As much as Dan McNulty, president and CEO of Acoustic Imaging Technologies Corp., in Tempe, Ariz., tried to convince prospects about his diagnostic ultrasound equipment's reliability, they wouldn't listen. So he juiced up the product's one-year warranty to make prospects prick up their ears. If the $130,000 machine, for which more than 55 orders have been placed this year, breaks down and is unusable, they get an automatic one-year warranty extension from the date of the breakdown, free. "It differentiates us from our competitors, where one-year warranties are the standard," says McNulty.

Since the program was introduced in April 1989, McNulty claims the company is ahead of sales projections. And only one customer has been able to take advantage of the extension, which normally sells for $10,000.