A Minivan is NOT an Upgrade!

December 10, 2009 at 12:04 am Leave a comment

By Diane Krakora, CEO

I travel a lot. Well, not that much compared to you global channel chiefs out there – but I’m going somewhere every other week. I only rent from Hertz. Don’t ask me why… I don’t remember anymore (it’s been that long). This last trip I showed up at the Gold Member “board” and was spritely directed to my car located in stall #48. I thought “at least it’s close and I don’t have to shelp all this stuff through the freezing rain.” My heart stops as I get to stall #44 … it couldn’t be… they wouldn’t dare! Yes, they assigned me a minivan. No offense to you moms out there. I’ve only been in a minivan once (Sandra’s) and I would really rather NOT drive one. I shelp back to the Gold Member counter and very sweetly ask the woman “could I get the compact I requested … or even a subcompact please?”  She snorts and types away on her 1970’s terminal and finally responds “you’ve been upgraded.” I smile and say (without my standard sarcasm) “that’s really nice – but I prefer the compact. I’m more comfortable with it.”  She frowned and barked something that basically meant I was stuck with the mom-van. Looking back, I’m sure she said something about being completely out of the car I requested – even though I walked past a dozen on my way to space #48. All I heard was “blah, blah… you’ll be driving a minivan.” Eeecck!

I relay this story not to seem snobbish about my transportation options … but to remind us all who create “upgrade paths” to ensure the upgrade is actually preferred by the partner. For example, if a partner in the lower tier of your program does really well and sells a bunch of gear – you’re likely to “promote” that partner to the next level. Great! More benefits – like access to MDF, deal registration and a partner account manager. What if that partner doesn’t WANT one of those benefits – say the “account manager?” There could be several reasons why … the requirement to talk to and coordinate with said “account manager” being one. I’m not suggesting you drop your account manager structure. I’m simply highlighting that to a certain set of partners (people) all benefits are not created equal. Some of use just don’t want to drive a minivan – even if it is more spacious, more powerful and more luxurious than a compact car. Some people would be delighted with the larger car. Me, not so much. Are you upgrading your partners to a minivan?

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Entry filed under: Partnering Tips. Tags: , , , .

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