Beautiful website or ad? Check. Strong, tight copy? Check. Irresistible offer? Check. Strong guarantee? Uh oh!
According to a poll taken a few years ago, 91 percent of consumers believe a store’s return policy is important to making a purchase.
A guarantee isn’t just a promise to refund the customers money if they aren’t happy. It’s also a selling point.
Many solopreneurs and small businesses don’t offer a guarantee to their customers. Sometimes it’s an oversight, but often a guarantee isn’t offered because the seller is afraid they’ll lose money. Yet, the opposite is actually true.
Offering a strong guarantee gives your customers or clients confidence in buying from you because it shows that you run an honest business that stands behind it’s products and services. After all, if you don’t believe in your products and services enough to stand behind them why would anyone want to buy them?
Offering a guarantee also helps you overcome the customer’s objections. Have you ever gone into a store and found something you thought you would like to buy, and then talked yourself out of it? Your customers do the same thing.
Customers come up with all kinds of objections to making purchases such as it’s too expensive, it won’t work, it won’t fit, their spouse will object or won’t like it, it’s too cheap and therefore it’s poor quality, there’s no room for it, and so on.
But with a guarantee the customer knows they won’t be “stuck” with a product they aren’t happy with, or that if something isn’t right with the service they will be compensated or get their money back. The guarantee “over rules” their objections and puts their mind at ease.
10 Different Types Of Guarantees
There are many different types of guarantees. Here’s a rundown of the most common:
1) Money Back Guarantee: This is the most common type of guarantee. If the customer isn’t happy they can get a full refund. Sometimes this guarantee will include a shipping refund for return shipping if the item was shipped to the customer, but often it won’t.
2) Conditional Guarantee: With a conditional guarantee the customer will get a refund if certain conditions are met. For example, the merchandise must be returned within a certain period of time, in it’s original condition and in it’s original packaging. Or, if it’s a digital product such as an online course, the customer might need to provide proof that they gave it a fair try before getting their money back.
3) Double Guarantee: A double guarantee is actually two separate guarantees. Usually the customer can get their money back within a certain period of time – such as 30 or 60 days – unconditionally. The second guarantee allows the customer to get their money back after a longer period of time – such as a year – but they have to meet certain conditions such as proving they used the product. Double guarantees tend to sell more products and services than single guarantees.
4) Extended Guarantee: If you’ve ever shopped at Zappos you’re familiar with this one. Zappos offers a full money back guarantee for one full year. This type of guarantee works well for businesses that have a steady cash flow and won’t be short handed if the customer asks for a refund in six months or a year.
5) Satisfaction Guarantee: This one’s all about making the customer happy. Whether they want a refund, an exchange, or need something “fixed,” their wish is your command.
6) Money Back Plus Bonus: You’ve probably seen this one many times. Buy the product or use the service and get one or more bonuses. If you decide to return the product or the service isn’t right for you, you will get a full refund but you get to keep the bonuses. Adding the bonuses sweetens the deal and helps to make your offer irresistible.
7) Unused Portion Guarantee: This guarantee is most often used for magazine subscriptions where you can cancel the subscription and get your money back for the magazines you didn’t receive. But, it can also be used for items bought in bulk, and if the customer doesn’t use all of the items they purchased you agree to give a refund for the unused portion when they return it.
8) Delivery Time Guarantee: Remember the Dominos “Delivered in 30 minutes or less, or it’s free” guarantee? If you routinely deliver products you can offer a delivery time guarantee.
9) Shipping Date Guarantee: If you don’t deliver products but you ship them, you can offer a guaranteed shipping date – such as “Guaranteed to ship out no later than the next business day.”
10) Special Price Guarantee: You might guarantee that you have the lowest price. Some stores will match competitors’ pricing or accept competitors’ coupons in order to do this. Or, you might guarantee that once a purchase is made the price won’t change. This works well if you offer a service that’s ongoing such as a membership. Once they purchase, the price is “locked in” for a certain period of time. Or, you might guarantee that if the price goes down soon after they purchase, they’ll be refunded the difference.
How To Write A Strong Guarantee That Helps You Make The Sale
When you write a guarantee there are two things you need to consider:
First, what will please the customer most? Are they most likely to want a full refund? A partial refund? Something else?
Second, what you can actually guarantee or offer? Sometimes a full refund doesn’t make sense, such as when a customer cancels a subscription half way through. In this case a partial refund would be fair and appropriate.
