Over-Promise to Get More Customers

A cliché in marketing is that you should under-promise and over-deliver. Well, that doesn’t work anymore. Nowadays, with competition so steep between online and offline businesses, you need to over-promise and then over-deliver.

Over-promising doesn’t mean to promise something you have no way to deliver. Instead, make a claim that sounds outrageous that you can deliver on. You have the capabilities to do this, your marketing materials just haven’t been written in the right way.

So many companies don’t take advantage of over-promising that you don’t need to make an absolutely outrageous claim to stand out from the crowd. You just need something that no one else has offered. Here are some examples that will inspire you:

• American Girl over-promises by offering girls dolls that will fascinate them…and then they over-deliver by giving each doll a mesmerizing biography that enthralls girls.
• Google over-promises by saying they can crawl the Web for any subject you could ever want to research…and then over-delivers with an average search time of 0.2 seconds.

Here are some tips for creating your own over-promise:
1. What’s your product’s most important quality? What makes your product unique? What’s the one word customers think or feel when they hear your company’s name or see your logo? For instance, Volvo is associated with safety. Lexus equals luxury.

2. Ask customers why they choose you over your competitors. Also ask them why they buy your product. Between those two answers you’ll find a signal of what your over-promise should be.

3. Ask non-customers why they don’t choose you over your competitors. Also ask why they buy your competitor’s product. This will tell you what misconceptions people have about your product, or where you can improve.

4. What emotions do customers feel when they use your products? Why do people buy Coach products or drive Lexus cars? It’s because of the feeling they get from owning and using those products. This answer along with the answers to your other questions can help you zero in on what you should over-promise on.

Next, you should brainstorm how you can over-promise something that your competitors can’t. Once you have a few ideas, try to narrow down which one idea is plausible. Which one can you actually do?

Companies that over-promise and over-deliver focus on three things:
The product: the product reliably does what it over-promises. The design is right and good.
The system: Your product’s system is everything it takes to acquire, finance, assemble, use and fix your product. The greatest product on Earth isn’t worth a lick if it isn’t easily to acquire.
The customer service: Your customer service staff must understand their role in the over-delivery. You need to explain how they dress, what they say and how they act.

Once you have your over-promise ready to go, include this promise on all of your marketing materials, from catalogs to billboards to your Web site.