February 26, 2010 — If you visit a Jaguar dealership during an advertised sales event and take a $90-K Jag XK convertible for a quick test ride you’ll likely not find the dealership also giving away free hot dogs, nor would all the Jags be plastered with colored balloons or have “slashed” prices painted on the windshields.
However, if you visit, say, a Chevy or Ford dealership during their weekend ‘Drag it in, Tow it in or Push it in’ sales campaign they’ll likely be grilling up the hot dogs or burgers and maybe have some popcorn and sodas on hand for the ‘kiddies’ all the while playing some ‘oldies but goodies’ tunes over an antiquated audio system that can be heard blocks away.
There is obviously a world of difference when comparing a Jag product to a Chevy or Ford, but when ‘sales-guests’ show up to the weekend ‘BBQ’ affair their negative impression about ‘car sales’ people is instantaneously reinforced before they ever make it out of their own car and on to the lot.
In our business competing developers market and sell various TS products and services. However unlike the Chevy and Ford gang, when you consider the entire scope of a TS interest– including all the benefits, features and uses enjoyed by owners– there should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that TS is at least equal to a Jag, so to speak, and should be ‘presented’ in a manner befitting that reality.
Yet, to this day, many sales centers, especially the low-VPG-high-body-count schemes, run the same old worn out routine they have used for decades, which is to bring in the masses, do a quick ‘meet and greet’ an even quicker ‘warm-up’ followed by an even quicker ‘break the pact’, the standard survey sheet, etc., while with the music plays on.
Those particular developers are not likely to change any time soon but the savvy developer, most likely the independent cognizant players who have their eyes on current economical realties and the future, are likely to be much more efficient and profitable with their marketing. They will be selling their project as if it were a Jag or maybe a Lamborghini, a Mercedes-Benz or a nicely priced Porsche!
From a ‘sales’ perspective that approach can be achieved, in part, by hiring the crème de la crème professional front-to-back reps and also by getting back to the ‘basics’ of representing TS interests as purely a ‘vacation-home’ with one fantastic benefit in that the owners can of course use their vacation home just about anywhere in the world they’ll likely want to visit!
Additionally, these developers should also ban the T-pitch line (‘rent it’, ‘will it’ and ‘sell it’) from the presentation as that aspect, frankly speaking, is a mindless form of pitching ‘heat’ that ultimately creates and/or contributes to many consumers’ negative perceptions, concerns, purchase hesitations and cancellations.
When consumers purchase a full ownership vacation (or 2nd) home the last thing the real estate agent thumps as a ‘feature’ is that sort of T-pitch nonsensical gobbledygook (‘rent it, will, it, sell it). Instead the agent focuses on the prospect’s ‘hot-buttons’ such as the amenities, location and view as well as use, enjoyment, security, time away from the ‘grind’, being with loved ones, friends and maybe business partners…
As cautious and more savvy prospects return to the sales centers– including existing owners, those whose family, friends or acquaintances own and still others who’ve read the negative press about the TS ‘sales’ environment, etc.– this could be just the right era to implement a ‘fresh’ approach to the way ‘vacations’ and ‘travel’ are being sold in the timeshare industry.
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