In a previous life, I helped a giant timeshare company make a shitload of money.
I did it mostly by engineering opportunities, which is what I still do to this day.
This company (let’s call them “Twisted Palms” for the purposes of this conversation) had been in business for years selling oceanfront timeshare units. They had recently promoted the head of sales to Managing Director, and he was a smart dude.
He saw the bigger picture, and he was the guy who brought me in as Marketing Director.
I can’t take all the credit, because Steve became a mentor of sorts. Together, we made some smart moves and found some “gaps” that could be plugged to help the resort make a lot more money.
Coincidentally, these gaps exist in most of the real estate businesses I’ve audited as well, so if you work in that space, give me a call to learn more about my Opportunity Engineering services.
In the meantime, here are three valuable tips for selling Timeshare and Real Estate:
1. It’s all about the referral network. If you work in real estate you’re going to want to know every single mortgage broker, landscaper, and pool service repairman in town.
Anyone you can think of who works on or around residential homes can easily become a referral partner..
Just give them a stack of your business cards and offer them a commission!
The goal is to get everyone talking about you and referring you. If you live in a tourism-driven area, work referral deals with tour operators. Guys who take tourists out (fishing, snorkeling, diving) have access to thousands of people who might want to move.
Same with big companies. Setup meetings with HR and let them know you would be happy to assist new hires with their housing situation.
Offer everyone a commission. And I do mean EVERYONE. Bartenders. Car rental agencies. Anyone who might have access to lots of people.
You might be thinking “that sounds expensive” or “I can’t afford that” but you’re probably spending a small fortune right now on print ads, magazine ads, and yellow page listings that look exactly the same as every other real estate agent in town.
Your goal is that someone will see them and take action, but personal referrals carry much more weight and credibility.
Think about it.
At Twisted Palms we worked deals with every single bar, restaurant, car rental agency, and dive shop that we could, and it paid off in a big way.
2. If you’re trying to sell to everyone, you won’t sell to anyone. This is a lesson we learned real fast at Twisted Palms.
We already had people operating at the cruise port when I started, handing out flyers and urging prospects to take a tour of our property (in exchange for a dive trip or a free lunch) but often they were handing these invitations to the wrong people.
We implemented detailed training so our operators knew exactly who we wanted to take the tours: Married couples, 45-65… Walking together, but not holding hands. The man has a nice watch, the woman has a nice ring and/or nice jewelry, etc. etc.
The lesson: Get real clear on who your ideal customer is.
And make sure that ideal customer matches well with your personality and behavior!
If you like to go to the beach and get wasted and post bikini selfies, you’re going to attract a certain prospect…
Just the same as you will if you wear a business suit everywhere and act much more professionally.
One isn’t necessarily better that the other, but make sure you’re aware of who your ideal buyer is and how they perceive you.
This will serve you by saving you money and increasing your sales.
3. Once you get clients, treat them like gold. And do it forever, not just while you’re selling them. Don’t focus all your energy on new business, either.
Make sure to focus on existing customers as well, because selling to an existing customer is the easiest sale you’ll ever make.
Existing customers who are treated right and made to feel a part of something BIGGER are much more likely to buy again, and tell everyone they know how great you are 🙂
At Twisted Palms we had a liberal “comp” program and bent over backwards to make our owners feel like family. Often against the will of the owner, who was a bit of a greedy bastard.
I talked Steve into acquiring a large online forum where a ton of our owners were hanging out and posting questions, concerns, and gripes.
As soon as the purchase was complete I rolled it into the existing website and rather than cracking down and censoring critical comments, I spearheaded an effort to address every issue as quickly as possible.
I also started posting activity schedules, local news, and photos as well and the forum quickly became an unofficial added bonus for owners.
Hopefully these tips help.
Feel free to share and contact me if you need assistance increasing your sales opportunities!
If you have more tips for selling Timeshare and Real Estate make sure to leave it in the comments below: