The sales under-promise and over-deliver tactic is dishonest.
And yet you constantly hear it as a sales tactic.
People generally describe it as a means to manage client expectations, but it’s really a fear that the organization won’t be able to deliver precisely what the client wants, so the salesperson is forced to downplay the expectations and promise less than what the client wants.
What it really says is “We will force you to lower your expectations in hopes that either we will successfully deliver or we will get lucky and deliver more than we promised.”
The strategy employed is to lower the bar and walk rather than set the bar at the expected level and try to leap over it.
The client may finally receive the product or service they want when they want it, but are manipulated to get it.
Forcing someone to accept less and then surprising them by delivering what they originally wanted is not a good formula for long term success.
It’s short sighted and sleazy. And it’s very risky in markets where hungry competitors are eagerly waiting for an opportunity to entice your clients away. If they don’t use the under-promise tactic – and are honest about what they promise and try to deliver – they stand a good chance of taking your business.
Avoid under-promising. The only long term successful strategy is to promise what the client wants and THEN surprise them by over-delivering.
This way they get more than they bargained for; their surprise is rewarded with continued business and high quality referrals to their colleagues with remarks like “WOW! You won’t believe what they did for our organization.” or “These guys are amazing!”.
The end game in the business of serving people is the unforgettable moment.
It’s the only way to guarantee client loyalty that lasts forever (or until you deliver a sleazy under-promise moment).
The moment someone is dazzled by the way they have been treated; by the delightful unexpected experience they have had, they are unlikely to consider the offers of your competition.
However, forgettable moments are created when someone is subjected to underhanded tactics and when presented with an honest alternative they jump at the chance to take it.
Create them at your peril.
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