THINKING BUSINESS
a blog by Chris Barrow

Pure sales

As we arrived at The Hilton Time Square last Wednesday, our exit from the lift at check-in on the 15th floor was intercepted by Justin, who welcomed us to the hotel – and asked if we had received our “welcome gift”.

Further conversation revealed that this was a chance to visit the new “fractional ownership” (read – timeshare) on West 57th Street.

I need a timeshare presentation like a hole in my head BUT:

  1. free cab ride to the location

  2. free breakfast (I know – there’s no such thing)

  3. a bonus of 25,000 Hilton points

It was the points that hooked me – because I know enough to know that’s equivalent to a free night’s accommodation next time I travel on vacation.

For a free night I’ll run the gauntlet.

We agreed to attend on Friday morning – leaving an easy stroll to Central Park afterwards.

I warned Annie B that this was going to expose her to a level of sales that might be scary.

We arrived at the “sales suite” a few minutes early, to find massed ranks of be-suited men and women, gearing up for a day of gladiatorial combat.

Our designated sales person is a mature NYC business woman, dressed in plenty of synthetic fabrics but well turned out on balance.

Step 1 – build rapport

  1. “where are you from?” – respond with “awesome”

  2. “why are you here?” – respond with “awesome”

  3. “what do you do for a living?” – respond with “awesome”

you get the picture….

Actually we did have quite a nice chat about “‘us” but it was clearly a step in the process.

Step 2 – the Soft Fact Find

  1. “what do you like best about NYC?”

  2. “would you like to come back more often?”

  3. “what are you favourite activities in the city?”

Step 3 – the Pitch

  1. how fractional ownership works

  2. how you should wait until the end of the presentation for the special bonus offers if you buy today (that’ll be a KEDO then)

  3. how Hilton are better

  4. how NYC is the best

  5. how it all works

Step 4 – the Visit

we walk a few doors down to view a studio, a two-bed apartment, the guest lounge, the gym – all very nice.

Step 5 – the Close

  1. Options to buy

  2. Options to pay

  3. the KEDO

Step 6 – the Sale!

Step 7 – the Deposit

Step 8 – the Finance Agreement

Step 9 – the Paperwork

Not in this case.

having looked at a $74,000 (gulp) investment to buy a 10-day share in a Studio (that’s a $13,000 deposit and a huge finance deal) – I confirmed my earlier observation that, for that much money, I would prefer a boat 24/7/365 – thank you very much.

She asks us to reconsider – we say “no thanks”.

At which point she asks if we could wait so that “she could complete her due diligence” – those were the words.

After hurried conversations behind walls, she re-appears with Marty.

Marty is in his late 50’s and is clearly an experienced and battle-scarred Gladiator.

He is a stereotype of every salesman that ever appeared in a movie.

Brown suit, firm handshake, the smile of an ethnic cleanser.

This isn’t due diligence – this is Step 5 – again.

We aren’t doing rapport this time……

  1. “why don’t you want to purchase?”

  2. “why don’t you want to take advantage of our amazing KEDO’s?”

  3. “What would I have to do to get you to change your mind?”

  4. “If I could put a package together for $20,000 would you buy?”

He doesn’t see the funny side of it when Annie’s answer to the last question is

“you could let us go?”

So we are now down to $20,000.

But I still say “no”.

Marty senses my determination, rises from his chair and leaves.

Our business lady asks if we can wait for a moment.

And re-appears with Ray.

Ray is the last chance saloon.

He is making a last-ditch attempt to extract some cash.

  1. “Would you like to pay $1300 today and reserve 4 nights at the Club in the next 18 months – provided we can repeat this presentation when you return?”

So I’m now down to $1300 from $74,000.

And they want me to pay over $300 a night to come back into the ring?

But the answer is still “NO”.

So we find ourselves quickly back on the street.

With:

  1. 25,000 points

  2. $15 cash for our cab

  3. coffee and the smallest Danish I have ever seen

And I have no doubt that our poor lady will be receiving a dressing down from her teachers as they deconstruct – or maybe she is already building rapport with the next lucky couple.

Awesome.

I’m glad I did this – just to remind myself of the type of selling that we all dislike.

I volunteered for this – and I knew exactly what to expect – so no complaints on my part – these people have a job to do.

But I appreciate the chance to compare this “high pressure” environment with the ethical selling that Ashley Latter communicates so well.

God forbid the day when Marty works in a dental practice:

  1. would you like an implant?

  2. OK – how about a crown?

  3. No problem – maybe a filling?

  4. well don’t leave us without a quick polish…..

can you imagine?

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