If you own your own business, you are probably familiar with this problem: Money is tight, but you need to spend to impress your customers. If that’s the case, a premium rewards card may be just for you. Several companies have launched products that meet this need — Founders Card and Spark Business are two examples. I’m an investor in another rewards card (not mentioned here) so I have a pretty thorough understanding of their workings. These cards provide savings, perks, and VIP access at a range of premium dining, travel, entertainment and lifestyle locations.
Using a Premium Rewards Card
Suppose you want to take a prospective client and her son to see the Brooklyn Nets because her son is a rabid fan. The odds that you will close the deal go up exponentially if you can make your client’s child happy. But tickets to professional basketball games are expensive and buying them will strain your marketing budget.
A rewards card may be able to help. One of the cards lets you get Nets tickets that others cannot buy — for 30 percent off. If you’ve got the card, you can buy the tickets, stay in budget, impress the kid, make the mom happy, and close the deal.
What About this Situation?
Your office manager just told you that she can’t access a vendor’s new software because your circa-2000 model office computers are too old. And, by the way, it’s not so great that your three salespeople haven’t got tablet computers since your main competitor’s sales staff does, and it’s giving them an unfair advantage.
Don’t worry. Your office manager has got you covered. She’s picked out the computers and tablets you need. You just have to authorize the purchase. If you had the right rewards card, you could get the computer equipment that you need for 25 percent off.
How About this Scenario?
You’ve got a supplier in Miami who is worried about dealing with a start-up. You need him to feel that you are successful or there is no way you are getting credit. The supplier would like to go to the Rec Room in Miami Beach because he’s heard it’s a great club. So you’re going to take him there.
Small Business Deals
You’re not even sure who’s going to pick up the check. This is all about the impression you leave. If you get a lousy table because you’ve never been there before, your supplier won’t perceive you as successful. But if you’ve got the right rewards card, your guests get VIP access and glide past the velvet rope to a table. When the manager comes over and offers a complimentary bottle of champagne after greeting you by name — another perk of the card — the supplier will be less worried about your survival.
The premium rewards card is a no-brainer if you are in a city where one of the card companies already operate. Between the dining, travel and entertainment partners, you will make back the annual fees for the card in a couple of weeks.
But even if you are in a city that the rewards cards haven’t yet penetrated, you might consider it. Not only can you gain if you visit one of these places frequently for business, but they tend to offer benefits that you can use anywhere — discounts on hotels, car services, airport lounge access, rental cars, restaurants, and much more. One trade show per year and these cards have paid for themselves.
For some of them, you don’t have to give up your credit card perks to get the benefits. You can double dip. Just link your credit card as the payment mechanism and you’re still getting your cash back bonus or frequent flyer miles.
Did you just spill soup on your shirt reading this column on your smart phone at lunch? Then pop into your national retailer before your next meeting and pick up a new one — if you have one of these cards, you will likely get the shirt at 10 to 20 percent off.
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