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Timeshare Sales Process - How to Avoid It

Sep 26

8 timeshare sales tactics—and how to resist them during a pitch

The timeshare industry is booming, and sales have increased significantly in recent years. If you or your partner has been approached by a timeshare company, you're not alone. Many people are interested in buying timeshare properties or points.

It can be difficult to purchase a timeshare due to the high pressure sales tactics that are often used. This can put a strain on your relationship, as you will likely have to make the decision to buy together. It is common for people to feel negative emotions after purchasing a timeshare, especially if one person was more reluctant than the other.

You can avoid the negative consequences of a timeshare pitch by being proactive and understanding the sales process.

1. Be clear about what you want to achieve and what you have available to you.

The salespeople use the emotional appeal to make an impulsive decision to buy a timeshare. Even if the customer didn't go into the presentation intending to buy, they are still successful in selling them one.

Before you enter the sales situation, understand your budget and how much you can spend. Also, know how much vacation time you have so you can gauge the amount of time you have to make a decision.  By being aware of these facts, you can avoid the temptation of owning a timeshare that you would only be able to use for two weeks out of the year, even if you have six weeks of vacation time.

We bought a minivan before we went to a timeshare presentation, which helped us stay budget-friendly on our vacations.

2.  Work together to accomplish a goal

The sales pitch: Playing couples off each other. When you have a tangled necklace, you start to tease the chain apart by starting with the looser end. The same goes for timeshare sales techniques: They approach the sale by targeting the more enthusiastic or susceptible half of the couple. Once they have one person convinced, he or she often persuades the hesitant person.  Once they have one person convinced, they often persuade the hesitant person.

Go into the presentation with an understanding between you and your partner about what you want. This way, you can avoid any sales techniques and just focus on getting the free gift or vacation.

I was promised two free plane tickets and a hotel stay if I went to a timeshare presentation, so I convinced my husband to come with me (though I told him I would cancel if he didn't want to do it).

3. Make sure you have a way to shut it down

The salespeople will use every possible tactic to get you to agree to buy a timeshare, even if it's not the right decision for you.

Beat the sales tactic: Establish veto power. To survive a timeshare pitch, agree that either person in your couple can say a hard no—and that will be the end of the story.
The way we made it work was by setting some ground rules. I signed up for the most recent timeshare presentation while I was at a home show, and the way to go to the pitch in the first place was to establish this rule.  He knew that if he said no, I would agree with him, no matter how I felt about it. This way, we were both on the same page and knew what to expect from each other. It created a sense of trust between us that neither of us would be pressured and that we always had an escape if buying a timeshare wasn't worth it.

4. Be aware of your responsibilities.

The salespeople will try to sell the timeshare to the person in the couple who is more likely to be interested in it by appealing to their enthusiasm or curiosity.

Avoid succumbing to sales strategies: It can be tempting to get caught up in the idea of owning a timeshare, especially when presented with an enticing sales pitch. However, it is important to remain aware of the potential risks and pitfalls associated with timeshare ownership. This will help you avoid making an impulsive purchase that you may later regret.

What worked for us was that, based on our experience from the first timeshare pitch, we knew that I would be more vulnerable to the sales tactics. In Hawaii, I was ready to buy into the timeshare, even though we could barely afford our cell phone bill! So we knew that, in order to survive another timeshare pitch, Hubs would have to be the voice of reason during the “discussion time” that the salespeople leave you to have.

5.  Don't be in a hurry

Timeshare salespeople use a sales pitch that claims the deal will not last forever in order to create a sense of urgency around buying a timeshare. They know they need to close the deal in the moment, and applying pressure to buy immediately makes people more likely to buy a timeshare.

Salespeople will often show you deals that are only available for that day, which can be cheaper than other deals. However, you can always get a good deal on a timeshare if you are interested.

My partner and I decided that if we enjoyed the presentation, we could always sign up for another one. This way, we wouldn't feel pressured into buying a timeshare.

6. Rate your holidays

The sales tactic is to make you dream of an amazing vacation in a luxurious location that you would never have considered before.

To avoid being talked into buying a timeshare that you don't want, you and your partner should discuss the types of vacations you take now and the types of vacations you want to take in the future. This will help you figure out if a timeshare is right for you.

We were able to use our family's lifestyle as a way to resist the sales technique. We do a lot of camping, we bring our dog on most vacations, and many of our trips center around visiting family in locations where the timeshare company didn't have any properties.

7.  Interpret nonverbal communication

Salespeople often take cues from potential customers' body language in order to better gauge how to deliver their pitch. Things like leaning forward, keeping their hands on the table, or constantly checking the time can all be subtle indicators of how interested someone is.

The best way to avoid being taken advantage of by a salesperson is to be aware of your partner's body language. This will give you an indication of whether or not they are enjoying the experience or feeling defensive. You can then adjust your own attitude accordingly to present a united front.

Being familiar with him enabled me to understand that the salesperson's approach of implying we would be depriving our children of holidays if we didn't make a purchase was something that bothered him. Because I was paying attention, I could tell that he was getting ready to leave.

8.  Make sure to take advantage of the freebie!

Salespeople use fear of missing out to pressure people into buying timeshares.

Being forceful and straightforward in your reaction is the greatest strategy for dealing with a sales pitch. If you sense that you are being forced to make a purchase, turn away and don't be afraid to decline. So, keep in mind as you depart that if you can get through a timeshare pitch, you'll get a free vacation. It will be easier for you to find the bright side of even a bad event if you have something to look forward to.

How it worked for us: We discussed our travel plans before going to the timeshare presentation. We picked Phoenix since it was a pretty close location to our home in Oregon, I've never been there, and we wanted a warm, sunny vacation to enjoy in the winter. So we already had a fun plan in place when we left the timeshare presentation.