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Satisfaction Guaranteed

Retail chain Montgomery Ward was the first company in the United States to advertise “satisfaction guaranteed, or your money back”. Founder Aaron Montgomery Ward came up with that slogan in 1874, after he decided to provide “city” goods to country customers who were unable to drive in to make purchases. So, he conceived the idea to sell through a dry goods mail-order “come to you” business.

Ward faced great obstacles including the loss of his first inventory during the Great Chicago Fire; as well as facing local retailer competition, who would go around and burn his catalogs. Despite such actions, he was successful because the core idea of his business met a need.

The history of his business shows that it continued to grow throughout his lifetime in that he ran the business for 41 years until he died. (more of the story here) In reading the history, I was most fascinated by the fact that his catalog became known as the “Wish Book” that had grown to 10,000 items in the first year. Another reason why, despite competition from companies like Sears, he still stayed the course with his success.

In the world of rainmaking for business, I often hear that you need to have your elevator speech. It allows you to tell someone what you do during an elevator ride (or 10 seconds) that serves as your sales pitch for business.

I have never been too excited about the sales pitch idea. I have often thought about what answer to give, when I am asked what sets our law firm apart from other law firms. That is when I think back to an idea that met a need an idea that was not original.

It was the end of the day during a normal workday at the law firm, in 1989. I had met with several new and existing clients that day and I was exhausted. Recounting the story, it was the first time that Dennis Lanier had ever met me. He was doing some investigation for my partner then, and had stopped into my office.

He says that he found me a bit slumped in my chair with the sleeves of my white shirt rolled up near my elbows. He told me that he knew of an idea in signing up new cases. It would make it easier for new clients. He could go to a new client’s house to sign them up, when they could not come in to see me. He had gotten the idea from a solo practitioner and had helped him by doing that very sign-up method.  Soon, we were advertising the idea that “we will come to you”.

Since that time, I have heard other firms advertise that concept. For us, we still “will come to you”. In a way, it was our “Wish Book” idea.

DID YOU KNOW that according to Gambler’s Digest, an estimated $1 million is lost at the race track each year, by people who lose or carelessly throw away winning tickets?

And for pic o’ day… this is bag o’ cat:

bag of cat

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