December 14, 2012 — In the USA there are an estimated 25 + Million businesses catering to the needs of well over 300 Million consumers (including ‘foreign visitors’). Covering the gamut from A to Z, including timeshare developers, you can bet your last sawbuck that nearly 100% of all businesses suffer from a common ailment that costs them unknown financial losses on a daily basis.
So here’s the scoop. As a nation, from a business perspective, we no longer live in an era where the “customer is always right”, which was a catchphrase and commerce philosophy originating in the late 1800’s by either Harry Gordon Selfridge or Marshall Field, both of the Marshall Field Company that eventually became Macy’s.
A little later, around 1910, one hotelier named Cesar Ritz added a twist to the slogan by advertising that at his hotels “The customer is never wrong”. Soon after John Wanamaker, a shrewd business man of the time with a small chain of east coast department stores (also ultimately absorbed by Macy’s), soon began promoting/advertising that attitude to the ‘public’ at large.
From that point on many large and small businesses (corporations) adopted the business model and as the notion swept the United States consumers in all economic classes embraced the approach and methodology by choosing to spend their money at those types of establishments.
What these giant businessmen of that era understood was that even though the customers were indeed not always right they nevertheless appreciated the value of each of their prospects and buyers and that their companies were, first and foremost, sales organizations. And these business owners planned to sell their ‘goods’ to these consumers for many generations to come.
Their approach paid off hugely (for their companies) and along with fully training their sales reps before they ever hit the floor in product/service knowledge, etc. those reps were also taught how to be very good at sales, how to ask for the ‘order’ (‘close’) including how to make ‘add-on’ sales and so forth.
During those times retail clerks were often paid on a partial and/or full (100%) commission basis (in all departments) and until a few decades ago those reps, many from a single-earner-income household, actually earned a decent living, owned a home, provided for their families and had a modest savings account and/or small investments.
There are many things that can be said about the United States of America and one of those is that we are a ‘selling’ nation. And I’d debate anyone that it has been sales and closing talent that contributed, likely incalculably, to this nation ultimately becoming the global financial/economical ‘powerhouse’ that it became over the past century.
From religion to politics, the cold-callers to the sales engineers and everything in between & all across the country from the smallest of towns to the largest of cities, we are a nation of peddlers selling just about everything imaginable and that, again, includes the timeshare industry.
But along the way something went terribly wrong that affects every business in this USA and our industry. Today selling is treated not as the science that has specific rules, processes, approaches, procedures, etc. that must be adhered to in order to maximize market penetration, profits, etc. No, instead, selling has simply become mostly a game of ‘numbers’.
Our industry is a prime example of this whereby many developers judge their sales results solely on their VPG’s. Then, with that target met they seem quite satisfied even though there are well established sales practices that should be adopted by their company that have been historically proven— regardless of the product or service being ‘hawked’— to generate more sales, at reduced costs & increased profits.
But this ‘numbers game’ is happening in just about all corners of the business community these days and from the local pizza joint owned by ‘Ma & Pa’ to the biggest companies with thousands of sales reps, improving their selling abilities and performances has taken a back seat to the ‘next’ (aka: numbers game) methodology.
And although many variables contribute to this new generation of ‘business owners’ and the way they seem to think (including the decisions that affect their ‘sales’ efforts) I’m of the opinion that often it is just pure greed that causes them to be narrow minded, shortsighted and sometimes just plain old fashioned stupid when it comes to ‘selling’ and maximizing their companies’ sales performance.
To put that another way, the number one problem the vast majority of all businesses are confronted with today is their failure to actually understand the successful selling process and I think it is because, for the most part, they themselves are clueless when it comes to the art & science of professional sales and that is where their greed controls their ‘selling’ decisions.
And that reminds me of some of the lyrics in Pink Floyd’s neat little jingle “Money”
Money, get away
I’m all right Jack keep your hands off of my stack
Money, it’s a hit
Don’t give me that do goody bullshit
I’m in the high-fidelity first class traveling set
And I think I need a Lear jet.
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Contributing sometimes extravagant, bombastic, emotional, pompous or even pretentious writings about the timeshare industry, Scoop covers an array of industry related subjects each week including inside information, tips, scandals, interviews, forecasts as well as new (good or bad) products and services--- and, of course, all the 'Good', the 'Bad' and the 'Ugly'.
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