Always Exceed Expectations

When I was actively engaged in building and selling custom rods, I made it a point to always pad my delivery times by a week or two. If I knew I could get a rod done for a customer in four weeks, I’d tell him that it would take at least five. This accomplished a couple of things – it gave me a bit of a cushion in case something went awry with a backorder or a new procedure that might have to be redone. And most importantly, it allowed me to always deliver the rod before the customer was expecting it. All were pleasantly surprised when they got a call letting them know their rod was ready ahead of schedule.

The International Custom Rod Building Exposition started out much, much smaller than it is these days. The first one was held in conjunction with Barry Serviente’s Fly Fishing Show in Charlotte, NC. I had a few tricks up my sleeve in terms of promotion but didn’t let the cat out of the bag beforehand. Most vendors arrived with tentative if not low expectations. When the dust settled they were astonished to realize, for the first time in the history of custom rod building events, that an event had actually supported them instead of being an event that required their support. As I was walking to the concession area at the end of the first day, I ran into Joe Meehan from American Tackle. I remember clearly what he said to me, “This show has exceeded my expectations.”

Never promise more than you can deliver and always deliver more than you promise. Remember this key piece of business advice and you will go far.

Tom Kirkman


1 Comment

  1. Gary Snyder on November 20, 2010 at 7:05 pm

    There is a saying: “Under promise and over deliver”

    This is good information from Tom (as always). Without his inspiration and teaching, I would not be able to build rods of the quality I do I today.