Here’s a question for you – do you routinely measure your business’s sales conversion rate? (That is the percentage of “shoppers” interested in your products or services that actually go on to buy from you.) If so, is it as high as you would like it to be? The chances are that, for most businesses, there is room for improvement in this area. If you are spending money on advertising and marketing to effectively buy prospective customers and not then converting those prospects into buying customers, you are wasting money.
(And if you’re not currently measuring your conversion rate, perhaps you should be – as the saying goes, what gets measured, gets improved!)
Another question for you – what is it that stops prospective customers buying from you? Well, one of the reasons is that the prospect may believe there are risks in purchasing your product or service. These perceived risks include:
- not being satisfied with the product or service,
- it not being what they really need,
- not getting value for money from the purchase, or
- not actually getting what they paid for.
So your job is to help customers to overcome their fear of these perceived risks, and make buying from you a “safer” option for them. A great way of doing this is to offer a compelling guarantee.
Why you need a guarantee
Offering a guarantee makes your customer’s purchase effectively risk-free, or at least lowers their perception of the risk, so that it is no longer a perceived barrier to their buying decision. By offering a great guarantee, you make it much easier for customers to buy from you. It’s also a great way to differentiate your business from your competitors in the market.
Many businesses however are nervous of offering a cast-iron guarantee for their goods or services because they worry that a large percentage of their customers will take them up on it. If this were the case, it could end up costing 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 your 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 1-2%. So 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 mis-selling), then you should have few complaints and therefore little worry about offering a guarantee.
Generally, people don’t like confrontation, and if they are satisfied with their purchase 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.
What makes a great guarantee?
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 already have your guarantee – you are just not making the most of it yet. You’ll 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 the right guarantee for your business:
- 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?
- Play to your strengths – if you have amazing customer service, the biggest range of products/services in the marketplace or a great after-care team, consider focusing on these aspects when developing your guarantee.
- Consider what the customer wants or particular problems customers commonly 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.
- Decide what form the guarantee will 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.
- Test the effectiveness of your guarantee by assessing the impact on your sales, and change the guarantee if you need to, to find what works best for you. Why not ask your customers what they think, too?
Making the most of your guarantee
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 materials. You can add it to business cards, your website, your brochures etc. And don’t forget to make sure that your sales staff tell customers about it, whether they are 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. That will demonstrate 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 greater sales!