My mother is not the type to get upset (that was my father’s forte). But I could sense the irritation in her voice when I asked, “How’s your new house coming along?”

It had been over three weeks since I last visited the farm, and, unfortunately, there had been practically no progress made on her new house. She listed the excuses she had been given from the contractors, her voice full of exasperation.

Later that afternoon, Bally the Dog and I went for a walk from the current farmhouse over to where the driveway had been laid for her new home. It was less than a mile walk over the stream, through a cornfield, and up a hill. There we found the grounds to be almost exactly the same as they were last month. The foundation had not even been poured.

I could see why she was so disappointed. When the project was initiated, she was assured of a move-in date of July. Now it’s looking like September at best.

This was a classic case of a business over-promising and under-delivering and thus failing to meet the expectations previously set in my mother’s mind. This is one of the biggest, most common communication mistakes that people make on a daily basis.

How many times has someone promised you the following and then left you waiting?

“I’ll be home by seven o’clock.”

“I’ll have that report on your desk by the end of the day.”

“I’ll call you back in an hour.”

Or worse, how many times have you been the one making false promises? How many times this week? How many times today?

It’s a mistake you can’t afford to make, not when you want to build long-term relationships with clients or colleagues.

Instead, you must use the “make a promise-keep a promise” system. That’s the formula for success. That’s the equation for deep relationships.

Make a promise. Keep a promise. It’s so simple, yet day-after-day we see businesses, politicians, and spouses all over the world drop the ball on this.

In your family life, you simply need to do all that you say you’re going to do. If you promise to be somewhere at a certain time to do something, you must fulfill your obligation. And, just as important, as self-improvement legend Jim Rohn advises, “Wherever you are, be there.” That means not being engrossed in your smartphone while at the park with your children or, the ultimate disrespect of all, texting while having dinner with someone. Either don’t promise to have that dinner or have the patience and courtesy to wait until later to send your phone messages. Make a promise to be there, and keep it.

In your business, do all that you say you’re going to do. Honor your contracts. Deliver on the promises made to your customers, suppliers, and partners. Avoid the temptation to over-promise and under-deliver. Be clear in your offer and make sure to avoid overextending yourself in the process. If you know you can’t deliver on a promise, don’t sell it. That mistake will only cause you a nagging headache and dent in your reputation.

Finally, use the same “make-a-promise, keep-a-promise” system on your website. The truth is, it was from an online business expert that I first heard this method so eloquently phrased.

Several years ago, my friend Paul R. came and spoke to my Mastermind group. He shared his system for converting leads into sales, and it all came down to the keeping the promises that he made, one webpage at a time.

When his prospects landed on the first page on his site, Paul showed them a short video which made a simple promise. After visitors entered their email address, they were directed to a page where Paul over-delivered on that initial promise. And so on and so forth. Every communication between Paul and his prospects – and the customers that they soon came to be – started with a promise and ended with Paul delivering on that promise.

He never failed to keep his word and meet their expectations, and that’s why he’s grown a seven-figure business in a unique niche (one that most people think wouldn’t be profitable). It’s all been built on the power of doing what he says he will do, and more.

That’s how you build relationships the right way, from day one, so that you never lose your prospect’s faith. And so you can avoid disappointed customers, like my mother.

Fortunately, and better late than never, the contractor called my mother and said that everything was now back on track. They would be getting to work on the foundation of the house early next week. (So I hope to have a much better update for you next month.)

But that relationship is permanently damaged. She’ll never have the same level of trust in the contractor as she did when he first made his promises.

Don’t let this happen in your life or business.

And don’t let this happen in our relationship, either. Should I ever make this mistake and not deliver what you feel has been promised to you, let me know immediately so that I can fix the situation and minimize the damage.

Hold me accountable. If we are not delivering on what you feel we promised you, then I need to hear from you. Our goal is to help you and deliver the exact steps to succeed with your online business, to improve productivity in your day, to help you take action and overcome the obstacles in your way, and to simply help you lead a life well lived. Those are our promises to you, and we are doing everything we can to keep them.

So put yourself on the line. Make your promises, keep your promises. Over-deliver value and exceed the expectations of everyone you deal with in life.

As my friend Bedros Keuilian teaches, “You need to over-deliver, give faster results than promised, and become the go-to leader for your market.”

It all starts with doing what you say- and more.

We can all do better. Let’s start today.

[Ed. Note. Craig Ballantyne is the Editor of EarlytoRise.com and Financial Independence Monthly. He also coaches executives of companies with sales over $1 million. Today, Matt Smith and Craig are now offering more information on their new virtual mastermind program. Click here to find out more.]

Craig Ballantyne

Craig Ballantyne is the author of The Perfect Day Formula: How to Own the Day and Control Your Life. Craig has been a contributor to Men's Health magazine for over 17 years. Today he teaches his gift high-performing entrepreneurs how to squeeze more out of their days, increase their income, and make more quality time for their families in his Perfect Life Workshop and Work-Life Mastery programs. Craig used his own advice to overcome crippling anxiety attacks in 2006, and he'll teach you his 5 Pillars of Success so you can increase your income, decrease your work time, and live the life of your dreams. Learn more about Craig at craigballantyne.com

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