Are you an overseller or an underseller? Is your default position overselling or underselling? I’m talking about either in a sales or a non-sales environment.

I’m generalising now, but I find that business-to-consumer (B2C) interactions are generally overselling.

‘Your table will be ready in a few minutes.’

‘I’ll have that fixed for you in a couple of moments.’

‘She should be back to you in a day or 2.’

It’s vague, intimate, approximate, and unreliable. The stakes aren’t too high, that’s why.

Business-to-business (B2B), however, is different, or should be. You want to under-promise, and undersell, so that you can overdeliver, and delight, your much-higher-stakes customer.

You find people are oversellers and undersellers too. Me, I’m always trying to be underselling. I try not to overpromise. I try to deliver early. I try to deliver more. Other people are not undersellers:

‘I’ll be back to the car in a couple of minutes.’

‘I’ll meet you there at midday.’

I’ll have it for you tomorrow.’

If you sell the dream, and the dream doesn’t appear when it should, you create disappointment, a phantom version of what you promised. When you let someone down, even in a microscopically small way, you create a microscopically small phantom.

The question is: do you care?

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