Radio-Hed-Logo-2By Jeffrey Hedquist

A key question to ask our clients is: “Why should I buy from you, instead of anyone and everyone else?”

One reason a prospect doesn’t buy is their perceived risk. They’re afraid they won’t get what they paid for, or that they won’t be happy with their purchase, that the advertiser won’t deliver on their promises, that they made a wrong choice (wrong color, size, application, paid too much, don’t need the service, etc.).

Offering a strong guarantee removes the risk and puts the burden of satisfaction on the seller. This risk reversal can be the deciding impetus in making a sale. It offers piece of mind and a form of security.

Most businesses already guarantee their products and services. If a customer isn’t happy they’re able to get an exchange, a make good or a refund. It’s a sound business practice.

HOWEVER, most businesses don’t make their guarantees prominent in their marketing.

Why? The unfounded fear that too many people will take advantage of them and they’ll lose money. Studies have shown that only 1-2% of customers will do this. Go ahead; verify this by asking your client how many of their customers have asked for refunds during the past year.

A benchmark guarantee is the one offered by Lands’ End:

“If you’re not satisfied with any item, simply return it to us at any time for an exchange or refund of its purchase price.” We mean every word of it. Whatever. Whenever. Always. But to make sure this is perfectly clear, we’ve decided to simplify it further. Guaranteed. Period. ®

Even the person who purchased the $19,000 London Taxi from Lands’ End and returned it 20 years later got a full refund. The photo and story are on their site.

Enhance the guarantee:

• We’ll give you a free loaner while we repair or replace if your car, computer, lawn mower, appliance, etc. breaks down.

• If our service techs aren’t there within 30 minute of your appointment, we’ll pay you $50.

• If you’re not 100% satisfied, return it for a full refund, and you can keep the bonuses.

The best that can happen: publicizing a strong guarantee can bring in more customers, especially when the guarantee may be the only difference among several competitors.

The worst that can happen: a few customers take the client up on the guarantee. Now, you tell the story of each of those refunds on the air to emphasize the extreme lengths to which the client will go to make customers happy. This results in an even stronger campaign, bringing in more customers, not to mention the positive word of mouth from those customers when they tell their friends.

Case history: We recently worked with a prominent multi-location landscaping & gardening center on the West Coast that was facing strong competition from competing retailers, discounters and grocery chains. The three commercials we created for them were built around their bold guarantee. Our client was very nervous about what would happen. The results: the best sales they’ve had in the company’s 53-year history.

© 1997–2009 Hedquist Productions, Inc. All rights reserved.