Empty Promises

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The world of commerce is filled with empty promises.

It’s more common than not to promote our product or service as the best, the biggest, the world’s greatest, the fastest, the strongest, and so on.

I kid you not, there is a candy store located in southern Minnesota that promotes itself as “the world’s largest candy store,” and it probably is…it’s big!  But connected to it is “the world’s largest porta-potty!” It had a big porta-potty door and then when you walked in, well, it was about the size of a regular restroom you’d find in a retail store or restaurant.  I think it was “detached” from the store, so I guess you could call it a porta-potty.  In the world of biggest or largest I guess we need to have the world’s largest porta-potty?!  But how do they know?  Did they really check out every porta-potty in the world to see if they had the biggest?

These superlatives become empty and without meaning to us.

We get the feeling like we’re being hoodwinked right from the beginning. Like we’re being duped.

Guarantees are not guarantees anymore.  Guarantees are more like a gamble.  The company promising the guarantee is gambling that you’re never going to cash in on their promise.

But the companies and organizations that make the biggest impact are the ones who keep their promises.

Many years ago, there was an office furniture manufacturer that was trying to make headway into a very crowded and competitive market.  One thing consistent with the office furniture world was late deliveries.  They’d promise the product would be delivered by such and such a time, and then they didn’t.

This particular manufacturer made a promise: “We’ll deliver in 4 weeks or we will pay invoice!”  First of all, to deliver in four weeks was by itself aggressive in a world where 6-8-week delivery was not uncommon.  But to agree to pay the invoice if they didn’t meet the schedule?! We’re not talking a $40 sweater, or a $300 Television; we’re talking about shipments that could be $100,000 to a $1,000,000 order.  Now that’s putting their money where their mouth is.  The kept their promise by holding themselves to the fire if they didn’t follow through.

Let’s not over promise and under deliver.  Let’s not use empty superlatives like the greatest, the biggest, the fastest, the strongest, or the most anything.

Instead, let us simply do what we say we’re going to do, consistently, methodically, and deliberately following through.

And if you want to be really different, under promise and over deliver!

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