“Money back guarantee if not absolutely delighted!”

If you are familiar with advertisements for novelty domestic gadgets (See ‘B List’ TV channels around 3:15am) you will also be familiar with the hyperbole that accompanies everything from the sale of magic cucumber peelers to clockwork vacuum cleaners. The fact is that if one wants to return the ‘guaranteed’ goods (Through a paucity of ‘absolute delight’) it is notoriously difficult to find out how to do it (not to mention the cost of postage) despite much dissatisfaction. Therefore we feel ‘conned’: rather like the frozen ready-meal which always looks much better on the box than it does on your plate.

Therefore despite much ‘purchaser disappointment’ returns for this so called “inertia selling” technique are a very tiny percentage of sales.

Well, now a confession: WE always offer a ‘no quibble’ money back guarantee too for all our bespoke training programmes (In other words just about everything except public open conferences)!

We do this because the only judge of whether some of our training (or product or service) is valuable to a customer is ‘you’ the customer. It’s not about whether WE think what we’ve delivered is good or even faultless…. If you are dissatisfied you’ll tell 10 other people, whereas (alas) if you’re happy you’ll tell only 5.

Many friends and colleagues constantly warn us that we’ll be ripped-off by unscrupulous customers who just want a freebie; “Look mate it says there NO QUIBBLE so come on money back”. Well I’ll wait until it happens. We are not the cheapest sales trainers out there…not by a long chalk! But in over a decade and over 150 full programmes delivered, we have never had to give any money back….not a penny…although we certainly would.

‘Value= Benefits minus Cost’ and provided the customer feels they are getting value for money (ie at least the minimum they paid for and usually a lot more) they show no inclination to short change us.

But many businesses are still being very defensive and take each customer complaint as a possible direct fraud. One case in point in UK when my elderly mother took a little box of eye-shadow back to a well known UK High Street ‘super’ purveyor of drug type substances. Her complaint was that when she got it home she discovered the box had already been opened. The ‘manager’ was having none of it. “We wouldn’t sell you anything like that…they’re checked every day” So my dear old mum left the shop…went home and called me. That afternoon we went back to the shop together and I went through the same routine with the manager and she raised the same defence. Meanwhile my mum was busying herself examining other a little pots in the same display rack. Suddenly she said “Look here’s another one opened…..and another one” . The manager was adamant “We check each of ‘them’ little pots at the checkout. I know the one we sold you would have been sealed so I can’t give you your money back.” Naturally I remonstrated with her once more and she replied (And this is verbatim because I wrote it down.) “Look you don’t understand! [Almost shouting now] This shop wouldn’t make ‘no’ money if we gave everyone who complained their money back”

I left (with my Mum) found out the name and location of the owners of the chain (in Germany) and wrote to the CEO quoting precisely the words used to me. Not only did I get my money back but a lot more besides including a big apology. The ‘manager’ was not there a week later.

So could my Mum being quite old at the time have opened the pot and not remembered doing so? Quite possibly…although quite unlikely.

So whatever complaint your customer brings you make it easy to locate you (or whoever you make responsible for handling complaints) and instruct them to ‘let the customer be right.

That is the real route to absolute delight.

(And a lot more money in your pocket afterwards)

Bob Etherington

“Europe’s Best Sales Trainer” :  [Voted by ‘Sales Innovation Expo’ 2015 and 2016, Excel London.]



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