A business requires many ingredients in order to be successful on a sustained basis. One such ingredient is the ability of the business to stand out from the crowd and is commonly referred to as its unique selling point.
The Unique selling point or USP can take many different forms but the offer of a compelling guarantee is a powerful example and that’s what we are going to concentrate on here.
What is a Guarantee?
A guarantee is the promise of a particular action, level of performance or value that is highly attractive to a business’s target market together with the offer of compensation (preferably specific and named) should the original promise not be delivered.
Why is the offer of a good guarantee so powerful?
- A compelling guarantee sends a message to your potential customers that gives them the confidence to buy from you rather than your competitors because you are not only promising them the satisfaction that they are looking for with your product or service, but are also demonstrating that you are confident enough in your business to put your money where your mouth is when it comes to delivering on that promise. In other words a guarantee creates trust and removes a buying barrier.
- It provides you with that all-important Unique Selling Point which differentiates you from your competitors in the eyes of your potential customers, but will also form a critical part of your business plan which will be required by any lenders that you may be approaching for business loans.
- It will focus your team members on delivering the quality product/level of service or value that you are promising
- Increased customer confidence in your business will lead to an increase in sales. Providing you can then actually deliver what you have promised and don’t have customers exercising their rights under that guarantee, those increased sales will lead to increased profit and ultimately business growth.
Will there be any negative impacts on your business if you offer a guarantee?
The one thing that seems to stop businesses from offering a guarantee is the fear that customers will use it as a way of getting their money back. This may be true of the odd one or two customers but providing you can deliver on the promise behind the guarantee 99% of the time, the benefits to your business of offering a guarantee will far outweigh any compensation that you have to pay out to a very small minority.
Ensuring the effectiveness of your guarantee
Get the nature of it right
When deciding upon the nature of your guarantee there are four things you need to do;-
Listen to your audience
Conduct some market research and compile a list of your customers/potential customers’ biggest concerns and frustrations when considering a purchase of the product or service that you offer
Take a good look at your business
Once you understand the concerns and frustrations of your customers, ask yourself where your business can help them; what promise can you make (backed up by a guarantee) that would take the stress out of their buying experience or make it more pleasurable for them?
Look first to match one of their concerns or frustrations with something that you already do well, with a view to perfecting it rather than taking on a whole new challenge, you are much more likely to yield success this way. Only when you have perfected the delivery of your chosen attribute should you start marketing it as a promise. If you do need to choose something that you don’t already do or aren’t already good at, or your business is new and therefore everything is unchartered territory for you, again focus yourself and your team on perfecting the delivery of the promise behind the guarantee before advertising it within your market place as your unique selling point. This will prevent the potentially costly scenario of needing to compensate regularly under the terms of the guarantee for a failure to deliver upon your promise.
NB. Ensure that you do not base a guarantee upon a promise that can be affected by external factors beyond your control. For example, if you have a landscape gardening business, you wouldn’t want to guarantee money back if the job isn’t finished within a certain timeframe because during the winter months there is a risk of the ground being covered in snow for unknown periods of time and you being physically unable to complete the job.
Make sure it’s specific and kept to the point
When putting your guarantee into words avoid very general statements such as “100% satisfaction guaranteed or your money back”. The power of a guarantee is lost with such statements because they have been used so many times and the power is in the specifics. In addition, keep it short and to the point – something punchy is more easily remembered and passed on!
Here are some examples of good guarantees:
If you’ve changed your mind about that colour, simply tell us why it isn’t right and we will send you a voucher for a replacement can.
– Dulux (Lets Colour Guarantee)
If we’re not 10% cheaper on your comparable grocery shopping we’ll give you the difference. Guaranteed!
– Asda (Low Price Guarantee)
If, at the end of two weeks, you’re not satisfied, just let us know and we’ll give you your money back. No quibbles.
– Weight Watchers (Satisfaction Guarantee)
If at any time you are not completely satisfied with the performance of your Cutco product, we will correct the problem or replace the product.
– Cutco (Forever Guarantee)
If for any reason you are not 100% satisfied with any product, we will gladly replace the product AND refund your money.
– Aldi (Double Guarantee)
Once you have perfected the delivery of your promise and created your guarantee, remember to continuously promote it at every opportunity (website, in store, on all direct mail, advertisements, business cards etc), ensuring that it’s visible and easy to find! There is no point in achieving perfection in the delivery of a promise that would make a difference to your potential customers’ buying decisions if the potential customer isn’t aware of it. In this scenario, the only customers that you would be providing a great experience for are those who were lucky enough to stumble across it.
Make the promise behind it integral to your business culture
The effectiveness of your guarantee will be dependent on it becoming an integral part of your business culture. This will require buy-in from every member of your team so make sure that you spend plenty of time briefing them on its importance. Consider incentivising your team to really focus them, although perhaps look for something other than financial incentive for this; they need to believe in the promise that you are striving to deliver rather than just carrying out a series of necessary tasks for financial reward. Offering team nights out or” Employee of the Month” type schemes based on performance in the delivery of the company promise are much more effective incentives than money when it comes to developing company culture.
Invest the time and effort into a creating a powerful guarantee and maintaining the delivery of the promise behind it and you can look forward to reaping the rewards of being chosen over your competitors time and time again.
We hope that this article has been interesting and informative. If you have any queries or would like to discuss how to create a powerful guarantee for your business, please contact Sam on 0800 954 2099 for a Free Consultation or
complete our online form.