Sometimes, I feel like the world is one big sales laboratory. On a recent trip, we attended a one on one “fractional ownership” sales presentation. I had the opportunity to evaluate the performance of a sales rep with a very exciting product to sell. Let’s call him Sam.
Timeshares have evolved into something new and expensive. For over $300,000 and about $15,000 a year, you can own four weeks at an incredible resort. It’s a vacation home to enjoy and walk away from. Clearly, the concept is taking aim at baby boomers with bloated 401K accounts, old money families and new money stars – all the usual suspects.
Over the years, I have been teaching 10 techniques that a sales rep (B2B or B2C) should employ to skyrocket their percentage of success. Let’s look at how well Sam performed:
Technique #1 – Be prepared. His grade: C+
Sam was prepared in the sense that he completely understood the product. Here is something to ponder: If you are trying to sell a $300,000+ item to someone, would you consider Googling them – looking them up on LinkedIn – doing whatever you could to understand who you were meeting with? Sam didn’t take the time to do that.
Technique #2 – Ask questions. His grade: D
Selling is a simple process. First, gain an understanding of needs. Then, identify the prospect’s top priorities. Finally, offer solutions that meet those needs and priorities. There is no way to identify needs without asking questions. Sam did not ask a lot of questions.
Technique #3 – Sell, don’t just present. His Grade: C
Selling requires skill, flexibility and fluidity. A canned presentation misses the mark most of the time. It touches on several selling points instead of delivering a direct hit on the one or two key reasons that will move the prospect to buy.
Technique #4 - Identify the hot button. His Grade: F
If you are sitting across from a legitimate buyer, there is a good reason why they are present. Something has them interested in buying. Usually, there is one hot button selling point. In the case of the fractional ownership property, Sam touched on numerous benefits (elegant living, appreciation potential, freedom, great family enjoyment, introductory pricing, the beauty of the property) but never identified for himself the one item that could convert us from prospect to buyer.
Technique #5 – Offer relevant success stories. His Grade: B
It can be comforting to know that someone just like you (or a company just like yours) is enjoying great success because they selected the product or service that you are currently evaluating, When Sam found out that we were Marriottt timeshare owners, he talked about how many of the owners at this new fractional ownership property were also Marriott owners and that having a combination of resort properties worked nicely for them. Good thing that I volunteered that Marriott information.
Technique #6 – Offer some reviews. His Grade: D
In this case, the reviews could have been about credibility and the developer’s track record from trusted business media sources. The reviews could have been written testimonials regarding the hot resale market for luxury fractional ownership properties. The reviews could have been comments from existing homeowners who are thrilled with their fractional ownership experience. There were no reviews to consider during our meeting.
Technique #7 – Deliver the experience. His Grade: B
While the beauty and the elegance of the property spoke for itself, it would have been nice to hear Sam describe the experience that awaits when we become an owner. “You will wake up in the morning to a beautiful sunrise, enjoying a cup of coffee on your balcony, taking in the tropical ocean breeze. When you are ready, you can head down to our full-service restaurant and the complimentary breakfast buffet. The rest of the day is yours, to relax or take in an exciting island activity, organized by our trained staff. When you leave us, you will be relaxed, refreshed and energized. Best of all, there is no clean-up, no shut down and no hassle. You just walk away.”
If the experience is there – deliver it. Be compelling. That is what selling is all about.
Technique #8 – Use the “If – Then” proposition. His Grade: F
Since Sam never identified our hot button selling points, he could not use the ‘If - Then” proposition.
Our hot buttons:
- The ability to trade our weeks out at other resorts
- Huge price incentives as early buyers
- The ability to wait until 2019 to buy
Knowing this, Sam could have asked a question: “If I can guarantee you reciprocity at other resorts on the weeks you desire, plus huge price incentives as an early buyer and the convenience of a down payment now, but no final closing until 2019, would you be ready to become an owner today?”
Once you know the hot buttons – if you can deliver, closing is one question away.
Technique #9 – Special attention to detail. His Grade: F
As we toured the property and passed through their beautiful oceanfront restaurant, it would have been very easy for Sam to offer us a glass of wine and planned snack. This little break would have been a powerful way for us to experience the property – enjoying a spectacular ocean view – seeing our future as owners. When selling, doing something special that sets you apart from the competition can go a long way. In the B2B world, that could mean a nice lunch or a cool and useful promotional item.
Technique #10 – Follow up – don’t give up. His Grade: ?
Solid follow up is critical. It is an artform. Will Sam utilize the kind of follow up techniques that work, or will he simply drop me a line to see where we stand?
My guess: The follow up will be something like this: “Act now or watch the price go up.” Instead of: “Knowing what your priorities are, I have some exciting news if you are ready to act now.”
For the record…
Sam was a great guy, very likeable, articulate and professional, but not armed with the sales tools that are used by elite performers. In a world where the first question from prospects is typically, “Can you send me a price list?” - we need to be at our best when we are across the table from a live prospect.
I should mention that we will not be an owner of the fractional timeshare, but that’s more about the product, the price and where we are in our lives. We can’t blame Sam for that.
If you have questions about these selling techniques, taking your sales team to an elite level or taking a deeper dive regarding business development, feel free to contact me directly.