At the dawn of timesharing, when nobody knew what the concept was, educating prospects about it made sense. Marketing and sales organizations typically trained their personnel to follow a structured presentation format, sometimes overtly [turn the page] scripted, sometimes memorized.

Remarkably, that sort of structure persists today even though the vast majority of sales prospects already know what timesharing is. If they really want a timeshare, they seriously shop to find the right one. Most prospects, however, will endure a sales presentation to get a promised incentive (amusement-park passes, dinner at a nice restaurant, etc.).

Prolonging the agony of the presentation can be counter-productive. It may increase sales, but it also increases the recission rate, and creates problem owners who agree to buy what they never wanted, just to bring the sales process to an end. Think delinquency, transfer company, deedback, foreclosure.

Some companies have figured this out. They still may offer premiums to attract prospects, but their presentation approach focuses less on selling the resort or the timeshare concept than on helping people.

This approach requires a different kind of sales training. The emphasis needs to be on personal interaction, building relationships with prospects, focusing on their needs and desires for leisure, travel, and family experiences — on sharing their together time. In that context, the specific vacation-ownership product comes into play.

If everything fits, it’s less a timeshare sale than a decision to buy, with a lot less time and energy consumed, and an ample reservoir of good will.

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