousin types who says he doesn’t want a contract and “your word is good enough.” Maybe yours is, but his usually isn’t.

One of those arrangements taught me a lesson I’ll never forget.  I had a handshake deal with a man I hired. He agreed that he would not seek other employment for two years. After a year, a better offer came along, and he was gone.  He said that he remembered that we had agreed on only one year. How could I prove he was wrong? I couldn’t. Now what I do when I make a deal with one of these country cousins is send a letter that same day in which I:

1. thank him profusely for his courtesy and

2. set out the terms of the deal: “As I understand in our agreement, I have agreed to …”

I don’t usually ask for any acknowledgment (though you could just to be on the safe side–to make sure the letter arrived.) It’s just a nice, friendly little letter–and a useful record if there should be any misunderstandings later.

About the author Harvey Mackay

Seven-time, New York Times best-selling author of "Swim With The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive," with two books among the top 15 inspirational business books of all time, according to the New York Times. He is one of America’s most popular and entertaining business speakers, and currently serves as Chairman at the MackayMitchell Envelope Company, one of the nation’s major envelope manufacturers, producing 25 million envelopes a day.

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