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Vol. 2 issue #192 June 6, 2006                    
 

 

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Guarantees with Oomph
2005 by Marcia Yudkin

Not long ago a real estate appraiser asked my opinion of his
new brochure. "'Guaranteed on-time appraisals,'" I read out
loud. "You mean that if it's not on time, the customer gets
a refund?"

"No, I couldn't do that," he replied. "So many times things
get delayed for reasons outside of my control."

"What do you mean, then, by 'guaranteed'?"

"Never mind, then. Strike that out. We couldn't give people
their money back every time an appraisal was late."

He'd come close to landing his business in serious trouble.
The word "guarantee," like the word "free," has a specific
meaning that the Federal Trade Commission and state
attorneys general enforce. Without any explicit qualifiers
attached, "guarantee" means that the customer has the right
to a 100 percent refund if the product or service
disappoints them -- no "ifs," "ands" or "buts."
 

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Interests Research and development in the sciences, biology, chocolate, debate, health, wellness, educating people about health, wealth and success. Oh, and writing...
   
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Further, because of the well-known strength of the word, a
guarantee holds a powerful potential to increase business. I
explained to the appraiser that an on-time guarantee would
probably boost his business enough to cover the occasional
refund. We then restated his guarantee to read, "We
guarantee that we'll deliver your appraisal by the promised
time, or it's free." He'd cover his flanks by being careful
about the promises he made.

Like a sharp knife, guarantees can cut through a prospect's
skepticism and fears. Handle them with care, but include
them in your business's toolbox.

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* Try a long guarantee. The longer the guarantee, in fact,
the fewer refund requests a business receives. If your
competitors offer a 30-day money-back guarantee, extend
yours to 90 days, a year or even a lifetime.

* Depending on your business, consider a performance
guarantee instead of promising a refund. For example, a
termite-control customer might prefer your promise to make
the problem go away, no matter what it takes, to getting her
money back if the treatment doesn't wipe out the pests.

* If you can stand behind outrageous-sounding guarantees, go
for it, as in, "We guarantee that your credit-card
application will be approved by one of the listed banks, or
we'll return every penny you paid us, plus $10.00 extra for
your trouble." Since this company knows that only 4 percent
of applicants get turned down, their offer motivates without
bankrupting them.

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* Try guaranteeing some aspect of your product or service
rather than the main product or service itself. One
advertising firm promises that all calls will be returned in
less than one hour, or the caller receives a $25 gift
certificate to a local restaurant.

* Act graciously and promptly when a request for a refund
comes in. See what you can learn from the customer's
dissatisfaction. Software returns were killing one catalog
merchant until she wrote the catalog copy more carefully and
tested it on her friends for clarity. Customer service
research reveals that people whose complaints are handled
well often turn into more loyal customers than those who
never had a problem!
 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

The above is adapted from "Secrets of Mouthwatering
Marketing Copy" by Marcia Yudkin, available from
http://www.yudkin.com/mouthwatering.htm.  Marcia Yudkin
marcia@yudkin.com is the author of 11 books, including
Persuading on Paper and Internet Marketing for Less than
$500/Year.

 

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