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5 ways to avoid over-promising and under-delivering

Last week we were speaking at an event and as we were discussing client retention strategies, when one of the participants raised her hand and asked: what do I do when I have a client who tells me that he didn’t get the expected results?

What a great question – after all, it’s something that can happen to any business owner. In some industries, people almost demand a certain outcome when using a business’ product or service and it is crucial for the business to set expectations right from the beginning. Unfortunately, some businesses over-promise to get clients through the door in the first place, which only sets them up for disaster later. Honesty and reliability always pays off in the long run.

Here are five things you can do to make sure you under-promise and over-deliver, which will mean your clients become raving fans of your business:

  1. Pre-frame your promises. If you are promising a certain result, but have found in the past that it doesn’t always happen for whatever reason, make this clear to your clients – they’ll be grateful for your honesty. For example if you are selling SEO (search engine optimisation) services, don’t tell them they will rank on page one at the top after only three days if that doesn’t always happen, otherwise your client will just be disappointed. Make sure they understand what it takes to get the results and that it can sometimes take a little longer.
  2. Add a disclaimer. Cover yourself legally by adding a disclaimer to your website, contract or agreement. It’s probably best to speak with your lawyer about this.
  3. If you are absolutely certain about the outcomes for your client, why not offer a money-back guarantee? You will certainly attract more clients this way and it will make you work harder.
  4. Another option is to offer to work until you get the promised results, if that’s sustainable for your business. You would obviously have to make sure your time and efforts are covered and you don’t end up out of pocket. But again, this is a great guarantee for your clients to have peace of mind and to feel safe with you.
  5. It could also be as simple as this: actually under-promise and over-deliver! This is always a great rule when it comes to creating raving fans. If you think you will have a job ready by Tuesday, don’t tell your client it will be ready on Monday just to get their hopes up, tell them Wednesday and surprise them by having it ready a day early.

A happy customer who keeps coming back and talks about how good you are is amazing marketing for your business – and it’s free.


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Franziska Iseli-Hall

Franziska Iseli-Hall

Franziska Iseli-Hall is a marketing strategist, speaker, author and the founder of Basic Bananas – Small Business Marketing Made Simple. She's passionate about helping small business owners grow their businesses through innovative, sustainable and proven marketing strategies. Franziska is on a mission to help small business owners grow their business, live the life of their dreams and give back to community. Her success is in her clients’ results.

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