May 17, 2013 — Every day, throughout the timeshare universe, sales reps reach out to shake the hands of the newest sales guest they’ve just met and begin the multi-step process of attempting to persuade an often suspicious prospect that being a timeshare owner or member is the best thing since ‘sliced bread’ –– and when the rep doesn’t make the sale some of their peers will ask them ‘where’d ya get weak’?
So here’s the Scoop: Sadly, that ‘get weak’ thing is just one of many misnomers in our industry that can affect sales reps (marketing & management too) because, in time, some reps tend to actually believe they did something wrong during a particular presentation (and close) when in reality that sales guest who did not buy ‘today’ could very well have been a sociopath.
And if not an outright full-blown sociopath, that sales guest surely would have openly displayed any one of the multiple personality types and/or traits that psychologists tell us exist in this era; you know, like the very people we all interact with during our daily lives.
They could be, for example, a government employee, a business owner, the clerk at the grocery store, a waiter/waitress, a manager, the local auto mechanic, a retail computer sales person at one of those ‘Brand’ stores and of course including (more importantly) a timeshare sales guest.
Now before you e-mail me be advised I’m not suggesting that a sociopath can’t be sold a timeshare vacationing plan. Indeed over the years, like many of you I, too, sold my fair share of those folks and quite frankly I’ve worked side by side with more than a few sociopaths since I first started my amazing journey long ago in the land of Time.
As we all likely understand a sociopath is not necessarily an axe wielding crazed murderous maniac either. To the contrary, sociopaths are more often outstanding liars and dazzling wordsmiths who often acquire powerful skills of social sway that helps them (e.g.) climb to the top of their chosen profession in both the private and government sectors.
Additionally, according to Harvard psychologist Martha Stout, author of the book “The Sociopath Next Door”, a sociopath “could be your colleague, your neighbor, even family.”
Ms. Stout suggests that “One of their chief characteristics is a kind of glow or charisma that makes sociopaths more charming or interesting than the other people around them. They’re more spontaneous, more intense, more complex, or even sexier than everyone else, making them tricky to identify and leaving us easily seduced.”
This leads me to another misnomer circulating in the ‘biz’ and asserted by some timeshare developers, sales trainers, managers, closers, liners and sales training seminar promoters. These very well intended tutors sternly warn and instruct their audience that it is paramount to a deadly sin for which all reps will surely burn in Hell for all eternity if they ever – ever – ever prejudge any sales guest.
You’ve heard it once – you’ve heard it a thousand times: “Never Prejudge!” Followed by the touching story of (e.g.) the little old widowed lady in her mid-seventies who showed up at the sales center with a walker that sported an oxygen breathing apparatus. She of course was living on a fixed income in a 40-year-old sparsely furnished single-wide mobile home situated in a very untidy trailer park located on the ‘wrong side’ of town.
And upon the conclusion of the timeshare presentation this very sweet gal miraculously whipped from her worn, torn and faded cloth shopping-bag a wad of crisp $100 dollar bills and paid $25,000 (all cash) for a timeshare plan she was going to use just once for her dream vacation to Europe – and then planned on ‘willing it’ to her grandkids so they’d think kindly of her long after she ‘passes’.
And that leads me back to those personality types, in that sales (marketing, too) is all about ‘prejudging’ and any rep who doesn’t prejudge, in the proper manner –– and then slightly adjust (modify) their presentation to fit the types and/or traits of each prospect –– is doomed to a lifetime of mediocre ‘stats’ (e.g. closing less than 20%) and worse, a loss of income opportunities.
That is not to suggest that reps need to take psychology and/or psychiatric training courses/classes. Instead all reps should ‘bone up’ (online) and read about some of the basic personality types and/or traits so that they can learn to deal with the ‘variations’ of each sales guest they encounter on a daily basis.
Which leads me to the last misnomer today, which is the cherished ‘canned’ pitch that many reps are forced to follow and whereby any deviation from said presentation will surely be cause for sending them packing down the old highway (aka: fired).
That sales methodology, which also yields the least sales results, is often in place because some people ‘upstairs’ refuse to accept and understand that (e.g.) an engineer, whether a sociopath or not, will purchase for different reasons than say a savvy corporate procurement officer will. That a heavy equipment operator will become an owner/member for different reasons than say a waitperson, a cab driver or Registered Nurse, an accountant or a police officer, etc.
Those ‘upstairs’ instead claim buying (and selling) a timeshare plan is purely an “emotional sale”, which is why they insist on the ‘canned’ sales presentation.
Yes, there certainly is truth to that “emotional sale” aspect of each presentation but the reality in the real professional and successful world of sales (and marketing) is poles apart and that is why the PROS adapt and modify their presentations all the time.
And that difference contributes to and is clearly visible, separating the reps/closers who are the 20 percenters (or below) Vs the real ‘hitters’ in our industry coming in, YTD (Year to Date) at a steady 30% + in net, cleaned and pressed business.
One last heads-up on Sociopaths and watching out for them on ‘tour’ etc. It just so happens –– if you do a little ‘googling’ –– you’ll quickly discover they also seem to believe their own distortions (aka: hype, no pun intended) and have deeply-rooted personal issues when it comes to things like reality & truth.
So do a little ‘googling’, learn to spot the ‘signs’, how to interact with each personality type/trait you come across and have a lot of fun earning tons of money. And while you’re online turn up your speakers and take a listen to the great 1971 smash hit by The Undisputed Truth that tells it like it is and much better than I could ever hope to: “Smiling Faces Sometimes”.
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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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