The concept of “over-delivering” has become a common rallying cry among today’s online freelancers. Unfortunately, this buzzword has also been so over-used that its true meaning – and power – have become diluted in the process. Here’s what you need to know about over-delivering to turn this into a viable business strategy.

There’s a right way and a wrong way to over-deliver

Not to be facetious, but the key to over-delivering is all about – you guessed it – the delivery. If you simply do more work than what was purchased (for instance, writing 500 words of content for a 300-word order) and include it unceremoniously in the delivery, your customer may not even notice that you’ve over-delivered – or worse, he or she may think you made a mistake and accidentally did more work than you intended. In contrast, if you include a brief note with your delivery that thanks your customer and points out something extra that you’ve thrown in, this will let you unlock the true benefits of over-delivering. Below is an example comparing two separate scenarios, each with different messages included in the delivery. In both scenarios, the freelancer received an order for 300 words of written content, and produced 500 words in return. But check out how differently these two delivery messages frame the purchase:

Poor utilization of over-delivering

Thanks for your order. Please see the attachment for your written content.

Better utilization of over-delivering

Attached is your polished, written content! As a special Thank-You, I’ve also included an additional 200 words – for a total of 500 words of content – at no extra charge! Thanks again for ordering with me – hope to work with you soon!

What’s incredible about the above examples is that both scenarios involve delivery of an identical product, but in the second scenario, the writer is able to deliver a product with a MUCH higher perceived value to the customer.

How over-delivering will help your online freelancing business

Enthusiastic reviews: in my own freelancing work online, the majority of my rave reviews come from customers who were surprised by the unexpected value in something I delivered to them – for instance, reworking and rewriting content to make it polished, when someone only ordered basic proofreading. This leads us to…

Social proof: the real benefit of good reviews, of course, is that they help generate future sales. Why? Social proof. Potential customers are far more likely to order from someone who has tons of 5-star reviews than to place their order with a source who isn’t yet vetted.

Over-delivering is a simple strategy with incredibly powerful results. Implement it today, and watch what this does for YOUR online business!

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