How To Survive a Time Share Sales Pitch

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Things that seem like they're good to be usually – although not always – are. if you think that timeshare sales pitch sounds sweet, here's what to think about before you attend. Here's how to survive a timeshare sales pitch. 

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How To Survive a Timeshare Sales Pitch

Beautiful vacation spot.
Image credit: Deposit Photo.

From “just don't go” to how to make your exit to how to buy if you really do want to, here's all you need to know.

1. Just don’t go

Couple standing on a beach.
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If you don’t go in the first place, you won’t be subject to an uncomfortable sales pitch or worry about walking out of your two-hour presentation six hours later and $20,000- $30,000 poorer.

However, this a guide to surviving the time share sales pitch, which assumes you’re going to go, so keep reading!

2. If you doubt your ability to say no, you have no business attending 

Woman holding up her hand.
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If there’s even a glimmer of doubt that you’ll resist the sales pitch, you have no business attending a time share presentation. Want to buy a time share and have a plan for where that $30,000 will come from? That’s one thing, but if you don’t want to buy and fear falling prey to a fantastic sales pitch, skip it.

A time share is (practically) forever. Despite what you might be told, it’s almost impossible to get out of one once you’re in.

3. Is this worth your time?

Happy Canadians.
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Really look at what you’re being offered and decide whether it’s worth two-plus hours out of your vacation time. If it’s a short vacation, do you want to forgo beach or pool time to endure a sales pitch for a $100 dinner? You’ll have to decide how you want to use your vacation time.

We once signed up for a presentation in exchange for a $200 resort credit because that gave us the money to do an activity that we’d decided was out of budget. We were confident in our ability not to buy.
Plus, we were on a longer stay, and we didn’t have plans for the time block we were offered for the time share sales pitch. We decided that what was being offered was worth our time and that we had the time on our vacation to spare.

4. Perks to attend the presentation are sometimes negotiable

Group of travelers drinking wine.
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If a $100 dinner voucher isn’t worth a chunk of your day, say so. They might sweeten the pot. We are more inclined to accept Visa gift cards, resort credits, or vouchers for things we can do on this particular vacation versus free future trips or airline vouchers. The latter usually comes with so many blackout dates and restrictions that they’re worthless and almost impossible to use.

5. Try to attend the presentation later in your stay

Family on vacation.
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It’s helpful to get a feel for the resort, how they treat their guests, and the clientele that frequents it. Is it a fit for you? Would you want to vacation here year after year?

We recently stayed in a resort in Virginia and went to the time share sales pitch on our second day. We said no thank you and escaped with our freebies, but throughout the rest of our stay, we noticed little things about the resort that we didn’t love. Our stay was OK – we’d booked it with points from our existing time share – but after a few days, we’d ruled it out as someplace we’d want to come over and over.

But, make sure you allow yourself enough time to where you can use your perks, especially if you are attending for something you plan to use on site, such as resort credit. 

6. Beware the personal connection

Time share sales pitch.
Image credit: Deposit Photos.

Your salesperson will try to establish a personal connection as fast as possible. The presentation will usually start with small talk or chit chat where the objective is to get you to reveal personal details about yourself. 

They’ll typically try to connect with you over something you have strong emotional ties to, such as your children, sports team, or where you live. One salesperson told me she had a shirt exactly like mine, which was unlikely. 

I’m not an expert on sales psychology (although you can be assured your salesperson is), but you’re more likely to buy from someone you feel connected to. Their goal is to make friends with you. After all, we have a harder time telling our friends no, right?  Also, the person selling you the time share is always always always an owner in this very same time share and will go on and on about their own wonderful vacation experiences. 

7. Know how long you’re obligated to stay for

Happy Couple On Vacation Together.
Image credit: Deposit Photos.

If you sign up for a 90-minute presentation, clarify when your clock starts. I usually set a timer on my phone and make sure the alarm isn’t on silent. I am also very upfront and make it evident that I’m setting a timer.

When it goes off, I let the salesperson who is in charge of my time share sales pitch know that this is time. You can also set a timer at the 15-minute mark and politely let them know their time is nearly up. If they continue to try and hold you or sell to you, keep reminding them that your time is up.

No timeshare sales rep will stand up and say, “Well, that’s two hours, folks. Time to get you out of here.” Their goal is to make a sale, and if there’s any sliver of a chance they can do that, they will keep pressing.

8. Be on the same page with your partner

Couple going into Airbnb.
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My husband called me from the check-in desk at a resort – I was sitting in the car with our kids – and asked if I wanted to go on a property tour for a set amount of perks, in this case, resort bucks.

If buying into a time share is something you want to consider before the presentation, set aside some time before the presentation to do some research. The worst thing to do is make a split-second decision to take on unplanned debt, although that is exactly what the salesperson hopes you will do.

