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The power of a great guarantee

 10 May 2019     Donald Cooper 

Whether you sell a product or a service, one of the most powerful marketing tools you can create is a compelling guarantee. The right guarantee will do these five things for you. It will: clearly differentiate you from your competitors; make you memorable and perhaps even ‘famous’; create customer confidence; focus every member of your team on delivering the compelling value that you guarantee; and, increase sales and profitability.

To be most effective, your guarantee must include two things:

Promise a specific level of performance or value that’s compelling to your target customers (and then make absolutely sure that you can deliver on it 99.9% of the time).

This could be a promise that something will happen if they do business with you (i.e. “We guarantee that your parcels will be delivered anywhere in North America by 9am the next day”) or, it could be a promise that something won’t happen (i.e. “We guarantee your car won’t rust for five years.)

Be specific about what you’ll do for the customer if you fail to deliver your promise.

My favorite example is, “Your pizza will be delivered in 40 minutes…or it’s FREE!”  They don’t guarantee that it’s a great tasting pizza. No, this guarantee is for people who value ‘fast’ more than flavor.

Hampton Inns has a simple but powerful ‘100% satisfaction guarantee’ – if you don’t like the room, it’s free!

Years ago, when I was an award-winning retailer of ladies’ fashions, we created an outrageous and powerful guarantee that made us famous and grew our bottom line.

We came up with what we called, ‘The world’s most unusual guarantee!’ It went like this, “We’re so sure you’ll love our store that if you show up and think we’re ‘for the birds’ I’ll pay your gas mileage!”

This gutsy guarantee differentiated us and gave literally thousands of new customers the confidence to travel up to two hours to try us out. And it focused our staff on delivering the amazing customer experience that made it worth the drive.

Competitors, friends and our accountant all said, “Cooper, you’re nuts! People will rip you off.” To which I replied, “No, you don’t get it. It really is an extraordinary store!” In over 11 years, we paid out less than $200 in gas mileage!

A guarantee is a promise and breaking that promise will kill your business. So, here’s how it works – perfect your delivery, then make the promise. Don’t promise first, and then try to figure out how the heck you’re going to pull it off. That will end badly.

So, what gutsy and powerful guarantee could you come up with in your business? What could you promise to do, or not do, that would clearly differentiate you, excite your customers, create confidence, focus your team and grow your bottom line?

Here’s something else to think about…
Where do your new employees start? Many companies announce to new employees, “You’ll start at the bottom.” What a horrible phrase! ‘The bottom’ sounds a pit of degradation from which you may never escape.

At Concours Collision Centres in Calgary every new employee starts at the beginning. ‘The beginning’ sounds like the start of an adventure in learning and gaining experience which you might actually enjoy.  What a difference that one word made. So, where do your new staff start?

Doing well by doing good. A Dutch company specializing in 3D printing items using crushed stone, is offering to help restore Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris after last month’s devastating fire. To demonstrate how it can help, the company, CONCR3DE, used its 3D printing expertise and some of the ash and stone from the Notre Dame ruins to reproduce one of the cathedral’s original gargoyles.

Are you always on the lookout for ways to creatively use your skills and resources to help out in your part of the world when tragedy strikes? What might that look like? It’s great for staff engagement and pride and it’s a great way to show what you do while showing ‘who’ you are.


Phoenix AMD
Stearns & Foster
This HGO article was written by:
Donald Cooper
Donald Cooper

Donald Cooper has been both a world-class manufacturer and an award-winning retailer. Now, as a business speaker and coach he helps business owners and managers throughout the world to rethink, refocus and re-energize their business to create compelling customer value, clarity of purpose and long-term profitability.


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