February 17, 2017 — It is likely that the vast majority of everyone working in the timeshare industry today never met and/or don’t know that most of the original timeshare developers, their C-Level Execs, the marketers, the liners, the closers, the podium speakers and the sales/marketing managers, etc. who forged what was to become, in time, a multi-billion dollar global enterprise have either retired, passed away or are now in their 70/80’s.
So Here’s The Scoop: Those very people, however, are the ones who risked everything several decades ago because when the vacation ownership industry began during the late 1960’s and then throughout the 1970’s and up to the early 1980’s very few people working in the biz during actually thought the ‘ride’ would last.
It was an era and mentality of “making hay while the sun shines” and, in part, that closely held belief in the Land of Time created what became known as our ‘Wild West’ period when there was no shortage of wild and crazy times, to put it mildly.
During the span of the first decade or two, depending on the region, all ‘pay’ was performance-based and there were few TS regulations, statutes or licensing requirements for sales/marketing reps. If ‘regs’ were on the books they were rarely enforced, and as for sales guest qualifications, by today’s standards, they, too, were pretty much absent and/or not honored.
Thus was born the ‘hire the masses’ and ‘drag in the masses’ mantras relative to the sales presentations.
Today, generally speaking, there are sales guest qualifications and a few timeshare developers even offer their reps some sort of a base salary, draw or hourly plus decent commissions, full benefits and a company-sponsored retirement plan.
But back in the dark ages – forget about it – especially in ‘love-line’ (LL) sales centers where the sales manager (SM) had total control over ‘turning the tables’ and deciding which closers were going to earn a living that day, that week or that month.
That LL system, in part, gave birth to the widespread process among many closers of ‘pitching heat’ (lying) so they could earn a check and (e.g.) buy diapers for their new-born, make their rent/mortgage or car payments and put food on the table, etc.
Thus was born the model that soon swept the TS world: ‘No Heat – No Eat’
Another phenomenon dating back to the 1960’s was the beginning of the era when consumers could begin to own a piece of real estate in ‘the sky’, as they thought of that back then, meaning buying and owning a ‘condo’ in a (e.g.) high-rise building.
Up until the first condominium laws were passed in the U.S.A the public pretty much only knew of owning a conventional home that sat on a lot – not a home (e.g.) on the 6th floor and it took a whole bunch of selling to convert the doubters and naysayers into accepting that ‘condo’ ownership was the new wave, the future, and legit.
While some claim the condo ownership craze first started in Europe, next on the horizon, undeniably from Europe, was the notion of owning just the amount of ‘time’ a family would need for their vacations – and the timeshare model soon came to the shores of the United States and ultimately spread around the world.
That gave birth to a new issue – selling that real estate thingy in ‘the sky’ with the added component of ‘sharing’ a vacation home with (e.g.) 51 other owners. That made the task even more challenging because as far as many distrustful ‘sales guests’ were concerned back then it all sounded like ‘Greek’ to them.
Now I don’t want this to get around but I can also assure everyone that the ‘play’ was hard back then, too, and cash money, in the form of daily cash SPIFFS, was, ooh la la.
For example, special yuuge cash SPIFFS were offered to the rep that sold specific ‘x’ (fixed) week # and/or unit # and that SPIFF was paid the next morning during the sales meeting along with the other standard cash SPIFFS being paid out of about ½ to 1% of the contract price.
But those extra SPIFFS announced each morning paid an additional $100 or $200 cash on a ‘deal’. In today’s dollars that would be in the $450 range (even on a one-week deal); and the race was on to be the first closer to move the special inventory.
Thus was born the era’s mantra bank the commission check and live off the SPIFFS.
On the other side of that earning coin was the percent paid per deal; some developers back then would pay as little as 3 or 3.5% of face value of the contract to the liner – and 3 or 3.5% of the contract value to the closer. Other developers paid more.
Of course back then earning (e.g.) a $250 commission (about $1,100 in today’s dollars) on a $7,500 deal and closing several of those each week made for a decent living, especially considering all the daily SPIFF (cash) money offered & earned.
I could go on but my only purpose today is to acknowledge all those mostly-forgotten souls who are owed a well deserved and long overdue tribute because had it not been for them, what they accomplished and endured, etc. – well, what would we all be doing today?
Good Luck Out There
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