Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Blue Light Special Waiting To Happen

This blog and many other blogs talk a great deal about the plight of the timeshare owner, for good reason.  However, there are other people that are hurt a great deal by the marketing and sales practices still employed by timeshare resorts worldwide---the timeshare salesperson.

I wrote the following piece many years ago, while I was still a salesperson and it unfortunately is still as timely as it was back then:

If K-Mart Were a Timeshare

In reading the gory details of K-Mart's recent bankruptcy filing, I am struck by the similarities to the situation that many timeshare resorts find themselves in.

K-Mart executives were quick to blame their financial collapse on just about everything other than what it was… poor marketing management. However, I would bet that if K-Mart were a timeshare, K-Mart executives would have written a memo to all of their employees and blamed the debacle on them.

See if this ficticious memo doesn't sound familiar to those of you in timeshare sales…

To: All K-Mart Employees
From: The Big Boss
Re: The End

K-Mart will be filing for bankruptcy today. That means that all of you will be out of a job. You are free of course to go to WalMart or Target to see if things will be any better there. You will find however, that things are just the same, the customers are exactly the same.

The reason for your being out of a job is simple… you, the stockers did not keep the right merchandise in stock. You, the cashiers did not meet your sales quota. Simply put, you didn't sell enough.

Remember that we in upper management did our part by bringing you the customers. It was your job to sell them merchandise. You didn't do your job. It is never, ever the fault of the customer. It is always your fault. Perhaps if you had a better attitude and didn't prejudge all of the customers that we pay top dollar to bring to you, you would not all find yourself in this bind.

By the way, you will not be getting your last paycheck. Those paychecks will be used to refund all of those purchases that will be coming back. It was all of your responsibility to follow up with each and every one of your sales to find out if they were satisfied with their vacuum cleaners, towels and oil filters.

Of course, K-Mart is in their nasty situation because of poor marketing, not because of inept cashiers or stockers. Need another similarity? The entire decision to bring in Martha Stewart was incredibly poor marketing. K-Mart shoppers ON THE WHOLE, don't know or care who Martha Stewart is. The people who do know and buy Martha Stewart wouldn't be caught dead at K-Mart.

Still muddy? Let me clarify. ON THE WHOLE… the customers that most timeshares pay so-called marketing companies money for don't want to know about timeshare, don't care about timeshare, and don't have the money to afford timeshare. But the people who do care about timeshare, do want to know about timeshare and can afford timeshare aren't being reached at all.

Because the so-called marketing companies are in fact, not doing ANYTHING that resembles what the rest of the world considers marketing.

It is time for Project Directors, Directors of Sales and other non-"marketing" personnel to say "ENOUGH" and demand more. It is time that timeshare companies come down out of their ivory tower and recognize that this wonderful product that we sell has the potential to be so much more if we let it. Timeshares are sold to the public by the salesperson on an emotional basis (and thanks to everyone who finally convinced me of that). Where is the emotion behind any of the so-called marketing and advertising that the resorts do? There is none at all.

Allow yourself to ponder how wonderful of an industry this would be if we would stop doing things the hard way. The writing is on the wall… either do effective marketing and advertising or your resort may be "a blue light special".

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