Imagine if every time you bought something, a little kid appeared in front of you and kicked you in the shin.
Sounds ridiculous, right?
Right… But on the level of your brain, that’s exactly what happens! When you spend money, your brain lights up just as if you got kicked in the shin.
And that’s why no one likes to spend money. Spending money hurts. Literally.
Now what if you could remove that pain of spending?
Well, you CAN. All you need is a compelling guarantee, and it could boost your sales anywhere from 21% to 300%.
The Actual Reason Why People Don’t Buy – And What You Can Do About It
You see, when we experience pain, a certain region of our brain – the insular – lights up under a brain scan.
And in a fascinating study, researchers from Carnegie Mellon, Stanford, and MIT were able to show that activity in the insular can PREDICT whether people buy or not…
In the trial, participants first saw a product, then saw its price, and finally decided whether or not to purchase it.
As soon as participants saw the price, the insular got active… And activation was much greater for the products that people eventually didn’t buy than for the products they did buy.
So when people don’t buy, it’s not just because they’re evaluating your product and thinking about what else they could do with the money… It’s also because they experience the IMMEDIATE pain of spending!
And that proves it:
People don’t buy because spending money hurts, and that’s why it’s our job as business owners to make it hurt less.
But why does it hurt in the first place?
Well, the pain of spending stems from this simple fact:
For your customers, with every purchase comes RISK…
…the risk that the product doesn’t work for them as promised. The risk it may be a big waste of time. Even worse, the risk that they just made a wrong decision that cost them a bunch of money.
When you remove the risk, you remove the pain.
And when you remove the pain, you increase the number of people that are ready to buy what you sell. And you can take that to the BANK!
Less Pain for Them, More Sales for You…
So how do you remove the pain?
Here’s the short answer:
You MUST create a bullet-proof guarantee…
…because the guarantee transfers the risk from the buyer to the seller.
And that shows the buyer that if the product doesn’t deliver, they won’t be out the money… thus eliminating the pain of spending.
It’s how buyer psychology works.
Now I know “offer a guarantee” sounds like common sense, and it is. But in the remaining part of this article I’ll show you 39 types of guarantees you can offer…
…and how they apply for each type of business.
But first, I want you to know why offering the RIGHT guarantee is so important.
You see, a lot of people, in my experience, tend to tack on the guarantee on the end. And they think very little about how to phrase it the right way…
…almost as if it’s an afterthought. When it really should be one of the MAIN things you think about when you’re selling your products and services.
When you craft the RIGHT guarantee – one that people actually believe, and feel comforted by – it turns your offer into a no-brainer… and you’re set.
As you’ll see below, Zappos, FedEx, and Domino’s Pizza are all famous companies that used the PERFECT guarantees for their customers. And they built billion dollar businesses…
…But I want to share a different story:
Greg Brookes is a personal trainer from the UK. A few years ago, he started featuring this bold guarantee on his website:
Lose 7 lbs in 30 Days or Your Money Back!
And what happened?
Within 18 months those 10 words catapulted Greg’s sales to over six figures!
Greg put all the risk – spending money for a personal trainer but not getting any results – on HIS own shoulders. And that’s what compelled his clients to choose him over his competition.
For a service business like a personal trainer, what Greg did seems bold and risky…
And of course you might be worried, “Well, what if what I sell is reliant on the customer actually doing what I tell them to do?”
You’re right. And that’s why a bold guarantee like that may not be right for everyone.
But finding the right guarantee for your business beats sticking a “satisfaction guaranteed” logo at the end of your sales page…
So what other types of guarantees can you offer?
The 39 Types Of Guarantees (Pick The One That’s Right For You)
By now you know the benefits of creating a guarantee, and you’re probably wondering, “What type of guarantee can I offer to my customers?”
Well, I’m a guarantee collector. Every time I see an interesting one, I save it. And today, I’m going to reveal them all to you for free.
You can either read them all on this page right here…
…or you can download them all RIGHT NOW in this handy PDF. It’s FREE.
(I suggest you grab the PDF so you can reference it later).
And you’ll walk away with something you can copy and use on your page today…
But before you dive in, I want to break down…
The 3 basic elements of every guarantee
A strong guarantee has 3 basic elements. They are:
The length is simply the amount of time for which the guarantee is valid.
The payoff is what your customers get when they call on the guarantee. Do they get a refund or something else? Do they get MORE back than the value of the offer?
A guarantee can have ZERO or any number of conditions. This is where you spell out what satisfaction really means, and the exact steps people need to take to get the full payoff.
Are guarantees with the LEAST conditions always the best?
Research shows that if customers are uncertain about the outcome of using your product until they experience it, conditions actually make your offer MORE credible.
Keeping this in mind…
…let me walk you through every type of guarantee I’ve ever stumbled upon.
Guarantee #1: The Standard Money-Back Guarantee
Offering a 30, 60 or even 90 day money-back guarantee is pretty standard… and it’s better than nothing. An example of this standard guarantee would be this:
Put us to the test! Use [PRODUCT] for up to [LENGTH] days, risk-free. If for any reason you are not completely satisfied, simply return the product for a FULL refund. Just drop us a line at [EMAIL ADDRESS] to take advantage of our [LENGTH]-Day Money-Back Guarantee.
As a general rule, remember this:
The longer the guarantee period, the better for your sales.
At the very least, you have to give people enough time to figure out if the product is right for them.
Now, a simple money-back guarantee won’t make your business stand out from your competition, unless…
…you’re in an industry where guarantees are UNHEARD of.
Jay Abraham, in his book “Getting Everything You Can Out of All You’ve Got,” cites a car dealer who DOUBLED his business by offering a two-week, 100% money-back guarantee on any new or used car. If you’re a car buyer, why would you go to any other dealer?
Guarantee #2: The Extensive Money-Back Guarantee
…if you want to go crazy, you can do something similar to what Zappos, The Great Courses, and Cutco did:
The Zappos 365 day return policy played a major part in the company’s success early on. In 2001, three years after they got started, their sales quadrupled to $8.6 million:
With Zappos Retail, Inc.’s 365 day return policy, there are no special catches or exceptions. All we ask is that you send the items back to us in the original packaging, and make sure that the merchandise is in the same condition. If you are not 100% satisfied with your purchase, you can return your order to the warehouse for a full refund.
