Orthogonal guarantees

Sent by Jonathan Stark on January 6th, 2019

When first considering adding guarantees to your services, you might begin by thinking in a very linear fashion.

For example, if you are an SEO consultant you might think you have to guarantee that your clients will land at the top of Google search results for their industry.

This would be a great thing to guarantee if you could, but if you can’t you might think, “I can’t guarantee the top spot!” and therefore give up on the idea of guarantees altogether.

Completely giving up on guarantees just because you don’t feel confident (or ethical) guaranteeing the direct outcome of your offering would be a mistake.

Businesses make all sorts of what I would call “orthogonal guarantees” that allay an indirect fear that exists in their ideal buyer’s mind.

A classic example of an orthogonal guarantee is Domino’s Pizza’s “30 minutes or it’s free!” guarantee.

Notice that they don’t guarantee that the pizza will be delicious or hot or satisfying or filling or anything else directly related the core product itself.

So what do they guarantee? Their guarantee relates to the delivery of the product. And more specifically, about an incredibly specific, single aspect of the delivery service: the speed.

Think about all the things they don’t guarantee.

Domino’s doesn’t guarantee that the delivery person will be polite or that all the items you ordered will be included or that the soda won’t be shaken up and explode all over when you open it.

So... back to the SEO example.

If you’re an SEO consultant, what could you guarantee about the delivery of your service?

Here are a couple of possible examples:

Of course, the strength of these guarantees depends on how much the ideal buyers of your SEO service fear feeling dumb or blowing their budget or being abandoned.

But enough about SEO...

What single aspect of your service delivery would you be comfortable guaranteeing?

Yours,

—J