December 11, 2015 — I’m following up on my October 23rd 2015 rant “Another Black Tuesday?” In that column I made several references to the late 2007 worldwide Great
Depression Recession that financially destroyed million of lives, ruined scores of thousands of businesses and caused timeshare sales to plummet from a high that year of about 10.7 billion dollars in annual sales – to around half that amount soon after the global financial disaster and crisis was in full swing.
So Here’s The Scoop: I also wrote that things had turned around, that each year our industry was increasing the annual sales volume and said, “However, I’m here today to caution developers everywhere that there is another crisis in the works and it has already begun. Yet, unlike the 1929 or 2007 ‘CRASH’ this newest one is eating away like a slow lethal cancer the totality of which will likely not be seen until it is too late.”
To explain what I mean by that, first consider that whether we like it or not most of us go about our daily activities under a subliminal form of mind control. For example, many of us depend on a GPS while driving to give us directions to a destination.
Yet should the gas needle get near the ‘E’ a chime will sound off and we must buy gas. We weren’t thinking about buying gas but that damn thing tells us to ‘do it’ and so we start looking for the nearest gas station so we can fill up and get back to following instructions from that other ‘thingy’.
Another example would be the first thing in the morning when an alarm forces us to wake up. Maybe we don’t want to get up but it has its way and we get out of bed, go brush our teeth and many of us head off to the kitchen where the preset timer on the coffee pot has just finished brewing and another ‘sound’ tells us to ‘come and get it’!
Long before the electronic gadgets started telling us what to do and when to do it, going back to the time before electricity Ministers at churches would ring their steeple bell each Sunday morning indicating we all better have on our ‘Sunday-best’ and quickly make our way over the dirt trails and through town for some weekly soul cleansing.
I could give a whole bunch of other examples of how most of us are programmed to do (or not do) certain things all day long but the short story is that when ‘devices’ tell us what we need to do we simply do what we are told, usually with no questions asked.
As these gadgets and technology advance in the 21st Century and with 2016 right around the corner, most of us are being programmed to have more ‘devices’ that tell us what we should do, when to do it – and here comes that “cancer” I mentioned in my October 23rd column – we are now being told by ‘devices’ what NOT to buy when it comes to purchasing nearly everything we’d like to have. I.E. Can we afford it or not?
And those ‘gadgets’ have been developed in the form of APPS designed to tell us whether or not we can honestly and actually afford (e.g.) vacations, an RV, a new or used car, furniture, a first or second home, luxury products/services and, in time, these APPS will advise us financially on just about everything under the Sun from weekly grocery shopping to buying a timeshare vacation plan.
It’s all in the works and all any person has to do to get the answer is simply input purchase data such as costs etc and with their preprogrammed apps filled with all their financial data including income, monthly obligations etc. with the push of a button – BAM – these apps are making the buying decision easy peasy – Yes, you can or no you cannot afford this jewelry, boat, cruise, or timeshare etc.
And when it comes back ‘NO, YOU CAN NOT AFFORD THIS (Timeshare)’ that will be the objection from hell as the sales guest turns to the closer and says they’d love to be an owner/member ‘today’ but ‘…according to my app I absolutely cannot afford this…’
So the emotion to buy is all but gone and what the closer can do is what they’ve always done with any objection and that is to box, isolate and qualify the ‘reason’ and then overcome the ‘excuse’ and close the deal.
“So John and Mary, other than your app telling you that you can’t afford to become an owner/member … are there any other reasons why you’re not…” And it’s game over!
As I mentioned these types of affordability apps are already in the market place and they only cost a couple of dollars (or less) to download. And from my research the indications are consumers love ‘em, trust ‘em and are accepting the answer as if the very popular American Author, Financial Advisor and TV personality Suze Orman was the one who personally told them no, you cannot afford to do this!
So mark my words, just as I predicted more than a decade ago how information on the Internet would become the primary cause of timeshare cancellations within the rescission period, these apps, once they are applied to the Land of Time and are in the sales centers during the presentation – will kill the deal right there on those little round magical tables.
Oh, and calling for a second, third or fourth T/O (aka: ‘manager’) for some continued ‘grinding’ etc. will be as futile as asking a timeshare developer to pay their sales and marketing reps a livable weekly base salary plus daily cash spiffs with monthly production bonuses, etc.
And if this does not happen in the sales center right in front of the closer then it will happen as soon as the new ‘owner/member’ returns to their car, their vacation suite or gets back home and reaches for their hand-held device to see if they really can ‘swing’ that new timeshare vacationing plan they just purchased.
Lastly, as I mentioned in my October 23rd column there is a way to deal with this situation so that by the time all sales centers around the world are stuffed to the gills with the inevitable app-loaded, device-toting 76-million-strong “Millennials” (and the generations to follow) this situation won’t be a problem.
However since some industry ‘deciders’ are likely a bit on the closed-minded side of the equation, instead of wasting their time this week providing that ‘solution’ I’ll just gently remind everyone of the Latin proverb that cautions us all that being “forewarned is forearmed”.
Now if that was not quite clear what the proverb means is anyone having prior knowledge of a pending problem with one or more negative components, etc. that information gives those folks a tactical advantage because they have time to prepare for the inevitable — though, sadly, in our industry’s 50-year track record preparing for the inevitable has never been our strongest suit, so to speak.
Good Luck Out There
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