Here’s another example of an extensive guarantee. This one’s from The Great Courses, who sell lectures online:
Your satisfaction is 100% guaranteed! If a course is ever less than completely satisfying, you may exchange it for another of equal value at any time. You may also return any course, within one year of initial purchase, for a full refund. (…) We guarantee your satisfaction for a lifetime because we want you to be our customer for a lifetime of learning.
Or what about Cutco’s “Forever” Guarantee:
Cutco stands behind every item that leaves our factory. With over 65 years of expert craftsmanship, Cutco makes knives and kitchen products you can depend on. Forever. When you send your well-loved Cutco products in for sharpening or repair they will be cared for as if they were our own. Your products go through a detailed multi-step process and are returned to you like new. There’s no receipt or registration required.
That’s pretty strong!
And clearly, offering an extensive guarantee has worked EXTREMELY well for companies like Cutco, The Great Courses, or Zappos.
One side note: When you offer a money-back guarantee, you must SAVE that money aside. Because there’s always a risk that your customers will “call” on that money-back guarantee. If you can’t honor it, you’re going to be in trouble. So pick the length of time that works best for your cash flow needs.
What else can you do? That leads me to…
Guarantee #3: More Than Money-Back…
Put yourself in your customer’s shoes for a moment:
When you decide to buy something, you’re not only risking the money you spend. You’re also investing time and passing up on OTHER opportunities.
So in reality, if you don’t like the product you still suffer a loss – even if you get your money back!
As a clever business owner, you can adjust the payoff of your guarantee and offer MORE than money-back to solve that problem…
The standard “more than money-back” guarantee, is the double money-back guarantee. Which means the payoff when people call on the guarantee is double the price.
Here’s a GREAT example from Afrihost, a South African Internet Service Provider:
We Believe We’re The Best Choice For You! So we’ve decided to take all the risk onto our backs. If at any time in the first 60 days you feel that we did not live up to our promises and you choose to leave us, we’ll pay you back DOUBLE what you’ve paid us on that package, up to the point that you cancel – no strings and no questions!
Offering a double money-back guarantee probably won’t increase your refund rate by much. So you will only need a small boost in sales to make more money in the end…
…but again, use this with caution.
If you’re going to test something like this, I highly recommend you test it with a limited number of people. That way you can see how many people buy, and then see how many people refund.
You don’t want to open your business to an uncontrollable risk without knowing your numbers. And something like this puts you at risk of doing just that.
So, before ever trying something like this, limit your downside by limiting the number of times you offer this guarantee.
Guarantee #4: “We’ll Fix It” Guarantee
There are other ways you can offer MORE than money-back, and make your guarantee stand out…
Here’s an impressive example, I call this the “We’ll Fix It” guarantee:
LifeLock promises to protect its users against identity theft. If their services don’t work, and you do get your identity stolen, you’d probably care less about getting your money back than actually recovering your identity!
That’s why LifeLock features this guarantee prominently on their site:
If you become a victim of identity theft, LifeLock will spend up to $1 million to hire experts to help your recovery.
Do you see how this works?
They’re going to promise to protect you – and if they don’t – they’ll fix it.
As you can imagine, this can apply in a multitude of ways.
Imagine if you’re a web designer. And the #1 fear people have about getting a new web design is ensuring that their existing content gets displayed properly in the new design.
Now imagine if you said something like, “When we make your new design live, we’ll audit your site to ensure all your content looks perfect. And if it doesn’t, we’ll fix it.”
You might think, “Well, that’s self-explanatory. OF COURSE I would do that!”
But you know what?
What’s obvious to you isn’t obvious to your customer and offering a “We’ll Fix IT Guarantee” may be a way for you to show them you’re different – even if everyone offers the same thing.
The person who says it gets the credit for it.
Guarantee #5: The Competitor Guarantee
Another version of a guarantee that offers more than money-back, is the “I’ll pay for my competitor’s product” guarantee…
I found this on a language tutor’s website, but it can work for any product:
If after the first class you decide I’m not a good fit, I will not just refund your money, but I’ll set you up with a different tutor and pay for your first class.
But be careful…
If you’re offering a service, and currently have lots of clients asking for refunds, this could backfire. If your refund rate is high, focus on making your product better first…
However, if you’re also selling a digital product, check out this next guarantee:
Guarantee #6: The “I’ll Work With You” Guarantee
This works for any consultant who’s selling digital products.
Here’s an example of a career coach. He offers the following guarantee on his digital courses:
If you don’t see real, lasting, exciting change in your career and life… if you aren’t clearly headed down a better and more fulfilling path… I insist that you email me and ask for a full refund. I’ll even cover the credit card processing fee.
PLUS, if at the end of 90 days you still haven’t identified one of your passions and started to make money from it, I’ll offer you a free one-on-one coaching session to get you back on track. These are full-fledged sessions I charged up to $250/hr before I closed my coaching practice.
If you put in the work and go through the process, you WILL find your passion and build a career around work that excites you. It’s worked for thousands of people before you in hundreds of different scenarios, and will for you as well.
I’m not a huge fan of it, because you might end up wasting your time with the most “difficult” customers. But it’s something you can consider in your business, and decide if it’s right for you.
That said, that’s why I prefer…
Guarantee #7: The Bonus Guarantee
I LOVE the Bonus Guarantee! That’s why I use it for my software product Zippy Courses:
100% Risk Free: If you try Zippy Courses today, you get all these bonuses… and you have 30 days to try it all out. IF you don’t like it, email our support team (…) within 30 days, and we’ll give you 100% of your money back.
With a Bonus Guarantee you’re offering more than money-back WITHOUT putting any extra cash on the line.
Combine a bonus with a strong money-back guarantee, and your offer will be almost impossible to resist!
You see, if people Buy Zippy and don’t like it, they can KEEP the bonuses. No hard feelings. And it doesn’t require me to spend that much time on someone who was going to refund anyway.
Guarantee #8: The 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
In a way, all the guarantees we’ve seen so far are actually 100% satisfaction guarantees… By that I mean, there were no conditions.
