Deliver on Your Promises in the Global Marketplace

Be realistic about what you can or can’t do

Aerial View of the Network of the Office Building
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If you promised the moon, deliver it along with a handful of stars. You want to shine in your customer's eyes.

Delivering on your promises is doing what you say you are going to do when you say you are going to do it. Every time you follow through on a commitment, small or large, you build trust. And if you go above and beyond, you make an even stronger impression. So, if you say you are going to email prices to your customer by tomorrow, try for today. If you say you are going to air-ship sample products within a week, ship within a week—or sooner.

If you say you are going to reduce prices because of local competition, reduce prices. Don't just talk about it, do it. Keep supplying what you promise and always be true to your word.

Here are three specific examples of how delivering on your promises matters in the global marketplace.

Provide a Product Specification Review

You’ve engineered a product to meet the specific needs of your overseas customer. Before moving ahead with production, you must pre-clear the technical aspects of the product with the customer. You say you will send the product spec for review by the end of the month. Your customer says she needs it sooner but can live with your timeframe, however tight. Knowing your customer’s timeline, you move fast to get the spec sheet completed and sent over within a week.

You accomplish this by assigning an extra person on staff to work for the weekend. Think this doesn’t matter to the customer? It does. It will leave an indelible memory for the customer that you, as a supplier, bent over backward to accommodate her needs. Now that’s delivering on your promises and then some!

Respond to a Request for a Price Quotation

A simple request for pricing can be acknowledged but forgotten as soon as the next big domestic order comes in! How many times have you responded to an overseas email inquiry where you said, “Absolutely, I’ll be back with you by tomorrow with pricing,” only to find tomorrow filled with other top priority projects that have to get done? What happens then? You have a potential customer in another country waiting, waiting, waiting for you to handle his request (first impressions count), and during that wait, he is shopping the online market to find other suppliers of equal quality who can and will respond and deliver a lot faster than you!

You don’t want that to happen. So if you say you will get pricing to them tomorrow, get the pricing to them tomorrow! If you can’t, then say when you can. Deliver on your promises.

Meet a Production Date

If you, as the seller, are shipping goods against a Letter of Credit (L/C), it usually lists three critical dates by which goods must be shipped:

  • The date the goods must be shipped by.
  • The date the documents must be presented to appropriate parties.
  • The expiration date of the L/C.

Do your best to meet each of these deadlines, and allow plenty of time for error. This is a case where if you don’t deliver on your promises, you can be at risk financially, so it’s definitely not a time to gloss over details. After the LC has been issued, if you discover, for example, that the date for shipping goods cannot be met, do not ship any goods until your customer obtains an amendment to the LC permitting a later shipment date. Give yourself time to address the unexpected, and always deliver on your promise.

Remember this: If you drop the ball once and let your customer down by not delivering on your promise, you have not just lost that particular customer but a whole slew of others who he/she has told about the experience. Give your customer the ultimate experience: Over-deliver and be realistic about what you can or can’t do for them.