Flutterby™!: Dan and Charlene Go Timeshare Shopping

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What

This is my first attempt at trying to build a Wiki-like knowledge base on top of the Flutterby content management system.

This is a place for explanation, description and static links on a topic that's either too broad to be covered under a single link, or that you're just too lazy to find the real link to.

Entries are automatically generated.

The Pitch

by:Dan Lyke started: 2004-06-25 15:14:17.837752+00 updated: 2004-06-25 15:14:17.837752+00

Intro: Charlene has sat through the TrendWest[Wiki] pitch and the demonstration, and then we've talked on our cell phones and she's said "you've got to come up and experience this".

We mistakenly let them get back the piece of paper that had all the crucial numbers on it, so I may be off by a few bucks here and there, but the short pitch is:

  1. Ten thousand dollars plus an annual carrying charge of $375 (which will get adjusted up, it sounds like just a little faster than inflation) gets you 40 years of 6000 "credits"/year. Credits can be redeemed from a glossy book of available places, different accomodations cost different amounts, from 600 credits per night on up.
  2. You'll also have to spend a small amount for maid service (around $50), and in some cases some "conversion costs", per stay.
  3. Can't afford ten thousand dollars? No problem, we'll take a thousand dollars down and you can pay off the rest in 7 years, for only $171/month.
  4. Don't have a thousand dollars right now? We understand, we can just break that up into 6 every other month payments of $167 and you'll be vacationing before the end of the year.

Of course the "ten thousand dollars" is some amount off of the "actual price" and that's only available today...

The Experience

by:Dan Lyke started: 2004-06-25 15:15:02.384039+00 updated: 2004-06-25 15:15:02.384039+00

The offices are near Fisherman's Wharf in the heart of the tourist district of San Francisco, on the third floor, with windows overlooking the wharf and the bay.

I walked in to this brightly decorated wide open space, upbeat music playing almost but not quite too loud, friendly guys, well dressed, all wanting to know how they could help, they guided me over to a table where Charlene was sitting (with 3 convenient chairs and lots of glossy brochures with shiny pictures), and she said "you've gotta experience this".

We sat and browsed through the brochures and played with the "if I shift this way in my seat someone will see that body language and come over with a glass of water for me and say 'I don't want to interrupt, but can I answer any questions...' and try to further the pitch in all sorts of interesting ways" experience and it was kinda fun. Especially fun was watching how they interpreted different body language and what sort of approach they'd use when they came up to "help answer questions"; lean forward and look really interested and get one approach, lean back and stiffen up and get another, and there were two or three people so while it always felt friendly, like you'd met this person before, it was always an "I'm just walking by on my way to something else, but you're more important right now..." feel.

I've been to enough tradeshows that there's a certain sort of music combined with guys who have personal grooming habits that resemble infomercial pitchmen that tweak all my "you're getting the shaft" buttons, but as a study in effective marketing I'll bet their conversion rate is pretty damned good.

The Anti-Pitch (but why you should listen anyway)

by:Dan Lyke started: 2004-06-25 15:15:29.04647+00 updated: 2004-06-25 15:15:29.04647+00

If you can keep in mind that:

  1. The price they're trying to sell you the shares for is roughly twice what those shares will fetch on the open market.
  2. The "attractive financing" terms they're offering will add half again to that if you pay it off on their schedule.
  3. They're pretty good at obscuring things like occupancy rates and availability.
  4. The "by law we can only offer this deal to you today" clause is because that's written into their contact, not into an overarching law.
  5. While you'll be able to collect on the gift cards and probably the day cruise, web searches indicate that the "free vacation" bit (which appears in the fine print to actually be that, much to my great surprise) will undoubtedly always be fully booked on the dates you want.

And

  1. Despite their general demeanor you can always get yourself invited to another sales event if, after post-pitch research, you decide that it really was a good idea.

then I recommend this as a very cool experience in seeing how a well-tuned sales process interacts with your own personal buttons. In searching around the web for other experiences I think the San Francisco sales team is particularly good, so your mileage will vary, but I expected to be bored silly and instead I was able to detach a bit and experience it all as a semi-theoretical exercise in observing really skilled salespeople at work and we both had a lot of fun.

Put comments...

by:Dan Lyke started: 2004-06-25 16:03:15.765956+00 updated: 2004-06-25 16:03:15.765956+00

Put comments in the front page entry which pointed to this.


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