You’ve put a great deal of effort into making your product or service as attractive as possible to your potential customers. They like it, they understand how much they’ll benefit from it, and they can even afford it. But they still won’t close the deal and commit to buying it. Why not?
Consumers worry about making the wrong decision, wasting their money, or not receiving exactly what they paid for. In these cases, a powerful guarantee can help close the sale. Guarantees remove the risk.
Men’s Warehouse CEO, George Zimmer, is famous for saying, “You’re gonna look good. I GUARANTEE it.” That singular phrase has made Men’s Warehouse the most successful men’s retail chain in the nation. For many years, Domino’s Pizza offered the famous “30 minutes or your pizza is free” guarantee. And many retail stores offer price-match guarantees as a standard business practice. Your small business can see increased sales by harnessing the power of a strong guarantee.
Doesn’t a guarantee put me at risk for losing money?
Nope. Business owners are often timid about offering strong guarantees because, despite the quality of their product or service, they’re afraid too many customers will take advantage of them. The truth is, some customers will. But that number is much smaller than you’d imagine.
Research shows that a very small percentage of customers will ever take you up on your guarantee. As a general rule, people don’t like confrontation. Sometimes, even when not completely satisfied, they feel they’ve gotten at least some use out of the product and feel guilty asking for their money back. Other times, they’ve forgotten you even offer a guarantee, or they’re too busy or unmotivated to take the steps necessary to return the product.
Think back over your last sales quarter. How many of your current customers have complained about your products or services? How many of those customers have actually asked to have their product replaced or for their money back? When your product is of good quality, you’ll have few complaints. By offering a strong guarantee, you’ll simply call more attention to the quality of your product and your excellent customer service.
Where to start
When developing your guarantee, make the strongest promise you can comfortably live with, and feature it prominently in all your advertising. Be specific with your guarantee – your customer will want to know exactly what you mean. Don’t leave gray areas, but at the same time, you’ll want to attach as few conditions as possible. If it’s too complicated, the customer will be suspicious that you’re looking for a loophole.
Here are a few tips for writing that “impossible-to-turn-it-down” guarantee:
1. Compare. Take a peek at your competitors and see what kind of guarantees (if any) that they offer. Pay attention to what they’re offering, and try to make your guarantee a step above. Giving customers a “no risk” guarantee when nobody else does gives you an edge over the competition.
2. Go Long. Guarantees come in all shapes and sizes. Some are very short (7 days) and others are longer. Your best bet is to offer the longest guarantee that makes sense for your product or service. With a longer guarantee, such as a 1-year guarantee, the odds are greater that people will forget about it and not take advantage of it.
3. Payback. Remember, only a fraction of your customers will ever cash in on your guarantee. Therefore, you want to create an attractive payback for unsatisfied customers. One beauty cream company offers a “bottom of the jar” guarantee, where the consumer can use the whole jar of cream and still request her money back if she’s not satisfied. Be clear about what your terms are, but don’t overdo the conditions attached to the guarantee. In the end, most customers just want a hassle-free, money-back guarantee.
4. Use “magic” words. How you choose to word your guarantee can make all the difference in encouraging customers to complete the sale. Certain words and phrases can significantly boost your sales. Here are a few that caught my eye:
-You Can’t Lose
-Unconditional, Money-Back Guarantee
-Your Money Back, No Questions Asked
-100% No Hassle Refund
5. Test. You’ll want to test your guarantee thoroughly before you make it a permanent fixture of your marketing plan. Track your results and keep records of how often customers actually cash in on it. Ask yourself if your sales have increased since offering a guarantee. If so, great! If not, you might want to revisit the terms and rework the wording to make it more attractive. For instance, you may want to test a 30-day guarantee versus a 90-day guarantee. Experiment, and go with the one that drives your profits higher. A guarantee that works this year might not fit your business model next year, so don’t feel you must stay handcuffed to a guarantee that’s no longer working for your business.
6. Advertise. Once you’ve tested and found the perfect guarantee, be sure to use it. Use it in advertising, on your website, on product labels, at the point of sale, and anywhere else that it’s appropriate.
When done right, the written guarantee can be one of the strongest sales tools you have at your disposal. Don’t be timid. If you find you’ve been too generous with your guarantee, or find that people do take unfair advantage of it, you can always scale back your guarantee for future sales.