When it comes to timeshares, the amount of time and money that goes into the sale is staggering. But it’s not because travel has become extremely competitive over the last decade. Instead of advertising intervals online, timeshare companies prefer to meet with timeshare prospects in a secluded environment they can control. It’s just too big of a purchase for consumers to sporadically make anymore. Vacation rentals have taken over and nobody is actively searching for vacation ownership – giving resorts even more reason to utilize shady methods to fill presentations and sell their timeshare product.
Pressure filled environments have always helped sales teams wear down attendees and increase their chances of closing the deal. While most attendees escape the arranged demonstration unscathed, many timeshare prospects don’t. Sadly, they become victims of the timeshare sales cycle. This is why it’s important that all consumers understand how deep the sale of vacation ownership weeks and points can go.
How Are Timeshares Leveraging Sales Presentations?
In our last two blog posts, we did our best to explain the process by which timeshare companies use misleading promises to coralle consumers into a persuasive presentation. Now that you know how these aggressive selling swindlers get in front of unexpecting consumers, it’s time to take a closer look at the exposition itself. While it may seem like we’re bashing the industry for selfish gain, just remember we’re trying to help those that have yet signed up for the agreement.
Even though some of these occurrences may qualify you for our services, we would still need to inspect your contract(s) before advising you on relief or further restitution. While we do believe many timeshare operations aren’t consumer-friendly, our intent isn’t to sell you on our services. With that being said, here are some of the ways timeshare prospects are worn down during sales presentations.
1. Short Meetings Usually Last a Long Minute.
If you’ve been invited to a timeshare sales presentation, then you’ve more than likely been offered something in exchange. Whether it be a free night’s stay at a prominent resort or a voucher for dinner and a show, you’ll be required to attend a “meeting” to receive the gift. Since most people balk at this, it’s often presented as a brief, 90 minute presentation to explain the details of the offer. Sometimes this isn’t disclosed until timeshare prospects arrive on location. This is done so consumers don’t change their mind or research the experience beforehand.
When you find yourself being talked into attending a meeting in order to receive something that was already promised to you, then you have to take notice. This is the first red flag of a lopsided presentation. What you’re going to be offered is not worth it. Don’t let the “prize(s)” distract you. Any lack of disclosure should create concern for timeshare prospects. This is important because once you step in the doors, it will be difficult to leave. Although you may think you’ll be able to say “no” and walk away, never underestimate the tongues of timeshare salespeople. It is very much so a group effort to close you.
Everybody knows someone that loves to talk. They’re the one person you can never find a way to break away from. This is exactly how timeshare sales presentations are. We’ve helped clients who claimed they weren’t allowed to leave the sales presentation for water and food due to diabetic concerns. It’s harder than you think and why resorts prefer to sell this way. It’s not uncommon for a 30 minute meeting to turn into an 8 hour presentation that eventually wears down timeshare prospects. Nearly every timeshare group operates this way.
2. Shiny Objects Keep Timeshare Prospects Distracted.
The first step of the sales presentation is to engage the audience. During this time, a number of appealing destinations, perks, options or possibilities are dangled in front of timeshare prospects. This helps them build excitement around the product from the podium. During this time, cunning sales representatives begin to segment the room and determine who they’re going to target and with what pitch. The “check-in” paperwork that guests were required to fill out gives them further insight on every attendee – helping them with this process.
As the lead presenter explains certain deals, packages and benefits, sales teams observe the responses of guests and take note of their intrigue while reviewing their financials. This allows them to “build a friendship” with timeshare prospects before they even meet them. Some have even been known to research certain guests online to gain an advantage.
When attendees are distracted by shiny objects and the endless possibilities of ownership, it’s hard for them to notice they’re being preyed upon by commissioned contractors. If you ever feel as though something is too good to be true, then it probably is. If you’re giving sales teams personal information that isn’t necessary, think twice. Far too often, timeshare prospects are worn down by appealing possibilities and charisma during sales presentations. Don’t let that be you.
3. You Can’t Leave Once You’ve Made a Commitment.
When it comes to the timeshare sale, psychological tactics are very much so at the forefront. Like we mentioned before, most people don’t like to think they’d fall for a one sided sales pitch. But once your intrigue is real and you’ve been sucked into the sales presentation, it’s difficult to let go of the desire to go on vacation. The longer you wait for a reason to leave, the harder it will be to walk out. Once the sales rep proves he’s continuously willing to wheel and deal, most timeshare prospects simply cannot stop playing the game.
