Monday, November 17, 2014

Surviving A Timeshare Sales Presentation In 2014

10 years ago, I wrote my first timeshare book; “Surviving A Timeshare Sales Presentation…Confessions From The Sales Table.”  Much has changed in 10 years…I no longer sell timeshare, having long since determined that I enjoy writing/speaking/teaching timeshare to selling it.  Much has not changed in 10 years…the timeshare industry continues to cling to the idea that timeshares have to be sold through often lengthy timeshare sales pitches.

Today, we all know that timeshare sales presentations are not the only way to buy a timeshare. In fact, they may not be the best way.  Yet, every year, hundreds of thousands of consumers willingly or unwillingly sit through one or more of these sales pitches.  As in 2004, the vast majority of them come out more confused than when they went in.

Here’s what you need to know about timeshare sales presentations:

1)     A Rose By Any Other Name

Rarely, if ever, are timeshare sales presentations called timeshare sales presentations by anyone at the resort.  You’ll hear terms such as “resort tour”, “resort preview”, ”information session” “vacation survey”, or perhaps “owners’ update” if you already own a timeshare.  Don’t allow yourself to be mislead…they are all timeshare sales presentations

What does this mean?  It means you will generally see one or more timeshare sales people for at least 90 minutes and usually closer to 2 ½ hours.  You will be shown something and asked to purchase it.

2)     Today Means Today

Timeshare sales presentations are designed to get you to make a buying decision at the end of the presentation.  Not later on that day.  Not later on during your vacation.  Not later on once you’ve had a chance to clearly evaluate the purchase.  (Disney Vacation Club is a rare exception to this.  Their sales people actually encourage you to think about it, rather than make a hasty decision one way or another.)

3)    What The Prices Mean

Generally, the first price that the salesperson will show you means nothing.  In the business, it’s referred to as “taking the clients’ temperature.”  If you say “no” to the first price, there will inevitably be a second price…and often a third, fourth and fifth price.  This can get tedious and frustrating and oftentimes leads to impulsive decisions.

Even when the “final” price is revealed, remember to include finance charges, closing costs, exchange company membership fees, exchange fees, usage fees and annual maintenance fees into your purchasing decision..

4)    You Are In Control, Not The Salesperson

Despite what you may think, or may be led to believe, you are in control of any timeshare sales presentation, not the salesperson.  Consumers have to remember this in all situations.  Nothing happens until you make the decision to purchase, or not purchase.

That applies to even attending the sales presentation.  Yes, many mini-vacations require you to attend a sales presentation.  By that, I mean that you, the consumer, are exchanging your time at a sales presentation for a discounted vacation, theme park tickets, dinner shows or something else.  No one gets tricked into a sales pitch.  If you aren’t interested in timeshare for whatever reason, or can’t agree to keep and open mind, then don’t accept the gifts that are offered in exchange for your time.

So, what does this all mean to you as a savvy consumer?  Timeshares can be life-enhancing.  However, no purchase this important should be entered into on a whim.  If you’re going to a timeshare sales presentation, it pays to do your homework ahead of time.  For a list of some questions you should ask before purchasing a timeshare, e-mail me at

I’m currently working on my next book, based solely on consumer input.  If you’d like to have your voice heard, fill out the form here: