Message & Media: Satisfaction Guaranteed

6 examples of the profitable power of a promise

The simplest, most effective way to diffuse buying objections is with a simple, straightforward guarantee.

Having an unconditional promise of 100 percent customer satisfaction can be the difference between making a first-time sale to a customer who becomes a very loyal (and profitable) customer … or not.

A no-risk guarantee entices fence-sitters to jump off the fence and comparison-shoppers to choose you over the competition. It’s a key element of your offer as part of what you’re willing to give in exchange for response.

If you don’t have a guarantee, you should. And if you do have a guarantee and don’t promote it—shame on you.

There’s nothing worse than making a prospective customer hunt for your guarantee. This is someone who WANTS to spend money with you but needs reassurance about your credibility. Your guarantee should be easy to find; whether it’s on your website, in your store or in a direct mail piece.

Aaron Montgomery Ward, mail order pioneer, recognized the power of the guarantee in 1875 when he introduced his company’s policy of “satisfaction guaranteed or your money back.” It was his way of reassuring rural customers accustomed to shopping in dry goods stores—not by mail—they could trust his catalog as a reputable source of quality products. With a solid guarantee aimed at diffusing doubters, he built a mail order business that sold everything from clothing to barbed wire, saddles, windmills, and even steam engines—the of its time.

During the past 137 years, the guarantee has become a staple of marketers using all channels—mail order, TV, e-commerce, you name it!

Here are six interesting examples of guarantees, some with intriguing elements you may want to incorporate into your own.

1. Diffuse the “but” objection. Here’s a guarantee that resolves one of the biggest concerns of homeowners involved in painting projects. It’s the “BUT what if I really don’t like the color once it’s on all four walls?” objection.

Pat Friesen is a direct response copywriter, content developer, copy coach and creative strategist. She is also the author of "The Cross-Channel Copywriting Handbook," published by Direct Marketing IQ. Reach her at (913) 341-1211.

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