Truth be told...my friends think I’m a bit strange.
Now I’m not considered strange for the typical reasons...like putting ketchup on eggs...or some other idiosyncrasy like that...
No...I’m considered a social misfit because I actually like going to time-share presentations...
I believe by attending one these sales presentations with the right frame of mind...that you can learn more about sales in 90 minutes than you can by reading a stack of books or spending days on end attending sales training seminars...to top it all off...many real estate companies will actually give you a "bribe" to attend one of these sales presentations such as a free weekend vacation or tickets to a Vegas show!!
A quality time-share presentation includes many of the best known sales practices. Many of these techniques can and should be incorporated into a professional salesperson’s repertoire of skills and knowledge.
Each time-share presentation follows a tightly choreographed script although to the casual buyer...the events seem natural and in no specific order.
When you first arrive at the time-share presentation, you are matched up with a salesperson. It is the primary job of the salesperson to gather and provide information.
The first 30 minutes are reserved for the salesperson to learn as much as he/she can about the prospect (client) and in order to forge a close "relationship" with the prospects...yes...a close relationship in 30 minutes or less!
Renown sales trainer, Jack Daly, describes sales as "the transfer of trust between two individuals". Never has this been more illustrated than the first 30 minutes of a time-share.
During this initial meeting, the salesperson will start by revealing something about themselves. Many times they’ll discuss their families, their past experiences and/or work histories, their hobbies and interests...each time they tell you something about themselves...they will ask you several questions in return pertaining to that topic...
"Hi Jim...my name is Steve Smith...I’m glad you have the opportunity to visit us here in paradise...I came to Palm Springs from Michigan in 1979 because the weather there was causing me to grow old faster than my time and I wanted to be around for a few more years to play with my grandchildren some day...Jim, isn’t the weather here fantastic?...so where are you from?...what brought you here to Palm Springs?...you look like you’re in good shape Jim, what do you do to keep looking so young?...Were you aware that Palm Springs has more golf courses per capita than any place in the world?...you obviously don’t have any grandchildren yet...you’re much too young for that...but do you have kids?"...
For 30-45 minutes...nothing but gathering information about me and my family, lifestyle, beliefs, "hopes, dreams and fears"...looking for opportunities... unfulfilled needs... real, perceived or imagined problems and/or issues...
Now comes the presentation about the company...the presentation is well-tailored to meet the profile you helped to create for them...if you’re analytical... the talk will be about the financial strength of the company...if you’re an outdoors type person...the speech will be about how "Green" and environmental concerned the company is...all helping to build your trust and admiration...
The next step in the sales process is the property (product) itself. Salespeople will show you different models, all luxuriously furnished and so clean you would think that surgery will be performed in the room just after lunch. Each and every statement of a feature is followed by a benefit..."the pool area is well-lit so you can enjoy a refreshing swim workout 24-hours a day and since we have four different restaurants on the premises, you’ll never need to drive into the crowded city to eat...can’t you just visualize yourself coming here year after year?"
The last step of the sales process is the sales close. This is where the salesperson will summarize all of the benefits of time-share ownership to you and your family and how it will enrich your life to no end for years to come. Then and only then will they speak of a price.
The price will always be broken up into very small, easy-to-digest, bite-sized pieces. The price quoted is never the entire price paid, but rather a price for the main product only. Lastly the first price is nowhere near the final price they will offer...
"Jim...can’t you just imagine yourself and family enjoying all the lifestyle benefits that you told me you’d like in your life?..now .you and your family can enjoy all those benefits for no more than what you spend for a cup of coffee each day... and just for today... and since we are nearing the end of this project phase, the company has authorized me to give you a 20% discount if you can sign up today..."
Never mind that the math never quite works out...even with a reduced price for the product...mainly due to the "other" costs that the salesperson conveniently forgets to tell you about...such as annual maintenance fees, cleaning fees and the interest on the loan that they’ll arrange for you...
Now if you don’t bite and take the offer the sales person is presenting to you...don’t worry...the sales manager will soon be there to review your objections to the offer... he/she will tell you "these objections are quite valid... but if I can overcome your concerns can I earn your business?"...this process will continue until you decide to purchase or stop the presentation and leave.
The point of my blog today isn’t to get you to buy a time-share (primarily because they’re HORRIBLE purchases in situations)...but rather to point out the salient points of the professional sales process:
I highly recommend for each professional salesperson to learn as much as they can from other sales professionals...
- Learn as much as you can about your prospect / client in order to develop a relationship and help establish trust between you and the client.
- Look for opportunities to always create benefits for your client by listening to what issues are important to them.
- Educate your client / prospect about your company as well as yourself and your product / service as the client will most likely need to work with others people within your company as well as you.
- Always discuss the benefits - not the features - of your product / service
- Never mislead a client about the pricing, the performance, or the delivery / completion times of your product or service as this will quickly erode the trust they have transferred to you.
- Follow-up with the client to review any problems they may have encountered with you, your company, your product / service and/or the customer service they received.
Remember... nothing in business happens... until a sale is first made.
Thank you very much for for supporting OptiFuse and listening each week to my rants...