Under-promise and over-deliver. How many times have you heard that phrase? Chances are if you’ve been in business longer than a week, you’ve heard it at least once if not a dozen times.

This business “tip” is very dangerous advice. Allow me to explain…

It’s not the over-delivering part that is dangerous. Over-delivering and WOW-ing your customers is good business. It increases customer satisfaction, repeat business, and word of mouth which all leads to referrals. You can never add too much value for your customers. (Tweet this.)

It’s also not the commitment part that is trouble. You must make promises you can keep. This is common sense at it’s best.

It’s the ‘under-promise’ part that is deadly advice. It gives people the impression that they can get away with offering the bare minimum. Let me tell you, no one is getting excited about a weak promise. If your initial offer isn’t strong, then don’t expect to stand out from the crowd.

Disney World does an incredible job of promising a whole heck of a lot when you come to their theme parks. Anyone who’s been there knows that they not only meet those promises but they over deliver in a big way. They aren’t offering the bare minimum in hopes you’ll try them out and then be blown away. They are offering a lot in hopes that you’ll be excited about coming. And guess what? People are.

No one tweets “Just 4 months until our trip to Six Flags! Woohoo!”.

They do with Disney.

The difference is the promise. Disney’s promise is bigger and better than their competition. Their promise is worth getting excited for. The fact that they over deliver on that promise is a bonus. If their promise was weak, they wouldn’t be the brand that they are today.

Don’t allow the idea that under-promising is a good thing to creep into your head. Under-promising isn’t going to make your brand stand out. People teach this thinking they are helping you, when in reality under-promising can cause you to lower your standards and create something less than spectacular.

They teach you to under-promise because then it will be easier to keep your promises. NEWSFLASH: If you have a hard time keeping promises then you shouldn’t be in business to begin with. Exceeding customer expectations is awesome. It’s good for business. But to get a chance to over-deliver you must first excite them with your promise. Make sure it’s a good one.