Last week I told you about our recent short holiday at the Grand Mayan, one of the mega-resorts run by Grupo Mayan in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico. Specifically, I talked about rules – silly rules and sensible rules, and how having the former makes it difficult to build credibility for the latter. In passing, I also mentioned my “timeshare experience from hell.” I wasn’t ready to talk about it last week (the experience was still too recent and “raw” :)) but I’ve recovered sufficiently now that I’m ready to share.
Without going into the whole sorry story, let me just admit first that against our better judgment, we were talked into attending a 90-minute timeshare presentation. I have no good excuse, other than (at the time) the offer of a free massage and a Puerto Vallarta city tour was very appealing. In hindsight, it was a big mistake! The outcome? In a nutshell, high-pressure sales, more high-pressure sales, and yet more high-pressure sales. As someone who is familiar with sales techniques, I must say I was bemused with how well-orchestrated the Grupo Mayan sales process is. Their sales staff use all the classic hard-sell techniques – I’ll probably get into trouble for giving you this great deal, you’d be stupid not to take this incredible offer, we’re just trying to make your life easier, and of course, the classic good cop versus bad cop. It started with a wake-up call that morning to our room at 7:30 AM reminding us of our “breakfast reservation” at 8:15 AM. We then went through ten different people and four hours before we finally escaped from timeshare hell (no, we didn’t buy!). If you really want to read the whole wretched story, then you can find a link to the experience in this review I did on another site:
But the topic of today’s blog post is honesty and integrity. During our time with the Grupo Mayan sales staff, I observed, with growing dismay, recurring lies, disrespect and poor listening. Later that day, I googled “Grupo Mayan sales practices” and was completely overwhelmed by the hundreds of posts on the Internet that have only negative things to say about this outfit. Words such as “con-men”, “cheaters”, “swindlers”, “scam artists”, “liars”, “crooks”, “dishonest”, “corrupt”, and “fraudulent” were only just a few of the epithets used repeatedly describe this organization. The Better Business Bureau in the U.S. gives this company a rating of F, the lowest possible given by the BBB. And I must say, even in our almost four hours with their salespeople, we observed repeated blatant instances of lying and evasiveness, the most obvious of which was 90 minutes versus almost four hours. So clearly, this company DOES NOT have a positive track record when it comes to integrity and honesty. Yet, despite how much they seem to be hated, this is still, at least on the surface, a successful organization. After all, they continue to build even more mega-resorts, so obviously someone must be buying these timeshares! Evidently then, their underhanded selling techniques MUST be working; why else would they continue to use them?
Why indeed? That in fact is a VERY good question. For many years, I have continually advocated that one of the key characteristics of a successful leader (individual or organization) is honesty and integrity. Is that no longer true? How can one reconcile this apparent inconsistency? Your thoughts and comments greatly appreciated.