How Much Are Broken Promises Costing You?

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Posted: February 22, 2010

In the latest issue of Westword, there is an article about a woman who was the victim of a terrible car accident, in which her insurance company dropped her coverage after finding a loop-hole so they wouldn’t have to pay. This got me thinking about honoring agreements and doing what you say.

We’ve all done it – committed to something that we later regret. It happens in our work lives and our personal lives. Do you ALWAYS want to go to your niece’s play on a Saturday when you have a million other things to do? Do you have ALWAYS want to stay at the office until 8pm to get a proposal out because you overextended yourself that day and said it wouldn’t be a problem? The person on the other side of your promise doesn’t care how it gets done or how much you’ve overextended…they only care that you do what you say you would.

Sales is all about trust. If you do not do what you say, even on the smallest of promises, your deal is killed. An example of this would be “I’ll call you back in 10 minutes.” If it’s 20 minutes later and you make that call, the prospect has gotten a small taste of distrust and will be likely to carry that throughout the entire courtship. When you say your company has 24-hour call response does that actually mean 9pm – 5pm call response? When you say there’s always a live customer service agent available does that really mean the wait time is 30 minutes to speak with that agent?

A way to make sure you follow-through on your promises is to be realistic when making them. If you’ve had back-to-back appointments all day, do you really think you will be any shape to come back to the office at 7pm and start working on a proposal? Yes, some can do this without any problems, but are you that person? Know your limitations. If you do not, your work will suffer, and you will lose business.

In the case of the insurance company that dropped their client, they would have paid $200,000 in medical expenses had they simply honored their agreement. Instead, they paid $37 million due to a judgment in the court of law. How much are broken promises costing you?