September 12, 2014 — I receive e-mails each month from reps entering or fairly new to the Timeshare Zone seeking advice regarding the developers to work for or the ones to avoid. They also ask about earning potential, management opportunities and working abroad. And though I will not recommend any particular developer over another I do say that if they are in this for the long haul (aka: a career) they’d be well advised to associate themselves with the best developers (companies) possible so they can plan their own success and secure, as best as possible, their financial futures.
So Here’s The Scoop: This summer I received more than the usual number of such inquiries and as we near the end of yet another year with the 2014 Holiday Season rapidly approaching I found myself thinking of all the mistakes I’ve made in this business from the time I first started my journey several decades ago in the Land of Time.
Now don’t get me wrong because those blunders were few and most of the ‘ride’ has been a blast, the money was pretty darn good, I ultimately worked my way up (and down) the corporate-ladder and I was able to work and travel around the world, experience new cultures, make new friends and had quite the good time, thank you very much.
But if I had to do it all over again I would surely have made some different choices starting with developer(s) I would work with and the commission structure I would accept, including suitable bonuses/spiffs, etc.
And though “benefits” weren’t around when I started my expedition, today I would ABSOLUTLEY insist on them and any developer anywhere in the world that didn’t offer or have some sort of benefits package — that would be a major red flag and today I would avoid those developers like Ebola.
With that in mind and having learned all my lessons from the school of hard knocks, if I had the pleasure to do it all over again here are a few more things I would do differently.
1. I would absolutely arrange to have an Attorney on a modest retainer that specializes in employment law, etc. At a minimum I would purchase one of those prepaid legal plans or a legal protection insurance policy to protect my ‘employment’ interests and rights, etc.
Remember, even as a ‘rep’ this is all business and in business and your personal life if you make it through it ‘all’ over the many years without ever requiring a lawyer you likely missed out and spent a whole lot of your time whistling past the graveyard.
2. Today, instead of hiring a bookkeeper, a basic financial planner or accountant I would hire a CPA to both educate me and cover my ‘butt’ in order to help me better manage my earnings and plan my financial future, etc.
Remember, even as a ‘rep’ this is business and a business without a plan is not a wise methodology.
3. Today, once established (and being a very capable and strong low-maintenance, non-heat pitching closer producing YTD net sales stats two, three and four times higher than most others with near zero rescissions) I would calculate how much more revenue I generate the developer than most of my peers touring the same number and qualifications of sales guests as MOI; and then, in time, I would negotiate a more equitable commission and bonus structure reflecting my company loyalty, talent, expertise, effort and results.
Remember, even as a ‘rep’ this is business, whether your association with a developer is that of an I/C 1099 status or a fully fledged W2 employee; and that includes worldwide, because in the real world just about everything in business, if you’re really talented, is negotiable.
4. Lastly — and this is a big one — I would set my sights much higher and do what it would take to become either a developer or at least, in time, obtain a full marketing and selling contract with a developer – and run my own ‘deal’ the way I see fit.
Indeed, those were my initial ambitions when I first started. However, because I excelled at selling clean business the money was fast, easy and there was lots of it; and I rapidly became satisfied with the status quo.
Soon thereafter I moved into management where the money was often better and life became even easier — and I continued to be satisfied with the status quo.
And because the opportunities to work anywhere in the world were rapidly growing and because those ‘deals’ included working in any capacity (sales, marketing or management) if I was displeased for any reason where I was ‘hanging my hat’ at the time then down the Camino I traveled – and I continued my status quo adventure.
In other words, I believed I had it “made in the shade” but as I look back on it all now — and with some respectable success under my belt — in all honesty I wasted an awful lot of time, energy, money, talent and my life in the comfort zone of that damned status quo thingy.
As a rep, in any capacity, selling slices of paradise is the best gig around and if you’re new to ‘the biz’ or you’ve been around for a while and have no career ambitions, etc. then just go for it and have lots of fun and make lots of money.
But I caution everyone, career minded or not — and especially if you’re talented — the time and money will pass faster than you can possibly imagine and the ‘ride’ will come to an end so consider yourself duly warned.
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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