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How to Say No to a Timeshare Presentation

Timeshare companies and other vacation rental organizations dangle attractive prizes in people’s faces. In return, people who sign up have to sit for hours in front of a presentation about the benefits of timeshare properties and deal with salespeople eager to make sales.

These enticements often include things like deeply discounted stays at luxury resorts, gift cards, and other nice items.

Why are these companies so willing to spend so much money to get leads and convince people to sit and listen? Because they know how hard it is for many people to say no. 

Timeshare presentations have been going on for decades. The timeshare industry is bigger than ever, and that’s in large part due to aggressive salespeople and years of research into what it takes to get people to say “yes”.

They capitalize on manipulating your emotions and obfuscating financial implications of any deal, making signing up for timeshare ownership seem like the sensible thing to do.

You may be carrying some sense of obligation into the room to begin with, and they know how to stretch that feeling of obligation to get you to sign the dotted line. 

Even if you’re open to learning about timeshare ownership or even buying a timeshare, that’s fine. However, everyone who goes to a timeshare presentation should realize just how far the deck is stacked against them.

You’re not going into an objective, fact-based presentation where the salespeople will help you weigh the costs and benefits of ownership.

Instead, these people make money by saying what it takes to close the deal. This is not the time to have an open mind.

You can do research on whether timeshare ownership makes sense and is a good financial decision on your own time.

Too many people experience stress and financial hardship as a result of pressure and other sales tactics common in timeshare presentations. 

Learn how to say no to a timeshare presentation to limit the potential you’ll make rash decisions you’ll regret. There are things you can do before the presentation to help you make it out unscathed. 

Do Some Research on Your Own Time

Sitting in a comfortable chair at a luxury resort isn’t the first time you should be researching whether a timeshare is for you.

Think about it, the resort has probably spent the last couple of days buttering you up with palm trees and cocktails by the pool. You’re a bit tanner, a bit heavier, and more relaxed.

Your guard is likely down. When you’re relaxed and in a good mood, you’re more likely to agree to things you wouldn’t otherwise.

This isn’t the time to make decisions that will cost you a lot of money over the years. 

Instead, do some prep-work beforehand so you go into the presentation knowing the numbers.

You don’t even need to know all the options, but there is plenty of information online about specific companies and resorts that will come in handy when your salesperson is looking you in the face telling you this is an opportunity of a lifetime.

Look up what sort of legacy costs you can expect, understand the cancellation process and if that is even an option.

Read owner reviews and get an idea about what it would be like working with the company.

The first time you hear about the timeshare shouldn’t be when you sit down in a plush hotel conference room chair. Do some research in your own time first. 

Learn About the Tactics Salespeople Will Use

This is not a game of wits and forget about any sort of transparency in the presentation.

The people there are there to close you. They will say things and put things in a certain light to move you closer and closer to the deal as the presentation progresses.

One of the first things salespeople do is get your guard down, they’ll spend some time getting to know you by asking you questions and engaging in pleasantries.

Those danishes and coffee? Those are meant to imply that they are here to serve, helping you lower your guard. “What a nice gesture!”, you may be telling yourself as you take your first bite. 

Once the wall is a bit down, the salespeople will start to build common ground by creating a foundation built on your “yes” answers. “How do you like the resort?” “It’s great, isn’t it?” “You should bring your kids next time, right?” “Don’t you love the beach?” You’ll subconsciously get used to the idea of agreeing with your presenter. 

Once he or she has you saying yes, they’ll slowly move up the scale, building a dream situation in your head.

Creating problems that only owning this timeshare can solve. They’ll have you thinking that your life will be deprived if you don’t sign the dotted line.

Some salespeople even play on the fact that you got a discounted vacation, implying that you owe it to them to sign the deal. 

You can watch videos online about common sales tactics used in timeshare presentations, so nothing comes as a shock or a surprise when it’s you sitting in on one. 

Create a “Safe” Phrase with Your Partner

Most commonly, couples go into timeshare sales presentations together. Salespeople want to eliminate the, “I need to talk to my spouse” excuse.

When they’ve got you both there, they’ll figure out which one of you is more agreeable and use it as leverage on the other person. 

You and your partner should discuss what you’ll do before you go in and set expectations ahead of time.

Don’t go in saying you’ll just see what happens. That’s a surefire way to walk out owning a new timeshare.

Owning a timeshare property works for some people, but you shouldn’t make that sort of decision in a pressure-filled situation that you aren’t prepared for. This isn’t something that should be an impulse buy. 

Tell your partner that you both are absolutely not going to say yes on the spot no matter what.

Make an agreement you can both live with. Realize, though, that at some point the salespeople will get to you.

These people are good at their jobs, and they are typically paid very well for their ability to convince people to make expensive decisions after listening to a presentation for an hour.

That’s not easy. When you or your partner start to sway, have a safe word or phrase ready to help snap out of it.

It doesn’t have to be anything cheesy. It could be something like, “we said we would discuss this after the presentation”, or “before we came in we decided we weren’t going to be making a decision on the spot.”

You and your partner need to hold each other accountable. Remember you are not accountable to the stranger salespeople you’ve just met. 

Remember You Owe Them Nothing

Before you attend the presentation, and while you’re in it, remember that you owe the resort, the timeshare company, and these salespeople nothing.

They will try to make it seem like they’ve done something amazing for you by giving you discount rates on a room or whatever else they used to lure you into the presentation.

Remember that they did this in exchange for the opportunity to pitch you on timeshare ownership.

You don’t owe them a deal. By sitting in the presentation, you’ve fulfilled your part of the bargain, and you owe them nothing more. 

Don’t let any implication of guilt or that you’ve somehow shortchanged them by saying no get to you.

That is emotional manipulation at its finest and is often one of the last things salespeople will do to try and get you back on the “yes” track.

Don’t let a guilty conscience or your good nature trick you into signing a contract that will last for years. 

Just Say “No”

You don’t owe your sales representative any reasons. When you say know, they’ll try to figure out exactly what’s driving your reasoning.

They’ll have a million different rebuttals to get around any financial, travel, or logistical concerns.

You don’t owe them an explanation. Keeping your “no” short and simple will truncate the amount of time you’re in the presentation and avoid having to say no over and over again.

A simple, “no thanks” is enough. If you feel bored repeating yourself, you can mix it up by saying you’re not interested, maybe next time, or a number of other simple but firm rebuttals. 

Every year, thousands of people go into timeshare presentations resolute that they are not going to sign up for a timeshare, only to walk out a new owner with a multi-year contract that will cost them a lot of money.

Many people regret that decision for years because getting out of a timeshare contract is complex and can take some time.

Instead of dealing with the negative emotions of buying something you shouldn’t have, go into the presentation armed with the information and emotional intelligence you need to say no. 

If you already signed the contract and want out, read our guide on how to get out of a timeshare here.

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