How to Survive a Timeshare Presentation
We were not looking forward to the timeshare presentation at Hacienda Tres Rios. If you have never experienced a high pressure timeshare presentation, count yourself lucky. The presentation usually goes something like this: They make promises to give you cash, travel excursions, trinkets, discounts, or whatever it takes to get you to agree to their “90 minute” presentation. Once you show up for the presentation you meet the sales person who acts like your best friend. They act interested in finding out all about your jobs, hobbies, and places you have visited. They take all of this information about you and turn it into a custom sales pitch to sell you the timeshare. You often go into these presentations knowing full well that you are not going to buy a timeshare and just want the free stuff. But as the 90 minute deadline approaches you find you cannot escape. For every answer you give them to say you are not interested, they have something to counter it and run off in a new direction trying to wear you down. If you do happen to hit upon the magic phrase, which is usually just saying you cannot afford it, then they introduce you to the manager. The manager comes out with a lower price and the brain beating starts all over again with further high pressure sales tactics. Once you say no enough times the sales manager introduces the closer. The closer will usually offer a discounted stay at a resort or something else in an attempt to get you back for a future timeshare presentation. If you happen to survive the timeshare sales presentation without buying anything, they usher you to another room where you fill out forms and get all that was promised to you. For many, this “90 minute” presentation turns into a half day of torture.
The one thing we were looking forward to was a free hot lunch. We had been surviving the last couple of days on sandwiches, cereal, and instant cup-o-noodle soups. Although it was food, we were ready for a change. After being introduced to the sales guy we were led up to the Tequila Bar where they had a buffet. The waiter came by and offered us margaritas. Getting a potential client drunk is always a good way to improve your chances of making a sale. So with cold margaritas and hot food the sales guy began his probing into our lives and looking for his angle of attack. During this probing we revealed to him that we planned to sell everything in a couple of years and travel around the world. He thought that sounded like a grand adventure until the realization sunk in that we have a five year old daughter.
“You are taking her with you?” he asked with a look of disapproval on his face.
“Of course we are taking our daughter.” we answered, “We want to experience the world as a family.”
Shaking his head, “But… but… what about the dangers?”
It is thoughts such as this that keep most people firmly planted in their comfortable and predictable lives. We assured him that we would avoid potential danger as much as possible and continued to enjoy our hot food and margaritas. What we had said really threw the sales guy for a loop. He immediately stopped the waiter and ordered a margarita for himself. He looked defeated.
After lunch we were led to another building that was timeshare presentation headquarters. Presentations were happening all over the room at small tables, and fortunately, they had a room with a television and toys to entertain children. Sydney happily went in there and plopped down in a bean bag chair in front of the television. We were escorted to a small table and the sales presentation continued. The sales guy had found an angle. He tried to convince us that buying one month at the Hacienda Tres Rios we could trade it for a full year of accommodations throughout Europe. Yeah right. So, as the deadline approached I informed the sales guy that he only had a few more minutes before his time was up and we would leave. He got the manager. The manager came over offering the timeshare at a reduced price of $10,000 for a week. Times up. I stood up shook the sales guy’s hand and told him he did a fantastic job, but we were leaving. We got Sydney and were escorted to another room with the closer. We quickly answered the questions without ever sitting down and were given the promised $50 and led out the backdoor.
Timeshares can be good deal if you travel often as they offer you luxury accommodations at a fraction of the cost. But if you are going to buy one, never buy one at a timeshare presentation. There are many places, including eBay, where you can buy timeshare resales at a fraction of the price offered at the timeshare presentations.
And if you do get sucked into going to a timeshare presentation, just remember that you only agreed to listen to their sales presentation for 90-minutes. The only thing making you stay longer than the 90-minutes is yourself. As the time approaches remind the salesman that his time is almost up and that you will be leaving. It really helps to have a watch. Once you hit that magic 90-minute mark, simply stand up and tell them you are finished and you are leaving. Do not worry about being rude. You are just wasting their time the longer you sit there, and the sooner you leave, the sooner they can get back to making an actual sale. And do not worry about not receiving your gifts. They will give them to you, but only after the sales pitch is over. But it is up to you to end the sales pitch, not them. They will keep you there half the day if you let them.