LETTER FROM PRINCIPAL ADVISOR
Whenever possible, I spend time with marketing teams on the challenges they face at a sales presentation. What interests me here is information on final conversions, or non-conversions - and the reasons people give you when they choose not to buy your product.
When you look at the reasons given by potential customers, you wonder if the sale could have been clinched with a clearer picture on facilities, facts and features. Because the customer almost always has doubts, reservations, fears and misconceptions – very rarely does he come for a presentation fully prepared to sign on the dotted line. Information gaps need to be addressed with relevant information and insights that can change viewpoints and perspectives.
The listing here gives you a preview of the reasons customers can give you. Some of these are fairly legitimate, some are trivial, some reflect a clear lack of information – many of them on my long list (this is a 3-part series of articles) are misconceptions that give us a good starting point in our customer dialog.
- My wife and I found the initial price too high
Timeshare plans come at a particular cost - we must educate customers why this initial cost is necessary and essential. There will be price variations between resort promoters, but customers need to understand that they cannot pick up a timeshare plan without an initial purchase price.
- We don’t want to lock our annual holidays at one single location
Now this evidently a misinformed customer. He does not know that there are interesting options through exchange companies – with holidays practically anywhere in the word. We could start with exchange options and build a story around this.
- I don’t understand why we should pay annual maintenance charges
Here, the customer needs to know how payments and fees are structured, and why it is necessary for a resort owner to charge him an annual maintenance charge. This is also a good time to explain that AIRDA resorts do not charge the customer utility fees for exchanges within the AIRDA network.
- We are not sure if we will really be able to go on a holiday every year and make use of our plan
I have come across many customers saying this – because timeshare as a concept is still new to most people. This is an opportunity to talk about the need to take a break from busy work schedules, give the family a welcome break, and look at annual vacations as a necessary highlight on your calendar. When it comes to non-use we can give examples of how customers gift their week to friends and family members, or accumulate up to three weeks for longer holidays – especially when you want to travel outside the country.
- This resort was somewhere in the North – just getting there will be difficult
Most customers in India have the North/South divide in their minds. Customers down South will prefer to go to resorts nearby, simply because it is convenient to get there. Maybe this is a good opportunity to also talk about exchange options and the importance for people to “Discover India” by travelling to locations that they have not considered before.
- We were not too clear about the kind of facilities and activities at the resort
A comment like this calls for internal review and follow up. Sometimes, a prospective customer comes with pre-conceived notions about facilities, activities and other services offered. And if what you offer is even marginally different from his mind map, the customer feels he is getting less. Or not getting enough. It will be useful to reconnect with this customer with an update on facilities and activities – you could even send him specific information with support images by email and follow that up with a call.
At the end of the day we need to address a customer’s state of mind, his stage of readiness and make an attempt to understand his needs. A well informed customer is a customer who is one step closer to a sale.
B. S. Rathor
Principal Advisor & Member - Executive Committee
Please note : This is a 3-part series featuring doubts and misconceptions that prospective customers may come with. In a way it’s useful to know what’s worrying them, because it is a good place to start.