Robbie,” I said, “will you deliver the artwork by Friday?” Robbie looked at me and said “Well, I’ll try.”

So, you’re not going to make a Friday delivery,” I asked? Robbie said “I told you, I’ll try.”

But that wasn’t the question, was it?” I pointed out. “The question was, ‘Will you deliver the artwork by Friday.’ I’m not asking for effort. I’m asking for commitment. You have refused to make the commitment. I’m interpreting your answer as ‘No.’”

As you might imagine, Robbie doesn’t get any of my business.

Are you a supplier of goods or services? Do you deliver when you say you will? Is your word a binding commitment?

It’s just you and me, here. You can be honest.

Your customers don’t care about the difficulties that have popped up in your life, or your business. They don’t want to know about unplanned urgent distractions. They don’t want to know that your suppliers are backordered. They just want you to deliver on time.

My partner, Roy Williams, often asks “Why do customers not come to your store? Is it because they don’t know about you? Is it because they do know about you?”

My friend and former boss, Rick Dames, says: “It’s so simple. Just do what you say you’re going to do.”

It IS simple. Not necessarily easy, but simple.

Is your word a binding commitment?

If your answer is “Yes,” consider making that willingness to commit part of your marketing strategy.

But if your answer is “No,” understand that advertising won’t help your business.

Oh, advertising may get you some new short-term customers. But when you disappoint them, the collective negative word of mouth is going to outweigh any positive impressions left by your advertising.

So, what’s it going to be?

Is your word a binding commitment?

Will you deliver by Friday?