Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Guarantee Success!

Do you measure your sales conversion rate? If so, is it as high as you would like it to be? The chances are that there is room for improvement for most businesses. If you are spending money on advertising and marketing to effectively buy prospective customers and not converting those prospects into buying customers, then you are wasting money.

One of the reasons that people don’t buy from you is that they perceive that they are taking risks in purchasing your product or service. These risks include not being satisfied with the product or service, it not being what they really need, not getting value for money or not getting what they paid for. So how can you help customers to overcome their fear of these perceived risks and make buying from you a safer option?


Well, a great way of doing this is to offer a compelling guarantee that will make their purchase risk-free, or at least lower the risk so that it is no longer a perceived barrier to their buying decision. By offering a great guarantee, you will differentiate your business from your competitors and make it much easier for customers to buy from you.

Many businesses however are nervous of offering a cast-iron guarantee because they believe that a large percentage of their customers will take them up on it and therefore it will cost them a lot of time and money. But if you don’t believe yourself that you have a great product or service and show your confidence in your product by offering a guarantee, how can you expect customers to believe in it?

In fact, studies have shown that only a small percentage of customers ever take businesses up on their guarantees – only about 1 or 2%. If you have a strong product or service, excellent customer service and are selling to people who want or need your product or service (i.e. you are not not mis-selling), then you should have few complaints.

Generally, people don’t like confrontation, and if they are satisfied then you won’t get any complaints. If your customers are generally happy now about your products or services, by offering a risk-free guarantee you will just highlight the quality of the service you give already.

So what makes a great guarantee? Well actually, if you think about it, you probably already have a guarantee, you just don’t publicise it. If a customer phoned you to complain that your product or service was unsatisfactory, what would you do? Would you just say, “Sorry, there’s nothing we can do about it?” Or would you replace the item or re-perform the service to the customer’s satisfaction? My guess is the latter: I believe that all good businesses would do whatever it took to make the customer happy.

So there you have your guarantee – you are just not making the most of it yet. Obviously you need to think about how to describe and refine your guarantee and it is worth spending some time to find the right guarantee that will benefit your business the most.

Here are a few steps you can take in order to get really specific about your business’s guarantee:
  1. Look at what your competitors and even businesses in other industries are doing to get some ideas. Are the guarantees specific, or a general “Satisfaction Guaranteed” type? Are they time limited, or a lifetime guarantee?
  2. Play to your strengths – if you have great customer service, the biggest range of products or a great after-care team, consider focusing on these aspects for your guarantee.
  3. Consider what the customer wants or particular problems customers face when buying from your industry and seek to address those issues within your guarantee, as long as you can deliver on your promise! Keep the guarantee simple and focus on the customer’s needs.
  4. What form will the guarantee take? A stress-free, money back guarantee is a good place to start. But if you really want to differentiate yourself from the competition, it may be necessary to be a bit more creative. Try and exceed your customers’ expectations and make an impact – that way, they will be more likely to buy from you again and to recommend you to others.
  5. Test the effectiveness of your guarantee by assessing the impact on your sales and change the guarantee if you need to, to find one which works best for you. Why not ask your customers what they think too?

Once you have identified a compelling guarantee, then you need to make sure that your prospective customers know about it. Make your full guarantee, in writing, part of all your advertising and marketing material. You can add it to business cards, your website, your brochures etc. Don’t forget too to make sure that your sales staff tell customers about it, whether they be selling face to face or on the phone.

How you communicate your guarantee is important, so you may want to get some help or feedback before committing it to print. Use strong, positive words and phrases and be specific so there is no doubt in the customer’s mind what you are guaranteeing and that you have 100% confidence in your product or service.

Your guarantee can be a strong marketing tool, so if you don’t have one, now is the time to take action, differentiate yourself from your competitors and guarantee better sales!

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