For a short and sweet example of such a guarantee, take the Starbucks “Barista Promise”:
Our Barista Promise: Love your beverage or let us know. We’ll always make it right.
The Hampton Inn is also famous for their 100% guarantee:
Friendly Service, clean rooms, comfortable surroundings, every time. If you’re not satisfied, we don’t expect you to pay. That’s our commitment & your guarantee. That’s 100% Hampton.
Here’s what’s amazing:
Only 1% of their total revenue goes towards honoring that guarantee!
So more often than not, people don’t want a refund… They just want to know you’ll make it right IF there’s a real issue. A satisfaction guarantee gives you that opportunity.
Next, let’s look at one of the most famous return policies…
Guarantee #9: The No-Policy Guarantee
Nordstrom is famous for their return policy because… they don’t have one! Here’s what it says on their website:
We don’t actually have a return policy for purchases made at Nordstrom stores or at Nordstrom.com. We handle returns on a case-by-case basis with the ultimate objective of satisfying the customer. We stand behind our goods and services and want customers to be satisfied with them. We’ll always do our best to take care of customers—our philosophy is to deal with them fairly and reasonably; we hope they will be fair and reasonable with us as well.
The company actually tells their employees to accept ANY return. No matter the condition or circumstances.
Is this right for you?
Maybe. If you’re selling physical products, you don’t need to worry about people stealing your time. So offering a guarantee without any conditions is probably the way to go.
And remember to make it EASY for your customer: Offer free shipping, include pre-paid return labels etc.
Guarantee #10: The “No Questions Asked” Guarantee
You can offer something similar to Nordstrom’s unconditional return policy even if you’re selling digital products. I call it the “No questions asked” guarantee…
Here’s an example (from type designer Sean McGabe Hand Lettering course):
I believe strongly in the quality of Learn Lettering to not only substantially increase your lettering skills, but also make you back 20x your investment. I’ve poured my heart and soul into consolidating a gold mine of knowledge that will enable you to make a living as a lettering artist.
I confidently back it with a 30-Day, Money-Back Guarantee. I want you to dive in deep and experience the full wealth of this resource without inhibition.
If you’re not satisfied, just contact me within 30 days of purchase, and I’ll refund your money. No questions asked.
Now, you’re probably worried and thinking:
“If I guarantee to refund money after people receive the product, everyone will just steal my product!”
Cheaters gonna cheat…
So what can you do?
For one, offer a high quality product! The honest people won’t have a REASON to ask for a refund…
…and the dishonest people – research shows – are LESS likely to cheat, when they’re actually satisfied.
Plus: do you really want to penalize the good people because of the actions of a few unscrupulous people?
Of course, you can also introduce conditions. Not only to discourage cheating, but it can actually make your guarantee MORE credible…
Guarantee #11: The “One-Conditional” Guarantee
John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing suggests that buyers must meet just ONE condition to get a full refund: They have to give you feedback on how to make the product or service better.
Here’s a simple script you can use:
If for any reason you’re not satisfied with [PRODUCT] we’ll issue a prompt and full refund. There’s only ONE condition: Please tell us the main reason you weren’t happy with the product, so we have a chance to make it better.
On to the next one…
Guarantee #12: The “Show Me You Did the Work” Guarantee
My friend Marie Forleo made this popular, and I decided to try the same thing on my course Yes Engines. Here’s what I do…
I don’t ask for feedback, but I want to see that people actually USED the material. Here’s the script:
If you decide this isn’t working for you, contact our support team (…) show us you actually did the work (and completed the worksheets), and we’ll issue you a prompt FULL refund.
Let me explain why this works EXTREMELY well for a product like mine:
The only way to really know whether the material in the course works is to actually USE it. Makes sense, right?
Everyone understands that. So if I offered a “no questions asked” guarantee it would actually make the guarantee seem much more like a sales “trick”.
The guarantee would be LESS credible.
As a general rule:
The less your customers know about you and your product before they buy, the less credible a no questions asked guarantee will seem…
I use this guarantee to scare off the people who just buy courses, never open them, and then ask for a refund.
After running my business for 3.5 years, I instituted this policy mainly because I only want people who are ready to commit to learning the material AND using it. And that’s why this guarantee works well for me.
Guarantee #13: The Minimum Result Guarantee
Instead of a vague “satisfaction” guarantee, it’s always better to be CLEAR and SPECIFIC about the RESULTS customers can expect… And that’s what a minimum results guarantee does.
Take for example this guarantee for a home teaching program:
If your grade doesn’t increase by at least 1 level, you’ll receive a full refund.
Now what if you offer a service?
Let’s say you’re a marketing consultant. You could offer something like this:
If I can’t increase your conversion rate by at least 6%, I will issue a full refund.
Or as a personal trainer:
Lose 7lbs in 30 Days or Your Money Back!
Now, I know that if you sell a service, offering a money-back guarantee can be SCARY.
I mean, do you really want to give all the money back AFTER you did the work? You can’t get your time back… So if a significant number of people take you up on the offer, you’ll be broke soon!
So here’s what you need to do:
Look at the results you got with your previous clients. And ask yourself: What is the minimum result I can guarantee?
Or even better…
Guarantee #14: The Conditional Guarantee
… combine your minimum result with the RIGHT conditions.
Take a look at this offer from Halevy Life’s, a private training gym:
Does your gym or personal trainer guarantee your results? Well, we do. Give us ninety days and we will transform you. And we’re so sure of it, that at the end of 90 days if you haven’t improved in at least three of five quantifiable fitness measures, we’ll simply return your money. To be eligible for Fitness Guaranteed® you must commit to working with us three times per week, for a period of three months.
Here’s why this works:
It doesn’t just say “we’ll guarantee you’ll be more fit”. That’s vague and subjective…
Instead, it tells you EXACTLY what will happen (“You’ll improve at least three quantifiable fitness measures”) and what’s expected (“work out at least three times per week”).
These are the RIGHT kind of conditions. Because they make the offer MORE credible.
Guarantee #15: Try Before You Buy
There’s always a long line at the ice creamery a couple blocks from my apartment.
Why? Because everyone wants to taste test several flavors before they commit… to ICE CREAM!
