Put yourself in your client's shoes. No, strike that. Put yourself in your prospect's shoes (a prospect being someone you've never marketed or sold to before). She doesn't know you; she doesn't trust you, and she couldn't care less if you drop dead tomorrow. But, through deft marketing, you've captured her attention! Her eyeballs are yours!
Let's say, it's a book, a cream, a doctor or a pill that'll help her lose weight. (Now if you've ever tried to sell weight loss products you know how Sisyphus-ian a task that can be. Weight loss products are a wasteland of failed talismans, potions and quackery, despite A+ copy, offers and celebrity endorsements.)
So your prospect, let's call her Julie, can be hesitant to order your product because:
• You didn't provide compelling proof or credibility to back up your claims
• Your sales copy loses steam in the middle and runs off on different tangents
• You didn't mine and exhaust the list of deep-down benefits your product provides, or you didn't fully dimensionalize them
• Your sales copy, from beginning to end, doesn't lead Julie inescapably to the "Order Now" button
• Your Web site/brochure/sales letter looks like it was created by a designer who wants to be and artist and win awards—not make sales
• You have no testimonials or endorsements
• You don't clearly and unequivocally ask for the order, nor do you mention the terrible consequences of not ordering
• There's not enough personalization and "you speak" in your copy
There's more of course; the list goes on and on…
But let's say you've provided all of the above, and more. Yet, Julie still won't show you the buy—even though you've absolutely persuaded her that your "blubber pulverizer" works.
Why might she still be hesitant?
Well, she's fallen for other "blubber blasters" before to no avail. And, in these scary economic times, she can't risk of losing more resources on more empty promises.
Remove the Risk
In these trying times, salespeople need to offer their prospects a "gifted guarantee." True, very few of sales reps value or trust guarantees anymore—they've lost their marketing effectiveness (due primarily to thoughtless copy-cat construction). Like so many newspaper ads, they're a blur of meaningless unconvincing verbiage. And yet, even though your prospects don't believe or trust your guarantees, they still want you to offer one.
A guarantee is like a presidential election promise. Everyone wanted to hear and applaud how Obama and McCain were going to lower taxes, grow the economy and keep America strong domestically and globally. Yet, everyone knows it will be business as usual on Pennsylvania Avenue come inauguration time—and nothing will change.
So, even though Julie is distrustful, cynical and maybe even scared, she still wants to believe you can help her. She wants you to tell her everything will be all right and she won't be taken to the cleaners, again.
But how do you craft a guarantee that combines the eloquence and hope of Obama with the honest and straight-shooting no-nonsense approach of McCain? How do you overcome that last hurdle between you and a closed sale?
Crafting an Unusually Effective Guarantee
• Create Original Copy. The fist thing you want to avoid is to make your guarantee read like everybody else's. If your guarantee sounds obligatory, perfunctory and commonplace—for example, "Your money back if not 100% satisfied"—not only will Julie's jaded eyes ignore or miss it, she'll completely discount it. That is to say, she'll not be in the least bit persuaded by it.
So rather than writing a guarantee that reads like a limp handshake—power it up. Explain it and sell it! Explain why you're offering it, why it's worth more than the paper it's written on and why there's no reason to doubt it. Your guarantee is part of your offer. Make it attractive and absolutely believable. Make it part of the running text and a few paragraphs long. Just remember, if it sounds too good to be true, you'll lose the sale.
One great example is Domino's Pizza, who built an empire base on their guarantee: Delivered in 30 minutes or it's free. Do the same thing with your guarantee! Think outside the pizza box. But never make a promise you can't keep.
• It's All in Good Time. Instead of offering a typical 30-day guarantee—make it a six-month or one-year guarantee. Research actually proves that the longer the guarantee, the less the returns. Why? Because when Julie realizes she's got only 30-days to ask for her money back, she'll remember that.
While you're at it, if you have a truly killer cannot-fail product, why not offer a double-your-money back guarantee. Sure, you may attract a number of off-target prospects trying to score some "free usage," but they'll be nothing compared to the increased traffic and orders you'll receive when your offer goes viral.
• Compete Big. Whatever you do, at the very least, make your guarantee bigger, better and bolder than your competition's. And then, lo and behold, guaranteed success!
Barry A. Densa is a freelance marketing and sales copywriter. Visit WritingWithPersonality.com and sign up for his highly regarded FREE ezine: Marketing Wit & Wisdom.