One of the main keys in winning initial and return business from your prospective clients is a solid guarantee. Simply stated, your clients want to have the assurance that the services or products they purchase from your company are going to provide them with what they want and need. This is nothing less than what you and I would expect, were we to purchase a product or service from some other business.

This expectation is based on a strong instinctual need that Abraham Maslow categorizes in his “Hierarchy of Needs” as security. We all possess this basic need. When we recognize and openly promote our guarantee to our prospects and clients, we eliminate their fear of not getting what they paid for.

Research shows that your clients will purchase more quickly and more often, when you provide and communicate a strong guarantee in what is often referred to as risk reversal. Marketing expert Jay Abraham explains that, typically, most companies have a guarantee, but it is not written or even verbalized to their prospects or present clients. The absence of this kind of communication creates doubt and suspicion. People just don’t know for sure if your product or service will deliver what they want.

One of the critical concepts to keep in mind is that when your potential clients are comparing your green industry company to a competitor, and see all things as being equal, they will always go with the company with the lowest price. In other words, if they don’t see a big enough difference in the value that you can provide to them, they will buy from the company who is the cheapest.

By having a strong guarantee, you can create leveraged value. This is where your potential prospect will see the additional advantage of going with your company over a competitor, because their perception is that they will get more for their money.

According to sales guru Tommy Hopkins, there are three things most people want when they are spending their hard-earned money.

They want:

1. the best quality

2. the best service

3. the best price

Yet, we all know that most companies cannot provide all three of these elements and stay in business for very long. One of these elements will have to be minimized in order for them to compete. Typically, the best price is the one that most potential clients will give up, as long as they get the best quality and the best service.

This is the place where your guarantee becomes most valuable to your prospective clients. By having a guarantee, you are assuring the purchaser of your goods and/or services that they will be getting the kind of additional value that will justify the price you are charging.

A good analogy that I like to use with my green industry clients when I explain this concept is an old-fashioned balance scale—the kind of scale that has two sides to it.

Let’s say you are weighing beans. As you add more and more beans to one side of the scale, it will eventually tip it in the direction that is heaviest. When it comes to deciding whether or not a prospective client will buy from you and not your competitor, it depends a lot on whether or not they see more value in going with your company. A rock-solid guarantee can be the deciding factor that adds enough value to tip the scale in your favor.

In my research with my clients, I have learned that one of the reasons green industry business owners do not have or communicate their guarantee is because they are afraid that a customer will take advantage of it. Another concern is the fear they won’t be able to back up that guarantee. Maybe their product or service lends itself to some irregularity or inconsistency.

Yet, when you stop to think this through, you would not want anyone walking away from your business feeling like they did not get their money’s worth. If they feel like they did not get what they paid for, they will tell others. According to research, the average unhappy customer will tell 9 to 16 other people about their complaint about your company or organization. I call this “reverse marketing.” You don’t even need a budget for reverse marketing. It will just happen when you have unsatisfied customers. Reverse marketing will cost you plenty.

Any business owner in his or her right mind would not stand for a marketing campaign designed to smear their good name. Yet, he or she is doing just that by not having a strong guarantee that is communicated to their client base on a regular basis. This type of strategy encourages unsatisfied customers to walk away and tell their friends, family and business acquaintances to avoid doing business with that organization.

An easy fix for this quandary is to formally create a powerful guarantee you can live with and promote.

Have it printed on a sign that hangs in your lobby, printed on your email signature, and/or have it proudly displayed on your website. Hold a meeting with your staff and discuss the reasons behind your company’s guarantee. Make it a point to regularly communicate it verbally to everyone, including prospects, clients and employees.

A huge advantage to having a strong guarantee is that it raises the bar within your own organization. It forces you and your team to live up to the reputation you have created, to maintain the high standards of service and quality that you promise to deliver.

Having a strong guarantee will hold everyone in your company accountable, and motivate you and your employees to make sure that you deliver what you promise. It most likely will tip that imaginary scale in your potential client’s mind, differentiate you from your competitors, and add profits to your bottom line.

Of course, if you choose, you can justify charging a higher price by providing the guarantee your competitors are afraid to match with their prospects and customers. Remember, added value justifies a higher price.

So, when you provide the kind of assurance your prospects and clients really want, through a strong, written and spoken guarantee, you will be building your business for the long prosperous haul.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Tom Borg works with small and mid-size green industry companies to improve customer acquisition and retention. For more information or to ask him a question, contact him at 734-404-5909 or email him at: or visit his website at