One of your biggest competitors isn’t actually a “competitor.” It’s risk.

Risk is a massive barrier to buying. When potential students feel too much risk (and you do nothing to overcome it), they don’t take action. They don’t buy.

If you can reduce or even eliminate the risk of testing out your course, turning a prospect into a student is drastically easier.

So, how do you reduce risk?

Add a money-back guarantee to your sales page.

 

Offering a money-back guarantee reduces the risk of buying and increases your sales.

According to Conversion Rate Experts, a guarantee is most effective when:

  • the visitors want what the company is promising,
  • but they are nervous about the risk, or are skeptical about the claims,
  • and your course does live up to its claims.

In this case study, when a sales page with a guarantee was tested against a page without, total sales increased by 21%. Tweaking the wording of that guarantee — focusing on a positive message, not negative — lead to an overall 49% increase.

Wow!

Conversion Fanatics increased conversions by 26% by adding a simple 30-day guarantee to a sales page that previously didn’t offer one. In another case, they switched a client from a standard 90-day guarantee to a full 1-year guarantee, and the conversion rate doubled!

These cases show that adding a guarantee to your sales page actually works to increase sales and that optimizing your guarantee can boost your conversion rate even more.

Of course, there are other ways to reduce risk (think demos, samples, free trials, case studies, and proof) on your course sales page. However, a guarantee can easily be the most effective.

 

On the darker side, though, offering a money-back guarantee can leave your business vulnerable.

I know it’s terrifying to give someone their money back, especially after working hard to build your course and enroll a student.

There’s always the danger you get those students who use your content to the fullest extent and request a refund on the last day of the guarantee period. Yeah, those people exist.

The essential question becomes this:

How can you benefit from a sales boost by offering a guarantee without leaving yourself exposed to people who want to rip you off?

 

Take a cue from these top course creators: Offer a money-back guarantee with conditions.

I’ve noticed a growing trend in the realm of course sales pages: a money-back guarantee that comes with conditions.

Take Amy Porterfield, for example.

On the Courses That Convert sales page, team Porterfield offers a 60-Day “Buy it. Build it.” Money-Back Guarantee. It reads:

I’ve done everything in my power to make this the simplest course-creation implementation program available.

I KNOW it works because it’s the exact same process that’s been behind a multiple figure blockbuster courses both in my own business and those of my students.

However, if you’re on the fence…or if other course building trainings have left you skeptical, then I want to give you every chance possible to “buy it and build it” with absolute confidence.

That’s why I’m giving you a FULL 60 DAYS to go through the implementation program, follow the simple step-by-step project plan, and realize for yourself just how amazing it feels to own your very first profitable business asset ready to be deployed.

When you click through to view the full refund policy, you see that your money-back guarantee comes with several conditions.

#1. You must do the coursework and then prove it.

“In order to qualify for a refund you must submit proof that you did the work in the course and it did not work for you… You must include your coursework with your request for a refund. If you request a refund and do not include your coursework by the 60th day, you will not be granted a refund… The work that you need to submit with your request for a refund includes ALL of the following items: Requirement 1… “

#2. You must request the refund within the specified timeframe.

“… let us know you’d like a refund by the 60th day at 11:59 EST… We will NOT provide refunds more than 60 days following the date of purchase. After day 60, all payments are non-refundable and you are responsible for full payment of the fees for the program regardless if you complete the program.”

The Copy Hackers team takes a similar approach with their courses:

“Whether you choose a monthly or one-time plan today, you’ll have 60 days to try it. If you do the work and your copy doesn’t improve and your confidence doesn’t double, just send us the work you’ve done to implement this training. If we’ve failed to help you write high-converting emails, you deserve your money back — and we’ll give it to you.”

Again, the 60-day money-back guarantee comes with the condition that you do the work and prove the course didn’t work for you.

Derek Halpern claims he uses the show-me-you-did-the-work guarantee to scare off people who buy courses, never open them, and then ask for a refund.

After all, the only way to know whether your course works is for your students to use the materials inside.

Courtney Johnston, the creator of the Sales Page Kit, goes one step further and adds:

“… this is not a “buyer’s remorse” policy. Please make sure that you do, indeed, want a copy of the Sales Page Kit before purchasing.”

The Contract Shop team requests feedback from would-be refunders for their GDPReady course bundle. The FAQ section states:

“If you feel the product is defective in some way or unsatisfactory compared to what was promised and you can tell us how, we’re happy to give you a 110% refund within 14 days of purchase.”

This type of guarantee works for courses who can’t make an outcome-type promise.

Plus, if the experience was disappointing, it can be tremendously helpful to know why. That way, you can 1.) improve your course or 2.) modify the sales page copy to set the right expectations — or both.

 

The point is: You don’t have to be at the mercy of a no-questions-asked-money-back guarantee.

You can shape a guarantee that reduces the risk for your students and protects your business.

How?

A money-back guarantee with conditions.

Whatever form your guarantee ends up taking, it needs to be clearly visible on (or linked to from) your sales page. And, of course, always consult a legal professional with these kinds of things.

 

“What if I decide not to offer any guarantee?”

Given that it’s legal where your business operates, that’s a CEO decision.

Though, not offering a guarantee often signals that you don’t believe in the course you’re selling.

Realize, too, that not having a risk-reducing guarantee can cost you course sales — especially if you’re launching a new course, the price is high (risk!), or you have no brand recognition in your industry.

The less credibility you have or, the bigger the investment, the more risk you have to overcome to sell effectively.

Evolve + Succeed takes the no guarantee approach with Be Booked Out, a $3000 program:

“We don’t offer refunds because you get all the materials but we will answer any questions you have to make sure it’s the right fit for you if you email {email removed}.”

Admittedly, I have no idea how well this is working for them.

Would a show-me-the-work guarantee boost course sales? Probably. The evidence is strong enough to warrant testing it.

 

If you’re not planning to offer a guarantee, put extra energy behind other risk-reducers.

… things like testimonials, case studies, content marketing, proof, and demos.

Plus, make sure there is a clear communication channel to address risks sans guarantee.

For example:

  • Let prospects book a 20-minute fit assessment.
  • Use an on-page chat plugin like Drift, so that they can ask questions right away.
  • Ask them to email you if they have any questions.
  • Update your FAQ section with the most common objections, questions, and concerns.

That said, the reality is, most people who might have otherwise enrolled with the protection of a guarantee won’t reach out to ask about their hesitations. They just won’t buy.

 

Honestly, though, if you’re scared to offer a guarantee, even with conditions, you don’t have a “guarantee” problem…

You have a sales problem.

A lack of consistent sales can push you into this scarcity/desperation mindset. The idea of offering a guarantee is can be terrifying because you’re afraid to lose any of the students you worked so hard to convert — even though a strong guarantee would likely boost your sales as a result.

Think about it.

If you’re enrolling 100 new students a month and 2 on average qualify for a refund, you still have 98 new students joining per month!

The sales boost outweighs the refund requests.

Instead, take the leap and offer a money-back guarantee with conditions. Then focus on building a sales funnel, a smarter system for attracting the right potential students to your virtual doorstep and enrolling them in your course.