Apparently removing the risk of choosing the “wrong” flavor is worth waiting in line…
If you offer different versions of your product, remove the risk of choosing the “wrong” one with a “Try Before You Buy” guarantee.
Guarantee #16: The Buy-Back Guarantee
If you’re selling physical products in large quantities, consider the Buy-Back guarantee. Think of moving boxes, for example…
The question for your customer is “How many should I get?”
That’s why U-Haul features this guarantee:
We offer 100% buy-back of any unused U-Haul boxes, with receipt, at any U-Haul center nationwide.
This is great for a few reasons…
When people need to buy something in bulk, they’re going to be scared they’re buying too much – and they may buy too little.
This is bad for the customer. It’s also bad for you because you won’t sell as much as you should have sold.
This Buy-Back guarantee, on the other hand, takes the “too little or too much” problem off the table. It makes people buy “too much,” under the guise of, “I can just return the extra.”
Guarantee #17: The On-Time Guarantee
You know how plumbers are notorious for being late?
That’s why the Benjamin Franklin Plumbing company branded itself “The Punctual Plumber”… and backed it up with their clever on-time guarantee:
At Benjamin Franklin Plumbing your complete satisfaction with both our service and our plumbers is 100% guaranteed. Our on-time guarantee is backed by highly-skilled, expertly-trained plumbers. If we’re not on time, we pay you $5.00 per each minute we’re late (up to $300).
If you provide an in-person service, being on time is probably important to YOUR customers, too.
Could you imagine if a doctor’s office did this?
Imagine if a doctor’s office said, we will see you at the time we promised – or your visit is on us.
That will never happen. Because doctors are notoriously horrible at sticking to the time they promise… but imagine if they did? I’d go to them exclusively.
Guarantee #18: The Delivery/Turnaround Guarantee
How did FedEx outdo the U.S. postal service and become the go-to delivery service for corporations? With their reliability and overnight delivery guarantee, of course:
You can count on FedEx reliability. We have a remarkable on-time delivery record, and we back (…) shipments with a money-back guarantee.
When something absolutely NEEDS to be delivered at a certain time, a guarantee like that makes the difference.
How does this apply to you?
If you provide any kind of service or product where RELIABLE delivery or QUICK turnaround time is the main risk, you could introduce a similar guarantee.
Here’s a script you can use:
We know you absolutely rely on timely delivery. That’s why we guarantee [TURNAROUND TIME] day delivery on all of your orders. If we don’t deliver on time, we’ll refund your money in full.
How might this apply to online services and products?
If you’re a consultant, or web designer, or providing any type of service, you can guarantee a deliverable within a certain time period.
That will help your client know when you’ll deliver – and it will put you on the hook for delivering it.
Again, doing something like this might be scary. But it can also be the difference between closing the client and losing the client.
Guarantee #19: The Free Sample Guarantee
Can you offer a free sample of a DIGITAL product?
Think of Amazon. Publishers can include free sample versions of their e-books. That way anyone thinking about buying the book, can get a feel for the writing style and content.
It works if you’re selling a course, too. You can simply offer access to one of your lessons.
Or if you know how to launch your product the right way – like I outline in Yes Engines – the whole idea of the “Free Sample” is built into the marketing strategy.
And it sure does help increase conversions.
Guarantee #20: The Risk-Free Trial
If you’re selling a subscription or software as a service, the “Risk-free Trial” has become the standard risk-reversal…
For a software product, your first goal is to get people to TRY… and then buy.
When GetResponse prominently featured a free trial button on their homepage, the number of free accounts increased by 158.60%. There was no negative influence on the number of paid accounts created directly via homepage either…
The same was true for ArtsyEditor, a wordpress plugin for writers. Offering a risk-free trial brought 47% more people to their pricing page.
CrazyEgg replaced their money-back guarantee badges with “30-day free trial” badges – and boosted signups by 116%!
Now I’m not sure if I’d do the same thing for a non-software product. But I do like the risk free trial in one way:
I like it when people can try it, and if they don’t upgrade to the paid plan, they lose access to everything.
This is actually known as a “pain of disconnect”. And it works GREAT for software as a service companies.
But I would refrain from doing it for an online course because, again, people could just buy the course, download it, and keep it.
Not saying that’s what most people would do…
…but it sure as heck makes it a lot easier to do it. And as Dan Ariely pointed out in his book, “The Honest Truth About Dishonesty,” people are only as honest as long as being dishonest is harder than being honest.
Guarantee #21: The No-Catch $1 Trial
Instead of a free trial, some software companies offer a $1 trial. Here’s an example from Moz, a company that provides marketing analytics and tools:
They offered their free subscribers a 30-day full-featured membership for just $1.
While it’s not free, $1 is still a pretty low risk. Yet, some people still didn’t sign up. Moz wanted to find out why…
As it turns out, those people had one main concern:
“What’s the catch?”
People worried that there was a hidden catch, and that they would somehow have to sign up for a long-term contract.
Here’s what that means for you:
If you offer a $1 trial – or even when you ask for the credit card information upfront – make it clear that there is NO CATCH and that you will make it easy for people to cancel…
Because let’s face it… Some companies make it difficult to cancel their service during the trial, just so they can charge people!
In my book, that’s BAD business.
So don’t use this to trick people. The goal of your trial is to get people to actually USE your service, so they can decide whether it’s right for them.
If you’re selling software as a service, chances are you will get the best results if you focus on attracting serious prospects, and offering a free trial.
Guarantee #22: Lowest Price Guarantee
I don’t recommend you compete on price… But let’s face it:
Who doesn’t love a good deal?
That’s why travel website sunshine.co.uk offers this straightforward guarantee on their home page:
Find your holiday cheaper, and we’ll refund the difference.
The lowest price guarantee might not be right for you. Again, because competing on price means you’re in the commodity business.
But if you ARE in that business, then you could do it.
However check out…
Guarantee #23: The Price Drop Guarantee
More than we love getting a good deal, we hate getting a bad one.
It’s a DISGUSTING feeling when you finally decide to buy something… only to see the price drop just a few days later!
The airline WestJet realized this. And that’s why they offer their price-drop guarantee:
Book the flight you want, and if the price drops after you book, right up until 2 hours before you fly, we’ll give you back the difference in WestJet dollars. No games, just peace of mind. That’s our Price Drop Guarantee.
