How to Guarantee Your Way to Greater Direct Marketing Success

By David Garfinkel 

You know what happens before a client pulls out their wallet or checkbook? They hear a little voice in their head asking, "What if something goes wrong?"

It doesn't matter whether that prospect is just about to buy a cheap paperback novel or a million-dollar yacht--the question is always the same. But the impact of the question will be different, depending these three factors:

- Factor #1: How much money is involved.

- Factor #2: How important the purchase is.

- Factor #3: How many other people will be affected.

The greater these factors are, the more troubling the question "What if something goes wrong?" will be inside the mind of your prospective client.

Wow-- that really puts you--as a direct marketer-- in a corner, doesn't it? Like the corner at the intersection of Nervous Customers Avenue and Stalled Sales Boulevard. But I'll show you a way to get things moving again--a number of ways, in fact.

Start with this proven balm to calm your prospects' jumpy nerves:

• Provide more reassurance to your prospects.

It's human nature that your prospects are worried, especially if they're buying by mail, phone or over the Internet. They need reassurance that what they're doing is not risky. Of course you know this, but, have you ever thought what would happen if you increased the level of reassurance you offer your customers?

I'll tell you what would happen. Sales would increase at the same time.

So it might be worth considering. But how do you increase the level of reassurance you offer your customers?

Two of the easiest ways to do this right away are to strengthen and lengthen your guarantee. Here are the details:

• Make your guarantee stronger.

Just as with headlines, guarantees aren't nearly as powerful in attracting additional customers when the guarantee is stated in a merely factual and logical fashion.

Of course, a factual, logical and explicitly stated guarantee will be more effective in promoting sales than no guarantee at all, or a guarantee that is merely mentioned but not described.

However, a guarantee that is both clearly explained and vividly dramatized is simply the best of all. Here are two examples for a hypothetical product, the Soothie-Lounger Massage Chair, to show you the difference between the two ways of stating a guarantee.

Example 1:

"The Soothie-Lounger Massage Chair is fully guaranteed for one year. If you are not satisfied for any reason, let us know and we will arrange for return shipping and refund your entire purchase price."

Factual, logical, descriptive--that's good. But compare it to the following:

Example 2:

"The Soothie-Lounger Massage Chair is fully guaranteed for one year. Use it at the end of a rough day to gently massage away your tensions. Turn watching TV into a relaxing stress-reduction session. Take a nap in the Soothie-Lounger and wake up refreshed like never before.

"Try the Soothie-Lounger for a full year. If for any reason you are not fully satisfied, all you have to do is give us a call toll-free and we'll take care of the rest for you. We'll even arrange for return shipping as well as refund your entire purchase price. That's your no-hassle, unconditional one-year money-back guarantee."

See the difference? By dramatizing the guarantee, it becomes more memorable and more compelling. In short, stronger.

Action: First, make sure you've explained your guarantee clearly and completely in a factual way that's easy to understand. Then, dramatize the guarantee by suggesting uses of your product the customer can measure through experience to determine their personal satisfaction with, and/or the performance of, the product.

Make your guarantee longer.

A friend of mine sells unique, very powerful specialized business information by mail order, and he offers a lifetime guarantee. His product is a good value for the money, and his customer service is first-rate. He's sold over 2 million products and he says he can practically count the returns on one hand. He also says experience has shown over and over that the longer the guarantee, the fewer the returns.

Will this work in your business? Probably. Better guarantees typically increase response rates. The percentage of total orders returned usually either stays the same or in some cases actually declines. If you were selling 100 units for every mailing before and getting 5 returns, you might sell 200 units with a greatly improved guarantee and get perhaps 10 returns, or less, for the same size mailing.

What you should focus on is not doubling the returns. Those returns were going to happen sooner or later anyway. What you should focus on is getting twice as many sales for the same mailing cost--and getting more than twice the profits, since your fixed mailing cost stayed the same.

Action: Test a longer guarantee on a portion of your promotion, and track returns. The odds are very good that returns will stay even on a percentage basis. They may actually decrease.

To sum up: As an entrepreneur, you might believe that the last thing you should be worried about is the fear your customers feel right before they buy. But, in fact, taking the time and making the effort to calm that fear--before it can ever become a problem--is one of the smartest business moves you can make.

Why? Because as people grow to trust you and feel more comfortable about you, they will buy more from you, refer more of their friends to you, and even involve you in opportunities you probably never imagined could happen. And it all starts with the reassuring manner in the words you use and the actions you take.

David Garfinkel is widely recognized by many "marketing gurus" as their secret weapon. That is, he is known as "The World's Greatest Copywriting Coach"; because, he can, like no other, teach you how to turn words into cash.

David is also the author and narrator of Killer Copy Tactics, the Web's first and only totally interactive audio / visual learning system for writing killer sales copy.You can master these killer copy tactics by clicking here to discover the secrets of how you can write killer copy.



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