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The Consultant’s Guarantee That Makes You Sick

By Michael Zipursky

When I first started writing about the importance of consultants offering guarantees to their clients the market was wide open. Hardly anyone was doing it.

Things have certainly changed. These days it seems as if every business and commercial is offering a guarantee.

How does that impact you and your business?

When there is too much of anything in the marketplace people become immune to it. They expect it and don’t appreciate it. They place little value on it. And often they won’t even notice it…as it gets lost in the haze of over abundance.

What, “I don’t even offer a guarantee on my services right now” you say? That’s okay, it’s time for you to change that up.

And if you do offer a guarantee I’m going to show you how to make a change to it so that it differentiates you in the marketplace and lands new consulting clients and projects. No joke.

Here we go…

Well known online marketer Glenn Livingston said it best (and he may have been quoting someone else), “A REAL guarantee in today’s day and age should be so strong it makes you feel like throwing up.”

Yikes! That doesn’t sound pleasant. But the concept is extremely valuable.

In order to stand out in the marketplace your guarantee needs to be so strong, so differentiated that it completely eliminates all the risk a prospective client might feel.

They literally need to think and feel “I have nothing to lose.”

Your guarantee needs to be meaningful. Not meaningful for you, but for your client.

Only the most confident and skilled consultants can offer this kind of a guarantee. The vast majority of people will be too scared to do so. That’s why this is so powerful, because 80-90% of consultants that offer a guarantee will be status quo, nothing special, and blah boring!

A consultant that can’t stomach offering a bold guarantee really shouldn’t be in this business…or they’re still early stage and need to be prepared to work very hard so that they can get to that level as quickly as possible.

Clear the path

Your guarantee on the other hand will be so loaded with value that people will find it hard to say “no” to you. You’ve eliminated the risk. So now there’s no reason the client shouldn’t work with you.

Let me give you an example of a strong guarantee. In our previous Consulting Success System we guarantee that you will learn how to land more clients, earn at least $5,000 in additional consulting income and have more fun consulting…or you get your money back.

Any serious consultant is going to jump on that offer right away. For the modest price of the course, the return on investment that the consultant makes is so positive it’s a dead easy decision. And there’s nothing to lose.

Take action

Spend a few minutes right now and think about how you can start offering and communicating a more powerful guarantee to grow your consulting business.

13 thoughts on “The Consultant’s Guarantee That Makes You Sick

  1. Trish Norton says:

    I agree. It’s difficult to offer such strong guarantee. Your point is a good one and I need to give it more thought.

  2. Trish – thanks for the comment. It definitely takes ‘balls’ to have such a strong guarantee. But you’ll see that once you do offer one, you’ll face fewer rejections and your business will grow as a result.

    • Jgrizk says:

      When I hear the word Guarantee I laugh because I remember the movie Tommy Boy when he was out on the road selling car brakes and the guy asked him about guarantee. Any consultant that have to offer guarantee to sell their service should reconsider their career. I’ve been associated with consulting firm that offered 10-1 ROI guarantee and yes if the client can walk between rain drops and turn his employees into miracle workers no problem. Clients need to give you a chance to prove yourself and eventually earn their trust and make it clear that your recommendations or action plan will only work if the client guarantees to follow the plan as discussed. So unlike many consultants out their I ask clients to give me guarantee prior to beginning the project.

      • Jgrizk – welcome to the conversation! You’ve made a good point. For established consultants the need for a strong guarantee isn’t as crucial because we enjoy a pipeline full of new prospects and referral business.

        However for the new consultant and person trying to get going a strong guarantee makes landing clients much easier.

        For some great examples of the power of guarantees and risk-reversal have a look at Jay Abraham’s book ‘Getting Everything You Can Out of All Youv’e Got.’

  3. David Taylor says:

    I’m torn on this one. I agree that having a guarantee is important to make the client comfortable, especially when building a business. However, I have a few reservations. First, I think that in a relationship driven industry like consultancy, the guarantee should be an understood part (by both sides) of maintaining the relationship. Second, I think that trying to persuade a client that work is “risk free” is misleading. There are no risk free events in this world that I have found and clients need to be comfortable with what they are taking on. Finally, I wonder where this path leads… first a guarantee, then a strong guarantee, then what? a super strong guarantee?

