Regardless of what many businesses believe, a guarantee is more than a promise to return the prospect’s money.
The right guarantee builds relationships with your customers and inspires trust. It’s much more than a return policy with strings attached. The guarantee is possibly the strongest sales tool anyone can leverage. It tells the prospect that you stand behind and believe in your product. The guarantee is also the last final push to make a sale.
So why waste it?
Yet, many businesses do. Even if a product or service has a good and fair guarantee, it’s often only mentioned as a side note. To skeptical consumers a solid hassle-free guarantee is a HUGE benefit—and we all know benefits convert potential buyers into paying customers.
A great example of a guarantee in action is pizza delivery giant, Domino’s. They were on the verge of collapse in the 1960s. One of the business partners sold his share and got out of the venture, but the other one decided to stick with it.
You might be familiar with their famous “Pizza delivered fresh in 30 minutes or it’s free” guarantee. It saved Domino’s Pizza so it could become the multimillion-dollar franchise we know today.
While this guarantee worked fantastically then, you might know that since then Dominos has changed their guarantee again. It now says:
Now that you see the power of the right guarantee, let’s talk about writing a guarantee for your own product or service …
What can you guarantee?
Three basic things: your product, your service, and the results …
Guaranteeing a Product
A product guarantee is a claim that your customer will be happy with your product. This is what some marketers call the “classic” guarantee.
A standard template for a product guarantee is:
- “We know you’ll love this ________ as much as we do. In fact, if for any reason you’re not completely satisfied, just return your ______ within __ days and we’ll issue a full refund.”
Guaranteeing Your Service
To guarantee your service just look to Domino’s. They weren’t guaranteeing you’d love the pizza, just that you’d get it hot in 30 minutes or less.
Service guarantees are primarily used in service industries. Hotels and hotel booking sites use very strong guarantees to instill trust.
Take a look at Hotels.com’s compelling guarantee that sets them apart from other booking sites:
A basic template for a results guarantee is:
- “If you don’t get ____ results by _____ then you’ll get 100% of your investment back.”
This is a common guarantee for fitness and diet products because often the results are the only thing they can guarantee.
This is also a widely used guarantee style for income producing programs like work-at-home and investing courses. An example of one of these could be:
- “If you follow my directions I guarantee you’ll double your investment by the end of this six-week course or I’ll give you double your money back!”
Writing a Guarantee
Now that you know the different types of guarantees let’s explore how to write and develop your own guarantee. There are four main things your guarantee should encompass…
- A statement letting your potential customers know you believe in your product. “We are so certain you’ll love _______,” or “We believe so strongly in _____’s ability to do _______,” are just a few examples of presenting your belief in the product.
- Give the customer a fair time period to try the product. It’s widely accepted in the marketing community that the longer a customer has to try the product before sending it back, the less likely they will return it and ask for a refund.When you offer a short return period—such as a few days or weeks—people will be wary of your promises. They’ll either shy away from purchasing or they purchase with the intent to return. Some people even schedule refund requests on their calendar. Giving a longer guarantee period will make people more relaxed about their purchase and reduce refunds.
- State what happens if the customer isn’t happy with the product. Will you exchange it? Will you refund their money? Will you fix their problem?If you have terms and conditions—and you should—spell them out clearly and boldly. If you’re trying to hide your guarantee—or lack of one—in the fine print, maybe you should reconsider your guarantee policy.
- Finally, the most important elements of your guarantee are honesty and transparency. The goal of your guarantee is to build a trusting relationship with your potential customers. If your guarantee is too restrictive you’ll likely come across as a crafty salesman.
For example, this guarantee for Hilton hotels doesn’t instill any confidence in their pricing and service. It comes across as completely untrusting of “the consumer” which doesn’t build the relationship that a guarantee should.
And … their conditions don’t stop there! They go on to say:
- You must submit a claim form following their specific instructions.
- You must submit the claim within 24 hours of making reservation and at least 24 hours prior to arrival.
- The same accommodation must be available for purchase at the lower rate when making the claim.
- Only one claim per stay.
- Rate comparisons are made of net taxes, gratuities, service charges, fees, and incidental charges.
- If they are able to verify the availability and eligibility of the lower rate, they’ll match it and give you a gift card.
- They reserve the right to modify or cancel this offer at any time.
- And … seven additional restrictions on the guarantee.
This extremely limited guarantee might work in the hotel industry, but a great guarantee easily removes all consumer risk associated with purchasing a product or service.
Can’t a Guarantee Put My Company at Risk?
If you guarantee your product then, yes, there’s a chance that at some point you’ll have to issue some invalid refunds. It’s just part of being in business. However, the benefits of a guarantee—increased sales and a strong customer relationship—far outweigh profits lost from the occasional unfounded refund.
The only time you’ll run a significant risk with a strong guarantee is if the product or service isn’t strong enough to justify the price. Overcharging and under-delivering on your promises will cause higher refund rates.
If your customers take advantage of your guarantee, you may want to consider your promises and possibly the quality of the product itself. Customer relationships are built on trust and the quality of your products and services.
Adding the word “guaranteed” to the end of a sentence isn’t enough. Give the details up front to build that crucial customer relationship and get more sales and more referrals.
So what about you? Is your guarantee perfect? Or could it use a few changes? Join the discussion in the comments below.