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Your two best friends

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The economic downturn has meant that many South Africans think more than twice before handing over part of their hard-earned cash for any product or service - they are looking for value for money more than ever before.

This doesn’t mean that they necessarily shop “cheaply”, but they want to know up-front that they’re getting a good deal and that they won’t regret parting with their money.

Any business owner who isn’t carrying out business to make some quick money, but wants to build a sustainable, long-term company, should believe in the particular product provided, and should have no hesitation in providing flexibility and guarantees to potential customers.

Flexibility

Don’t lock people into a long-term contract unnecessarily. Providing flexibility in contract terms, tells a customer that the company is confident about its product and that there is little chance of a cancellation. It also conveys willingness to meet the customer’s requirements and that you are customer focussed as opposed to profit focussed.

Guarantees

When making a purchase, one of the biggest fears a customer has, is regret, and offering a money-back guarantee can easily eliminate that fear. If you’re confident that your product delivers on the promises made, then it’s highly unlikely that a customer will regret the purchase.

The guarantee needn’t be a money-back guarantee – it could be a replacement of the product if faulty, or a guarantee to waive certain contractual obligations if the client is dissatisfied in the future.

Be aware of market concerns – understand what external influences are affecting your customer, and subsequently your business, and find innovative ways to counteract the effects of these.

*As an example – Hyundai America announced a program that allows buyers to return their cars, without financial penalty, if they get retrenched after they have purchased their Hyundai. Whilst car sales plummeted by an overall 37% in the US, Hyundai’s sales were up by more than 14% over the last year.

Not every business can afford to do this, or afford the insurance cover that Hyundai has most probably taken out to cover this, but the idea is to spend time being innovative about the types of guarantees that can be offered, in order to demonstrate confidence in the product or service.

More importantly – don’t just offer the guarantee – DELIVER on it!

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