10 Ways to Close The Expectations Gap

Sometimes I really hate marketing.

Because, well, sometimes it’s downright embarrassing (see left).

Usually because of a huge disconnect between what a business claims to be and what it actually is.

It’s why a lot of non-marketing people hate marketing too.

It’s all bullshit, they say.

So what can you do about it?

How can you square the image you present with the product you provide?

Here are some ideas:

1. Shut down the dream machine.
It’s great to dream big. Everyone gets excited about their business being a massive success and making them rich. But the fantasy can interrupt you daily duties when you see how far away you really are.  So get humble. Set little goals and then big ones. You can still be a tiger.  Just eat the elephant one bite at a time.

2. Thank your lucky stars.

You are here.  You have an idea.  You have skills.  You have customers.  You are healthy.  Now take all that appreciation and share it with your customers.  Help them to appreciate what they might be overlooking.  Help them to get excited about the mundane.  You can do mundane right?

3.  Set goals but be flexible too.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  Set the course early, agree on it, pivot if you need to.

4.  Communicate, overcommunicate, communicate again.

Sometimes you don’t want to talk to the customer because it’s an invitation for criticism.  But even if they just want to vent you’ll accomplish something by generating a little goodwill.  That’s gonna close the gap too.

5.  Let them know who you are at the outset.

It’s like any relationship. You don’t want to base it on a lie.  If you can’t do something, say you can’t or find someone who can.

6.  Make sure they know who they are.

This is where you can easily get tripped up.  You may want the business but you know your client is in fantasy land.   That’s just going to come back to haunt you.  Because they may just end up transferring their fantasies about themselves and put them on to you.

7.  Be an adult.

No one is going to save you.  There is no dream client.  This is all about working hard and staying the course and sticking to your principles which leads to…

8.  Know what your values are.

Stand for something.  Stick to your principles. If you show them early then no one is going to be confused later.  This may require some thought and quiet time to figure out.  It will be the best time you ever spent.

9.  Choose an end date, and end it.

Hit the goal, get paid and move on.  If they want to renew then they can.  Don’t let the relationship drag on.  Absence make the heart grow fonder.  If they appreciate you they will come back.  In the meantime, there are lots of fish in the sea.

10.  Remind them what you’ve done.

They will forget.  They will take you for granted.   Find a clever way to remind them how awesome you are.  It’s amazing how well this works, especially if you do it tongue in cheek.

Steve Averill

Principal at Averill Media. Online marketing for small business. Lover of the niche.

6 thoughts on “10 Ways to Close The Expectations Gap

  1. Fantasy can interrrupt your daily duties . So, set little goles and then go for big ones. Thanks all the customers for their appreciation. This will certainly help to build an image and helps in a long run. Set the goals in a right direction. Somtimes you should compromise with your customer. No one is going to help you. So, be an adult. Get your principles and morals stick with yourselves. Hit the bulls eye. If you can’t do the work then let them to do. Always remind your customers about the good work by you. Patience is the key in the marketing.

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