I’m working with a client right now who does high-end sales training. And we’re currently working on the messaging for his website.
In the course of our conversations, he mentioned that 82% of his clients got a 10:1 ROI on their training investment.
That’s both impressive and significant. However, his website didn’t mention this fact.
Instead, the home page of his site mentioned general ideas about the value of their sales training. But nothing really stood out.
Now we’re developing a message that brands his company’s ability to actually guarantee that his training will increase sales.
This is a bold move, but to do otherwise would relegate his company to a commodity – just another sales training company.
Your promise is your brand
As I mentioned in last week’s article, there are a number of ways to brand your business, but I actually left out the most powerful one of all:
Making a specific guarantee of results.
Yes, I know that not every professional service business can do that, but consider the following:
Many years ago, in the first years of my business, I listened to a recording by Phil Wexler, co-author of “Non-Manipulative Selling.”
Phil was the co-owner of a sales training company and he offered the following guarantee to his clients:
“You may judge the value of our training by any criteria you choose and if you feel we do not meet that criteria, we will come back and do whatever additional training is necessary until you are completely satisfied.”
But there was an important caveat: This guarantee only applied to their complete program: Four days of training, individual coaching, and monthly support recordings.
If their client wanted fewer days of training, no coaching or support recordings there was no guarantee offered.
Here’s another way to think of this:
Develop and deliver a program or service that you are completely confident will produce the results you guarantee.
Ultimately, clients buy your services because of the results they expect to achieve. If you can’t consistently produce the results you went into business to deliver, why are you in business in the first place?
I know this is a somewhat radical position, but the world of professional services is more competitive than ever. You can’t just give your best efforts and hope your clients will be happy.
Why a service guarantee can be so powerful
A guarantee has a number of positive advantages for your business. In fact, it can completely transform the way you do business.
Here are some of the most important benefits of a results-bsed guarantee.
1. A clear marketing advantage
A guarantee makes you stand out in a crowd of look-alikes. It demonstrates high confidence in your ability to produce results. When choosing two professionals service providers, seemingly equal in terms of experience, wouldn’t you choose the provider who guaranteed results?
2. Puts the main focus on your clients
When you’re guaranteeing results, wouldn’t your level of attention to doing a great job increase? Wouldn’t you go the extra mile to produce the highest level of results
3. A guarantee sets clear standards
What exact results are you guaranteeing? You’ll come to a mutual agreement with your client about the results you’ll produce and will be able to track and measure those results.
4. Helps you build powerful testimonials
The best testimonials are based on measurable results achieved. When you’re more focused on results, you can expect to see more consistent results. Your testimonials will now reinforce your guarantee.
How do you structure your guarantee?
In most cases, a professional services guarantee doesn’t offer money back, but promises you’ll produce a certain result within an agreed-upon time period. If that result isn’t met, you work to deliver that result with no additional fees.
Yes, this can be tricky because often the implementation is not up to you. Therefore you need to create guarantees that include what actions the client will take.
This can be a powerful incentive for a client to take action, understanding that your guarantee is void if they don’t do what they promised to do.
My sales training client is developing an ROI guarantee, however, it will be customized for each client, depending on the kind of business, the current status of the sales force, etc.
Start to structure your guarantee
I recommend that you find a way to structure your business and services so that you can offer a powerful guarantee of results.
This can be easier said than done, but I honestly believe it’s worth the effort to do so. Here are a few things to consider:
1. What can you do to increase the chances of producing the promised results? I.e., a more in-depth program.
2. What should you require of the client in order for the guarantee to apply? I.e., completing certain assignments.
3. What will happen if you’re not successful in delivering the results promised? I.e., give a refund, or do additional work.
4. Should you offer a guarantee for certain projects, but not for others? I.e., a training program vs. a keynote speech.
5. How do you articulate you guarantee so that it has the most impact as a marketing tool? I.e., on the home page of your website or only in proposals.
Offering results guarantees for professional service businesses such as coaching, consulting, and training takes some hard thinking and trial and error, but I recommend you explore how to make them work for your business.
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