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Empty Promises


May Win Votes,


But Not Sales!



If you can’t deliver the goods or services on time and as expected –price, performance, and warranty-wise– don’t even discuss the possibilities. Send your prospective customer/client instead to your top competitor. In fact, force yourself to even go to the trouble of introducing her or him by phone or email, or in-person whenever possible.

Hand ’em over on a silver platter

(along with a sincere smile and backpat)!


Why? Because down the road a piece (you know how far that is, right?), that person may not remember where or who she/he bought from, but you can bet your bippy that that astonished and pleased customer will never forget you for the personalized introduction to help ensure a sense of purchase satisfaction.

Remember that EVERY purchase is an emotional one, with an emotional trigger clicking into an emotional buying motive. And you will have just pulled that trigger. So the other guy got the sale. So what? In all honesty, you couldn’t have fulfilled the customer’s request anyway.

To top it off, I guarantee you that the story of you going out of your way even though you weren’t making the sale will get told to at least ten other people and each of them will tell it to ten more. For a couple of minutes of your time, you will have created 100 positive impressions!

Imagine how many people will be praising your integrity and building your reputation when you choose to make a consistent practice of focusing completely on the customer’s needs, instead of your own! 

Is this a recommendation to grow your business by sending prospects to the competition? Good heavens, no! The point is that it’s better to help people find what they want when you can’t produce it yourself than to try manipulating prospect intents, altering what you have beyond performance reality, or –worst of all– promise and not deliver.

Performance is the key word. And honesty is still the best policy. Oh, and you’ll never need (like car dealers) to talk about either performance or honesty, because people will simply know about it when your actions match your words.

AAAACK! Too Late!

Okay, if it’s too late for all that good stuff

because you already screwed up, take heart.

All is not lost.


Let’s say you’re in the roofing installation business, and you promised a prospect that you’d deliver a three trillion dollar debt ceiling with insulated, soundproof ceiling tile panels by Wednesday, and it’s Monday with no debt ceiling supplier deal in sight. You now know you should never have promised it and your knees are shaking.

Go back to “GO” and own up. Tell the truth that you over-committed and promised what you shouldn’t have. Apologize. Be sincere and empathetic. Put yourself in the customer’s (or employee’s) shoes. Listen carefully. But stand tall and don’t ooze. Offer to do whatever it takes to make amends (and be sure to follow through with overkill effort!).

If doing this results in you suffering a loss, suck it up! Bite the bullet! Eat the expense! Write it off to stupidity. Lesson learned. Time to move forward. But remember that the WAY you handle the mess and the integrity you demonstrate (even after demonstrating no integrity!) adds up to creating a new opportunity out of an old problem.

It may be true that “nothing succeeds like success,” but it’s equally true that nothing succeeds like telling the truth in failure, and making good on a failed promise. 


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  Hal@Businessworks.US   302.933.0116

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One comment so far


  1. […] is what determines more than anything else why your customers are your customers. And it’s that reputation that attracts other customers. So, if these assumptions about how you deal with others are even just half right, […]

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