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Guaranteed Sales and Satisfaction

Guaranteed Sales and Satisfaction

June 17, 2015

Are you hiding one of your best tools to increase sales & customer satisfaction?

Hi, my name's Dennis Sullivan and I'm a Brand Launcher Master Marketing Mentor.

You may not realize it, but the guarantee you offer your customers can boost sales, as well as customer satisfaction! So, if you’re afraid of a money-back guarantee because more customers are going to come running back to you requesting refunds, stop it!

Here’s a typical conversation with a client when I ask about the guarantee offered to buyers…

Client: “Our guarantee is a standard one. We will replace the item or give customers their money back if there’s a problem with it.”

Me: “Where do you say that? I don’t see that mentioned anywhere in your marketing or on your website.”

Client: “We don’t like to promote it because we don’t want people to abuse it.”

Me: “Yes, but without a clearly stated money-back guarantee, you’re losing sales. And this may sound strange, but with a guarantee you would receive fewer returns – not more. Let me explain…”

Most people expect their money back if they’re not satisfied with a purchase. And, I would bet, that you already give people their money back or offer to exchange a purchase anyway. In reality, you already offer a money-back guarantee but no one knows it! So instead of hiding from it – promote it!

Why is this so important? Every purchase includes some sort of perceived risk by the buyer. There’s a risk that it may not live up to expectations. There are financial risks. There are social risks that friends and family may not support the purchase. Eliminate the risk and you’re more likely to make the sale. Your goal is to make the purchase decision a no-brainer.

Nordstrom’s has made its return policy so legendary, it’s part of its brand. The company will take anything back it sold without a receipt. One customer insisted on returning his snow tires to a Nordstrom’s store in Alaska. The catch: the retailer has never sold tires. Nordstrom employees didn’t argue and honored the claim.

For more than 50 years, Land’s End proudly promotes its guarantee. It reads: "If you're not satisfied with any item, simply return it to us at any time for an exchange or refund of its purchase price." We mean every word of it. Whatever. Whenever. Always. But to make sure this is perfectly clear, we've decided to simplify it further: Guaranteed. Period.®

Land’s End policy has been put the challenge over the years, especially when a man asked to return a $19,000 London taxi. The taxi was featured on the cover of Land’s End’s 1984 catalog and a woman bought it for her husband, an avid car collector. In 2005, he called to say he would like to return it for a full refund. Land’s End did just that and promoted the fact that they live up to their policy – even when it comes to a $19,000 London taxi years after it was purchased. How brilliant is that? They took what could have been a liability and turned it into a huge story that turned the retailer into the hero!

Aside from great stories, do guarantees work? Absolutely. A study in Journal of Retailing, shows money-back guarantees reduce consumers’ risk perceptions, increase their emotional response, and increase their willingness to pay a premium – indicating that businesses may be able to sell more units and demand higher prices. Another study in the same journal, shows that 98.4% of buyers are satisfied with their purchase if the seller offers a money-back guarantee. The guarantee actually increases satisfaction and reduces levels of buyers’ remorse! We’ve seen it time and time and again in our own experiences. So quit hiding your guarantee. Promote it in every step of the sales process and you’re more likely to increase sales – and customer satisfaction!

About Dennis J. Sullivan: Dennis is a Brand Launcher Master Marketing Mentor, a full-time faculty instructor at CCBC teaching business management, marketing, and sales and is also Executive Director of the college’s Center for Business Innovation. Contact information: dsullivan@brandlauncher.com

P.S. Here are more examples of great guarantees that minimize the perceived risk for buyers…


Casper manufactures and sells sleep surfaces that buyers can purchase online and take advantage of free shipping upon delivery and if they choose to return. The company also offers a 100-day money-back guarantee that says:

The Casper Promise

Why lie awake on a mattress for 10 minutes when you can try one for 100 days?

We engineered The Casper for the bedroom and not a showroom. Sleep on it, lounge on it, dream on it — if you don't love it, you can return it for a full refund, hassle free.


At the beginning of the 20th century, L.L. Bean put the following notice on the wall of his store in Freeport, Maine: NOTICE I DO NOT CONSIDER A SALE COMPLETE UNTIL THE GOODS ARE WORN OUT AND CUSTOMER STILL SATISFIED.
—L.L. BEAN, 1916

Today the L.L. Bean catalog carries the following notice:

You Have Our Word®
Our products are guaranteed to give 100% satisfaction in every way. Return anything purchased from us at any time if it proves otherwise. We do not want you to have anything from L.L Bean that is not completely satisfactory.


The Teaching Company sells The Great Courses lectures that are often advertised online and in magazines. Thomas Rollins, president of the company, says the courses they don’t deserve to be paid for their product if they don’t deliver great courses. They back it up with this bold guarantee…

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. And, if a disc ever breaks, warps, or gets damaged, we’ll replace it as long as the course is in production, free.

Most publishers do not guarantee that you will be satisfied with their books or recordings. But we do. We guarantee your satisfaction for a lifetime because we want you to be our customer for a lifetime of learning.

This guarantee not only protects your investment in learning, it also compels us to produce great courses; otherwise, we’d go out of business. We call our lectures “The Great Courses,” and if we don’t deliver great courses, we don’t deserve the money.


Buying paint can be a risky investment. What if it doesn’t look the same when it’s applied? What if it doesn’t match the furniture? What if…?

Valspar understands the risk consumers take when they buy paint so they offer this no-risk guarantee…

The Perfect Color Guaranteed. If your first color isn’t just right, have another free.

At Valspar, we believe the right color is powerful. So if the first one isn't perfect, we’ll replace it.


What’s the #1 complaint among plumbers, carpenters and electricians? They never show on time. Benjamin Franklin Plumbing turned the most popular concern into a competitive advantage and calls itself “The Punctual Plumber” and offers this timely guarantee…

“If there’s any delay, it’s you we pay. If we’re not on time, we pay you $5.00 per each minute late up to $300.


Anyone who works with tools knows that Craftsman tools are guaranteed for life. In fact, I was in Sears one day when a man brought in his Craftsman toolbox that looked like it had been dragged behind his truck, beaten with a hammer and left outside to rust for 10 years. The latch wasn’t working properly any longer. The manager didn’t think twice and replaced it based on the Craftsman guarantee…

“If this hand tool ever fails to provide complete satisfaction, it will be repaired or replaced free of charge."


Sam’s Club isn’t usually known for its meats and produce. So the warehouse store wants to eliminate the perceived risk you would take buying such items by offering a double money-back guarantee. Seriously.

Sam’s offers members what it calls a “200% Guarantee.” If you don’t love the food, the chain will give you double your money back or exchange the product and still refund the purchase price.


Why not try a pair of shoes before you buy them? Red Wing is so confident you will love their shoes that they offer customers a 30-day guarantee. Take them home for a month, break them in for a month and return them for “whatever reason, no questions asked” for a full refund or exchange if accompanied by a receipt.