When a customer is offered your product or service, what do you think goes through their mind?
You might be tempted to believe that all they see is a wonderful opportunity to change their life for the better.
But the reality is more complicated.
Even the right offer, presented to the right person at the right time, involves taking a risk on your customer’s part. It’s always a leap of faith…
“Is it a scam?”
“What if it’s not good?”
“What if it’s good but I don’t like it?”
And on and on it goes. These objections are important, and if you want to sell more, you need to address them in your marketing messages.
Having a guarantee is the best way to put your customers’ fears to rest. When the downside of buying something is small or non-existent, when people feel protected against all risk, they become eager to buy, and your profits grow.
But don’t want just any old guarantee… You want a creative guarantee.
In today’s post, we’ll examine what a creative guarantee entails, and how to craft one for your product or service. We’ll also go over a few examples from different industries.
Two attributes of a creative guarantee
To engineer a creative, irresistible guarantee, you need to do two things…
First, think about the downside of buying your product. Be honest with yourself – there is always a downside, often more than one.
For example, if you sell glasses online, the customer risks getting the lenses wrong, or misjudging how the frame will fit, or how it’s going to look on their face.
You have to think about how to eliminate said risk in a way that protects your customers. If we stay with the glasses example, there are several ways to do that:
- Give buyers an opportunity to try the frames first, with free shipping, and see how they fit.
- Promise them free returns, or an opportunity to exchange one pair of glasses for another, or a money-back guarantee. Or all of the above.
Exactly how you decide to alleviate the risk will depend on your product or service. Sometimes, just being considerate towards your customers is enough for a standout guarantee!
(For example, that’s how Warby Parker, a scrappy startup selling glasses, was able to challenge Luxottica, a multi-billion eyewear company.)
But if you want to craft a truly creative guarantee, you need to go one step beyond…
Second, make the most authentic and unusual promise you possibly can. Your competitors most likely have boring, timid guarantees that inspire zero trust in their customers. This is an incredible opportunity to stand out.
Maybe you sell incredibly high-quality clothing, and offer a 10-year guarantee on everything you sell…
Or maybe you’re selling an expensive training, and you give double their money back to anyone who doesn’t have great results.
Or perhaps you sell coaching services, and you will fly to your clients and work with them for a day until they are satisfied.
Think of what you can do bigger and better than your competitors to inspire trust in the people you serve, and put it in your guarantee. This approach is based around Jay Abraham’s “Strategy of Preeminence”, which just might be one of the most profound ideas in business, ever.
But it’s easy to say, “Think of something,” isn’t it? We want to help you along – so we’ve collected six examples of creative guarantees from different industries. Here they are…
6 creative guarantees from various industries
- Domino’s pizza – if it’s not delivered in 30 minutes or less, it’s free. And who can resist a chance at getting free pizza?
- Hampton Inn – if you’re not 100% satisfied with any aspect of the service, you don’t have to pay for your stay at Hampton. That’s a big, bold promise.
- MeUndies – the 30-day return policy isn’t unusual by itself… unless you’re an underwear brand like MeUndies. This is an incredibly simple guarantee, but it elegantly proves how much the company stands behind their product.
- Cutco – if you buy one of their knives, Cutco claims you will never have to purchase another knife again. All their knives come with lifetime free sharpening and repair – no receipt required.
- Zappos – you can buy a pair of shoes from Zappos, wear it for a year, then return it for free, and still get your money back. No wonder they call it the “extreme guarantee”!
- Lifelock – as a company that protects people from identity theft, Lifelock takes its mission seriously. If a member’s identity is compromised, Lifelock will spend up to $1 million to hire lawyers and other experts to help them recover.
Some of these examples sound perfectly reasonable, if very generous. Others might seem outrageous. But they are all authentic, and all of them inspire customer trust. We hope they help you come up with your own creative guarantee!
Now, after all this, you might be thinking that you’re in the wrong business to offer a creative guarantee. Perhaps you’re worried about the logistics of making it happen, or about customers abusing your goodwill.
Whatever your concerns are, they are very unlikely to come true. Even in refund-heavy industries like retail or consumer electronics, refund rates are in single digits – and only a fraction of those are fraudulent. For example, National Retail Federation reported just 5.5% of fraudulent returns back in 2014.
So while there’s always a slight chance that a dishonest customer comes along and abuses your generous guarantee, the benefits will still outweigh the risks by orders of magnitude.
Bottom line is, going the extra mile with your guarantee will pay off. It will give you more sales, greater customer satisfaction – and an unmistakable competitive edge in any space dominated by timid, “selling from the heels” guarantees. More power to you!
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