Want to know what’s funny?
Many consumer credit cards have this feature BUILT IN to their credit card policy. Meaning, if someone buys something for $99 bucks, and a day later it’s $89, your credit card may offer protection against just that.
But here, WestJet just offered it as part of their policy.
On the flip side, there’s…
Guarantee #24: The Price Lock Guarantee
This takes away the risk of getting quoted one price, only to see “costs” go up and facing a much higher bill.
That’s awful for your customer. But a price lock can fix it and help you close more deals.
Here’s an example I found on a home builder’s website:
Most “On-Your-Lot” and many other custom home builders will raise your price if material or labor costs go up. HiLine will never raise your price as long as construction begins within 90 days from order date. Once we start construction, your price is locked and will never be increased. Guaranteed!
And another one here, from a Payroll service provider. Different business, same idea:
Lock in your payroll price for two years with absolutely no increases and no long term contract to sign. We know businesses have to cut back and control expenses aggressively. You cannot raise your own prices or give anyone a wage increase, yet your outsourced vendors still demand their annual price hike…every year! Frustrated? Don’t be. Come to Inova Payroll and enjoy our innovative Two-Year-Price-Guarantee. It’s the smart thing to do.
If price increases are your customers’ main worry, the price lock guarantee is the way to reduce their risk.
Now, what if you sell a subscription or a recurring service? Take a look at…
Guarantee #25: No Contract Guarantee
As much as your customers like locking in a low price, they HATE being locked in a long term contract.
The No Contract guarantee takes that fear away. T-Mobile’s Un-contract is the perfect example. They even combine it with a price-lock AND price-drop guarantee! Check it out:
Trapped by contracts and phone payment plans? Say goodbye to old wireless forever—and say hello to The Un-carrier™, because T-Mobile breaks the rules to break you free. That means no more 2-year service contracts. No more overages. No more limits on our network. Join us and see why 1.6 million people have already broken free from their old carrier.
Here’s another reason to join T-Mobile. Now, we’ll guarantee your rates as long as you’re our customer, all without the restrictions of signing a long-term service contract. Here’s the best part: Your rates may go down, but they won’t go up. We call this approach Un-contract™.
Another way to deal with the fear of getting locked into a contract, is…
Guarantee #26: The Anytime Money-Back Guarantee
Quite a few hosting providers offer something like the “Anytime Money-Back” guarantee. But it works for any long term subscription.
Here’s a basic script from justhost:
Our cancellation policy is very simple – if you cancel your hosting account we will provide you with a refund for the remainder of the term.
This is great.
Because you can get people to sign up for a year – which is awesome for cash flow – but also reverse the risk of “What if I want to leave, do I waste my money?”
Guarantee #27: The “Get More” Guarantee
Your customers don’t want your service… they want a certain OUTCOME. And your service is only a way to help them get there.
That’s why I love the “We’ll Give You an Additional 6 months Free” guarantee from Match.com:
If you don’t find someone special during your initial 6-month subscription, we will give you an additional 6 months at no additional cost to you to continue your search. You’ll love your time with us. We guarantee it.
It’s a guarantee that’s focused on an outcome – in the case of a dating site, finding a partner – AND it keeps customers engaged with your product… while also turning someone who may hate you for the rest of their life into someone who may become one of your SUPER fans.
Guarantee #28: The Free Updates Guarantee
“Free Updates” work well for software and other digital products. It’s similar to the price drop guarantee: it reverses the risk of buying at the wrong time…
I’ve got two examples for you. The first guarantee is for a music software called FL Studio:
This might be hard to believe but buying FL Studio not only gets you the latest version but all future FL Studio updates free. This means you’ll receive FL Studio 12, 13, e.t.c., absolutely free as we believe you should have the functionality you paid for, bug-fixed and updated, for as long as we develop FL Studio.
Offering lifetime free updates is extensive… but it’s a STRONG risk reversal.
The second example is for a CPA exam preparation course. Here’s the script they use:
Your CPAexcel course has no expiration date. Use it until one year after you pass. Course repeats, online content updates, and software upgrades are free.
Guarantee #29: The “Premium Support” Guarantee
Ok, let’s face it:
Sometimes people don’t know how to use your product. Especially if you sell technical products or software. It’s a real risk people take when they buy…
… but it’s a risk you can reduce if you offer a “Premium Support” guarantee.
A good example is hosting: it’s a technical product, most people don’t really understand it, but it’s crucial that it works. Here’s a script:
With 100% uptime and secure, reliable servers, chances are you may never need to talk to us. However, if you do need a helping hand, our world-class U.S.-based technical support team is available 24/7/365. Codero offers a variety of convenient ways to communicate with us for technical or account support help.
You can also COMBINE the support guarantee with the “we’ll fix it” guarantee… That’s why TurboTax offers an Audit Support guarantee:
Our TurboTax Audit Support Guarantee gives you free audit guidance from a trained tax professional to help you understand your IRS notice and answer all your audit-related questions. This Guarantee covers all (…) federal and state returns prepared in TurboTax…
The TurboTax guarantee removes the risk of facing a tax audit alone, by offering a strong support guarantee.
Guarantee #30: The Implementation Guarantee
Huddle is a file sharing and collaboration software for companies. Their “Adoption” guarantee is basically a version of a premium support guarantee, combined with a minimum result.
Check it out:
The Huddle Adoption Guarantee is an industry first. We guarantee that within 90 days 100% of your initial user groups will be trained and using Huddle actively – or we will refund a full three months subscription value.
This is smart. Not only does it reduce the risk of people not using the software for the client, but it helps Huddle turn their clients into long-time, loyal subscribers.
Guarantee #31: The “If You Don’t Use It” Guarantee
Have you ever spent money on something you didn’t use?
I know I have! (Don’t judge, I really thought I was going to wear a watch if I bought an expensive one… but alas, now I have an expensive paperweight).
What I call a “If You Don’t Use it” guarantee takes that risk out of the equation for your customers.
