Thursday, August 30, 2012

Why Timeshare Marketing And Sales MUST Change-From A Consumer

Today's guest blog is from Ralph Williams, a reader of this blog.  Ralph is a Communication Advisor for an international airline. He edits two in-house magazines and manages content for an employees-only website, and operates a small property-management company. He has over 10 years experience in media and real estate sales.

This should be required reading for every single timeshare developer, Director of Sales, Sales Manager, Salesperson and Marketing Director out there. 



Many of your guest bloggers have been very frank, so I suspect you may welcome a very frank submission from a would-be consumer.

My wife has informed me that if I sign up for another time-share presentation, it may result in divorce.

She doesn't feel that way because we are not interested. My brother has a time-share, and we've enjoyed it. We actually attended one presentation intending to buy. If I recall, that presentation ended only when I started talking about calling 911 and reporting that we were being held against our will. We were 3 1/2 hours into a presentation that was billed as "120 minutes or less, including a tour of the property,"  and because we had been delivered to that location by bus, we were being held captive in an unfamiliar city without a vehicle.

Here's my opinion, for what it's worth:

If you really want to sell, you are going to have to change the way you deal with your customers. You don't respect your customers, and your customers reciprocate: according to "Scoop", author of "Inside the Gate", 88% of your prospects do not buy. Many of them, like me, return home to tell their friends and neighbors how badly they were treated. They use words like "scam," "pressure tactics," "dishonest." Let me give you a taste of what it's like from the other side.

We were lied to about the "free" accommodations. We understood we would be staying in the property we were going to view (or something compatible). Instead, we were put up in a hotel that was being renovated. It was dirty and noisy. The rooms hadn't been properly cleaned, and the hallways were so dirty that you could see our footprints where we entered the room!

We were lied to about the presentation. See above. If you tell us there will be a 2-hour presentation, make sure it is two hours and no more. We can understand if things go over time occasionally, but taking 4 hours for a 2 hour presentation? And threatening people who want to leave?

We were pestered to death, even before we ever saw the property. I was approached by a person who wanted us to view another time-share. I explained that we had bad experiences with two time-share companies already and didn't want another, and he promised that this would be a great experience. He gave me his personal email and phone number: "Just call me if things don't go well." The next day, the phone calls started. Robo-calls, about once an hour, insisting that I must schedule my visit to the property RIGHT NOW!

Being polite is a mistake. Last week, I filled out a Free Drawing form at my favorite outdoors store. A couple of days later, I received a phone call asking me where I would like to take my "Free" vacation. I politely responded that if it meant sitting through a Time-share presentation, I wasn't at all interested. The caller was insistent, and I repeated that I was not interested in attending a time-share presentation. She started in again, and I asked her if she had heard what I said. That made her pause for a moment, just long enough for me to repeat that I wouldn't attend a time-share presentation, then she started in again. I finally hung up.

Vacations are supposed to be fun. Owning property is supposed to be a good thing. Buying a vacation property should be a good, fun thing. It's not. Your "show" doesn't match your "tell."

What do you need to do to sell to me?

  1. Tell me the truth, the whole truth...  I'm already suspicious. If you bend things just the tiniest bit, I'm going to be more suspicious. I'm not putting my money down until I'm comfortable.
  2. Respect me; respect my time. Don't call me at all hours. If I say, "No," then thank me and hang up. If I've listened to your presentation and I'm not interested, another hour with your closer is only going to irritate me. If you leave me alone, I might come back. If you make me mad, I guarantee I won't be back.
  3. Make it fun. Ever heard of door prizes? Freebies? Games? Surely there's something you can do to make me want to participate. Locking me in a room with a high-pressure presenter isn't my idea of fun. 
  4. Make it comfortable. My first, and best experience with a presentation started with a low-key tour around the property. We were given time to poke around a suite. We didn't buy then, but we were treated well, and we decided that the next time we had the opportunity, we would buy.
Thanks Ralph.  Can't be much clearer than this can it?  Who among the industry is smart enough to listen?

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