October 28, 2011 — Despite what some in our industry are willing to accept, consumers the world over are purchasing boats and yachts, second (or third) homes, 1st Class airline tickets, expensive automobiles, private aircraft, luxurious jewelry, 40 ft Motorhomes, rare art, investments, etc. They are doing so because they are thriving and in their ‘universe’ there is no such thing as a financial crisis and/or recession.
Yet while scores of billions of dollars are spent on such items our industry continues to be plagued with prospects at our sales centers who believe the economy is still in the tank and many ‘tours’ are overly cautious if not outright holding back on major acquisitions such as timeshare interests.
Why is it then that our sales centers are overflowing with these tight fisted miser types while across town or down the street other consumers are demonstrating they have no shortage of disposable income and are freely spending cash (or using credit) like those proverbial drunken sailors on a long overdue shore-leave?
The first reason, at its core, is quite simple and we all know the cause. It is because our industry has unquestionably the worst marketing approach imaginable and today, as we did beginning in late 1960’s, the marketing game plan is to pretty much drag any consumer we can snag into a sales center and — using our own little unique approach and ‘standard’— say that if they earn ‘x’ annual dollars (gross) income they are QUALIFIED, PERIOD!
Most timeshare marketing, to this day, is akin to a fine art gallery located on a busy Blvd with a ‘street hawker’ standing out front attempting to stop passersby, asking them if they would like to see some original $10 oil paintings. And then, with a few bribes to get ‘em in the door, the gallery sales reps shows them expensive originals by the likes of such world famous artists as Paul Cezanne, Marc Chagall, Edgar Degas, Andre Derain, Paul Gauguin, Claude Monet, etc.
With that tactic and approach is it any wonder, as reported by ARDA, that our industry average closing ratio is a disgusting, miserable, under-performing and deplorable 15%? And like the gallery that may have some cheap reproductions (aka: in our ‘biz’ exit programs, etc.) on hand to sell, does anyone not yet ‘get it’ why 85% of all our very expensive and time consuming ‘sales guests’ pass and say No Thanks?
There is however another cause to this dilemma affecting our sales stats that also goes ‘back to the day’ and that is there are too many developers, executive management types and marketing gurus who’ve never sold a week in their entire lives and who are absolutely clueless when it comes to real world marketing, selling and closing higher-ticket ‘deals’ at the consumer level.
And because they are oblivious to that reality, the process, procedures and techniques, their preferred choice of marketing (and selling) programs is still based on antiquated methods whose ‘day’ has long passed, making those who cling to the ‘old ways’ pretty much one-trick ponies!
Right up there with marketing issues another problem plaguing our sales centers is inadequate recruiting, poor training, deficient marketing/sales tools and less than stellar marketing/sales management. And because most timeshare developers refuse to evolve they lose much more in sales and revenue than they gain and those losses, over the years, are (and will continue to be) staggering!
And riding at the crest of all these dysfunctional business activities is the fact that marketing personnel have never have been in the ‘timeshare’ business. They are in the ‘UPs’ business with completely different goals than the sales centers they ‘feed’ and they do not truly care or attempt to achieve the ultimate objective which is to sell timeshare ownership interests to truly qualified prospects!
That is why, for example, you’d be hard pressed to ever attend a daily/weekly ‘motivational-meeting’ held by the developer with all the ‘front-line’ troops in attendance, including all OPCs, telemarketers, liners, closers, F/B’ers and management, etc.
And just how under-performing are timeshare developers when it comes to both marketing and sales? Well, as an analogy only, if we could go back in time and if timeshare developers had instead been in the commercial airline business back when that industry started in the 1930’s I’d submit that today, in 2011, those who survived would still be trying to sell those 21-seat DC-3 propeller flights between Los Angeles to New York City!
The insanity of it all is maddening to be sure because most timeshare developers are going through all the business ‘motions’ anyway but stubbornly and wrongly refuse to adapt to today’s market conditions and embrace proven highly successful marketing and sales techniques that would, without question, increase their net closing ratios to a more acceptable and profitable YTD 40% (range).
But what is even more deranged is that any developer, regardless of size, could make the appropriate changes without upsetting their current applecart (revenue, process, costs or procedures etc.) and in short order double or triple their personal wealth. Yet, for ‘business people’, aka corporations, whose primary agenda should be to make as much money as possible, they remain steadfast and as stubborn as a Missouri Mule!
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