(Estimated reading time: 6 minutes, 24 seconds.)
An effective influencer governing the buying decisions of your most valued couples is to offer a money-back guarantee (MBG).
But of all I teach, this bold influencer meets with the most resistance. And I totally get it. I know your concerns (if you have any) because there once was a time when I resisted offering a money-back guarantee as well.
Actually, that's an understatement.
When I first contemplated the idea, I clenched my buttocks so tight, had I been sitting on a lump of coal it would have compressed into a diamond! But joking aside, the reason I objected was because it is an ADVANCED INFLUENCER that's NOT right for everybody and I was not ready for it at the time.
You see, I did not realise that offering a MBG required a very high level of business confidence through an ability to over-deliver on a couple's expectations. Furthermore, I had two massive fears for not offering a MBG:
Fear #1 "What if my couple just made up an excuse to ask for their money back?"
That was a massive concern because the last thing I wanted was to be screwed over by my bride and groom!
Fear #2 "What if I'm not good enough?"
And this hit on my lack of self-belief.
Although my objections appeared separate, they were inextricably entwined, and dependant on me being able to 'measure' when I was ready to offer a MBG, and if you are on the fence about providing one, this is how you'll know when you are ready.
You have to be able to comfortably meet the following Three Essential Criteria. Do this, and you will find offering a money-back guarantee easy. If you cannot, you will (rightly) hit resistance. In fact, if you can't reach the Three Essential Criteria, I strongly advise you to AVOID offering a MBG and work on developing your signature wedding experience until you can.
You should also avoid offering a MBG if you have to rely on other people to deliver your services, such as wedding planners, caterers and venue owners. This strategy is exclusively for wedding professionals who are 100% in control of their delivery. OK, with that said -
Essential Criteria #1: You must be able to consistently and easily over-deliver on your couples expectations. Not just meet them, I'm talking about knocking them out of the park!
Imagine you booked tickets to see you favourite artist perform live in concert, you waited for months for the date to arrive and anticipated it would be brilliant, yet it soared way above expectations leaving you fizzing with excitement. Then on top of that, you got invited to the after-party and met the stars of the show! How would that make you feel?... That is how you need to make your couples feel about your signature wedding experience every time you serve at a wedding. Your bride and groom must float out feeling like nothing on earth could have gone better.
Before moving on, let's put this first criterion into context. Under these circumstances, who would want to ask for their money back? No-one on the planet! (Can you see how this smashes both Fear #1 and #2 in an instant? - Instead, these are the couples who will see you as the very best, offering superb value for money (at your deservedly higher than average price by the way), and become your most loyal raving fans. These are the couples who will write touching Movimonials - more on that odd term next.
Essential Criteria #2: You must have a plethora of moving testimonials where other people validate your ability to over-deliver. So you're not saying you're great - past clients who've spent good money on you are.
I'm not talking about those generic pre-printed 'thank you' cards that get sent to every supplier who served at the wedding. I'm referring to highly personalised, profoundly moving 'thank yous and gifts' where the bride and groom can't emotionally express enough how you made them feel, and went above and beyond what was expected. A unique 'Thank you' that could not apply to any other supplier at your wedding. I'm describing a Movimonial; it's a word I made up, this is the full definition I've assigned to it:
It's a reaction to your signature wedding experience, written by your bride or groom, with empathy from the heart, that has the power to move the reader, from a passive state, into an emotional state.
For clarity here's an example of a Movimonial, and I want you to imagine it was written to you:
Reflect what's currently on your website and social media platforms; are they testimonials or Movimonials?
Essential Criteria #3: You must have an industry reputation for excellence.
Your name must be on the tip of other people's tongue whenever couples need a supplier in your category; in short, you must become one of the top go-to people whenever a bride and groom ask for a recommendation.
Meet these Three Essential Criteria, and you will have the platform of confidence required to comfortably offer a money-back guarantee.
So to summarise to confidently offer a money-back guarantee, you must:
1. Meet the Three Essential Criteria, which will 2. build up your platform of confidence, because 3. this is the point when a money-back guarantee will feel natural and harmonious to you.
Is this an easy challenge? Absolutely not. Will you first clench your buttocks and potentially compress diamonds? :) :) :) Absolutely yes! But once you've got over it, (It's not that bad - honest), I promise it will motivate you to create an even better wedding experience - creating a win for both you and your couple.
Occasionally when I deliver this talk at seminars in the UK and abroad, suppliers sometimes react by asking "Doesn't offering a money-back guarantee make you look desperate?"
Well to paraphrase Henry Ford, "Whether you think it will, or think it won't… your right!"
But if world-class companies like Apple and Virgin offer a MBG, I think they there might be something in it :).
If you don't offer a MBG and this post has got you at least thinking about it, then it's served its purpose. To help you move one step closer to jumping onto the other side, take off your wedding suppliers hat for a moment and 'Think Like An Engaged Couple' because at the end of the day they are ones who will or won't be influence by it.
Imagine you're planning to buy an expensive diamond, and find the same gem in two different jewellers, same cut, carat and clarity. The ONLY difference was one offered a money-back guarantee, and the other did not.
Be honest, which one would you buy?
The couples you want to book are governed by the same buying trigger when making their wedding supplier decisions.
Let's wrap it up!
I do not recommend you offer a MBG if you have to rely on others to deliver your signature wedding experience, for example, caterers, venues, planners etcetera.
I do recommend you consider it if you are 100% in control of your delivery AND you can easily meet the 3 Essential Criteria. Please don't do it if you can't.
On a personal level, I've been offering a MBG since 2012. The shock and awe it creates at client meetings are evident on my couples faces because it's not something they often hear from the other competitors on the short-list, so it makes me stand out, and less likely to be commoditised and price-shopped.
At a deeper level, if I were ever to fail a couple at their wedding, I would WANT to return their fee, so a MBG is congruent with my values.
In conclusion, if you want to add a powerful motivator to your sales and marketing funnels, a MBG ticks all the boxes.
See you next week.
PS For more influential ways to market in a way that attracts your most valuable couples, check me out here: www.weddingmarketingmastery.co.uk