When I had worked as a holiday ownership seller already for many years, I began to develop new creative solutions to the sales done in my industry. I noticed soon that thousands of Finns had bought a holiday share (timeshare) from abroad on their holiday.
However, they could not use their own club as “a summer cottage” like the shareholders of Katinkulta in Finland did. They only paid expensive service charges and saved their weeks to the RCI-holiday bank and they put shares owned by them (dissatisfied customers) for sale to Holiday Bourse Finland, which was located in Denmark. They tried to get rid of them, one way or another. So it came to my mind, that I would start making fair swap deals first in Finland and in addition to everything I would make those over the phone.
When I presented my thought to my colleagues, they thought it was crazy, but I thought differently. Next I called to Denmark to beautiful middle-aged Mrs. Jette Birkholm, who was the owner of Holiday Bourse Scandinavian A/S company and also the owner of Holiday Bourse Finland.
She had one Finnish girl working there and also she was tired of answering to customer calls in which was asked:
“Is the timeshare sold yet?”
Jette suggested that I would buy her whole business. I thought about her proposal for a couple of days making calculations. I knew that Holiday Bourse had some 4,600 Finns in register, who owned from abroad and wanted to sell.
With the help of my instinct I came through to the conclusion to that perhaps about half of the persons, of the assignments would be active. I calculated that there were 2,500 Finns so that, if I would be able to make part exchange deals with about ten per cent of them even half a million euros turnover would accumulate. Jette wanted to have 15,000 euros, in cash from her tired business.
My business partner Harry did not support my thoughts. Vice versa. He asked me, what was the point paying 15,000 euros for the addresses when no one would buy a holiday share over the phone. However I was sure that the deal would be good, if we would agree on decent terms of payment. With these thoughts I called to Jette and booked a quick meeting to Copenhagen. In the following week I drove to Denmark, a deal as a goal (distance was 2.000km by car from my office).
I took the risk and I made a deal to buy Holiday Bourse Finland. Jette agreed to the fact that I would pay the sum asked by her in five lots within six months. Then there was a problem, which no one in Finland had yet determined, to be solved: How to make a part exchange deals?
I thought about the equation on my journey from Copenhagen back to Vuokatti and ended up with the thought that there is no time for sending offers. I planned in my Porsche 928 that the direct sales had to be done and on the phone. But how?
I started the work by isolating the part exchange sales activity from the holiday resort of Vuokatti. I opened a new Holiday Bourse Finland sales office at Kajaani (36 km from the resort) in to rental facilities, but I did not form a new company. The operation was a part of the Country Club´s business, for which I was the managing director.
Good and affordable office furniture with indoor plants were found from the clearance sale of insurance company Kansa. I asked Sirpa, who was my loyalty person to be my colleague and my secretary. Together we knew a lot of this Canary Island mess. Furthermore, I employed also another secretary, young Mira, in other words ended up with two secretaries.
I wanted to make nothing more than deals, a lot of them. I took as my goal to make 200 deals during the first year with the assistance of my secretaries. My turnover target was 300,000 euros. When succeeding It would return my investment within a year and the system would pay for itself. I would make sales history at the same time.
I motivated myself by setting a A3 sheet in the end of the bed which said: 1000€/day. That much allowed me to make the loan repayments of the company from my desk every day even “with my head just above the mud”. And I wanted to succeed.
“Hi this is Markku from Vuokatti Country Club, how do you do… I have bought the business of Holiday Bourse Finland. As a new owner I stop giving empty promises, so that your listed share would be sold. I provide an opportunity to transfer the money you have invested abroad back to Finland, by offering you a part exchange deal to Vuokatti, where I have established a new holiday resort.
The service charges, maintenance fees are only half of those in Hollywood Mirage in Tenerife owned by you and you can use the resort year round with one week share including the spa of Katinkulta, whose shareholders we are. Finnish alternative. Are you interested in making a part exchange deal?”
Every single customer got interested. They asked nearly always, if I could send a written offer. I answered that I cannot and I don´t want to. I´m making deals. A customer answered that he cannot make the decision on the phone this fast. I stated that there is no need to. I make deeds with my two secretaries all day long, which I sign and post. All the relevant papers will come to your home and a deal is accepted from my side and has been signed, if you decide to buy, you only return me the signed deed. Many customer answered:
“Have I already bought something?”
“Not yet”, I answered (above photostream shows my product).
“But to which week you would like to change your foreign possession to, if we reach an understanding about the cash payment, which is from one thousand to three thousand euros depending on the week? Are you more interested in summer or winter week?”
Usually a customer asked for the cheapest possible alternative, to which I then negotiated the terms of payment. I always returned strictly to money and asked how the customer could pay the required cash payment, if they agree.
My next question, proposal was:
“Would it be easier for you to make the decision about the swop deal, if I could give you time for the payment in two lots, so that you would pay half within 2 months and the rest by the end of the year?
If I could act this way, you would be in, or what?” (closing the deal)
In other words I only negotiated about the deal and its terms of payment. In the end I asked all the details of the deal with their identify numbers and with their addresses before I congratulated the customer about making a good deal and wished them welcome for a holiday and as a owner of Country Club of Vuokatti, Finland. Then I passed the paper to Sirpa or to Mira and took the next call for getting a new deal. No offers were send. Deeds were. 38.5% of them returned as signed. I made 192 cash payment part exchange deals during the first year, and all barters by telephone ― awesome, isn´t it?
I made sales history. I was happy for a reason and I still am. Very valuable experience.
Remember to be creative and enthusiastic. Do not listen to naysayers. Only new innovations and marketing brings new customers. With the help of creativity you get new customers and double your sales easily. If anything, that is worth reaching.
I tell another example about the innovative solution…to appeal your brain more. Nowadays, sales is more and more entertaining.
In the next chapter I will write about: BUILD THE PRODUCT, DEVELOP YOUR KNOW-HOW!