As an example, some car dealers offer this kind of guarantee on their vehicle service contracts:
Have you ever heard the statement: You can have your cake and eat it too! Well, here it is in real life! Our program allows the customer to have the benefit of a Vehicle Service Contract in case of a mechanical breakdown, and also get a 100% refund of the purchase price of the VSC if they do not use it. Your customer will not be spending money on something they will not get a return on. It is a win-win for your customer.
Maybe a “If you don’t use it” guarantee can work in your business, too.
Guarantee #32: Partial Refund Guarantee
This is a weak guarantee… It’s basically LESS than money-back.
It COULD be a way to safeguard yourself against time-stealing clients if you’re in a service business. But it works best if you combine it with another type of guarantee like…
Guarantee #33: The Profit Guarantee
You’re probably thinking, “Derek, you’re crazy! I can’t guarantee profits!” But before you lash out at me like that, check this out…
Punters.com.au is a horse racing website. The users on the site can make money by selling their betting tips. And they can choose to include a profit guarantee. Here’s how it works:
When a tipper has chosen to offer a profit guarantee (they have the option to do so when adding their tips), you will automatically be entitled to a 70% refund if their tips don’t make some sort of profit if you were to bet on each of them. Profit guarantees are a great way to ensure you are not paying too much for tips if they don’t perform.
It’s basically a partial money-back guarantee with a minimum result (making a profit).
As a business consultant, can you guarantee profits in a similar way?
Guarantee #34: Revenue Share
This is a proven model in a few different industries. For example, music managers traditionally don’t get paid a fixed fee, but a percentage of the income their client generates.
If you’re a consultant, but you only get paid if your client makes money, that pretty much takes all the risk out of it for your client. It WILL help you close more sales. But watch out…
It only makes sense if you have control over the implementation of your advice.
And if you want to build in a security net for yourself, you can combine a revenue share with a minimum payment up front.
Guarantee #35: The Authenticity Guarantee
If you’re an ecommerce business selling physical products, what’s one of the main risks for your customers?
Customers can’t touch or examine your products in person. An authenticity guarantee can take care of that.
ESPECIALLY if you’re selling pre-owned luxury goods, like watches, jewelry, clothes or handbags. Here’s the script from yoogiscloset.com:
We know that shopping for pre-owned luxury items isn’t easy and nothing will ruin your day faster than finding out that the handbag you bought on an auction or classifieds website turns out to be a replica.
We guarantee the authenticity of every item we sell or 100% of your money back including original and return shipping costs. Only 100% authentic bags earn the tag!
Don’t believe this makes a difference? Take the site ExpressWatch.co.uk that sells Seiko watches online. When they introduced and prominently featured an authenticity badge, their sales conversions went up 107%!
So if you’re a online retailer, or say a vintage-seller, the authenticity guarantee is for you!
Guarantee #36: The Content Guarantee
Ok, this might seem crazy but… Ever thought about offering a guarantee for the quality of your content?
Well, check this:
The Winnipeg Free Press is a daily newspaper in Winnipeg. The editor decided to offer a money-back guarantee for their paid subscription offer:
Even better, we will be offering you a money-back guarantee if you don’t like what you paid to read. In other words, you won’t have to become a subscriber to consume our content; you will be able to dine la carte in much the same way iTunes allows you to buy what you want when you want.
Now on to…
Guarantee #37: The Payment Plan
This is not exactly a guarantee on its own… but offering a payment plan AND a standard money-back guarantee TOGETHER – especially for a high priced product – is a powerful risk reversal.
That’s why language learning software Rosetta Stone offers this:
The 3-Pay and 5-Pay Easy-Payment Plans are a convenient way to finance your Rosetta Stone® purchase. This service is a courtesy to our customers, with the plan offered at 0% APR (no interest charges).
Now, you might be surprised about this next one…
Guarantee #38: No Guarantee
“I thought this article was about guarantees…”
And it is. But sometimes offering NO guarantee is the way to go.
If you’re selling a very low priced item, or there’s simply no way you can offer a money-back guarantee on your service…
Rather than just ignoring the fact there’s no guarantee, you can highlight that you’re so CONFIDENT in your product, that you’re not offering a guarantee on purpose.
I can’t tell you if it will work for your product, so you’ll have to test it. You’ll also need to ensure it doesn’t violate any laws where you live.
Guarantee #39: The Exchange Guarantee
Instead of money-back, you can offer to issue a gift card or exchange the product for an item of the same value. Really, this only works for physical products, and it’s not very convincing.
Let’s say you’re an artist selling sculptures. If the client doesn’t like the art piece once they see it in their home, you could offer to exchange it for a different piece of the same value.
Obviously, this doesn’t eliminate all the risk… so it’s not as strong as a money-back guarantee.
I don’t recommend it.
That said, even though it works for physical products, if you have a catalogue of several courses, it could also work for that too.
If someone buys one course for $500, and wants a refund, you can offer to apply that $500 towards another course that they want instead.
Even though I personally haven’t tried this yet, it’s something worth testing to see if you can turn a refunder into a buyer once more…
The Perfect Guarantee for YOUR Business
Domino’s Pizza was close to bankruptcy when ONE simple promotion set them apart from all of their competitors:
30 minutes or less… or it’s free.
It’s GENIUS. And it goes beyond risk-reversal…
Instead of trying to charm customers with “great taste” – like EVERY other pizza place – that simple guarantee probably saved the company.
If you can come up with a guarantee that no one else is offering, but touches on an important pain point of your customers… now that’s powerful!
So how do you find the perfect guarantee for your business?
Let’s recap in 3 easy steps:
Step 1: What are the main risks?
Remember, the main goal is to ELIMINATE all the risk for your customer.
So first you need to identify what the main risks are:
Are customers concerned about overpaying? Are they worried they won’t know how to use your product correctly? Are they afraid your product will break? Are they afraid they won’t get it in time? Are they afraid it won’t fit?
Answer those questions and come up with a guarantee to take away that risk.
Step 2: What does “satisfaction” look like?
Remember, simply guaranteeing satisfaction can backfire, especially if you’re in a service business.
But it’s also too vague to be effective. Instead offer a more specific “minimum result” or “performance” guarantee.
To make sure you attract the right customers, you can always add conditions, too.
Step 3: More than money-back?
Remember, there’s a cost of doing business for your customers – even if they get their money back.
