How would you feel if the bag of crisps you bought was actually full of crisps (instead of air?)
Everyone can offer the norm, today customers need the extra mile, they need to feel special. This is one of the most important rules in my sales strategy book, letting customers think they’re going to get the standard treatment, then finding out they completely underestimated you. This must happen right from the outset, before they’ve even become a customer. Sometimes you can do the cliched “under promise, over deliver but do it with non critical things. For example knowing you can have a quote ready for Wednesday, but promising they’ll have it by Friday … and delivering it by Tuesday. Yes you may be making a rod for your own back in some ways, but they will appreciate it (and remember it). Doing this can naturally build in contingency for your work, and if something crops up you can at least deliver what you promised. But, if nothing crops up you can over deliver, not just with the delivery time, but with the actual delivery too!
Whatever you do, do not under promise when it comes to project deliverables or normal expectations, because you’ll lose the business without even having the opportunity to be in the running. Ideally, it would be able to over deliver on all of your promises, but giving yourself the breathing room sometimes is good … just don’t do it all the time (otherwise the bar will continuously be raised), or when accuracy matters.
Be careful not to use the under promise, over deliver technique with everything as it may backfire!
Setting the low benchmark
This works very well when trying to win over prospects from your competitors. If you set the prospects expectations pretty low, chances are they will tell your competitor what they’re expecting off you. Your competitor will either:
– Be complacent and try to match it: in which case you’ll look much better when you deliver the over delivery.
– Be a worthy competitor and try to beat it: in which case you’ve already decided to over deliver, and you’re prepared.
(… I always prepare for the second scenario and try to make sure they fall short).
Don’t do it to be recognised
Not all of the over deliveries will be recognised, and you need to prepare for that (then again, if you’re a seasoned sales professional … you’ll know this), keep at it and your reputation will start to lead you towards being a sought after professional.
I’ve come across many people who wanted to make me happy while we were talking, they promise lots, then I realise there was actually no chance of them delivering it. One example that stick out was a developer that was working on one of my sites. He said it would be ready by a certain date, didn’t deliver, but promised it would be ready 3 hours later that evening … I didn’t hear from him until the next day.
The opposite is infinitely worse, so do your best to avoid it!
He then promised it would be ready in two days, and that he just had some personal problems …. but did the same again, three more times! I was livid by the end of it, and have not used him for anything else since (I even spread the news about how unprofessional he was. It would have been absolutely fine if, in the first place, he’d just told me it would have taken 3 weeks (instead of one).
Once they are a customer, make them feel they didn’t pay enough for your services, and I can guarantee they will come back and recommend you to others. Just don’t become the person they know always over estimates!
Photo sourced from www.1photoperday.com