Why You Should Underpromise and Overperform

Hey there. I’m not sure if you know who I am, but my name is Rebecca Kelley, and I was an SEO Chick (here’s where you all drone back, “Hi, Rebecca,” as if I’m in rehab). When Lisa asked me if I wanted to become one way back in June of last year, and I thought, “Yeah, that’d be cool. Girl power, and all that good stuff!” I promised to fulfill my SEO Chick duties to the best of my abilities. Those duties pretty much only consisted of blogging, but hey, I can do that, right? No problem.

I wrote a post, and time passed. And passed. And passed. Lisa would casually email me every so often and politely ask if I was going to post again soon. “Sure!” I said, “No problem!” Eventually, I wrote another post, a whopping two contributions in the past several months. Needless to say, I sucked. I was not worthy of my SEO Chicks crown, and so I stepped down as “official SEO Chick” to that of a guest blogger. Aw.

The point is that, basically, I overpromised and underdelivered. I told Lisa that sure, I’d guest blog until the cows came home. I’d be on that blog morning, noon, and night, and I’d contribute the awesomest posts known to man. Well, I didn’t. I sucked it up and disappointed my fellow chicks as a result.

This translates across multiple mediums. It’s tempting to promise your client everything under the sun in order to impress him or her, but you have to be reasonable, too. There are only so many hours in a day and you have X other tasks to do, not to mention a social life. If you overpromise to your client and underdeliver, well, you’re not going to have a happy client. Maybe your contact won’t provide you with a testimonial, or maybe he’ll withhold payment, or maybe you’ll just have that feeling in your gut knowing that you disappointed someone. It’s not a nice feeling.

Conversely, if you set up conservative, reasonable deliverables and deliver on time, or, better yet, deliver the task and then some, your client will think you’re the best thing since sliced bread. Underpromising (or maybe simply “promising”) and overdelivering will delight your client to no end. And it makes sense, right? Don’t make promises you can’t keep.

Well, here’s my attempt to promise and deliver. I promise to keep guest blogging for SEO Chicks on a regular basis—maybe not every week, but at least once or twice a month. The site has accumulated a score of talented writers, so I can patiently wait my turn until it’s time for me to take a crack at the blog. That’s a promise I expect to keep, and hopefully Lisa won’t break my legs. ;)

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3 Responses to “Why You Should Underpromise and Overperform”

  1. aww bless you. I know how things can get out of hand though, trying to juggle a million things at once. Believe me, being a single mother in full time work plus blogging. Sometimes it’s really difficult to say no though, and as you say you end up over-promising and under-performing. But that usually happens when people have all the best intentions, and time just flies =)

    lol you have made me sound like some Scandinavian mafia =) “kiddo I’ll break your legs” said with a husky voice..

  2. Julie Joyce says:

    Very well put, and I am even more afraid of The Viking after reading this. She scares the piss out of me, honestly. Good thing you posted. I’d hate to see that pretty face of yours all bloodied and bruised.

  3. We need to keep the SEO Chick hotness quota up! Lisa, don’t damage my face!

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