Obviously, competition is stiff for these financially qualified prospective owners, who are relatively few and far between.
Fractional agents who train specifically in serving this highly demanding clientele will enjoy greater sales success, if they follow these ten top tips.
1. Center the discussion on discovering and solving the particular vacation needs of your prospects.
Ask questions on how your prospects vacation now and what they’d like to improve. By listening attentively, you can focus on what specific features of your fractional property will add to the quality of their vacation experiences.
Asking sincere questions about what is important to your prospects will show them you care about them and are interested in understanding their vacation needs. This will foster the trust that is the essential foundation of all business relationships.
2. Time is money. Use it efficiently with affluent clients.
The affluent are high-performing business owners, corporate executives and busy professionals. They are intelligent, impatient and eager to cut to the chase. Their time is valuable. Keep your remarks brief and to the point. Don’t engage in idle chatter. Focus like a laser beam on an orderly presentation that actively involves prospects in the sales dialogue.
3. Share just the amount of information necessary.
Know thoroughly all the necessary facts relating to the fractional vacation home real estate offered. Limit your presentation, however, to the items that will be of most interest and benefit to your prospects according to their particular needs.
Avoid a presentation that resembles a “brain dump.” Too much information too soon can dissuade affluent prospects from purchasing from you.
4. Don’t just point out what the real estate “is.” Point out what it “does.”
Don’t simply mention features—the “bricks and sticks”—of the fractional vacation home such as “granite countertops” and “marble baths.” Describe what benefits the vacation home offers owners so prospects may enjoy financially smarter, more luxurious and more convenient vacations.
For example, rather than mentioning the concierge (feature), add that this person handles scheduling details so that, as owners, they can enjoy more quality vacation time with their family (benefit).
5. All prospects’ responses are good responses.
No matter what prospects say, find some grain of truth in it. All responses are correct and good, even if you don’t agree with everything. This is because any response—even objections—show that prospects are actively engaged in considering the opportunity offered..
Creating an accepting, non-judgmental atmosphere where prospects feel free to express their opinions is essential to sales success
Support your prospects’ statements, questions and objections with, “Yes, that’s a good point,” or, “I’m glad you said that.” Avoid conflicts and arguments. Always be agreeable. In arguments, customers always win. So, don’t argue; persuade through guided questions: “Don’t you agree that you and your family will enjoy… [benefit of the property]?”
6. Ask, Don’t Tell
Instead of “telling” prospects that they will “love” vacationing at the resort, ask them specific questions, such as “Will the spa be something you’ll want to use?” Or, “What activities/features do you expect to enjoy most at the resort?”
As the old adage goes, “If a sales person makes a statement, it is suspect. If the prospects say it, it’s true.”
7. Play Verbal Ping Pong
After answering a prospect’s question, pose a question of your own, rather than remaining silent and waiting for another question.
For example, after a prospect asks a question “too early” on price (before value has been sufficiently presented), you can cite the various bedroom-sizes and ask, “Which size do you have in mind?” Then, you might quote a starting price or price range and follow up with, “Is this what you had in mind?” Or, “How does that sound to you?” This invitation to enter into a dialogue involves prospects in disclosing their needs and helps build a relationship with the sales agent.
The idea is to have an easy back and forth exchange of information with prospects—without dropping the ball, or losing the serve. The person in control of the sales appointment is the one asking questions, not the one answering them.
Who asks most of the questions in your sales office?
8. Use carrots, rather than sticks.
With an affluent clientele, incentives to become owners within a defined time period after their appointment (“carrots”) are far more effective than fear of losing the opportunity (”sticks”). Affluent people love bargains and “deals” as much as anyone. Money is important to them.
Handled tastefully, incentives can support a purchase decision; however, unless the prospects believe that the fractional vacation home can enrich and enhance their vacations, purchase incentives alone are not enough to convince prospects to become owners.
9. Appeal to both rational and emotional reasons to purchase.
Affluent people buy fractional vacation homes based on both their emotions and their reason.
Appeal to logic by citing the financial credibility and track record of the development and management companies and the story of the past and anticipated future growth of the are. Make special, limited-time offers that include incentive pricing or extra gifts and bonuses in the price.
Help your customers get in touch with the emotional side of their decision to purchase—or not to—by asking questions such as: “How do you feel about what we have seen so far?” “What is the nature of your concern?” “What are your biggest reservations?”
Through questions, help prospects Identify their emotional reasons to buy and support these reasons. Also, help prospects identify their emotional reasons not to buy and explore these as well. Clear up misunderstandings or miscommunications to uncover the final objection—usually money—then deal with that by emphasizing the extra value the property adds to family vacations.
10. Steady, low-pressure questions leading to an ownership decision are more effective than high-pressure sales techniques.
Affluent people are affluent because they are careful in spending their money. They pursue numerous alternative courses of action—including “none of the above,” so as to negotiate to their best advantage. They can’t be coerced into doing anything against their will. High pressure from a fractional sales agent merely results in high resistance from a prospect—or in an abrupt end to the appointment.
Affluent prospects do not respond well to heavy-handed references to deadlines, hints of imminent price rises or fear of losing an opportunity. There are always other options open to them. If it’s not this resort, another will come along. If not today, they can wait for the right moment.
So, what are sales agents to do?
You should serve as a counselor and trusted guide to your affluent clients. Pose questions that engage their hearts and minds, encourage them to become aware of their vacation needs, assist them in acknowledging previously unrecognized or unmet vacation needs and advocate how owning a fractional vacation home can improve their vacations. This can lead to richer, more fulfilling lives for their family and for themselves.
Do you have any tips on serving an affluent clientele to add to this list? Please write them below and submit them for sharing with fellow site visitors.
David M. Disick, Esq., president of The Fractional Consultant and former Wall Street attorney, helps developers secure financing. He serves clients in the U.S. and abroad. Read more sales ideas in his book, Fractional Vacation Homes: Marketing and Sales in Challenging Times, available from http://www.TheFractionalConsultant.com.