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Timeshare sales guy had a good pitch, but no sale

By John Toth / Editor and Publisher

We were on the Riverwalk enjoying a beautiful spring day in San Antonio when a salesman stopped us and handed us a magazine listing all the restaurants in the area.

We could use one, even though we had just eaten and were pretty full. Thank you, I said, and started walking away.

He asked us if we were there for the Spurs game. No. We’re Rockets fans, I replied.

I couldn’t figure out for a while what he was pitching. He was standing in front of the Margaritaville restaurant. At first I thought he wanted us to eat there, which was not going to happen because we each just got through eating a big plate of Mexican food elsewhere.

He asked where we’re from. He had no idea where Angleton is. It’s south of Houston, I told him. He had heard of Houston.

He was an expert conversationalist and came off very personable. I kind of liked talking to him, but we had limited time, and still wanted to enjoy the Riverwalk and visit the Alamo.

Then he cut to the chase. If we could just spend a little time listening to a timeshare sales pitch, we could get one of several prizes, including $100 for dinner. We were getting played by a very skillful salesman.

“You’re very good. Have you thought about selling something on commission?” I asked.

“This is on commission,” he replied and laughed.

A salesman who used to work for a water softener retailer told me a long time ago that he would never work for anything but commission.

“The sky’s the limit,” he said. The more he worked and the better his sales pitch was, the more money he made. There was no ceiling, he explained. And, he liked the hustle and its rewards.

My timeshare salesman friend was one of these people. When I gave him absolutely no hope that I would add to his daily total, he continued the conversation and made another push.

I had to take my hat off to him. Cold sales are hard, very hard, regardless of the product.

The tourists that the Spurs playoffs brought to town perhaps helped increase the number of opportunities, but he still had to make his pitch.
“You must be making some pretty good money,” I commented, hoping to get some idea of what income bracket he is in.
“Pretty good sometimes,” he said. That told me that he was probably striking out a lot that day.
Timeshare may be a good fit for some people, but not for us, since I have a place to stay about 20 minutes from downtown.

Why would I buy an expensive timeshare when I can just drive here, I asked him.

I also don’t like going back to a vacation spot all that often, if ever. Once I have seen it, I want to go see something else. With a timeshare, I’m glued to the condo, or whatever he was trying to sell.

It was almost time for us to part, but I didn’t want him to be all down now because his attempt to sell me was another strikeout.

“You have a very good pitch. If I were in any way interested in a timeshare, I would consider it,” I said.
And, we didn’t have the time to sit through a long, high-pressure sales pitch for $100. Even if we had the time, it would not have been fair to waste the time of those making it, since I knew from the outset that they would be unsuccessful.

I also didn’t know exactly what the prizes were except for the possibility of receiving $100. That could have been the best prize. The others could have been like a can opener or something along those lines. (Although, you can’t have too many can openers.)

I hope my timeshare sales guy made his quota for the day. As we walked away, I was thinking that I should have asked him how he felt about selling newspaper advertising.

If he can sell timeshares to passers-by on the Riverwalk, he may be able to sell ads – maybe.