    • David – great discussion. It’s important that you define for your client what possible risks or challenges you may encounter during the project. Clearly there will be potholes along the way with most client engagements. The job of the consultant that is eager to land more business is to reduce the risk as much as possible for their prospective client. If the client hasn’t come by referral they will have objections and reasons not to hire you – whether they vocalize them or not – offering a strong guarantee not only shows you have taken into consideration all the potential challenges, but that you are confident in your skills and that you can deliver what you say you can. One thing I should have clarified in my post is that just because you offer a guarantee doesn’t mean that you are 100% in control of the project. The consultant can’t be held accountable for changes in project scope, or initiatives that can’t move forward because the client is not fulfilling their responsibility. The guarantee is based on what you can control – that is your skill, effort and determination to make the project a success.

  4. Carl Doppler says:

    I find your article interesting and full of ideas. If you want to read another related article. You can find this Business Consulting Site helpful Forward Progress. Thank You!

  5. Michael, I read about giving a guarantee as a means of making prospective clients less hesitant to work with you and I think it is a great idea that I’ve been considering. My hesitation, however, is the fear that some will take advantage of the guarantee, even though they got exactly what was promised.

    In my line of business, I provide consulting services for businesses who have been awarded tax incentives from the state for meeting jobs, wage, taxes and capital investment requirements. I also provide training to businesses so that they can manage and report their goals to the State on their own.

    My thought is, I can offer a guarantee that we will help them maximize their refunds. But this can only happen if they meet the scheduled requirements (jobs, etc.). I have no control over the scheduled requirements – they do. However, if I help them analyze and report their project goals either by doing the service on their behalf or training them, AND they’ve met the scheduled requirements, I can guarantee that they’ll get the maximum refund they qualify for.

    The problem: If I do what I promised to do, BUT they don’t meet the requirements, of which I have no control over, they may not get a full refund, or they may not get anything at all.

    In your experience, what percentage of clients have taken advantage of the guarantee (for training or other services), even though the “failure” to meet the requirements was under their control? Is it possible to but a disclaimer?

    • Margo – great question! This is a common concern. Offering a guarantee is a proven concept used by businesses in all kinds of industries. As long as a great product is delivered, the rate of returns/refunds is very small.

      Businesses that haven’t used a guarantee, often see a boost in sales once they start offering one. And even though they may get a refund request from time to time (not often as long as the product is good) the increase in business far outweighs the cost of the returns.

      For the consultants, the experience is much the same. Our company has worked with clients all around the world, and not once has someone requested a refund on the consulting services we provide. Why? Because we deliver what we promise.

      All guarantees for consulting services should be conditional on what you can control. You can and should have some language in your agreement that explains that your guarantee is based on you providing X result as long as your client qualifies, or follows the steps that you recommend.

      You can include this language in your proposal/agreement, it doesn’t need to be directly worded into the guarantee but should go in the section where you explain what both you and your client are responsible for.

      Hope that helps!

      • Thanks Michael!! I fully understand the concept and it doesn’t seem to be too hard to include the conditions in the proposal/agreement. I’ll try this when speaking to prospects about my service.

        Having the guarantee should make it easier for prospects to make the decision to work with me. I’m sure that I can provide excellent service based on my experience/expertise. So, once I can make it clear that the guarantee is based on what I have control over, I’d be comfortable offering it.

        Thanks again for your comments!

        • Margo – Nice one! Once you’ve developed your guarantee make sure to communicate it throughout all of your marketing materials and meetings with prospective clients.

      • Marguerite Leblanc says:

        I am researching the value of offering a guarantee on consulting services. Do you have an example of the wording of this within a proposal in the responsibilities section? That would be really helpful. Thanks.

  6. rohini says:

    it was realy wonderful blog..!

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