Friday, June 25, 2010

How to Create Your Guarantee: Part 2

This week, I've written about how a guarantee can grow your business, why you already have a guarantee, why guarantees cause more people to buy, and how to start creating your own guarantee.

Today, I'll finish by explaining how to create a sales-boosting guarantee for your business.

Let's start by thinking about your business ...

How big, specific and outrageous a guarantee can you think of?

What would set your industry on its ear?

What would keep your competitors up all night throwing darts at your picture?

That’s the kind of guarantee you want to use.

Here are example guarantees to get your mind in gear. Which one would be easiest for you to modify and use?
  • Real estate agent: I’ll sell your home in 90 days. Or you get $1,000 cash.
  • Restaurant: You’ll love our food. Or your next meal is free.
  • Sports therapist: We’ll stop your pain in 24 hours. Or your money back.
  • Dog walking service: We’ll be there on time, every time. Or you get a $50 bag of dog food -- Free.
  • Florist: Guaranteed "gasp" when she gets our flowers. Or she gets a free box of chocolates on us.
Now. Know this. There are two ways you can screw up a guarantee ...

1) You can fail to put teeth in your guarantee. There must be a penalty if you fail to delight your customers. So, if you say "Satisfaction guaranteed" ... and nothing else, you're not saying anything. And your sales will stay flat as a result.

2) You can fail to perform on a massive scale. Example: if BP had guaranteed "spill-free" oil wells, that might have produced an even bigger, more-expensive PR nightmare for them (if you can imagine that).

To avoid failure on a massive scale, test on a small scale. This is vital. You must know how well your guarantee is performing before you roll it out on a wide scale.

How to test?

You might advertise the guarantee on a special Web page, visible only to people who come there after reading a special promotion or Google Adwords ad. Or mention it on your voicemail message. Or on one set of business cards. Or in a letter you mail to one segment of your customer base.

You could test 45-, 60- or 90-day money-back guarantees, for example. (Longer guarantees almost always work better.) You might even use a lifetime guarantee. Experiment!

You can devise a guarantee based on how fast you fill orders, how fast you deliver them, whether you’ll always have a certain item in stock, etc.

Okay. That's it for guarantees.

Done right -- by testing new variations on a small scale, before rolling it out -- a guarantee can quickly help you get more clients like your best clients, without advertising any more than you do now.

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