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I remember the conversation vividly.  An entrepreneurial couple came to me for help because of a chronic problem with late payments from clients and the impact was, of course, their own financial struggle.  I listened to what was happening and suggested they change their business model to require payment up front.

They said “Oh we couldn’t do that - no-one would pay us up front. No-one in our field does that.”  I asked why and they didn’t really have a good reason other than being afraid that they would lose business if they asked for payment up front.

What I suggested next, however, brought on an immediate gasp and even more fear.  But in fact, when they got past that fear and implemented this strategy, they easily got payment up front AND converted more prospects to paying clients.

The answer was to require payment up front AND include a guarantee.  The word “guarantee” for some reason, makes a lot of entrepreneurs fearful. They are deathly afraid that if they offer an guarantee, they will end up refunding money to client after client.

But in fact, that’s just a fear.  If you are 100% confident in the product or service you provide as a small business owner, offering a guarantee should be a no-brainer.  Here’s how:

Guarantee the results:  If you have a track record of proven results in business, and you are confident in your ability to help your client achieve the result, then there's no reason you couldn't guarantee that result.  One of my clients is a makeup artist.  Having done hundreds of brides, she was confident in guaranteeing natural, flawless makeup application that lasts throughout their wedding day.  That's a result her clients are always looking to achieve, so it was a brilliant focus for her in converting prospects to clients.

Guarantee the service:  If service is of high importance to your client, it could very well be the thing to focus on in your guarantees.  It can be the level of service you provide.  For example, you can guarantee that your client will always get a response from you within a certain time frame.

Guarantee the experience:  Depending on the type of product or service you offer, you can also guarantee the experience your client would have.  It's similar to the service guarantee, but focused on what your client would experience after having done business with you.  For example, if your clients tend to be afraid of the hassles in your industry, you can guarantee them a hassle-free experience.

Guarantee that they'll be fully equipped:  For some services that depend on the client's commitment to taking action, it may not be possible to guarantee the results.  That's because you have no control over how much action they take.  However, you can certainly guarantee that they will walk away with everything they need to achieve the precise result they were seeking.  For example, when I do a live workshop, I guarantee that my attendees will walk away with the exact formula for attracting a steady stream of clients like a magnet to their businesses.

So what’s your guarantee?  Overall, it is important to pay close attention to the key objections or hesitations your prospects may have and insert some powerful guarantees around those objections so that you can easily convert prospects into paying clients.

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Allison Babb is an author, speaker and Small Business Coach to solo entrepreneurs.  Allison publishes the "Small Business Success" weekly Ezine on how to create a steady stream of clients for your small business at:    www.GreatSmallBusinessAdvice.com

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