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Small Business Marketing: Reverse the Risk and Watch Your Sales Soar

Aug 17, 2007
One of the primary obstacles that you must over come is the buyer's sense that they are taking a risk when buying from you. The more they feel that they are taking a risk, the greater will be their reluctance to make the purchase.

To overcome this objection, you must reserve the sense of risk. You must take on the risk yourself.

Has it ever occurred to you how most businesses transfer the inherent risks of running such a business to the customer?

Well, the following is a classic example of how this is done these days:

A few days ago, I went into a store to buy a birthday present for a friend. I noticed a sign on the wall behind the cash counter that said "Absolutely no refund after 15 days" and I thought to myself, "How negative is that?" It sounded so severe and foreboding, even threatening.

I was wondering why these people would want to tarnish their customer's goodwill by stating the policy in such a negative way and run the risk of turning off even one customer. Especially, when the very same message could have been expressed in a much more positive way and help to build lasting customer relationships. For example, the same line on the store's return policy could have read, "We will gladly refund your full purchase price within 15 days."

The difference:

I am sure the difference in the two approaches is quite apparent. In the first statement, it is implied that the customer has to shoulder the burden of responsibility while the second statement indicates that the store management is willing to go out of their way to help the customer.

The above example is only a small one with perhaps only a negligible effect on sales, but the idea is to not state things in a negative fashion when there is a much better and more positive way of saying the same thing.

Your risk, your gain:

The wide range of anti-customer policies employed by various businesses never ceases to amaze me. The point that they all miss here is that, if you believe you have a sound product or service, then you should leave no stone unturned in advertising it to your customers.

For example:

"Our prices are the lowest in town or we'll refund double the difference" or "If we don't have your size in stock, we'll make a special order and have it here within two days" or "Marketing that gets you results or it costs you zilch, nada, zero.

All of the above statements have a powerful and positive psychological impact on the mind of the customer. If you can perform, you must make sure you let people know. If you were the gift shop owner, as in the earlier example, you may get a few returns and refund requests to begin with, but those will be of no consequence at all compared to all the new business you will be getting just by thinking smart and communicating right.

As a matter of fact, studies have generally found that with product guraantees, the longer the guarantee period, the fewer returns. The longer guarantee gives the customer a sense that you really believe in your product.

Take for example an information product. If a customer has not had a chance to really get into the product and consume the information provided within the guarantee period, they may decide to return simply because they haven't had the time to satisfy themselfves that the information is really useful to them.

On the other hand, if the guarantee is for a year, then they don't feel rushed and if they never get to the product and it sits on the shelf unopened, they will have long forgotten all about it and the guarantee when the deadline comes up.

Taking the risk on yourself is good for business.
About the Author
George Dodge focuses on Small Business Marketing. Get Bob Serling's Master Marketing Course for Small Businesses that Can More Than Double Or Triple The Number Of New Customers Or Clients You Bring Into Your Business.
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