Why Your Guarantee Must Do More Than Assure Satisfaction

“I guarantee you’ll love this.”

Familiar words. We’ve all heard them at one time or another. Words offered with varying degrees of sincerity … and legal clout.

Linda and I were about to buy an electric, 5-cup, quick-heating pot from our town’s old-fashioned hardware store. Words on the box declaring it boiled water faster than a microwave had caught our attention. You see, we don’t own a microwave. Never had. Never will.

To our way of thinking, the only things microwaves are good for are popping popcorn and reheating coffee. The pot seemed perfect. So, we asked Richard if it was as good as it sounded.

After Richard’s assurance and $20 later, we owned the pot that’s become a regular part of our day.

But Richard’s assurance – “I guarantee” – got me thinking how all of us use that word loosely in our daily lives. And yet, that word is an essential pillar of your promotion’s success.

It’s easy to overlook the crucial importance of the guarantee. Some copywriters view it as no more than something expected by the prospect … but not that essential. An afterthought.

Looking at the guarantee with this misunderstanding is a huge mistake. Let me give you an example why.

What were they thinking?

A while back, I got a direct-mail promotion selling software. Or rather, trying to. It didn’t do a very good job … all because of the guarantee.

I was half sold on buying, but not yet convinced. I’ll be honest; I hadn’t read the letter thoroughly. I skimmed it, as I often do at first. In skimming it, I didn’t see a guarantee.

On second skim, I missed it again. The third time – on a thorough reading – I found the guarantee. There it was at the bottom of the last page, 7-point type, in a footnote.

The guarantee’s placement, without my even reading it, told me one thing. This company didn’t want me to see it. They didn’t want to lose money on a return.

So, instead of losing money on a return, they lost my sale.

What was wrong with these guys? Don’t they know? Don’t they understand what a guarantee really is?

A guarantee is NOT a promise to return the prospect’s money.
It’s so much more.

If you think your guarantee is simply a promise to give your prospect back his money, you’re missing the guarantee’s true power.

The Why:

It’s all about credibility and trust

The guarantee provides a final chance to establish credibility with your prospect. It gives one more opportunity to build a strong sense of trust – right at the point where doubts are starting to creep in.

By the time the prospect gets to the end of your letter, he’s almost ready to buy. He needs just a bit more convincing. More important, his fears of being ripped off and ridiculed need to be put to rest. He needs it done smoothly and honestly.

When he reads a well-written guarantee, your prospect tells himself, “Well, if I don’t like the product, I can always get my money back.” This eases some of his fears of being cheated. But, the guarantee’s power goes further.

“And,” he continues, “if they didn’t think the product works well, they wouldn’t be offering my money back. They must really think it’s good.” And, the stronger the guarantee, the stronger this feeling grows.

At this stage he’s put his fears of being cheated aside. He senses he’s now in control. And, he’s strengthened his trust in you.

But wait … there’s more!

Finally, your prospect says, “And if my wife gives me any grief about spending $189 for this [whatever it is], I’ll tell her I can always get my money back. That should make her feel good.”

Good-bye, fears of ridicule. Good-bye, doubt. Good-bye, buyer’s remorse!

A strong guarantee will increase response rate. In researching this article, I read it can increase response anywhere from 21% to 300%. That’s way too large a spread to say definitely what that rate is.

But, a 21% increase in response could mean the difference between a dud and a blockbuster.

Today, we’ve talked about the “why” of writing a strong guarantee. I hope to see you next week when I’ll go into greater depth about the “how” of this essential part of a successful promotion.

But, before you go, I’d love to hear about your experiences with guarantees. Do you like writing them? Have clients fussed about them? Did you ever have a client who refused to include one? Tell us below.

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Published: February 29, 2016

7 Responses to “Why Your Guarantee Must Do More Than Assure Satisfaction”

  1. Brilliant analysis...never thought of a "guarantee" further than, I am not being conned. If I give any "guarantees" for anything, I will for sure treat it as my BOND.

    Thanks for the eye opener

    Guest (Oscar)February 29, 2016 at 12:16 pm

  2. Guess I'm an oddball, but when I see an advertisement with a big, prominent guarantee, it's a BIG RED FLAG telling me to RUN AWAY. How's that? I figure if a product is really good, why would it need a guarantee? Plus, what guarantees the guarantee? BUT, here's the exception: I already know the company is good (like AWAI!). Or pair it with a Push convincing me there's value in trying it even if it fails, and (without it being said) I can afford to lose the money if the guarantee doesn't pan out.

    TrueBlaveFebruary 29, 2016 at 1:50 pm

  3. Quite frankly, I have very little actual sales experience, though I have been "selling" things my entire life. For instance, as a police officer, every contact I had with the public was an opportunity for me to earn public trust. I learned very early on in my career that, if someone was going to "buy what I was selling," I had to establish credibility. The only guarantee I could offer was that I would treat them fairly and with respect. When I delivered, I had earned their trust.

    Guest (Kevin Thiele)February 29, 2016 at 2:57 pm

  4. The only guarantee I personally would extend is in association with a company or working group that the resposability is dispersive or communal but quality of service is uniform focused and assured in concert to outcome\satisfaction. form to finish construction, municipal ocean lifeguard service and junior lifeguard beach program. All in flux or totally insecure seasonal work. I personally am not in a domestic or financial situation to guarantee much of anything. Still reading. It is the projection of personality Ford, Drucker!,"Boswell", McHorse Yenkle etc that are keeping my interest as guarantors

    Guest (N S Shoemaker )February 29, 2016 at 9:14 pm

  5. Customers LOVE it when I promise them that, after their purchase, neither they nor I will be able to decide who's luckier. A win/win. In the can!

    Guest (Chris Morris)March 4, 2016 at 8:39 am

  6. great postscriptum at the end of the email...

    Hardip NattMarch 20, 2016 at 9:06 pm


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