-by TS Newshound
As a Master Closer with three decades of experience in the timeshare industry, I’ve often been asked the question “What is the most important aspect of the timeshare sales presentation?”
Depending on the selling system that you are working in (front to back or T/O), each sales center– including both on- and off-site– have several critically important selling steps that representatives must adhere to throughout the entire presentation.
These steps include the meet and greet phase, the warm up, breaking the pact, discovery/survey sheet as well as meal time (if applicable), presenting the product/service (yes, you are selling a product/service), touring the resort and asking for the client’s business (closing).
An adage comes to mind that constantly proves to be true when selling any product or service to a prospective buyer: “A chain is only as strong as its weakest link”. As such, all the steps throughout the entire sales presentation are strategically important and how well those steps are performed will determine the outcome and success (or lack thereof) of each sales presentation.
However, one (actually two) aspect of the presentation that is often overlooked by sales people, ESPECIALLY in a T/O system, that will result in losing sales at least 20% of the time is the failure to meticulously listen to what your prospective owner(s) are telling you.
When I say ‘listen’, I’m not suggesting the casual ‘give an ear’ and respond with the usual ‘…uh-huh…’ or ‘…oh yeah…’ Nor am I saying to only listen during the ‘discovery’ segment of the presentation (wherein you find out about the prospective owners’ vacation lifestyle etc.).
I’m talking about keenly ‘listening’ to your prospective owners from the very moment you shake their hands (meet and greet) and throughout the entire presentation…
I cannot emphasize how important it is to be a good listener and observer AT ALL TIMES. If you listen with a razor sharp ear to your prospective owners, including monitoring their facial expressions, arms and leg movements (body language), etc. they will tell you, each and every time, what they like, don’t like, would use, not use, and most importantly, what ‘they’ need!
The failure to ‘listen’ (observe) is also directly relative to the second aspect in the selling process that many representatives fail to incorporate and that is, yes, I’m going to say it, they don’t PRE-JUDGE their prospective owners.
There are those in the industry who insist sales representatives should ‘NEVER PRE-JUDGE’ their prospects. Those who support this theory do so mainly from an affordability perspective of the prospect, arguing that the sales person should never assume a prospect’s financial capabilities and/or limitations or whether they are ‘buyers’ or not.
That is yet another one of the selling myths in this industry. The fact of the matter is, ‘pre-judging’, at all times, will be a deciding component in determining the outcome of any sales presentation.
You must not only listen at all times, you must PRE-JUDGE as well in order to understand your prospects and adapt the presentation to fit the prospects’ wants, desires, vacation lifestyle, finances, etc.
Sales professionals who choose to work at a F/B sales center as opposed to a T/O selling environment best understand this reality. These pros can, like a winning sports team, modify their tactics at any time during the presentation in order to achieve maximum results and victory.
Unfortunately, most T/O systems are structured in such a manner that representatives cannot, or do not, ‘listen’ nor adjust the presentation to suit the prospective owners’ travel needs and lifestyle.
When the sales person does finally begin to listen and make adjustments in the presentation, it is usually during the ‘close’ when valuable time is quickly running out. And all too often, like the 2-minute warning during a Super Bowl game, the ‘closer’ passes a Hail Mary price reduction (nosebleed drop).
Listening, observing and adjusting the presentation to the potential clients’ needs is in fact one of the main reasons that a F/B sales center will almost always have a much higher closing percentage than a T/O system.
Regardless of which ‘system’ you are working in, always follow the company’s established ‘selling steps’. But when you can, listen to what your prospects are telling you and if you are allowed, make the appropriate adjustments during the presentation to fit the ‘owners’ needs.
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