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How to combat the time share sales pitch
Time-Share Holiday Brokers in general
Member Name: Mrics
Time-Share Holiday Brokers in general
Date: 28/05/03, updated on 28/05/03 (706 review reads)
Advantages: Freebie holiday usually OK, Remember, no obligation to buy., Fun to wind them up
Disadvantages: Can be tiresome/ intimidating, Overrun on time , Possible Marital discord
Having emerged fresh from a second presentation to collect our "Free Holiday", the good lady and I thought it would be a good idea to help the uninitiated/ unprepared understand how these brokers try to get you to sign up. Before going into detail i would add that I do believe timeshare can work, and be a good buy if your cash position and motivation are there. However, the typical sales techniques used to attract people to sign up are still based on getting £5,000 to £20,000 commitments after a two hour presentation with the threat that if you don't do it there and then you won't have a second opportunity.
The first carrot dangled to you is a free holiday, indeed that is the reason you are there in the first place. These are rarely completely free, but they do tend to be better now than a few years ago. You need to read the reviews elsewhere on the site to get a feel - my experience was that ultimately the free holiday my family took was OK, but for the fact that our accommodation was small for the four of us, and our initial accommodation was poor. We ended up paying for flights to get the flexibility the family needed. But no major grumbles given it was still cheap.
The next point is that these people know they only have two hours to secure their commission. This explains why they tell you you can only sign up today. This is rubbish. Can you imagine going back a month later to the same company and saying "You are right, this is a good deal, here is my £10,000. Where do I sign". "Sorry Sir, you had your chance. No can do, goodbye" Indeed, as part of the free holiday, you usually have to attend a second presentation by the same company where they tend to get a higher sales conversion rate because you have had an opportunity to reflect and sample the product.
The next point is that try to establish a friendly relationship with you. "So Mr and Mrs Smith, can I call you John and Janet?". On ou
r second presentation, I said I would prefer Mr & Mrs, thank you. I was amazed at how much this offended them. This is a great counter attack measure to set them off on the wrong footing. Perhaps I am more formal than most but I do not like sales reps being over familiar with me when I have never met them. Try it and see the reaction!
You will also notice that they do not allow young children at the presentation. Rather than insurance issues, I believe the reason is so you will not be distracted by little johnny pooping his nappy or jumping off the table. They (the reps, not the children) crave your undivided attention.
As they start to run through the presentation, you are introduced to the concept of owning your holiday (timeshare) and renting the holiday (buying every year from the travel agent). Costs are added up and of course the numbers for ownership make perfect sense. This is of course mostly true. However some things to bear in mind are;
Timeshare ownership does not include flights - Flights for a family in school holidays can be extortionate, and not always hugely cheaper than pre booking your package holiday well in advance to get discounts. Again, the more you extend the family, the more expensive your flight bill will be.
Timeshare is self catering, so half board or all inclusive may not be such a rip off once flights and food are added back in.
Timeshare obliges you to pay a maintenance fee - This could be £200-£300 per week of ownership per year. OK, it is not massive, but must be paid, and is another cost to be added on per year.
By the time you add back the annual equivalent cost of your outlay (could be £500 per annum after allowing for the time value of money - apparently an accounting term), timeshare is not always the absolute bargain it is sold as.
So when you are asked what is better, owning or renting, you are meant to say, "Why, owning, of course". This then draws
you further into their persuasive argument and makes it more difficult to back track. It is better to say that when you add in all the annual costs, you can see benefits in both methods, and neither sticks out as a clear winner.
The other device used to attract you is to ask you where your dream holidays would be. You will typically give them four or five far flung destinations which they will later inform you as being cheap and accessible to you under the timeshare exchange system. However, don't forget that far flung locations usually have very expensive flights, and you will invariably confined to paying resort restaurant prices so again, its not as cheap as it seems. Also, these are dream locations, not those you intend to visit right now, so why buy a timeshare now for that reason.
The reason you are drawn through this process is to convince you that this is a great idea BEFORE they tell you about price. Now here comes a crunch time. If the rep is doing a good job, they will ask you if, apart from price, you are happy with what you have been told. If you say Yes, in their minds you are saying "Give me the price, I want to sign". You will then find it extremely difficult to back out. If you then say that the price is too high, the rep will pull all manner of arguments and deals out of the bag to keep you on the hook. If you do want to sign, go ahead and get the best deal you can, but if you don't, you will find it very, very difficult to pull out without getting thoroughly intimidated.
It is better for you to pull out at this crunch time prior to getting into price. You could say that you think the annual costs aren't worth it, your dream holidays are in fact to stay with relatives in Spain/ Australia/ USA, or that you want to stay at a resort prior to saying yes (after all, would you buy a house/ car before seeing/ testing it?)
If you are firm, you will get out, collect your free holiday and save your
self a couple of hours. Don't forget, for most of you, the holiday is the only reason that you turned up, and do not feel you have been a freeloader or timewaster. They lured you with the holiday - it's yours.
Even if you do get caught up in the desperate pricing remember that on average, some 35%-50% of the price of a timeshare is taken up by the sales and marketing costs to sell it. Part of this is of course the rep's commission. This is not an exaggeration, and is one of the reasons that timeshare resales are much, much cheaper. If you are interested in timeshare, look up a resale company that is OTE Registered and does not demand a buyer fee. You may be surprised at the difference in prices.
Oh yes, one final thing, beware how they may play your partner off against you. Agree beforehand what the approach is - if they sense one of you is keen, they will target you and ignore the other. Despite their familiarity with you, its the commission they are interested in, not your future happiness.
At the risk of repetition, Let me make it clear that I think timeshare can work. If Marriott, Hilton and Four Seasons are involved, it is apparent that the sector is becoming more acceptable. My gripe is that as with any other large lifestyle purchase, you need to be prepared for the sales patter, and reserve the right to try before you buy.
Who knows, even I might buy one day........
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