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The Expectation Trap

Expectations dictate the level of client satisfaction. Of course, results have to be at least adequate for this to be true, but specialists often over-deliver on results but rush through the process of onboarding to get to the “good part”. This can cost them the good referral they were hoping to get, regardless of actually delivered results.

Let’s do a little thought experiment: you and I go out for a work lunch, but the place is crowded. We find a table and sit down, and after a while, the waiter comes and says:_

Scenario A: ” It’s jam-packed today, I can only take your order in 5 minutes.”

Scenario B: ” It’s jam-packed today, I can only take your order in 15 minutes.”_

Now, in both scenarios, the waiter returns after 10 minutes, which is objectively not bad for rush hour. The food was fine, nothing to write home about. The bill was what we expected.

Was it a good dining experience?
In scenario A, we will likely be disappointed with this result because “the waiter kept us waiting”.
In scenario B, we are likely to be impressed, “the waiter outdid himself to serve us early.”_

His output didn’t change an iota_, but the way he built expectations mattered for the experience we would remember.

When you start to take note of the expectations that clients come to you with, and how you set them straight, your hard work becomes more noticeable and yields better referrals.

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