If you already agreed to sit through a 90 minute timeshare presentation (and you weren’t caught off guard), then you were probably already expecting some sort of spiel. But if you knew nothing about the presentation itself, let alone the company name of the host, then why did the “incentive” appeal to you? We mention this because many attend these sales presentations with the hope it’s going to be fruitful. Even though it may seem sketchy, the possibility of an affordable annual vacation is attractive. When free gifts and invested time are at stake, many don’t want to let the opportunity go. In turn, the sales presentation wears them down and they do something they regret.
Personal Commitments and Timeshare Misconceptions.
What makes matters worse is the sales staff’s involvement in the inclination of timeshare prospects. In other words, the psychology of it all is troubling. Once distractions and excitement have been sewn into the podium pitch, the sales reps pull the attendees aside to a secluded room to finish the deal. This is normally the point of no return.
Some may be skeptical and bold enough to voice that they have fulfilled their 90 minute requirement and demand their free gift. Sometimes this is effective but rarely does it matter. Sales teams have an answer and contingency for nearly every “no.” There always seems to be “one more thing to do” before they give you what they promised.
Many salespeople simply state they aren’t authorized to give out certain gifts and call in another representative that has “the paperwork” for the deal. When you’re handed off like this, it’s called a takeover (TO). With each new sales representative, timeshare prospects are continuously persuaded on different products, features, perks, destinations and options. The presentation always continues with an offer for a better product, a different getaway or something that’s “better suited for your budget.”
Even those that continue to demand their free gift are often met by another closer with better skills. The longer they can distract attendees, the more likely they are to settle on something. The mind game played here causes many attendees to forget what they’re even looking for. With each tick on the clock, they feel more committed and determined to get something in exchange for their time. At this point in the presentation, sales teams know timeshare prospects won’t just get up and walk away.
With each closer, the pot gets sweeter and sweeter in the eyes of the timeshare prospect. Once the sales presentation has worn them down, nearly anything could seem like a good consolation prize. But giving in to get out of the presentation is dangerous. Most buyers never receive what they believe they paid for because they didn’t get verbal promises in writing. If you find the presentation extremely frustrating and you’re not sure what you’re getting yourself into, then just walk away. There’s no penalty for making a smart decision.
4. Lying About a Timeshare Prospect’s Ability to Cancel.
One of the most misleading elements of the timeshare sale is the idea of “today only deals.” Nobody should believe this facade for a second. Besides, all you need to do is compare the overall cost of ownership with a retail vacation to see it’s not much of a deal after all. Regardless, there is another lie that is far more concerning. Once a timeshare prospect has been worn down by the pitch, sales reps have been known to make false verbal promises about their ability to cancel or even that they will buy back the timeshare from them. Telling a tired and hungry attendee that they can always “cancel if it doesn’t work out” makes it easy to capture a signature.
This is why you must understand that these presentations are designed to be drug out as long as possible. They want you to believe you made the decision to buy and that the only way to leave is to find something that works. No matter what you think, they will do what it takes to get you under contract. Too much money has been spent and their reward is too high to give up. Leading you to believe you can easily cancel perpetuity is a last resort tactic that’s used once prospects are ready to leave.
The Reality of a Vacation Owner’s Ability to Cancel.
The problem is, the details of the cancellation (rescission) period are rarely disclosed. Paperwork for this is often said to be missing (“fallen out”) and has even been found in “hidden compartments” of presentation folders at the spine. In most states, buyers have less than 5 days to change their mind. No matter how worn down timeshare prospects are, they have to be willing to ask questions. Many assume they’ll be able to visit the resort before making a decision to cancel – but they’re wrong.
Even though the rescission period has been a constant controversy for lawmakers, it has yet to change. Many believe consumers should have a chance to test the experience, but it doesn’t change the fact that thousands of buyers find themselves unwillingly under contract every year – simply because a timeshare representative told them they could cancel. What ends up happening is, once they realize they can’t get out of the timeshare agreement, they attempt to make it worthwhile. If they’re unaware of other costs, like maintenance fees or assessments, then they could be in for a big surprise.
Don’t Misjudge Sales Pitches as a Timeshare Prospect.
Owning a timeshare may seem like a pleasant experience for only $20k, but after interest, fees and travel expenses, it can be overwhelming. Upgrades and additional contracts can quickly turn the purchase into a 6 digit expense. While there are plenty of people that enjoy vacation ownership, people need to understand what they’re purchasing before they say “yes.” If you’re leaning on a sales team (that is highly incentivized) to lead you in the right direction then you should probably reassess your strategy.
Hopefully these articles have given you a better perspective on what to look for throughout the timeshare sales process. The last thing you need to be doing is getting yourself trapped in a timeshare agreement you don’t want or need. Plenty of timeshare prospects have taken the time to do their own research and you should too. If you have any questions about your timeshare contract, you’re always more than welcome to schedule a free consultation.