Seven Perils Of Overpromising

When you work in sales, your credibility is key. Clients need to know they can trust you to deliver on your word. However, many sales professionals fall into the trap of overpromising. They might live by the motto, “act now, apologize later.” Or they might have a big dream that they can’t realistically accomplish. Either way, when they fail to deliver on their ideas and promises, their reputation suffers.

Jonathan Herrick, CEO of Hatchbuck, says it’s critical for salespeople to be mindful of the perilous outcomes of overpromising and under-delivering. If you’re guilty of promising the moon and not following through, read on. In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we share Herrick’s reasons why overpromising is so dangerous.

1. Depleted credibility. Keeping your promises should be one of your highest priorities, according to Herrick. If you cannot do something within a specific time frame, be upfront about it. If your client needs to go elsewhere because you cannot meet their timeline, then so be it. Herrick says that being honest by telling a client that a deadline isn’t feasible shows them that you are committed to quality work and you understand how long it takes to achieve it.

2. Negative reviews. In today’s digital world, if you make a misstep and let your customer down, chances are everyone will hear about it. If negative review after negative review is posted to your page, then you risk losing prospective shoppers and clients before they even consider working with you. Herrick notes that negative reviews are hard to recover from, so your best bet is to do as much as you can to avoid them. This means managing your client expectations upfront and always maintaining transparency.

3. Unhappy customers. Herrick says that with negative reviews come unhappy customers. Customer relationships are the core of your business, and when your actions yield unhappy customers, it can be a major roadblock to growth. Talk to your unhappy customers. Explain why you didn’t deliver on time and give the updated fulfillment date. Just don’t pick an imaginary date out of the air and risk failure a second time, says Herrick.

4. Bad PR. The saying, “Any publicity is good publicity” does not apply in today’s business landscape, unless your goal is to drive customers away. A juicy story can spread like wildfire, and before you know it, every magazine and online site is running it. Therefore, it pays to go out of your way to look after your customers and focus on a business model that services well, gives back and invests in the well-being of its employees. Make sure you take some time to focus on how your business contributes to your community and treats its staff.

5. False expectations. Winning someone’s favor and keeping them happy is your job. What isn’t your job is misleading or lying to clients. Do not provide your customers with false expectations in order to keep a smile on their faces, urges Herrick. If something does go wrong, provide the client with as much reasoning as possible, and take full responsibility for the situation.

6. Loss of business. Herrick says that when you fail to deliver on your promises, you could easily be handing your clients directly to your competitors. The business world is highly competitive. It’s crucial to develop your reputation on above-average service, rock-solid trust and efficient delivery.

7. Poor cash flow. When you start to lose business due to failure to deliver, it can be devastating from a cash-flow perspective and create more significant problems for your organization, says Herrick. If your customers begin to go elsewhere, then that’s money you won’t be seeing month over month. This can, in turn, affect other areas of your business.

It’s tempting to sometimes stretch the truth on what you can deliver. While you might feel good in the moment, you can suffer long-term consequences. Instead, err on the side of caution when making promises to your clients. Be open about what you can realistically provide. When you do, you’ll strengthen your client relationships rather than drive clients away.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Jonathan Herrick is CEO of Hatchbuck, an all-in-one sales and marketing platform based in St. Louis.

filed under March 2020
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