Dear Gritty VA:
It seems like all the internet marketers tell business owners they should offer a guarantee, and I’ve seen lots of Virtual Assistants with guarantee offers on their websites. I’m toying with the idea, but I don’t know how it works. What do you think? –MJ
I think it’s a really dumb idea, to be quite frank. (And never take anyone’s advice without putting your own critical thought processes to work first.)
Guarantees are for commodities–not professional services, which is what Virtual Assistance is.
And think about it–how would you offer a guarantee? First of all, there are theories of law in play. If someone engages you to perform a service, you are legally entitled to be paid for the expenditure of your time and labor as long as you fulfilled your contractual obligations and regardless of whether the client later decides they want their money back or not.
Second of all, what if you did have a money-back guarantee and a client actually took you up on it. Would you have enough money set aside to do that? If you keep a balance in reserve for such an event, that’s cashflow you are depriving yourself and your business of.
Look, the folks telling you to offer a money-back guarantee don’t know our business, and it’s certainly not good advice for any professional services firm. Plus, typically the businesses who deal with "seductive" advertising are those in low-credibility, high volume markets. That’s NOT you.
Our profession is based on personal relationships. Being genuine, authentic, principled and ethical is the very best sales tool you have at your disposal. When your business is based on that platform, you aren’t going to attract people will be prone to thinking of you as a commodity, and you certainly won’t need any tricks or gimmicks to bribe people into working with you.
If an occasion does arise in your business where a client isn’t happy, talk it out and do what you think is fair. But do it on a case-by-case basis–not a blanket policy that demeans and devalues you and the work.