The Scam We’ve Been Taught To Use: To Underpromise and Overdeliver. Time To Get Off Of It
To underpromise and overdeliver.
That’s a scam created by incompetent people and taught to us to “delight” clients. We’ve all drunk the cool aid — and in a way, it’s a way to save our asses. To not look bad when we screw up or life happens.
It has to do more with how we see ourselves and what we try to project.
4 Reasons To Underpromising and Overdelivering
Competence “is the technical part of the job. Having confidence in the outcome and being able to produce the right result.”
Not knowing the possible results might just mean that we haven’t gained the competence to it. And that’s OK. You can work on it and be clear about it. If you’re new to the thing, you’re new. If you’re incompetent, that’s a different story. In any way, our clients don’t have to pay for incompetence being disguised as underpromising.
2. Covering Our Asses
The fault at making and keeping promises. It feels too risky to make a promise that might not be fulfilled. So we go under, “just in case” we can’t fully deliver. We’re covering our asses. [bad move, no cookies for you]
3. No Boundaries
It’s just a way to over commit ourselves. We don’t know how to say No. So to avoid that uncomfortable moment, we offer things under, because we know we’ll have more to do. We might have screwed big time before by promising things we didn’t know and when time comes, we just wanna be safe.
4. Lack of Confidence
We compensate for it. What if our clients don’t see our work as that valuable? We have to do more. We have to prove that we go beyond the expected. Because that’s how we can get great work and referrals, right?
We’ve been taught to underpromise and overdeliver to “build a reputation”, when in fact it’s only to lie. Let’s be frank with it. No judgement here.
We’ve done this to de-risk our engagement. That way we know we’ll always look good, get paid and our clients will be delighted.
Wouldn’t this be intellectually dishonest at least?
What’s the problem to make a promise and keep it? You don’t look as cool? You don’t impress the client? You don’t think you’ll build a good reputation / authority / brand if you don’t blow their minds?
Maybe you need to hear this: You’re fuckin’ amazing.
Play this out.
Take 5 brands/companies you LOVE. Not that you like very much or that they’re quite good. That YOU LOVE. Do they underpromise to you? Or do they make you a promise, keep it and deliver on it?
If they go the extra mile for you is not underpromising and overdelivering. It has to do more with their values and capacity. If/When they can’t go that extra mile thing, they’ll tell you and you’ll be OK with it. Because they’re being honest. You don’t run away and go somewhere else. You stick with them. I wonder, why wouldn’t you want something like that?
The Economic Impact
You’re spoiling the relationship. “I know I have to expect more from you, for less money.”
You’ll underprice your work. Because you’ll be working extra.
Over servicing makes you unprofitable. You’re allocating resources for non-compensated work, instead of doing more of your great work for new clients or for your business.
It’s a vicious loop. The larger your clients get, the larger your projects become, the more “overdelivered” work you do. And you only have so much capacity.
How You Underprice Your Work
- The probable promise in your head: A
- though you’ll tell the client you’ll do less (leverage their ignorance/lack of expertise in the field): B = A-1
- The actual promise in the eyes of the client: B
- The delivered promise (your overdelivery): B+1 = A
- Normal client expectation for further work: A
- Normal price expectation for further work: B = A-1
Who’s fooling who?
Your Way Out
Make a promise. Set the expectations. Share the risk. De-risk the client’s decision. And do the work. No more, no less.
The exchange of value will be there. They find the work done more valuable than the money they pay you.
They’ll thank you for helping them move forward (by paying you) and you’ll thank them for the appreciation received (the money).
This post was created with Typeshare