If you absolutely 1000 percent don’t plan to buy no matter what, make sure you both agree on this before you start.

9. Know what to expect in terms of questioning

Solo travel traveler having a drink in a tropical setting.
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Expect to be asked how much you and your family spend a year on vacation and leisure. This is a tricky question to answer and might throw you off guard. 

They might also ask where your dream destinations are. These types of questions are designed to show the salesperson the pathway to a possible sale. If you tell the time share rep you spend $5000 annually on vacations, they’ll show you what their program can get you for $5000. Hint: it will always be bigger, better, and more luxurious than you spend your money on. 

No matter your dream destination, Disneyland or the Maldives, your time share salesperson will let you know that your dream property is in their inventory and that your dreams are 100 percent achievable. 

10. Less Is Always More

Woman standing at hotel window.
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When answering questions at a time share sales pitch, less information is always more. This isn’t the time to be chatty, even if that’s your nature.

11. The pitch will be directed at the most enthusiastic or attentive partner

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Your salesperson knows he has limited time with you, so they will assess your body language or level of interest. If you’re making good eye contact, asking questions, or showing interest (whether or not that interest is genuine), that’s who they will hone in on.

They’ll also look for clues on who might be driving the financial decisions. If they think one partner over the other will have the final say or be the one to influence, they’ll pay more attention to that person.

12. Don’t fake interest

Person lying with crossed fingers.
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If you’re going to sign up for a presentation, know that those two hours don’t belong to you. Listen politely, but if you know you’re not going to purchase, don’t feign interest you don’t have, gush over the properties, or ask a bunch of questions.

It’s OK to state up front that you are not interested in buying a time share and that you are attending the presentation to meet the requirements to get your freebies or discounts. Don’t be rude about it.

13. You don’t owe anyone a justification for a no answer

Woman sitting at a desk.
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During your time share sales pitch presentation, you’ll be asked questions like “Doesn’t this sound great?” or “Wouldn’t you like to be able to take your family on a luxury vacation every year?” or some other type of question where the only possible answer is yes. They are trying to get you comfortable with saying yes. Who looks at a picture of an overwater bungalow in Fiji and says, “No…that doesn’t look nice at all.”

If you have no intention of buying, look for your opportunity to say no. This is sometimes a slippery slope because you must be attentive for a presentation because that’s what you agreed to, but at some point in the conversation, you will have to give a hard no or convey you’re not interested.

14. The “one time only” deal is bogus

Couple at a time share.
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The only time my husband and I have ever made a major purchase without extensive planning and discussion is our non-Disney time share, and we already know how I feel about that: total regret.

Our Disney Vacation Club membership was planned – if you want to know more about that, read my DVC 101 blog post here. 

If the deal you’re being offered sounds good (and it is their job to make it good), you might answer that you’d like to discuss it for a day or two. 

15. The super good deal will still be there tomorrow. Yes, really. 

Technology in Canada.
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You’ll be told that the offer is only good right then and there. I don’t know if that is necessarily true, but I do know that they don’t want you to leave the sales presentation without buying because the odds that you’ll return are pretty slim. 

Everyone handles finances differently, but most couples would probably agree that making an impulse purchase of $30,000 is probably not a good idea and that anything in that price bracket deserves some discussion and maybe a night’s sleep. They want to sell to you while they’ve got you as a captive audience. There’s no truth to the “this deal won’t be on the table tomorrow.” 

16. The deal is not going to be as great as it sounds

Woman saying no.
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When you attend a time share sales pitch, you will be shown a list of swoon worthy properties you can potentially vacation at. You might be buying into a resort in the mountains of Virginia, but you can trade these points in for that dream vacation at a luxury resort in Aruba. At some point, you’ll see pictures of overwater bungalows in Fiji or Bali. They’ll tell you that buying into this time share is your key to vacationing at luxury resorts worldwide.

They probably don’t tell you that there will be fees to book these properties and that booking windows may be narrow. If you take a tour or see a virtual presentation, you will be shown top-of-the-line luxury. You probably need more than the number of points you’re being pitched to get you the level of accommodation you’re seeing. 

17. Don’t be swayed by the pretty pictures 

Beautiful Island Sunset.
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Seven nights in an Orlando or Williamsburg area resort are maybe equal to one night in those coveted over-water bungalows. Don’t be swayed by the pretty pictures.

Most time share companies operate on some type of tier system, which means entry-level members don’t get the same type of access or inventory availability as premium members who pay much more than the price you’re being courted with. 

There will also be fees and costs that aren’t going to be listed in your initial presentation. There will be little discussion of maintenance fees, which are typically not a static expense. These fees can and usually do, increase over time. Once you’re locked in, there’s very little you can do about that. 

