September 2, 2016 — As is widely acknowledged, many timeshare owners or members do not embrace paying their annual maintenance fees (AMF) because when they get the tab each year, sadly, TS developers often fail to include what should be integrated with the annual billing. That issue aside, this week what all front line sales reps and closers need to understand is that when explaining AMF’s the yearly cost is actually a selling and closing tool and when used properly the AMF will sell and close more deals.
So Here’s The Scoop: The first reality to understand is that most sales guests do not know, appreciate or even think that wherever they rent a motel room like a standard Motel 6 room for $50 per night or step up to the high-end variety of accommodations like the Royal Penthouse Suite at the Hotel President Wilson in Geneva that runs about $68,000 (USD) ‘per-night’; all the costs of maintaining all property is included in all rental rates.
In other words, they are paying it anyway and there’s just no escaping that little reality if motels, hotels or resorts, etc. plan on staying in business for any length of time renting their accommodations to the vacationing and traveling public. As such maintenance is a necessity which is great news when explaining the annual “investment” to each sales guest. OMG, did I use the forbidden ‘I’ word?
You bet your bippy I did because even though many jurisdictions around the world prohibit timeshare reps, by law, from selling TS as an “investment”, to the best of my knowledge there are no such restrictions that prevent a rep or closer from explaining the AMF as an “investment” that protects the owners/members’ interests in their ‘vacation home’ (VM) be it a deeded ‘slice-of-paradise’ or a membership plan for ‘X’ years, etc.
AMF’s are nothing short of an insurance policy that provides security, stability and peace of mind for all TS owners/members and the AMF should be boldly embraced during the presentation in such a manner that when the AMF’s are explained the sales guests would be foolish to think of them as anything other than what they are – a sound and wise “investment’ that protects THEM & THEIR future vacations.
Typically, as we all know, during the sales presentation when the rep finally gets to the point and lays out the dollars they present the sales guest with the cost of the timeshare plan followed by the required down payment, the monthly obligations, the interest rate, the exchange company membership cost/fees, closing costs (when applicable) and then the coup de grace – THE AMF!
Now if you think about it, this is where and/or when the sales guests (e.g.) “need to think about it…” (aka: objections/conditions come into play) as they are suddenly forced to stare at not one financial decision but, count ‘em up, 7 in all.
Oh, and we must remember that rattling around in the back of many sales guests minds at this same time are all those other future travel expenses like airfare, food, shopping, entertainment and so forth.
So let’s fess up to it people; when any of us are required to make a purchase decision that requires us to sign a legally binding contract that is often perpetual and includes upwards of 7 financial ‘issues’ some of us, developers included, might not be that eager to sign on the old dotted line without pondering those obligations and our purchase decision for a minute or two.
And this is where and when the AMF is a sales and closing tool if used properly.
Most front end reps and closers handle the AMF as if it’s almost a second thought; something not to be concerned with because, as is usually explained, ‘…and the AMF takes care of all the refurbishing, keeping the grounds well maintained, pays for the insurance and…’. And then, the rep or closer moves on.
What really needs to be done is to explain the AMF in such a manner, at least for a few minutes, as to take the sales guest’s mind off those other 6 + costs associated with being an owner/member and explain the AMF as an “investment” whose primary purpose is for the owners/members sole benefit and their complete peace of mind.
When done properly, IMO, the AMF is an “investment” that also validates their purchase decision because excluding war or Acts of God the AMFs pretty much guarantee that their purchase and their TS ‘vacation home’ is PROTECTED 100%.
And when it comes to a TS plan, at its core owning a TS is the same as owning a vacation or 2nd home and what all homes have in common, from the most expensive ones to the least costly, is that over time if they aren’t well maintained they will become, without question, a pile of rubble.
Side note: When dealing with existing owners/members during the sales presentation chatting about AMFs is often vital and in most cases they need a brief ‘refresher’ as to the importance of the fees and why they are “investing” to keep their TS vacation home all spiffy.
That said, and with the numbers laid out in front of the sales guests, the following is one method to instill that reassurance and the protection AMFs provide and how wise it is for them to “invest” in their TS vacation home without the sting of full ownership and the sole burden of bearing the full responsibility and costs to pay for the inevitable – home repairs and replacements, etc.
Using a $900 AMF as an example and in the reps/closers own words what must be conveyed with each sales guest is something like this:
“Unlike a family that outright owns their vacation home the best part of the AMF is that for about $2.46 day ($900 / 365) you’ll never have to worry about paying the full cost of repairing a cracked foundation or fixing a leaking roof both of which, on average, can cost you $10,000 (and more) per repair.
“And unlike outright owning a vacation home when there are electrical issues, or the air-conditioning or heating needs servicing or replacement or the gutters are clogged up, the carpets (or tiles) need replacing, the kitchen appliances like the stove, the refrigerator or microwave break down — that will all be taken care of for you so you’ll never have to worry about coming up with the those expenses on a moment’s notice.
“Virtually everything that will need to be repaired or replaced including windows, screens or draining the swimming pool each year for full maintenance is handled for you. And that includes painting the walls, the ceiling, replacing broken or worn out furniture and everything else that will wear down in time.
“And unlike a family that paid a couple hundred thousand dollars and owns their own vacation home and must bear all the costs of repairs that will cost many thousands of dollars more, you have a staff on site 24/7365 that will take care of all this for you – again, for about $2.46 a day. A modest ‘investment’ so you won’t have cold sweats at night wondering who you are going to hire on a Sunday afternoon to replace that hot water heater when it goes out…”
So there it is peeps; embrace the AMFs and use them to the full extent you’re permitted and while you are at it take a few minutes to google (e.g.) the average cost of home repairs – and get a snap shot of the real financial costs for a family outright owning their vacation home so you can see for yourself why AMFs are both a bargain and a wise “investment” – and then convey that reality to your sales guests and close more sales.
Good Luck Out There
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