There’s a well known, spoken rule that we hear floating around all the time: “Under promise, over deliver.” There’s even a lot of controversy regarding whether or not it helps your business at all, including a bit of evidence against the idea of under promising and over delivering. So should you or should you not? Which one is right? Is the other way wrong?
If you haven’t heard of under promising and over delivering yet, you will soon! So let’s lay some foundation! Would you rather have a photographer tell you that your images will be ready in 4 weeks, but you don’t get them until the 6 week mark? Or would you rather a photographer tell you that you’ll have your images in 4 weeks and then deliver in 2 weeks? I’d rather have the later! Under promising and over delivering is as simple as that! It’s one of the easiest ways to manage your client’s expectations!
So why does every article on the internet tell you that under promising and over delivering is a waste of your effort? Because it might be in most circumstances, but that doesn’t mean you should stop trying to exceed your client’s expectations! If you’re at a restaurant, and you ask for 2 extra lemons in your water, and your server puts 4 lemons in, chances are, you won’t care that much. You’d be just as happy if you only got the two that you were promised. I totally get it. Sometimes it may not be the best use of your effort, but I strongly believe that you should go above and beyond for your clients whenever you have the opportunity. Under promising and over delivering certainly won’t hurt you! But it may help you! I incorporate the “under promise, over deliver” method into my business in two ways!
The first way is a means to have extra time for myself in case I were to need it! If I know it takes me 2 weeks to edit and deliver a wedding, I could promise that my client’s images will be ready in exactly 2 weeks. But that doesn’t give me any extra time in case something were to happen. Maybe I came down with a bug and couldn’t work for a week! Life happens! It’s important to give yourself extra time in case you need it! Now when I promise my clients that their images will be ready in 4 weeks, I know that I am exceeding their expectations by delivering in the 2-3 week mark! Even if it doesn’t make them hoot and holler about me on social media, they’ll still be excited to get them earlier than they expected!
This goes the same way if you promise 30 images from a one hour session, but don’t have the knowledge to provide them with enough variety in posing and locations. You may end up with 30 photos, but 10 of them might be almost identical. It’s important to realize if you can’t give them 30 unique photos, don’t promise 30. Promise 15 and give them an extra 5-10 unique images if you can! It’s always good to to give yourself some grace with those kinds of things! Just to make sure your clients are never disappointed!
The second way that I incorporate the Under Promise, Over Deliver method is by gift giving! When I send my pricing guide to each new bride who inquires with me, I don’t tell them about all the surprises they can expect from me! Because I want them to be a surprise! If I promised her these little gifts throughout her experience with me, she would expect them and it wouldn’t be as fun for her! This is where under promising and over delivering really comes into play for me!
Your clients are investing SO much into you and your business! They are the ones who allow you to work for yourself. They are the ones who allow you to put food on the table! You should treat them like royalty! If you spent thousands of dollars on something, wouldn’t it be nice if it came with some fun extras you weren’t expecting? I make it a priority to send out THREE gifts to my clients throughout our experience together. And all three times my clients are surprised, they feel loved, and they can’t wait for the next step! So while I never promised them even a single gift, I am still under promising. I exclude the surprises from my pricing to ensure that I am able to over deliver on their experience with me! And it has worked every time!
So, while under promising and over delivering might not work for every type of business and every type of person, it has worked really well for me! You have nothing to lose! Over delivering will not hurt you, but over promising will! So just make sure that you have enough time to edit, make sure you can deliver x amount amazing photos from a session… make sure whatever you promise, you over deliver!