I was walking down the street one day in the merry, merry month of May, well, it wasn’t May, it was June and so, I’ll end my rhyme. This past week while in Newport my husband and I were approached by a man to listen to a vacation resort ownership presentation (new school), not to be confused with a time share (old school). The lures were decent and so we agree to be come back a few hours later to listen to the pitch.
I’d never been to one of these presentations, although I have friends who have and my husband had “a long time ago” bc (before Candelaria). The guy who approached us was affable, with a devil-may-care attitude and the sun-tanned skin of a guy who lives in Florida and who makes his living doing things like this. He spent about 15 minutes inviting us and, when he ran into us an hour or so later, asked us yet again if we were sure we were going to make the presentation. (He wouldn’t get paid unless we showed up.)
I walked into the experience with a pretty open mind, if fairly closed wallet. I want a vacation home so that the family can have a place to gather from all the disparate cities in which we now live. However, I have an allergy to strong sales pitches. If sales people come on too glibly, talk too fast, or have a pitch that’s too rehearsed, it tends to make me armor up. The more they push, the less I’m interested.
Our sales guy for the vacation resort made several mistakes in pitching me.
Mistake #1 – He tells me he’s the top sales person at this location. (He sounded like he was convinced he could sell to anyone. And since I don’t see myself as “just anyone” that was a turn-off.)
Mistake # 2 – He lets us know that he “demised that we were intelligent” and so he wouldn’t have to do a lot of explaining about the opportunity or what an investment it would be. (Now, he may not have meant anything racial by these words but for a woman of my color and generation this phrase or the words “you’re so articulate” always raise a flag.)
Mistake #3 – He moved past friendly banter into being too casual and familiar in his approach. (I am not your friend, Mister. I don’t know you and you sure as hell don’t know me.)
Mistake #4 (or perhaps I should call it “Tactic # 4) – He didn’t give me anything to read along with the presentation. (I’m a reader). Instead he flipped papers, wrote notes and formulas based on a few opening questions like “how many days would you say you travel and stay in a hotel…” It was a dizzying dance for more than an hour of straying back and forth through information and (his) catalogs and formulas on the backs of pieces of paper.
Mistake #5 – He kept emphasizing the special price we could only get today and the retail price that we could get later if we were too stupid to close the deal today. (He didn’t use the word stupid, but that’s what he meant.)
Point in his favor – At least he wasn’t a yeller. The other salesperson in the room was a young woman who confused enthusiasm with talking loudly. She nearly gave me a headache even though she was several tables away.
Sales guy took us on a tour of the property that was bustling with families in the swimming pool. We saw the exercise room and the games room. He took us to see a video in a small screening room. I actually liked the testimonials of the people in the video although I noted that the screening room carpet was filthy. The model unit was lovely. After we finished the tour, I went to the bathroom. Later, I found out that while I was thus occupied, my husband told him that we weren’t going to make a purchase at this time. When I came out of the bathroom, my husband went in and the sales guy asked me if I had any concerns about buying. I told him that I’d never made a snap decision that was right and that I wouldn’t dream of purchasing a vacation rental home without reading, researching and thinking about it.
After a couple more attempts to change our no into a yes and trying to get names and contact information for friends who might be interested, he took us to the Closer, who offered us another opportunity to join the ** vacation family. (Interestingly enough, we were told by sales guy that if we walked away we would essentially blow the opportunity.) Closer told us it would take us five minutes to answer her questions about what we’d thought of the pitch and that we would then get the gifts we’d been promised – $50 gift certificates to use at a myriad of stores and restaurants in Newport and a three-day, two-night free vacation.
She said that because we’d been solicited on the street and had been interrupted on our visit to Newport, they understood how it might be hard to make such a decision as buying a vacation time share by the other name they used. For the small sum of around $300 we could get to stay at this resort or any of their resorts within a certain period to try it out. She also tried to get names of friends out of us. What will it take for me to get you to reconsider this incredible deal? Blah, blah, blah. Finally, she walked us down the street to the office to get the certificates and vacation forms. Lo and behold, the door was locked – it had never been locked in her experience. She knew someone was inside. We went back to her office and she called over and said someone would be waiting for us. My husband asked her if she would walk back over with us and she said, “No.” No sale, she was done. We walked over, a woman was waiting at the door for us – sour expression on her face. She gave us our paper work and we were on our way.
Do people really buy property after a 2 ½ hour pitch? I guess they must. It seems to be a lucrative business. Although their properties are available world-wide and they are a dominant force in the market I don’t understand how someone make such a meaningful purchase in such a short time. Did I mention that the prices sounded incredible for the amenities (too good to be true raises another flag for me) and that their on-the-spot financing is so convenient (although they do say you can use your own financing – provided you get it in the quick turn-around period they allot). Basically, they don’t turn anyone down which was shown by the example of what a two-bedroom unit would cost if we had lousy credit!
Note to the vacation resorts people and Mr. Top Sales Guy – not everyone’s notion of a vacation home and a vacation experience is as vacuous and homogeneous as yours. The pitch we got didn’t mention anything about local culture, cuisine or flavor making it seem artificial and not at all interesting to me. And, even if it had been something I was really interested in, I would not have made a snap decision without paper and time to mull it over.