I've published this post of a friend with his permission. He makes some great points. For hundreds of real estate articles on buying and selling, see Sequim Real Estate.
There are lots of books, seminars, websites, and other programs that will claim to teach you how to sell. Some of them are good. Some of them are great. Some... well, not so much. However, nothing is better than the live application of watching a master salesman in practice. There are people out there in the world who can sell the proverbial "Ice to an Eskimo."
Recently on my vacation to Cancun, Mexico, I learned how NOT to sell homes. It was an important lesson and one worth sharing. The education came courtesy of the Mexican timeshare salespeople.
Have you ever been to one of those 90 minute timeshare presentations? You know, the ones were they tour you around the resort, show you a sample unit, and then try the hard sales approach to get you to buy while you watch the clock so you can collect your complimentary gift. If you ever plan to purchase or sell real estate either for yourself or on behalf of clients, it's worth going to see how it's done. Or you can just read about my experience here.
STEP 1 -- NEVER PRE-QUALIFY YOUR BUYERS
If you want to ensure that you don't make the sale, never pre-qualify your buyers.
We were blindsided at the Cancun airport by a friendly timeshare marketing guy. I was ready to leave but my wife wanted to listen to their pitch since the fellow was so friendly. He started by giving us some valuable tourist information and details about various things to see while on vacation. Asked some questions, feigned interest in our life (where are you from? how long are you staying? have you ever been in Cancun before?)
Then he "invited" us to a "free breakfast" and a refund on our airport to hotel transportation if we attended a 90 minute timeshare presentation. And at the end of the 90 minute presentation, we'd get our choice of a tourist excursion valued at close to $300. Sounds like a good deal (in fact it was -- the excursion, not the timeshare).
The only requirements were that we were over the age of 30, married, and had credit cards. No income verification, no proven ability to afford a timeshare, no employment requirement, no credit check, nothing. He didn't even ask if we were interested in purchasing a timeshare property!
The following day when we went for the presentation, the sales guy there asked a few more questions, but certainly did not pre-qualify us -- just made us flash our credit cards and asked us about our careers.
STEP 2 -- BUILDING RAPPORT IS NOT IMPORTANT
People want to buy from people that they like. Thus, if you want to lose the sale, don't worry about building rapport.
Flash a smile, feign interest, interrupt conversation, and stick to a script. This is the sure way to flub it. Relationships take time. 90 minutes is usually not enough. Check out the case of the Cancun timeshare.
We were promised a 90 minute sales presentation after breakfast. Little did we know that the timeshare sales guy would sit with us at breakfast and watch us eat (he had a cup of coffee while we made several trips to the buffet). Talk about uncomfortable. Then he started going down his survey sheet, asking us several questions about ourselves -- our interests, our dreams, etc. However, he didn't really seem to care. More of a smile, an "um hum," etc. rather than spirited rapport-building conversation.
After a 60 minute tour around the timeshare resort, our guide who was presumably in his mind building rapport with us, told us that we were going to meet with "THE CLOSER" Dun Dun Dah. Why in heaven's name would he spend 60 minutes with us only to pass us off to purchase from an unknown to us slick salesman?
This was Step 2 to doing it all wrong. Let alone actually calling the other salesman "THE CLOSER" -- that's still got me laughing today!
STEP 3 -- TALK QUICKLY AND USE SALES JARGON
Gotta get through the script. Make sure to overload people with too much information so that they are overwhelmed. Use lots of fancy words and sales jargon. Throw out tons of numbers without much explanation. Put words in the buyer's mouth. Use leading questions to get the answers you want.
Yep, that's gonna work!
Wouldn't you have loved to have been a fly on the wall in Cancun? Or better yet, relaxing on the beautiful beach eavesdropping over the conversation?
STEP 4 -- DON'T LET THEM DISCUSS IT AMONGST THEMSELVES
Real estate purchases are big decisions involving lots of money. There's no reason to allow couples any time alone to discuss the purchase. Stay in their face. Watch their every move for a buying sign.
When it got to discussing price, we found out that the Cancun timeshare would be anywhere between a $40,000 to a $90,000 investment. Besides the fact that we were in Mexico for a vacation, not to purchase property, this was a large amount of money that they were asking us to spend. Maybe they thought we'd had a few early morning margaritas and would be loose with our credit cards!
They never once told us to take 5 minutes or more and discuss it in private amongst ourselves.
STEP 5 -- PRESSURE A DECISION
Yes or no? Yes or no? What's your decision? We need to know today. Right now. Tell us. Say it. SAY IT! BUY IT! C'MON. Pressure a decision. Make it sound desperate. We're selling out. You need to act now. That's guaranteed to drive people away.
Believe it or not, but that's what the Mexican timeshare folks did.
At the end of 90 minutes, my wife spoke up and said "Our 90 minutes is up. Thanks for the education. We're not interested. No Gracias!"
The rude timeshare salesman, "THE CLOSER" said "I'm not here to educate you. I'm here to sell you something. I'm not a teacher. I'm a salesperson."
Well, not that day he wasn't.
He didn't sell us anything.
Five Things you should know if you work with me as your REALTOR:
1. You will be pre-qualified. I want you to know how much home you can afford. I want you to buy for the right reasons and want to understand your motivations, so that I can help guide you towards the right purchase.
2. We will build rapport. A real relationship. I care about my clients. I want you to know about me. Many of my clients over the years have become my friends. In fact, I just had dinner earlier this week with a couple I worked with a few years ago.
3. I will take time and explain things to you. Whether you are a first-time buyer or have experience, I want to make sure that you understand everything in plain English.
4. You can take the time to weigh the facts, and discuss the the purchase amongst yourselves, with your friends, your family, or anybody else you choose.
5. I will NEVER pressure a decision.
"THE CLOSER" admitted to me that he sells a timeshare to about 1 out of 10 or 12 people with whom he meets. That's not a very high closing ratio.
Maybe "THE CLOSER" needs to remove the letter "C" from his title!
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