How to Survive a Timeshare Presentation
Timeshare sales presentations are not the only way to buy a timeshare. In fact, with the amount of resale options out there, they may not always be the best way. Yet, every year, thousands of consumers – willing or not – sit through these sales pitches with the vast majority of them coming out more confused than when they went in.
Believe it or not, I used to work in timeshare sales myself, and as an insider I know very well all the tricks that salespeople will use to get you to buy at the end of the presentation.
So, if you ever end up on the buyer side of the sales table, here are four things you should know:
1) A rose by any other name
Rarely, if ever, are timeshare sales presentations called “timeshare sales presentations” by the resort. You’ll hear terms such as “resort tour,” “resort preview," ”information session,” “vacation survey,” or perhaps “owners’ update” if you already own a timeshare. Don’t allow yourself to be mislead…they’re all timeshare sales presentations.
What does this mean? It means you will generally see one or more timeshare salespeople for at least 90 minutes and usually closer to 2 ½ hours. You will be shown something and asked to purchase it.
2) Today means today
Timeshare sales presentations are designed to get you to make a buying decision at the end of the presentation. Not later that day. Not at the end of your vacation. And definitely not after you’ve had a chance to evaluate the purchase. (Disney Vacation Club is a rare exception to this. Their sales people actually encourage you to think about it, rather than make a hasty decision one way or another.)
3) What the prices mean
Generally, the first price that the salesperson will show you means nothing. In the business, it’s referred to as “taking the clients’ temperature.” If you say “no” to the first price, there will inevitably be a second price…and often a third, fourth, and fifth price. This can get tedious and frustrating and often times leads to impulsive decisions.
Even when the “final” price is revealed, remember to include finance charges, closing costs, exchange company membership fees, exchange fees, usage fees, and annual maintenance fees.
4) You are in control, not the salesperson
Despite what you may be led to believe, you’re in control of any timeshare sales presentation. Consumers have to remember this in all situations. Nothing happens until you make the decision to purchase, or not purchase.
That applies to even attending the sales presentation. Yes, many mini-vacations require you to attend a sales presentation. By that, I mean that you, the consumer, are exchanging your time at a sales presentation for a discounted vacation, theme park tickets, dinner shows or something else. No one gets tricked into a sales pitch. If you aren’t interested in timeshare for whatever reason, or can’t agree to keep an open mind, then don’t accept the gifts that are offered in exchange for your time.
So, what does this all mean to you as a savvy consumer?
Timeshares can be life-enhancing. However, no purchase this important should be entered into on a whim. If you’re going to a timeshare sales presentation, it pays to do your homework ahead of time. For a list of some questions you should ask before purchasing a timeshare, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’re interested in learning more about the ins and outs of the timeshare industry, check out Lisa’s book Surviving A Timeshare Sales Presentation…Confessions From The Sales Table.