Press release -
How to survive and profit from the dreaded timeshare presentation
Timeshare presentations are well known for being slick and high pressure. But how do you defeat them at their own game? Timeshare Consumer Association (TCA) gives you the pointers you need to escape the sales onslaught unscathed.
The obvious one: If you don't want a timeshare, then stay out of the sales environment. Why give them a chance to talk you into a potentially life changing purchase? And spare a thought for the salesperson. Their wages are mainly commission so it might be considered unfair to waste their time when they could be talking to someone actually interested in buying. Even timeshare salespeople have to pay rent.
Sometimes despite your best efforts, you can get railroaded and find yourself in the lion's den. Maybe the holiday was a bargain price because a timeshare presentation was mandatory. Maybe the tout wouldn't take no for an answer. Maybe you couldn't refuse those sweet, sweet theme park tickets.
Once committed, you need to focus if you are going to avoid a several hour assault on your finances and sanity. if you are skilful you can also make it worth your while
Negotiate before going
If you are being pitched by a tout in a booth, or anyone proffering gifts in return for you attending a sales presentation, whatever they are offering, ask for more. Touts are surprisingly well paid, earning several hundred dollars (or equivalent) just for you sitting through the spiel. it doesn't matter that you don't buy.
A good rule of thumb is to insist on double what they offer. if they offer you two free theme park tickets, insist on four. if they offer you three days car hire, demand six. What is the worst that can happen? The tout will either leave you alone, or pony up the extras. Either way you win. Ask for extra hats and t-shirts too. Those items cost the resort very little and are useful for beach and waterpark days as they can be thrown away instead of adding to your holiday washing.
Make sure they feed your family
As soon as you arrive at the presentation, talk about how hungry you all are. You were on your way to eat breakfast/lunch (depending on the time of day) and you can't stay for very long because your family needs to eat. The sales rep's manager will generally authorise food for you all. They know that people don't make buying decisions when their blood sugar is low through hunger.
Don't forget the eating is included in your agreed 90 minutes, and is going to be 'easier' time as people talk less while consuming food. The salesperson is likely to be saving the important parts of their presentation for when you are done with the food. Don't be shy about asking for ice creams for the kids later either.
Don't ask questions or give complex answers
The sales presentation is carefully crafted and it relies on your input. The sales person will be asking 'open ended' questions (questions that can't be answered with yes or no) to draw you into conversation. Any personal information you give, such as your holiday preferences and requirements will be used against you, so keep your answers minimal.
If you ask any questions at all it will encourage the rep to believe they have a sale, so try to avoid indulging any curiosity you have about anything the rep says. Your questions will drag out the process and make it more difficult to leave. A sales person who 'smells a sale' will work much harder to try and keep you there.
When time's up, go
This is the tough part. When you reach the end of the time period you agreed to, you need to literally stand up and tell them you are leaving. Brace yourself for emotional blackmail, and attempts to make you stay longer. Disregard anything they say, and start heading towards the exit. It might feel like you are being harsh, but keep in mind that it is crueller to stay and give the false impression you are a potential sale. Do not get dragged into a verbal arm wrestle or make an excuse that they could potentially overcome, boxing you into a corner.
Make sure you are walking towards the exit during any subsequent discussion, even if it is slowly. You are psychologically extricating yourself from the sales situation.
Beware the 'Exit Desk'
Many timeshare sales operations retain one last trap for unsold prospects. When leaving you will be taken to a desk/window/office where they process your gift and arrange transport back to your hotel. While waiting you may be asked to fill in a brief survey, asking (for example) why you didn't buy. There may be tables and chairs where you can sit down and fill in the survey.
Do not sit down. If possible, do not fill in the survey either. If you sit down an 'exit rep' will come and try to sell you a last ditch drop product. This is usually a cheap, trial version of the timeshare.
Refusing to sit down at the tables while your gifts are being processed will show that you don't have time to waste, and the exit rep may well leave you alone. If he does come over, let your body language show that you are not interested in further discussion, and only want to leave. Keep your game face on until you are in the taxi home. Only then can you relax and look forward to enjoying the spoils, be they theme park tickets, a fancy restaurant meal or hire car to go sightseeing with.
For anyone with timeshare related problems, issues, or experiences to share, the Timeshare Consumer Association is here to help.
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