Selling Benefits: When benefits aren’t benefits

Hey, I think I need your help with this one.

One of my pet peeves is when credit cards or associations offer you things to join, that really aren’t benefits for most of their members.

For example, there’s the proverbial Hertz rental car discount, which you can get anywhere online if you have a pulse. You don’t need to have a membership to anything to get a discount on the most expensive car rental company in America, I assure you.

Just a simple, “I need a better rate, please,” when you’re booking, will get you that, for sure.

Not only that, this is SUCH a “standard” membership to anything, it has no value any longer. It’s like a grocery store telling people they are a good place to shop, because you can get People Magazine on the rack near the cashiers.

And then there’s the discount at Office Depot or Staples. All 5% of it, that you can also get if you have either an Office Depor or Staples Card.

To be honest, I’m not even really sure what a Staples card is. All I know is, my wife has one and is really happy when she gets a check in the mail from them once or twice a year.

Anyway, I recently received an offer by e-mail from American Express, that made me think of this.

This is either one of those things where I’m just completely out of the loop and I just don’t “get” what’s going on here… or it’s a complete “miss” in terms of matching an offer to a likely buyer.

Here’s the ad I got:

Selling Benefits

I was like, “Are you serious?” $1,295 for dinner?

Really? Really?

But there again, maybe I just don’t understand what’s going on here.

Which is exactly my point.

If you’re trying to sell something, then at least try and “sell” it.

Who is this guy? Why is this event or his cooking, so special? Who else likes him? Does he cook for Kings and Queens?

And so on.

Remember – nothing gets bought, unless it get sold first.  And all too often, people just assume, “they (my buyers) know what I mean.”  When this is simply not true.

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Or are there just THAT many fans of these restaurants or of this Chef… that, to them… this offer is as understandable and tangible as saying “Tennis lessons with Andre Agassi,” or “Play guitar with Eric Clapton,” or something like that.

What do you think? I’d be interested in getting some other vantage points on this.

Hey, the truth is… what do I know?

To me, a great meal is a slice of New York City pizza… or crunchy peanut butter (ground from fresh peanuts and refrigerated, of course), between two slices of multi-grain bread, with some low-sugar strawberry jelly.

I guess, on second thought… this really wasn’t a good offer to buyer fit, was it?

Probably not.

Any comments? Leave ’em below.

Now go sell something, Craig Garber

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