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Why customers fear being ripped off and what you can do to reassure them?

“Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.” No-one wants to be that fool. The one who makes a bad decision or fails to weigh up the pros and cons. This is especially true when parting with even a fairly small sum of money.

What’s so bad about being the fool?
Fools have an illustrious role in literature. Shakespeare’s fools often hide wisdom behind their nonsense, but for most of us there is a big difference between playing the fool and being a fool. A foolish person lacks good sense or judgement. No one wants to be that person.

If you lack good sense, that makes you vulnerable. If you’re vulnerable you might lose things you hold dear, you might get exploited and ultimately what we all secretly fear, you might get cast out by your community. In primitive societies, acceptance in the group was vital for survival. Being cast out, meant being at the mercy of weather, predators and the odds of an early death were high.

What’s that got to do with your customers?
But we don’t live like that now. True, we live in more civilized times (some say) but that fear of looking foolish, being ripped off is still there. It comes into buying decisions. Customers want to feel good about purchases. Every time they think of that purchase, they want to feel a warm glow not an embarrassed shudder.

If customers feel good about buying from you.... they’ll come back.... again and again and again.

How do you reduce the fear of being ripped off, looking foolish?
You can reduce the risk of looking foolish, the risk of being ripped off by offering a guarantee. A guarantee makes it easier for your customer to buy.

If you are willing to either give away free content or refund money if people aren’t satisfied then you demonstrate absolute confidence in what you are offering. Your confidence breeds confidence in your customers.

There are different types of guarantees but they all reduce risk:

  • money back guarantees
  • more than your money back guarantees
  • price guarantees
  • replacement product guarantees
  • free samples (try before you buy)

Products typically have a warranty, which offers reassurance that if it breaks, you won’t have to foot the bill but there are other types of guarantees you can offer. For services it can be more tricky as you don’t want to open the door to bogus claims.

Examples of guarantees and ways to reassure:

Money back guarantee even without returning the product
'My dog ate it, guarantee', Matthew Parker at Print and Procurement offers this money back guarantee on his e-book. You don't have to make an excuse, if you don't like it you can have your money back, no questions asked.

30 days money back guarantee
This guarantee reassures the customer that if they have bought because of a sudden rush of blood to the head, they can return the product (in its original condition) and get a full refund. Even though it's been around a long time, don’t overlook this one, especially if your product is likely to be bought on impulse.

Lifetime product guarantee
Lands’ End clothing company offer this unusual guarantee which immediately gives you confidence in the quality of their clothes. ‘Quality clothing guaranteed to last - If any purchase you make fails to meet your expectations, you can return it at any time for an exchange, replacement or full refund.’

Guarantee of ongoing value in e.g. Paid subscription e-newsletter
You can cancel your subscription at any time i.e. You are not locked into a contract.

Guarantee design skills
Logo Pro, an online logo design business, offers you '100% refund if, after seeing the first 6 design concepts for your logo, you don’t want to proceed with the project.' This is a heavy weight guarantee which takes all risk of dissatisfaction away. As a past client I can add my voice to their guarantee. Excellent service and I was delighted with my logo.

Guaranteed value of a workshop
For my workshops I offer this guarantee, 'If you don’t like the course, you can leave by first coffee break and get a full refund.'

Read the first chapter free before you commit to buy. Amazon already offer this on printed and e-books.

Price guarantee
If you sell your product on being the cheapest then this is a powerful guarantee. A favourite with supermarkets. 'Double the difference if you find the product cheaper elsewhere.' You can have fun with wacky guarantees which raise a smile, such as

  • Our sunshine promise
    We’d love to guarantee sunshine for you but as the next best thing we offer you our promise, if it rains while you’re here, we’ll give you a voucher for a free ice cream on your next visit so you can come back again on a sunny day.

Don’t hide your guarantee Finally don’t forget to make the most of your guarantee. Use a graphic. Put it in a box. Shout loud about it and make sure no one can miss it.

Have you come across unusual, wacky or outstanding guarantees? I’d love to hear about them.
What impressive guarantee can you offer that makes it easier for your customers to buy?
Go now and create or revise your guarantee. Dust it off and give it pride of place on your sales page.


Contributor: Juliet Fay @

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