Monday, May 27, 2013


There is something many people do that loses them business and friends and even relationship partners. It becomes a bad habit, and the odd thing about it is that it is usually done with the best of intentions.

I'm referring to the fact that many people over-promise and under-deliver. This one single facet of doing business or relationships destroys people's reputations and credibility very quickly.  It should be the other way around, which is why I suggest to anyone doing business of any kind that they give their customers and clients more than their money's worth.

It's understandable the when someone is insecure or desperate for business or wanting to be liked, he or she will over-promise. There is a strong desire in most of us to be liked or loved by others, and one way not to do it is to promise someone the moon and deliver a tiny meteorite instead. I notice that this is a big problem in Panama, where the locals always agree with whatever you are asking for, even if they know there is no way they can deliver it the way you want it, or when they promise to have it ready. But it's certainly true all over the world, and the U.S. is a place where you find it strongly evident in two industries, printing and contracting.

Very rarely is a contracting job finished when the contractor said it would be, and very rarely is a printing job delivered on time. I remember a printer in New Jersey who did a booming business because he had come up with a solution to this problem. If he knew with some certainty that your job would be ready on Tuesday, he'd promise it for Thursday. Everyone else in the printing business in those days did the opposite, promised it for Tuesday when they knew it was unlikely it would be ready before Thursday.  

Of course, that printer was ahead of his time. Now many businesses have gotten in the cheap habit of promising something at the lowest common denominator of performance, so that they always exceed the promise.The New Jersey printer didn't just make a promise he knew he could keep, but he put just as much effort in doing the jobs in less time than other printers. His intention was to set a reasonable time for delivery, and then work hard to beat it. What you see a lot of today is businesses just lying so as to look good. So they eliminate one practice that hurt credibility and just substitute another. 

Looking over your own life, would you say you usually are in the under-promise and over-deliver category, or the other way around?
If the latter, you might explore being honest and just saying you have no idea when it will be ready, but you will do your best to make it happen as soon as possible.

We all love getting more than we asked for, or getting it sooner than expected. Now living in a country definitely not known for high standards of customer service, particularly in restaurants, I sometimes yearn for a place where someone over-promises and under-delivers as opposed to one where people often don't promise at all, just nod and smile a lot, and hardly ever deliver what was requested by the time it was asked for.

In Panama, it does help to have the patience of a Zen monk, and that's just the way it is, by golly.

To see an example of over-delivering, check out my free prosperity blog, with information many consider more valuable than the expensive prosperity programs offered all over the Internet.  Not to mention the 39 page free Moneylove Manifesto you can download there.

No comments: