As a young salesperson it always seemed like contracts took all of the fun out of a sale. There is the "high" of getting a YES from a client but then you have to get a contract agreed, with all of that "legal stuff".
My experience is that many companies really don't pay attention to the detail of a contract. I see companies basically sign anything ... hoping that it doesn't come back to bite them!
Their logic being that in the large majority of situations the other party will not take advantage ... but situations change, people change and companies will do what is in their best interests. The contract is there to protect.
Here are just SOME reasons why it is important to negotiate a reasonable and fair contract that pays attention to the detail.
It protects the interests of both parties, not just one.
If you are signing on behalf of your company then you have a responsibility to protect the interests of your employer.
If you agree to poor contract details it is a fair bet your management will be unimpressed.
A clear contract makes decision making easy.
A good understanding of the contract detail is a show of professionalism. Given that a contract is often a first business interaction with a client you should start off in a professional manner.
Bad things can happen when you sign up to unreasonable terms. Your company loses money, loses a client, gets a bad rep, or even goes out of business.
If the contract goes bad then likely you will lose out financially.
If a contract goes bad then your credibility gets hurt ... or worse!
If you go about the negotiation in the correct manner you can get through the contract negotiations with a minimum of fuss and have a good professional start to a business relationship. Don't make the mistake of thinking you are being "difficult" when you are just doing your job.