A few weeks ago my wife Ellen and I spent a week in the Mayan Riviera south of Cancun. We love to get away to the beach a few times a year and unplug.
This trip our vacation started with a very unpleasant experience, a timeshare presentation on the first morning.
Full disclosure: we’ve been timeshare owners for 20 years and we love our timeshares. We were introduced to timeshares by Ellen’s friend 20 years ago and owned ever since. Our strategy is to purchase ours on the resale/foreclosure market and never during a presentation. We’ve never spent more than $1000 to buy into our timeshares and it only costs us about $120 a night to stay in our timeshares. Much cheaper than staying in a hotel and eating in restaurants with two children.
We’ve participated in many timeshare presentations and I like to attend them just to see how they try to sell us to hone my sales skills. They have many strategies and I’m sure we’ve experienced most of them. We even had one sales person tell us we could probably sell him a timeshare because we know all of their tricks.
Well our experience in Mexico was by far the most aggressive sales pitch we’ve ever attended. The entire story is too long to share in one post so I’ll share bits and pieces with you over time.
My biggest takeaway from the sales pitch was what our sales rep Steve learned from his 22 years of selling timeshares.
There are only three reasons people do not buy from you. Well Steve did say there was a fourth but that was when a couple who worked for the CIA said they couldn’t buy a timeshare in Mexico because they would lose their security clearance if they purchased property in a foreign country.
Steve likes to draw so he drew three symbols on his page of notes.
a picture of Pinocchio
He went on to explain the three reasons people will not buy from you:
Money – you didn’t fully convince them of the value of investing in your product or service
Questions – you didn’t fully answer all of their questions so they aren’t ready to invest
Pinocchio – The prospect thinks you are lying about something
When we told Steve we weren’t ready to invest he asked us which of these three reasons was stopping us.
Ellen immediately pointed at Pinocchio and said we don’t trust you!
Why didn’t we trust Steve?
First of all, we’ve been through many timeshare presentations and they will do anything to sell you a timeshare. They don’t care if you can’t afford it or aren’t a good fit for a timeshare. They are relentless and use a very aggressive tag team approach to close the deal.
Second, we don’t need to purchase more timeshares and we like to own timeshares we can drive to. This way we use all of our available time and don’t worry about wasting weeks. Many timeshare owners over-purchase and waste weeks.
Third, we didn’t want to trade our US-based timeshares for time at this Mexican resort which is the deal Steve offered us after we didn’t want invest in additional timeshare weeks.
Fourth, Steve promised our presentation would only take 45 minutes and now we were over three hours into the presentation including our “free” breakfast.
At this point Steve’s boss happened to be walking by and stopped in to say hello. I’m sure they have a secret signal when it’s time for the closer to appear because Steve took us as far as he could without closing the deal.
I don’t remember Steve’s boss’ name but I do remember the angry look on his face when we said we weren’t ready to invest. They did lay out a compelling argument why we should take the deal but we weren’t ready to bite. He hammered us for at least 15 minutes and almost called us stupid for not taking the deal.
At this point we just wanted to go to the beach so we got up and started walking out. Steve’s boss gave up and stomped away because he didn’t close the deal. Next we met with a woman who took a softer approach as she gave us our parting gifts. She said if you change your mind I’ll be here all week but we were not going to change our mind.
At this point Pinocchio’s nose grew to about six feet long and there was no way in hell we were ever coming back to this resort!
Throughout the week we heard similar stories from other couples who survived the high pressure sales pitch (actually some did purchase and we felt so sorry for them). We even heard through the grapevine that the motto of the sales team is “make ‘em buy or make ‘em cry” which explained a lot.
Steve’s three reasons why people don’t buy from you did resonate with me. I’ve been trying hard to think of more reasons people don’t buy but it does almost always come down to the fact that you didn’t convince them of the value of your product/service, you didn’t fully explain your product/service or they don’t trust you for some reason.
If you can think of other reasons why people don’t buy, let me know. I can’t wait to hear your ideas.