Selling Real Estate Using Extreme Manipulation

This post is about real estate sales but not the traditional kind and not even in this country. I was recently introduced to the world of time-share sales in the Mexican Riviera Maya and it was a real eye-opener!

It all started when my wife and I went to pick up our rental car at the Cancun airport a few months ago.  There was a little counter set up in the rental office and it was staffed by a very friendly and attractive young woman.  There was some friendly chit-chat. She asked us about our vacation plans and if we’d like any maps or discount coupons.   We thought that was nice and we accepted a few brochures and maps.  Then she asked if we would be interested in visiting a brand new beach resort where we could enjoy a nice breakfast and the facilities for the day at no charge.  Our only obligation would be to listen to a short sales presentation.  In addition, we would be handed $200 after the presentation. Good deal, huh?

So… we decided to take one morning out of our vacation, visit the resort and pick up our $200. We’d use the money to treat ourselves to a nice dinner or something.  The one hour property tour and sales presentation lasted 3 hours and was one of the most painful experiences we can remember.

The property was gorgeous – super impressive!  We would love to vacation at a place like this. The rooms were gigantic with huge terraces, splash pools and hot tubs. Bathrooms, kitchens and views to die for.  And the prices weren’t bad either.  Now we had already determined that we weren’t going to buy a time-share and we told the sales representative straight up that there was no way we were going to be buying anything from him that day.  We even told Bob (our sales representative) that if he’d prefer to spend his time with someone who was a real potential buyer we would understand and skip the tour and the $200.  But this guy only took that information as a challenge.  He said, “no problem! I’m happy to show you around for a bit – no pressure at all.” Looking back we realize this is probably what everyone tells these sales people!

So, the tour was great and we felt like we made a new friend in Bob when he took us into a large hall filled with tables and chairs and asked us to have a seat so he could go over pricing with us.  We told him that we weren’t interested at any price and he told us that this was just part of the presentation he had to do – it would be quick and we could be on our way.  Then the pressure began… lots of questions about our vacation preferences, travel budget and income levels.  There was a “special offer” available that day for tour guests… we said “no thank you”.  There was an even more special offer available but only for the next couple hours!  We said “no thank you, Bob”.  There was an unbelievable and unheard of offer available just for us and just for the next 2 minutes!  We said “look buddy… we’re serious… we’re not interested and we’re ready to leave now”.  Bob excused himself and returned several minutes later with a sales manager.  This guy wasn’t our friend like our “buddy” Bob was so he didn’t have to be nice.  He proceeded to heap insults, guilt and every kind of manipulation known to man on my wife and I.   This went on for what seemed like forever and we finally got up and walked away.  We didn’t care if we got the $200 at that point we just wanted to get away from the intensity and back to our vacation.  We were shocked when they still handed us the $200 in CASH on our way out the door.

So… here’s what we learned from the experience;

  1. Ethical standards that licensed real estate salespeople are held to in the US are much higher than they are in other parts of the world.  Bob didn’t even need a license to sell real estate in Mexico.
  2. Guilt and manipulation can be effective in the sales process!  Bob had us going for a few minutes with some of his tactics and since our experience we’ve heard several stories about people who just couldn’t get away without making a purchase that they totally regretted.
  3. Even smart people are susceptible to extreme selling tactics (my wife is the smart one – I’m the susceptible one).
  4. Don’t waste valuable vacation time on time-share presentations unless you’re really interested in making a purchase.
  5. We love the real estate professionals we’ve worked with when buying or selling homes here in the States.  They are educated, ethical and at least in our experience great people.

The free breakfast at the resort was absolutely delicious but these Salespeople and their high-pressure tactics left us with a horrible taste in our mouths.

I know I’m not alone in this… if you want to share your thoughts or experience feel free to leave a comment.


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About David GoldsteinDavid Goldstein is an Owner and Founding Partner of Express Schools, LLC. which operates online education providers Real Estate Express, Insurance License Express and License Tutor. Follow him on Twitter.

Comments / Questions

  1. I spent some time at Cabo San Lucas (hanging out with Sammy Hagar from Van HAlen at his club was awesome).

    But yeah, I managed to avoid the presentations you mentioned, barely, but I did meet a guy who said he bought a timeshare every time he comes to Mexico. One thing I did hear, is that the price you pay on a yearly basis (yearly fees to keep ‘your’ timeshare) aren’t much less than if you booked and paid for your accommodation, so really anything you pay up front is basically a gift from you to them. ouch.

    Agreed, lessons to be learned in how to sell, but only take the positive lessons and leave the manipulative lessons to MExico.

    Real Estate Training

  2. this happened to us, twice in fact, every time you go to myrtle beach they are trying to sell time shares….so they give away dinner, free passes…all the things tourists want……almost my exact experience……except we didnt get 200.00 – just t shirts.

  3. angie says:

    OMG,this brings up terrible husband and I received this key in the mail saying they were giving away a brand new suv that we could come and try out our key on it if we showed up on a certain day and time.we did because not to far from home,about a hour and 30 min away near ashdown arkansas,at a we did.bad decision! we got there and this sales guy took us to a small confined room and asked if we traveled alot and owned any homes,etc,etc and finally my husband said,if this is about time shares we are not interested.we have no spare money.he went on and on and on FOREVER trying to get us to buy time shares and even took us on this LONG adventure showing us these new campers and trailers.finally we said we had enough.he said o.k., have a good day and me being the woman not to forget about trying my key out for that new suv,I spoke up and said I would like to try and see if I won the suv and he says OH YEAH,come over here and try your key at this was a box that you stuck your key in and if it went all the way I GUESS you win.there was no suv to be seen,and my key did not fit.a really dissapointment and a VERY LONG HORRIBLE DAY!!! please do not try to PRESSURE people into buying things,NOT GOOD PROFESSIONALISM.

  4. Hey, Angie!
    Sounds like you had a very similar experience to ours. We will NEVER fall for that kind of thing again (I hope) : )

  5. Ugh, these can be soul crushing events. I’ve been sucked into two of these before, and have wanted to punch somebody afterward. I understand that they need to do a job etc. but they are very manipulative. I’ve made a pact with myself, that no matter what freebies they are giving away, I will not attend these “presentations” anymore.

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