What Apple's Steve Jobs Knew About Making Promises That You May Be Unaware Of

When Steve Jobs unveiled the first iPhone in 2007, he said: “Every once in a while, a revolutionary product comes along that changes everything.”
“Today, Apple is going to reinvent the phone,” he said. He said the iPhone will be a 3-in-1 device that combines its iPod music and video player, a phone and a ‘breakthrough internet communications device.’
It was a big promise. Even though Blackberry and Nokia were wildly popular at the time, Steve Jobs had no plan to underpromise. You should banish any plan to make an underpromise too.

How many times have you heard people say the key to customer satisfaction is to underpromise and overdeliver? Maybe too many times. But it may be a terrible advice to follow and it could lead to downsides you are not thinking of.
Steve Jobs
One important question to ask whenever you have to underpromise is why? Why do you have to underpromise to a customer who is giving a job to you?

Many will say that it gives their customers satisfaction when they overdeliver. What if you don’t have to underpromise in the first place? Does underpromise really affect the overdelivery? Not really. There are some reasons why you should never underpromise to a customer or client.

It is a lie

If you know your 100 percent is your ability to make an additional 5 million from your client’s 10 million but you promise your client an additional 3 million over the 10 million, then you have lied.
What if you promise a client that you can get a work done in 10 days and your clients later discover you can do it in 7 days? They may see you as unserious. The trust you have established becomes eroded.
One of the basic tenets a business can build its reputation on is to be honest with her customers. When you underpromise, you have been dishonest with your client which is not good enough even with your good intentions.

You may not get the job

When you underpromise in some instances, it may lead to you losing the job and never getting the chance to overdeliver.
If you promise 3 million over 10 million to a client and he meets another person who promises 4 million, then your client may see it as more beneficial to his own cause to give his money to the other party.
job termination
In this case, 4 million is still lower than your normal ability of 5 million but your client will still be happy he gave the business to someone who can get him 4 million even if he gets nothing more than 4 million.
In this case, telling your client what you can do will get you the job and there is no extra stress attached since that was a value you can deliver normally.

It doesn’t challenge you

When you promise 3 million over 10 million to your client when you can deliver 5 million, then you have unconsciously opened a back door to complacency and mediocrity.
If you deliver 4 million in such a case, your client is happy even though you have done below your normal level of performance. When you underpromise, it does not challenge you.
It can be a problem in a very competitive field because people begin to view you as being below your actual level of proficiency and may begin to see people at your level as above you.
Just based on the promises you made. It is good to always overdeliver but it is rarely good to underpromise.
If you can make 5 million on a client’s 10 million, tell him. This gives you no room for complacency because first of all, you must deliver your promise.
But as an effective entrepreneur or worker, you must always work to deliver more than you promise. When you do this, it is a constant challenge to improve your work.
When you deliver more than you promised this time, then you can even make a bigger promise the next time.
It is always better to make a big target and fall just short of it than to have a small target and meet it.
The rationale to underpromise is to surprise the customers but if your short promise was good for the customer in the first place, then he probably won’t be the happiest man in the world because you have done what he wanted.
However, the next time he needs a bigger result, he would go to another person who makes the bigger promise.
In most sectors of human lives, most of the best things are achieved when people make big promises and work up to the challenge. People exert their resources to make sure they meet up to the challenge.
When Elon Musk started SpaceX, he made a big promise. His promise was to provide a cheap means of transportation between the earth and Mars that would encourage interplanetary living by human beings.
His big promise attracted many investors to his side. What if Elon Musk had these plans and instead decided to underpromise and tell us ‘SpaceX is only trying to make cheap rockets’? How many investors would be excited to hear that?
In the case of SpaceX, every investor knew what they were paying for. Your customers should know what they are paying for. It is a bad tactic to dumb down the expectations of your customers because you could lose customers in that way.
How do smartphones sell? Is it by a habit of underpromising to customers? There are smartphones (for instance Apple iPhone or Samsung galaxy) that sell a large number of phones by pre-orders.
Many of these customers pay hundreds of dollars for a device they have never seen or touch. They pay this huge amount of money for a smartphone just because of the promise the manufacturers have made.
What if a smartphone can do 10 things but its manufacturer decides to be humble and mention only 5 of them?
Of course, the buyers will be happy when they find out it can do five additional things but mentioning only five features means many people will not even buy in the first place as they will look for better options.
It is best to make a promise of what you can really do. If you are able to overdeliver on that promise, you have a satisfied customer. But even if you are unable to overdeliver, you still try your best to do work at your optimum level because you have made an accurate promise.

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