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;
- 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.
- 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.
- Even smart people are susceptible to extreme selling tactics (my wife is the smart one – I’m the susceptible one).
- Don’t waste valuable vacation time on time-share presentations unless you’re really interested in making a purchase.
- 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 Goldstein — David 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.