Can you offer more than money-back or a bonus with your offer?
Ideally, your guarantee will become not only a powerful risk reversal tool, but make you stand out among your competition, and make your offer irresistible!
Now Here’s What I Want You To Do…
This is one of the most comprehensive resources I’ve ever put together for Social Triggers – and I plan on doing more of them just like this.
So, if you found this helpful, here’s what I’d like you to do…
Share it on Facebook:
Guarantees can increase sales by 300%. And now you can see 39 examples of GREAT guarantees right here. No optin required.
Posted by Derek Halpern on Thursday, June 4, 2015
Or better yet, if you know someone who sells something online, send an email to them to let them know that this exists.
Also, if you want to have this as a downloadable resource that you have saved on your computer, you can enter your name and email right here…
…and get it. That way you don’t even have to remember where this is.
Then, what I want you to do is this:
Leave a comment sharing the guarantee you plan on using for your business. Even though this is comprehensive, more examples are always better.
Thanks, Derek, for such a great resource. I will use one of three or a combination of the three:
Guarantee #7: The Bonus Guarantee
Guarantee #10: The “No Questions Asked” Guarantee
Guarantee #37: The Payment Plan
Derek I’ve tried multiple emails to download the PDF. I just don’t receive the confirmation email in my inbox. I checked my spam filters. I’ve been waiting more than 12 hours and still no go.
At the Guarantee #10 you spelled Sean McCabe name wrong as Sean “McGabe”.
Just a tip.
Derek, as usual a great article, love getting them by email every now and again.
I’m in the process of writing some articles about providing perceived value to customers, and may very well end up using a lot of the examples here. Really good work.
As a consultant who provides mentoring and information products, I find that clients and customers are more apt to purchase if the see a guarantee.
Like yourself and Marie Forleo, I too use a conditional one that requires the purchaser to have actually tested the product or service and done the work, and I make sure that this condition is clear by highlighting it or bolding and underlining it.
Lots of good advice, Derek!
I think you might like the guarantee on the front page of my website:
“My meticulously-made jewelry carries a lifetime guarantee on labor and normal wear-and-tear. That means — if an ear wire breaks, or a cord frays 5 years from now — if you care enough to mail it back to me, I care enough to make it right.”
I’m not sure how much this has impacted sales (if at all) — but in 40 years, less than a handful of jewelry has come back for repairs, and of course I’ve honored the guarantee for all of it. If anything, the guarantee and my quality have brought me some very loyal customers.
Thank you for this elaborate post Derek, you rock! I’m sure these strategies will benefit a lot of people, and help them say yes + show up for themselves instead of standing in their own way because of limiting beliefs or fears of losing money. This post is epic!
This is the first time for me creating something to sell-an ebook. Would it be appropriate to offer free upgrades of information to anyone who buys the book?
Awesome article. I appreciate that fact that you added the risk part for every guarantee section. As a business person, I know so many people who put guarantees without considering the risk to their business, especially the cash flow. The money comes in, but they don’t reserve case in case a small percent of people get the refund.
That’s when the struggle happens.
I know you’ve made me think about my own business as well.
Keep up the great information flow.
Thanks You Derek!
Great post Derek. I never knew there were so many types of Guarantee’s. I’m working on designing a course and #12 will be prefect fit for that I think.
Shared it on Facebook 🙂
You are the best Derek. Thank you!
I own a hair salon and like in every city, you can throw a rock and hit your competitor. Offering a strong guarantee can possibly sway potential clients to come check us out versus the salon down the street.
Now to narrow down one to test out. Any suggestions Derek?
Paul with the service company that charges 2x his competitors is sounding great.
Thank you for this amazing resource and very interesting read. We discussed your article during our team retrospective and it sparked a lot of thoughts!
I run a service company refinishing bathtubs and tile with 10 trucks on the road. My prices are about twice my competitors who are in a race to the bottom on pricing. I’ve been offering a simple 100% satisfaction guarantee (no conditions) for over 8 years now. I was scared to death when I started it. I get about 1 to 3 request a year out of some 4000 jobs worth 1.5 million in sales. I’ve found people don’t want the refund they want any problems fixed. My competitors have twice the guarantee some even are saying lifetime. I think people see thru the BS but mine is believable.
Derek, I took two days to read this the first time and now I am going to download and read it again.
What an amazing topic resource! I won’t be asking for my money back on this one.
I was thinking about all the guarantees I see, hear and read and realized that most of them leave me yawning, but some of the examples you provided made me laugh, consider the possible outcome and really think.
It is almost like you are pointing out a missed gold nugget of a sales opportunity to anyone selling a product or service. The guarantee is a perfect time to further engage and entice potential customers.
Not to re-read and craft my own personal business guarantee!
Great article Derek
I saw the 7000+ words and I was like whaaaat? Is this 2013 again? What happened to the videos 😀
As much as I love the videos you can’t beat a great resource like this!
We were stuck for a while with our service guarantee but after running through Yes Engines its been smooth sailing ever since
(Highly recommend that people check it out!)
Thanks again Derek!
Hey Derek, thanks for this awesome resource. Immensely useful and got me thinking.
I’m using a ‘convenience guarantee’ for my lighting business. Most competitors do one year carry in warranty for their lights. I do 2 years ON-SITE warranty.
This allows me to show the customers that buying from me will be much more hassle free. Not only do you not have to worry about it when things are not working, you also don’t have to waste your time. I’ll come to your place to fix it.
This was an awesome post. I only knew about 4 of the guarantees to offer and I did have an issue about thieves trying to get their money back and using the product.
I like the way you started with the psychology, because every time I buy something, I feel this warm uncomfortable feeling going down my spine. (Maybe it is because twice already I’ve bought products that was a scam – so I think months about it before buying something) The people who sell bad products are making the business hard for people who are honest and reliable, don’t you think?
Best blog post…ever!
I guarantee the plants I install for a year and will help you keep them alive and thriving for years to come. I guarantee my design will create a lush outdoor space with the right plants in the right places or I will make it right if something fails that’s out of your control. You still have to water them, but I will help you do it right the first time. Click here to get started and succeed the first time!
Derek…thanks so much for this! I just purchased Zippy Courses last month, and really appreciate the added info you send.
