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A Sure Thing

Too long has the persuasive guarantee played a supporting role in ads. Why not make it the star in your own efforts? It works wonders, we promise.

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This story appears in the March 2003 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Ah, the ubiquitous guarantee. That golden promise of craftsmanship, workmanship, performance, durability, freshness, whiteness, unshrinkability and lowest price that's slapped on virtually every product and service marketed today. It's variously dubbed "unconditional," "iron-clad," "money-back," "lifetime," and a dozen other clichéd descriptions, yet the guarantee is rightly considered critical in persuading a prospect to become a buyer.

Despite its value, however, the guarantee has become a somewhat stale, musty element of advertising that generates little more excitement than aspirin instructions. You've seen the stilted wording a million times: "If not utterly delighted with the performance of your new Gerbil Gym, simply return it within 30 days of purchase for a full refund, no questions asked!" And the guarantee is still often found housed in a box with a 50-year-old filigree border.

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