Under sell, over deliver


It’s amazing what we will say to get people to do what we want. Whether it be to win a sale from a new client, convince our boss that our latest bright idea is worth everybody’s time, or to just convince members of your team that this new project or methodology is really exciting, we have a tendency to exaggerate. But this can cause more of a headache than simply an interesting moral dilemma.

Don’t promise the Earth

Promising the Earth, in under six days, is easy. With the right people skills and experience it’s possible to sell any product or idea to just about anybody. The short term gains are obvious; you win the sale, your great idea goes into production, your team get really excited and motivated. But your exaggeration, or slight stretch of the truth, will become obvious pretty quickly.

The damage this causes can be long lasting or even irreversible. If you company gains a reputation for under estimating time scales on projects it will soon start to count against you. If you have exaggerated the potential benefits of your new structure or methodology, your next idea will not be so easily received. If you have told your team that this next project is earth shatteringly exciting and it turns out to be the same old dirge, you will have a problem motivating them in future.

The element of suprise

The positives of doing the reverse are massive. To surprise your new client by delivering a little early or providing an extra little feature can make the difference between them giving you those all important repeat sales. To be known as an individual who takes the extra care to double, triple check everything before it goes higher up the food chain can be the difference when that coveted promotion comes up. You get the idea.

It’s a very simple lesson really, but one which we so often ignore. If we over sell something; a product or our own skill set, we are digging ourselves a big hole. You create disappointment and negativity that had no reason to be there. What you provide might be just what’s needed but because it’s less that you promised it will not be as well received. Whereas if we under sell what we are providing, the positive impact of the delivery far outweigh what was delivered on its merits alone.

It’s a difficult balance to get. If you under sell too much, then nobody will want you. But that said; under sell, over deliver, is a good little motto to live by.

9 thoughts on “Under sell, over deliver

  1. Good work! Thank you!
    I always wanted to write in my blog something like that. Can I take part of your post to my site?
    Of course, I will add backlink?

    Regards, Timur I. Alhimenkov

Comments are closed.