In an era filled with trends such as ‘frustration nation’, ‘human touch’, ‘user experience’ and ‘consumerization’, one thing jumps to the forefront. The customer. Businesses failing to recognize the shift and reevaluate strategy to encompass these customer focused trends are falling to the wayside. Look at Kodak, HP, the increasing number of newspaper icons and so many more. Based recent events and an increasing number of timeshares being sold for as little as a penny, I feel more strongly than ever that the Timeshare industry as a whole may soon join the growing number of businesses failing to meet consumer demand. I am not a number so stop treating me that way!
Have you ever walked into a ‘talkie’ only to feel like a head of cattle about to be prodded? I have. Several times in fact. Even your own sales people see it in a similar light. Is it just because the owners of these companies haven’t had the pleasure of sitting through the sales pitch in a windowless room surrounded by round tables filled with people looking around imagining their escape? Could it be that (for purposes of this post we’ll assume 1 in 10) the one in ten that actually purchase are supporting the owners just enough that they don’t care about the others?
According to Facebook, 6 degrees of separation has dropped to 5 and in many cases 4. Consumers are becoming hyper connected and any experience is quickly public knowledge, more so when it’s negative. How are you as a Timeshare industry professional working to manage your reputation? What happens to the 9 potential customers that walked out of the ‘talkie’ cynical and unhappy? How do you locate the diamonds in the rough or the potential customer that didn’t purchase, but may be interested in the future?
Not one of the Timeshare industry professionals I’ve met with has followed up with me. Why? Is it because they don’t have time? Is it because corporate policy forbids it like they forbid any detailed information to be given to consumers over the phone? What if I want to purchase online? When I ask for pricing, why won’t you give it to me? More importantly, why am I not pre-qualified before you offer to give the cow away?
For future reference, here is what I want as a consumer.
Personal Touch: Don’t sit me in a room filled with people and expect me to be comfortable. Come to me. Set an appointment to meet by the pool, my campsite or even in the lobby. ONE ON ONE. This is key. I don’t want to feel like you are trying to sell a crowd or be subjected to the vibe of competition so thick you can cut it with a knife. Most of all, I don’t want my kids to suffer because we have to go to a meeting.
Follow Up: This should go without saying, but whether or not I ask you to follow-up with me, FOLLOW-UP WITH ME! What I may not have seen the value in after being prodded like cattle, I now do. In the multifamily industry, it often takes 6 or more follow-up calls before the prospect decides to lease.
Offer an Incentive to Tell You About My Experience: Rather than giving 100% of your incentive just for coming in, make me earn 50% of it after. Send me a survey so I can tell you how terrible or wonderful my sales rep was. Ask me if I was followed up with. Find my pain and solve it!
One Rep, Not Three: When I say no to one, I’m not only going to say no to the other two, I’ll now be so annoyed that the thought of your company makes my stomach turn for the rest of my life. Let one representative build rapport, earn my trust and be my liaison from start to finish. Even if I don’t purchase now, I’ll be more likely to purchase from you when it makes sense for me.
Cap My Fees: Don’t make me end up like the growing number of people forced to sell my investment for a penny due to rising maintenance costs. Offer me an option for fixed maintenance fees even if it means a higher initial investment.
I hope you found this insight helpful and are now running to reevaluate your strategy to include a significant increase in the trends mentioned above. For more information or to pick my brain, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org, or connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and So.cl.
If you work just for money, you’ll never make it.
But if you love what you are doing,
and always put the customer first,
success will be yours. ~ Ray Kroc