When the cable company says that you need to be home between 11am and 6pm, but then shows up at 7:00pm, you’re going to be frustrated, and possibly angry.

When the mechanic asks when you want to pick up the car, and you say 2:00, when it’s not ready until 7:30pm, you’re going to be irritated and inconvenienced.

When the consultant quotes 2 weeks to complete the project and takes 4 weeks instead, the client is going to be disappointed.

By contrast…

When the cable company schedules service for 7:00pm and arrives on time, you’re delighted.

When the mechanic tells you the car will be ready at 7:30, you make arrangements to pick it up then. No big deal.

When the consultant quotes 4-5 weeks and delivers it in 4, the client is jazzed that thing finished up quickly.

What did we agree on

The problem is usually not the time something will take, it’s not the scope, it’s not what color it’s available in. It’s about the expectations that were set early on and agreed to, and whether or not those expectations were met.

If your business is about quality, it’s expected that things will take more time. Don’t apologize for that. Know who you are and what your promise is, then stand behind it.

If your business is about speed or convenience, it’s expected that the quality may drop a bit, or the price will go up. Don’t apologize for that. Know who you are and what your promise is, then stand behind it.

So long as everything is laid out in the open, no one is upset when you do what you say you’re going to do. It’s when expectations aren’t met, that problems arise.

The Shift

One of the most impactful shifts you can make for yourself and your business, is to shed the fear you’re holding onto about losing people by telling them the truth about what it will take to deliver on your promise. Instead, simply set realistic expectations that you can deliver on.

You will lose some opportunities, and some people will push back. You will also have better relationships with the ones that get through, because you haven’t started out the relationship by setting yourself up to let them down.

Frustration should be the exception, rather than the expectation.

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