It’s a good idea to make two lists – one of what will make your customers happy, and one of what you can afford to offer. Then, look at each list and what matches up from both lists. For example, if you have full refund on both lists, that’s a match. Then, from the matches, decide what makes the most sense or what works best for your particular product or service.
Once you know what kind of guarantee you will offer it’s time to write it.
The writing of a guarantee might seem simple; after all most guarantees are only a few words. But, the words you use for your guarantee matter more than the guarantee itself. It’s the words that communicate the idea of your guarantee to your customer.
Your words need to clearly explain your guarantee, but they must also “sell” the guarantee itself – making it believable and boosting your customer’s confidence in your product or service and your business. Your guarantee should remove any doubts or fears the customer has about making the purchase, and should make them feel 100% sure they want to go through with it.
Many companies will simply explain their return policy on their website and on the customer’s receipt. And this can be much more complex than it sounds as larger companies tend to have various return policies for different merchandise they carry.
To see what I mean, take a look at these companies return policies:
But, your guarantee is more than a return policy. It is a benefit provided to the customer when they purchase from you, as well as a reflection on your business’ ethics and your willingness to stand behind what you sell.
For this reason, you don’t simply want to state your return policy. Instead, you want to write it in a way that makes it a little more personal for the customer.
Here is an example of what I mean.
Instead of writing, “If you’re not completely satisfied with your new widget simply return it within 30 days of purchase for a full refund,” you could write, “We’re sure you’re going to love your new widget but just in case something isn’t quite right we’ve got you covered! As our valued customer you are entitled to a full, “no hassles” refund within 30 days after your purchase.”
Do you see the difference? They are both offering the customer the same thing, but the first one is a simply stated return policy while the second one is a personal guarantee.
Your guarantee should also be a reflection of your brand. If your brand is playful, your guarantee should be worded a little more colorfully and fun than if you have a more serious brand.
For example, a canoe shop’s guarantee might say the following: “Problem? We’ll never sell you down the river! Whether you need an exchange or a refund, just paddle on in to our shop and we’ll make it right.”
Another thing you might want to consider is giving your guarantee a name or a headline that reflects your brand.
The canoe shop mentioned above might do this by calling their guarantee, “Our ‘Blow You Out Of The Water’ Guarantee.”
Giving your guarantee a name helps to strengthen its promise and makes it memorable for your customers.
When you write your guarantee there are several things you need to include. They are:
1) How long the customer has to take advantage of your guarantee. This will largely depend on what you’re selling. For example, you might guarantee a partial refund for 11 months if you’re selling a 12 month subscription, or you might have a 30 day return policy if you’re selling tangible goods.
2) The condition of the item being returned if it’s a physical item. Can they return it if the package has been opened? If it’s in a bottle or tube, can they return it even if half of it is gone?
3) Conditions and fees associated with the guarantee. Who pays for return shipping? Do they need to prove they used the item – such as showing they did course work if you sold them an online course?
4) Your guarantee’s promise. What are you offering them? An exchange? A full refund? A partial refund?
Now, let’s put it all together.
Here’s a simple template for you to follow to write your own guarantee:
Headline or Name of Guarantee
(We’re, I’m) sure you’re going to love your new (product), but nobody’s perfect so just in case there’s a problem (we, I) offer a (30, 60, etc) day money back guarantee. If you’re not completely delighted with your new (product), simply (send it, bring it) back, (unopened? unused?) for a full refund (minus shipping?). (We, I) value your business and look forward to serving you!
Got a service based business? Here’s a template for you too!
Headline or Name of Guarantee
Give (our, my) service a try and if, within (the first week, 30 days, etc.) you’re not getting/seeing (specific results) simply (call, send email, notify) (us, me) and (we, I) will gladly give you a (full, partial) refund. (We, I) stand behind (our, my) service and want you, (our, my) valued customer, to be happy.
Consider these templates a starting point. Write your guarantee with one of these templates, and then re-work it to spiff it up and make it reflect your brand.
Your guarantee is your promise to your customers or clients that doing business with you is a safe and pleasurable experience. It lets them know that you care about them and want them to be happy with what they buy from you.
Your guarantee is more than a promise. It’s a benefit and therefore a selling point for your products and services.
A well written guarantee will help you make sales. Take the time to write your best one. Write it, re-work it, and then sleep on it. Then, come back to it and re-work it again until it’s just right – reflecting your brand and giving your clients or customers the satisfaction they deserve.
Though your guarantee is just a few words, taking the time to find the right words can make a big difference to the amount of sales you make. It’s not easy but if you’re willing to put in the time and effort the payoff is worth it.
Dedicated to your success,