July 8, 2016 — Most sales reps and closers are taught that they should sell to the emotional side of their prospects. Also known as using ‘heartstrings’ (HS’s) during the presentation, there are sound reasons and advantages for incorporating HS’s but in our industry cranking up those subjective thoughts regarding the benefits of vacation ownership (VO) such as improved health, building stronger relationships, enhanced romance, bonding with the kids as well as greed factors or being happier and more productive once back at work etc. can backfire and lose more sales than most reps and closers appreciate.
So Here’s The Scoop: That is true even when those HS’s are applicable to a specific sales guest but the majority of time prospective owners/members will all too often, sooner or later, sense they are being manipulated and/or misled when the rep and/or closer overly uses HS’s in an attempt to assert VO use benefits as sort of a cure all to seal the deal. Indeed, that sales guest’s sensation and/or perception of those HS’s are a huge reason why many prospects won’t buy ‘today’ – or if they do, they’ll often cancel within the rescission period.
To understand what I am saying it is important to recognize that the benefits of any product or service are often separate aspects from the features of the product or service. And one of the best ways to distinguish between the two is to think of a feature as a component that ‘tells’ the story and a benefit is a factor that ‘sells’ the gizmo.
For example, during a TV commercial (e.g.) Ford doesn’t usually feature (‘tell”) the inner workings of their braking system and how they are engineered to stop their vehicles in seconds. Instead, Ford demonstrates (“sells”) the benefit of how cool the driver looks speeding though the streets on wet pavement and that the driver can, if need be, stop on a dime with the confidence of a NASCAR driver.
Yet when Mary or John goes to the local dealership the sales people aren’t pushing the benefits (‘…drive like a NASCAR driver…’) and instead, the more successful reps are selling the features (tells) — like the braking system, the horse-power, the bumper to bumper warranty, the power steering and a/c units, etc.
Simply stated, the automotive industry uses the benefits approach to get the people to the dealer’s lot, but it is the features that sell the car the majority of the time.
In the Land of Time, as we all know, presenting our benefits is accomplished on the front end whereby the sales rep informs (sells) the sales guest, in detail, how they’ll enjoy using their vacation plan; but when it comes to closing the deal, it’s the mechanics, the honest and factual features (tells) that will close more sales.
Think of it this way; from the moment prospects arrive at a timeshare sales presentation – through the meet and greet phase, the survey, breaking the pact, the presentation and the closing sequence, etc. – it’s sort of like being exposed to a dog and pony show, and the sale guests’ ‘gut’ feeling is often telling them something is not to be trusted.
And that impression is because the typical timeshare sales presentation is all about how easy and convenient the benefits are; how owners can travel anywhere, anytime simply by requesting a reservation and BAM, off to paradise they go where they’ll be treated like royalty, become rejuvenated, reconnect with their family and loved ones and damn near become a brand new person and receive a pay raise once back at work…
Don’t misunderstand me as during the front-end of the sales process presenting those benefits is necessary, fine and dandy; but when it comes to closing sales that will ‘stick’ that is where the features as to how the system actually works pays off big-time.
For example after the front end rep completes the presentation and turns the table to the Charlie the Closer and Mary asks for more details as to exactly how they’ll go about making their reservations to (e.g.) Maui for a couple of weeks Charles might respond: “Great question Mary because that is the beauty of our incredible system. All you have to do is call a toll free number or use your hand-held, make your reservation, click your heels three times, and before you can say Humuhumunukunukuapua’a y’all will be in Maui with leis around your necks sipping a couple of Blue Hawaii’s or Mai Tai’s while feasting at a Luau and watching the sun set for the beginning of a romantic evening in Paradise…”
Sounds pretty darn inviting; Mary (and John) may even subjectively picture themselves at the Luau etc. and then agree or acknowledge that they understand and accept the explanation provided by Chuck.
However, Charles would have been wiser responding thusly: ‘Great question, Mary, but as you folks both know only too well know all travel is always subject to availability. For example, Mary, even though you can vacation any time of the year you want you also know that you cannot call today and expect to reserve your suite in Maui next week. Sure, it might happen but before you enjoy those Hawaiian Leis while sipping delicious Blue Hawaii drinks or Mai Tai’s and attending an incredible Luau you’ll have to follow the standard protocol, process and procedures in order to reserve your…’
With option #2 Chucky is being objective by telling (featuring) Mary how they can reserve their Maui vacation and by doing so in such a manner the sales guests will retain their subjective tendencies but will also have both feet on the ground because they know they’ve been told the truth. Option #2 also eliminated the old ‘It’s too good to be true syndrome…’ – known by all Master Closers in ‘the biz’ as the great deal breaker.
Keep in mind that when the front end of the sales presentation has been completed properly and if, instead of showing the dollars and cents the sales rep said (e.g.) “…and today is your lucky day, Judy and Jerry, because to celebrate our 10th anniversary in business this week our developer is giving away, free of all charges and costs, a two week vacation plan just like I shared with you…’
And in that hypothetical and totally ridiculous scenario I would bet your last dollar that not less than 75% of all the sales guests that received the absurd offer would NOT turn it down!
Sure, they’d be leery, skeptical, etc. and have questions, but the vast majority would grab the offer like a little kid in a candy store would fill their backpacks if the merchant gave them the go-ahead to do so free of charge.
The moral to the story on those magical little round tables is that upon the conclusion of the initial sales presentation the majority of sales guests would not object to having a vacation plan and though using “Heartstrings” is important, when closing stick as much as possible to the features (tells) that informs, educates and reassures the sales guest that they can and will make a worry free ownership/membership decision.
Good Luck Out There
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