Blessings to you… (and Erik has been awesome support!!)
Derek, You have created a comprehensive resource for us, entrepreneurs. I am very grateful to have this post at hand as I craft a guarantee for an online program that is in the works. It is clear to see the immense value you offer in your work, not only in terms of the time you have put into creating this post but also in making it very easy for the reader to understand the whys and hows behind offering an attractive guarantee. Thank you, Derek!
Thank you Derek : )
What an awesome piece of knowledge Derek Halpern! Thank you so much.
My name is Simon, I am building a SaaS product here in Costa Rica.
I am currently using #6, but I think I haven’t communicate it well enough.
I got a few ideas to make at least 2 more to apply now but he part I liked the BEST is that now I know where I WANT to be in the future, I want my SaaS to be good enough to offer #7, #15 and #20.
You just earned a PERSONAL folder in my Most Valuable folder, in my book, that’s the higher honor. 🙂
(had to repost here, because I did it in Facebook but coudn’t see your response to the post)
I run a company that is an exhibition centre for companies in the building/renovating industry – we sell the space they require to display their wares. In return, we provide leads of visitors who are interested in their product among many other services. We put them on a 12 month agreement as there is a 6-9 month lead time from lead to sale, as is the nature of this industry, so it’s difficult for us to give a short guarantee on the service. Also some companies are here for leads while others are here purely for branding and are not interested in the leads. I really like your concept that providing a guarantee removes the risk for the buyer and in looking through your list, I am still struggling to find one that would work for our company. Do you have any suggestions as to what could work for this?
“If you can show me that you’ve watched all the videos, completed all the worksheets, implemented the strategies I’ve given you and you still didn’t make the cost of this course back in 90 days, then I will refund 100% of the purchase price and ALL of the bonuses you received are still yours to keep!”
Here’s another sample for you. We hear this on the radio all the time here in Chicago.
SureFit™ is a Blinds.com exclusive to give you peace of mind about measuring your blinds.
If YOU made a mistake in measuring your blinds, you can get a new blind – a 100% exchange, at no cost. This is limited to 4 blind remakes per household (unless the error is ours, in which case, we’ll make it right!). No cash refunds, same-product same-color exchanges only, within 15 days of receipt of package.
Whew – I had no idea there were that many variations on guarantees! How long did it take you put all this together?? Thanks Derek!
Derek, you inspire me!
I’m working on a Zippy Course entitled, “How To Defeat The Devil — With God’s Help”
So I’m thinking of adding a guarantee that includes getting “double their demons back!”
What do you think? – LOL
Seriously, I’m thinking of asking a certain “full price”. But because (and this is true) I’m going to add a bunch more content, those who buy in when I first offer the course will be guaranteed to get the additional content without paying the (eventual) full price. Can’t lose!
Derek, could you be kind enough to let me know ways those of us in the travel and tour can effectively use guarantees.
Dan, i’m on the same boat! I’ll figure out something after i’ll read it again; however, if we show the value they get for the little price they pay it would help a lot. Anyway, i found a powerful one for my friend 🙂 Thank you Derek!!!
You need to read the 39 types and figure out which works best for you.
Hi Derek — GREAT breakdown here. I’ve really struggled with how to forumulate guarantees, and we’re working on that right NOW, so you’re timing is awesome!
Glad to hear it Carol!
Um…I’m kinda speechless about the amazing value you just provided me, Derek. Guarantees were something that I was struggling with – how to phrase them, options, should I even have them. This was incredibly informative and I’m taking action to implement a Marie-Forleo-style guarantee with the online courses that I’m developing. Thanks so much!
Dang. This was a lot.
Super helpful – I only knew about 3 guarantees that were available to me. This is definitely something to consider and implement.
And obviously the workbook is a great addition. Thank you!
Thank you for these great resources. I find that some businesses don’t back their guarantee. I once gave in pictures to develop at a place that had a gurantee for “30 minutes or free”. When I came back after 30 minutes the photos were not ready so I asked for it for free. They were so upset at me… like I did something wrong!!?? Another example is, after UPS did not deliver my package on time, I asked for a refund, I went back to the store 3 times. Each time they told me to wait for my refund, someone will call me. Meanwhile I never got the phone call and by that time it was too late to get the refund.
So, if you tell your customers that you guarantee something, and you don’t live up to the customers expectations – you need to guarantee it graciously!!
They have to back their guarantee if they list it.
Absolutely fantastic writeup and analysis Derek. Wow. Please keep doing this type of post. Immensely valuable and, whilst very timely for us, a timeless post.
I would be interested to see some typical return % figures against some of these strategies. I realise there is much more to it, but if you had some specific DAA points to share which have been tested against different approaches, that would be super handy as well.
Great new website as well, btw!
Wow Derek! This is so timely. I’m creating my 5th e-course for performers and entertainers right now…and I wasn’t sure if I would offer a guarantee on the group coaching calls. But after reading this valuable resource, I’m going to use this one:
“If you decide this isn’t working for you, contact our support team (…) show us you actually did the work (and completed the worksheets), and we’ll issue you a prompt FULL refund.”
For my other courses, I do a similar guarantee as well. I’ve only had 1 refund request in over 5 years on my courses…and that customer’s main motivation was because she needed the money.
Another totally AWESOME post with invaluable information that we common folk can use AND understand. Keep up the good work, my friend….and kudos on the redesign of the site. I’m diggin’ it! *HI 5* (don’t leave me hangin’ bro?) LOL- go ahead, HI-5 the screen! *SWEET!*
I’m thinking of using either the “no guarantee” or “100% refund if you did the homework and weren’t happy with the results” thanks for all the great ideas!! Have a tutorial on pricing? 😉
Derek, what a great resource! As a service-based business owner, I find it challenging to know how to offer a guarantee for what I do. I am a craniosacral therapist, and many people don’t know what that is or if it will help them. I feel confused about offering a guarantee of a refund after x number of sessions with no result however, because every person and every condition requires varying length of commitment. What would you suggest?
Derek, this is one of the most valuable resources I have seen on this topic! I never knew there were more than 5 guarantees I could use!
Yea, this was a long-time in the making, and I’m happy I can share it for free.