May 16, 2014 — You are about to enter a dimension beyond that of reasoning power or ingenuity. It is a dwelling place for the anal retentive where folly trumps profits. It is a zone with endless rejection far beyond tolerable standards. It breeds in the belly of personal fear and the absolute avoidance of reality. To most, this would be a dimension of utter insanity. To others it is a region whereby they playfully wallow without hesitation in a place known as – The Timeshare Zone.
So Here’s The Scoop: Help wanted. Sales Professionals – No sick leave offered, No paid vacation time, No life insurance, No health insurance, No dental, No vision, No Disability, No Unemployment Insurance, No retirement plans, No salary, No draws, No Advances, No severance package, No holiday pay – must work six days per week including weekends, over-time when necessary, most holidays, some nights and do so for a screaming sales manager with a Napoleon complex and unabated ‘AT Will’ (without cause) termination (you’re fired) powers.
For the record that ‘sales job’ description is picture perfect and details one of my first slots in our industry as a closer (many moons ago) and with the exception of our unique manager the overall depiction was pretty much universal ‘back in the day’. Yes, there were many good managers, too, but there was no shortage of the other types.
That job portrayal however was simply the way it was, worldwide, in the Land of Time. And then there were all those charge-backs so that when many a payday rolled around and with NO ADVANCE WARNING – either no check was forthcoming or the legendary ‘$1’ check was passed out on payday to reps who still had mandatory bills to be met and families to care for, housed and fed, etc.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the reserve funds that were withheld from untold tens of thousands of reps each pay day until they had an average of $3,000 set aside in the developer’s account; and in most cases said funds were rarely returned to the reps when they moved on (either by choice or force).
But what is nearly amazing is that during those same five past decade’s most other main-stream (traditional) corporate sales ‘gigs’ provided their reps all the usual perks including livable base salaries, commissions or production bonuses, benefits etc – and yet, with our little ‘model’ – the global multi-billion dollar TS industry was built.
Sadly and equally true – with several exceptions – many developers worldwide today still operate and treat their sales reps the same as most did over the past 50 years. Yet there still seems to be no shortage of people willing to work and mostly waste their lives generating a less-than-stellar income under conditions that many other reps in different industries would consider an unacceptable fool’s errand.
And speaking of that income, truth be known over the many years only about 20% of all sales reps made what I would call a decent living. And by decent I’m not talking, in today’s dollars, anything less than $75,000 per year.
One of the reasons I’m bringing all this up is a reader came across an ad and sent me the full text and then asked for my opinion about the sales position and the company. My response is not important – but what is significant are the requirements listed in this VERY long ad (which I’ve dramatically shortened as much as possible).
“Timeshare Sales Professional Wanted: Must work some nights, weekends and holidays – Must be able to build and maintain customer base – conduct and manage sales transactions – provide service to others – manage time effectively – help mentor other Sales Executives – possess an awareness of current events – must have solid relationship building skills – real estate license required – understand and abide by state and federal TS statutes – must be adaptable – must be dependable – must be a strong communicator – have a professional demeanor – dress professionally – being bilingual is a plus – a four year degree is preferred but not required – must have computer skills and able to use hardware and software specific to the job – mathematical reasoning skills are required – must pass drug and background check – must be persuasive and have sales ability – must have verifiable references.”
Wow, with those required skills you’d think there would be a pretty darn good base salary, benefits package and bonus structure as is offered to reps in other industries seeking reps with the same bona fides.
And that’s what gnaws, so to speak, as most of those requirements have always been necessary in the ‘biz’ to be successful and yet, as I’ve mentioned, many developers & management today still treat their reps like a necessary evil, seem to have contempt for them and will fire ‘em often without cause — and of course, provide no ‘perks’.
Now back to that income for a second. The ad never mentioned benefits or any sort of base salary or commissions, etc. but I’m very familiar with the company and their ‘salary’ is of the minimum (hourly) variety. And though they have a pretty good benefits package the commission structure is less than many other developers offer, including developers with similar benefits packages (and a more respectable ‘base’).
While we are speaking of commission-based incomes, all seasoned sales professionals – in all industries – fully acknowledge that their performance-based incomes are most often the result of and controlled by the quality or lack thereof of the product/service being presented and the prospects’ ability to ‘use’ and ‘afford’ what’s being sold — in this instance, a slice of paradise.
In other words, each rep’s potential income in Timeshare Land is in direct proportion to the sales guest put before them – Period!
And that is the other canker in the ‘deal’: Some of today’s developers with low VPG’s still force their professional sales reps to waste their earning days/weeks, months and years with prospects who have no use for a TS plan whatsoever – let alone the ability to afford one.
So, once again, because of the ever-changing nature of the travel, hospitality, accommodations and the global tourism industry (yes, Bubba – that’s your ‘industry’) I strongly urge all sales (and marketing) reps to take control of their careers and futures and get on board with the crème de la crème of developers and leave the others to their own demise.
And should you (reps) need a wakeup call then ‘crunch’ the numbers. If you are ‘meeting and greeting’ and/or ‘closing’ 2,3,4 + lower-income sales guests each week then multiply that number by your annual working weeks.
If that is 48 weeks per year that you are on the ‘line’ and if you are seeing (e.g.) 3 such sales guests per week that is 144 times per year you are ‘pitching’ to an otherwise very fine ‘couple’ whereby you have no chance in hell of selling (closing) a full TS program.
Now just imagine how much more your income would increase if those same 144 prospects were actual known travelers with higher disposable incomes, etc.
Now calculate and compound that over the next five (+) years; and if that doesn’t motivate ya – well, welcome to the dark side of The Timeshare Zone!
Good Luck Out There!
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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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