18. Your sales person might lie to you

Boy on a phone family travel.
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I know that sounds awful, and I hate calling anyone a liar. We’ve been told that the resort isn’t making money on the transaction or that they’ve never been able to offer such a low rate before.

“I don’t usually offer this low price, but I’ll make an exception just for you.” Don’t fall for that.

They might also fabricate children, pets, or other things that will align them with you and make you see them as friends, not salespersons. Being relatable trumps truth. Most of the untruths will be lies of omission. There will be fees or exceptions that aren’t disclosed during your offer. If you get that far, these will be in the fine print when you go in to sign your contract.

19. be prepared to meet more than one person 

Two sales people.
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Each time share sales pitch I’ve ever sat through has involved at least two tiers of salespeople. If the salesperson isn’t selling you, they’re going to bring in someone else who is better, more experienced, more charming, or in some cases, more aggressive or pushy. 

Often, the price might decrease each time you’re handed off to a new salesperson. Once, before we even received an offer, our salesperson gave us an estimate of what he thought it might be. I made a mental note that the offer we’d receive would come in at $5,000 less than what the salesman’s “guess” was, and I was only a bit off. 

When we refused, we were passed off to another person, who we thought would be the one to close us out, but lo and behold, she asked us why we didn’t want to buy and made us another offer, which was about half of our first offer.

If we’d have really wanted to buy, which we did not, our price for a two-week vacation each year would have gone from an investment of about $11,000 to about $5,500. Our initial salesperson had told us the lowest he’d seen these memberships offered was $15,000, so there were multiple points in this process when we were supposed to have that “Aha” moment where we realized we were getting a fantastic deal. 

20. THE sales team may listen in on your private conversations

Listening In.
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I’ve heard that sales personnel may leave the room but leave an Air Pod and use an app like Live Listen to hear a conversation you assume is private. They also may be listening through a door or a vent.

If you ask for time alone to discuss a potential investment, Don't assume it’s totally private. The salesperson wants to know your weaknesses or the reasons for your hesitation so they can work around them. If they have yet to figure out who the hesitant one is or who has more influence over the purse strings, a little eavesdropping might help them.

21. Should you take the kids?

Camping tent family travel.
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Some time share presentations will have provisions for your kids. They might get sent to a kid’s club or a separate room with snacks and movies.

Kids are generally going to be seen as a distraction. We’ve taken our kids to time share presentations, and my full attention has not been on the sales pitch. If you’re adamant about not buying, your whining child might get you out the door a little bit faster, but you’ll have to decide if you want to do that to your child (or yourself) while on a vacation that is supposed to be fun.

22. You might encounter rudeness

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When someone is trying to sell you something, they’re usually not going to be rude to you. Humans are not motivated to give our money or business to someone who is being a jerk to us.

However, when the salesperson doing the time share sales pitch realizes there will not be a sale, they might be rude or accuse you of wasting their time.
My husband and I sat through a presentation and declined because we couldn’t afford the price, and the salesperson made a nasty comment about our employer.

I recommend taking the high road. You’re still on vacation. Preserve your good mood, and don’t get into a verbal spar with a salesperson who is angry that he didn’t get a sale. Arguing or contentious back-and-forth exchanges are only going to keep you there longer.

23. Less is more

If you genuinely have no intention of buying and know that from the get-go, you’re better off saying as little as possible.
Give simple one or two-word answers. Don’t elaborate. You signed up for a presentation or a tour. No one is entitled to your entire life story.

Don’t argue or challenge something your salesperson says, even if you strongly feel they’re trying to snow you. Newsflash: they are. No good is going to come out of calling them out on it.

If the salesperson knows why you don’t want to buy, they can use that to get you to buy. When you tell them no, they’re, of course, going to ask you, “Why not?” It is not a requirement for you to give that information.

24. Remember why you’re there

Lovely vacation.
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Your role is to listen to the presentation or take the tour, get your goodies, and get out. The salesperson’s role is to sell you a time share. His income or even his job might depend on whether you buy or not.

This isn’t an excuse for anyone to be rude, but don’t take it personally if you encounter it. Remind your salesperson that your allotted time has passed (if it has) and ask to receive your prizes/incentives.

If you’re not going to buy, you must be very plain about that. “I wish I could, but -” will signal the salesperson to try and find a way to get over whatever stumbling block you think you’ve got. Say no, and sound like you mean it. You’ll probably have to repeat yourself, but they’ll eventually stop.

25. Consider taking notes

Skeptical lady taking notes.
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Notetaking throws the salesperson off. Their sales pitch relies on emotions, not data or logic, so the idea is if they think you’re going to counter their pitch with fact-based questions, it will unnerve them. It’s not my goal to throw a salesperson off or put them on the defensive. It’s my goal to get through the presentation, get my gifts, and leave.

If you’re even semi-serious about buying when you go in, this tactic might serve you well when it comes down to contracts or negotiations.



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