Why I am guilty of over promising:
I have a tendency to over promise in order to make everyone happy.
This method wouldn’t be all bad if everything necessary to deliver was completely under my control. However it is not; and on more than one occasion, I’m sorry to say, I’ve made estimations based on best case scenarios because I knew it would make the other party feel good about our deal.
For example: In my business, when a customer places a custom order for products that have to be shipped; and I make arrangements and promise that things will be where they need to be at a certain date, and that date is dependent on everything arriving in good time as well as in good condition. I am banking on a lot of people and moving pieces to not falter or miss a deadline. And what is worse I was banking on them to keep a deadline they were unaware of. This is not wise because if it unravels (and it has) it begins to undo the whole reason I was over promising to begin with, not to mention I began to develop a reputation for not being dependable.
The problem with over promising
Over promising to a customer is bad for a few reasons.
1. You say things that you know have a probability of not happening without disclosing that to the other party. Deception is the same thing as lying.
2. If the customer okays the project based on your word and you find out that things are not going to be as you “hoped” it causes you to dread a phone call from them as well as not follow up regularly as you should. There is nothing worse than a rep who won’t answer or return your phone calls.
3. The stress brought on by the knowledge that you purposely promised more than you could deliver is not worth the temporary happiness your customer felt when they thought they had someone dependable and trustworthy. It is always better for a customer to learn to trust you over time because you have always been upfront and followed through than for you to over promise and not deliver even if the latter happens only once or twice.
I have learned my lesson on this over the years and have started to make realistic projections and promises even though I know the customer will not be as happy to hear it. This has resulted in me being able to deliver as promised or better and feeling good about contacting the customer or getting a phone call from them. And of course anything that doesn’t add to our stress or destroy our reputation (foundation) is always a good way to do business.