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 they are asking for. Whether your over promise results to impress a client and close a sale or overestimate your abilities in the face of pressure, overselling to a client benefits no one.
Who Can It Hurt?
Beyond the mental and emotional stress it places on your health, overselling can damage your company, reputation and clients as well.
Overselling yourself has the potential to damage your standing with the client and lower the possibility of being rehired. On top of that, overpromising or promoting your skills may cause a breach in contract, and your business could face losses and possible legal ramifications, seriously damaging your reputation.
Avoid the Trap of Overselling
Avoiding overselling is simple: be realistic, and be honest both with yourself and with your client. Take a realistic 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 even 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 resource.
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