Procurement – the best lesson in sales

The last two nights found me at a resort for a discounted two night stay. In return for a very cheap holiday for four, we had to attend a 90 minute sale session. It seemed like a good deal to me.

It did make our friends laugh because we are known as impulse buyers. We bought a house once because some sales guy persuaded us at a session when we were hung over. We still own it.

The resort itself was really nice – accepting that our room was way too small for the four of us. If there really are folks out there that have to holiday by sleeping in the same room as their kids – I am sorry about it. Although at times it was funny especially when we had a singing session. Yeah, like Christians.

In saying that the location was nice – I admit that the residents were salt of the earth. Tattoos galore – we blended in easily.

The sales chick rocked up 30 minutes late which didn’t put us in a good mood. Not a good look in sales. Once she got going however she was good. It was formulaic but I could really tell that she believed in it – she gushed. Funny how I had just written that blog about believing in what you sell.

I really enjoyed being on the other side of the sales process – I mean I would have paid them for the experience. I knew which parts hit my sweet spot and which didn’t. Interestingly even when we said – that doesn’t interest us – she didn’t drop it. She should have and I realised you have to evolve quickly in the pitch. More quickly than I thought.

At the end she had enough information from us to know we were exactly her target. More money than sense, a love of holidays and an interest in the product. $$$ signs came into her eyes – she even pulled in the boss man.

But we weren’t going to buy it. I knew why and I decided to tell her. It’s a club with limited venues. Why do I want to holiday for the rest of my life in the same resorts? I told her we were a part of a wine club once that sold only one brand and even though there were some new ones every once in a while, I got brand fatigue after 3 years. I like variety and there’s nothing she can do about that. Sometimes I just want to stay somewhere off beat.

I suggested that they remodel to do a shorter sign up – maybe a three year deal. All they offered was life membership.

I had lots of other feedback including the way they presented the price. She took 90 minutes to tell us the perks and even showed us the model suite (which did not have a shared bedroom with the kids!) and only then revealed the price. It was reasonable I thought about $30k for holidays for the rest of your life guaranteed even if you lose your job or retire or whatever. Points build up each year and you can spend them as you wish. A couple can do about 4 weeks all over Asia Pac. A family maybe one week in school hols. You choose. I know loads of people that would probably benefit. Also, interestingly you become a part owner of the holiday venues as part of a trust. (I wonder how that fucks with your tax return actually.)

Anyway, in voluntary feedback, I suggested she tell me the price first and then build the case. This is not something I do but I will from now on. I realised that if the customer doesn’t like the price there’s nothing I can say to persuade them anyway. Also once she told me the price I had to reverse through the facts to generate my own value ideas, instead of them unfolding over time.

At the end, they went hard sell on us which got awkward and I simply pointed it out. They even suggested we go and drink some champers and come back… Really?

There were a number of features we could only have if we signed on the day. Surprise. You know, all kinds of frills like bonus trips and promises of personal service. In the end, I shrugged, guys let me tell you why this is a good product (I explained i understood it) and let me tell you how you did a good job selling it (and so on) and let me explain that I still don’t want it. This is a decision made on the facts and not in ignorance. That shut them up.

Finally, in desperation, they offered me another cheap family Holiday (silly cheap – like one flight to Sydney) this time 5 nights in any of their owner resorts (not the shit I got this time)… Oh and anywhere in Their portfolio … Oh and they froze the price and all the not negotiable perks. All I had to do was promise to do another session.

Are you serious? Another chance to be the procurer. Hell yeah.

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