5 Reasons to Avoid Overselling to Clients

By MBO Partners | October 6, 2017


As an independent consultant, your drive and ambition are what make your business succeed. However, it is possible that the very ambition that helps you achieve your goals can become a detriment. Overselling is an easy mistake to make—one that can put your business reputation at risk.

When selling your services to a client, there is a tendency to want to promise them more than what they are asking for. Whether you are overpromising to impress a client, close a sale, or highlight your abilities, overselling rarely benefits anyone.

5 Reasons to Avoid Overselling

Beyond the mental and emotional stress, over-promising can place on your health, it can also damage your company, reputation, and clients.

1. Your reputation can suffer

Clients want to hire you because they have a problem they need to be solved. This assignment may have certain requirements such as a strict budget, specific technical needs, or a tight deadline. When you set expectations too high and are unable to deliver on what you say you can do, you not only put the client’s project at risk, but you put your personal reputation in jeopardy as well.

2. Work can be delayed

Whether you’ve oversold yourself on availability, budget, or ability, there will be pressure to meet unrealistic standards that you’ve set. Such devotion to a single client or project can result in unintentional delays on other work, which can cause you to neglect other clients.

3. Work may suffer a loss of quality

A major side effect that arises when you oversell or spread yourself too thin is a general loss of quality. Often, when people are met with tighter deadlines, the first thing they sacrifice is the standard they hold for their work. Just as you have the right to expect your client to pay your agreed fee, they have the right to expect the deliverables to be at an agreed level of quality, delivered on time.

4. Clients may not rehire you

Overselling yourself has the potential to damage your standing with your clients and lower the possibility of getting rehired.

5. You risk a breach of contract

On top of that, overpromising may cause a breach of contract and your business could face losses and possible legal ramifications, seriously damaging your reputation.

How to Avoid Overselling

Avoiding overselling is simple: be realistic and honest with both yourself and with your client. Take a candid inventory of your current obligations, including those in your personal life. Ask yourself: If I take on this project, will I be able to dedicate the necessary time to it? Do I have the qualifications to complete this project to the standards the client expects and deserves?

Don’t let the pressure to meet or exceed expectations lead you to agree to take on projects. If you have the slightest inkling that you don’t have enough time or expertise for a project, then you should strongly consider passing. If you find yourself in this situation, consider referring the client to a fellow consultant who you trust as an expert source.

Find independent consulting jobs with top companies through MBO’s marketplace

Join Today!

Related Posts

How to Create a Professional Profile for a Job Marketplace

How to Network with Your Peers

May 6, 2022

Networking with your peers may sound too easy to be good advice, but there are many advantages: hearing a new perspective, gaining industry advice, or obtaining an outside opinion about an idea you have, just to name a few. It can be easy to get caught up in the daily grind of running your own…


Independent Business Owner Advice Based On Your Enneagram

April 25, 2022

For more than 25 years, MBO has led the charge to keep the independent economy moving forward. And now we are thrilled to give you advice based specifically on your enneagram type. Unsure what your number is? Take the quiz from the Enneagram Institute and discover your strengths and weaknesses. As an Independent Business owner,…


9 Ways to Increase Productivity When You’re Self Employed

April 20, 2022

Staying productive can be tough as an independent contractor. Besides the usual distractions of a chirping inbox or the siren’s call of social media, there’s the added layer of working remotely— where there’s always something else vying for your attention. Minimizing distractions, lowering your stress levels, and staying organized will go far in boosting your…

Learn more about the MBO Platform

For Independent Professionals

Start, run, and grow your independent business with MBO

For Enterprises

Find, manage and retain top-tier independent talent