The Turkish Rug Sales Team By Steve Waterhouse
I just returned from speaking in Istanbul, Turkey where I bought, no, I was sold, a rug and in the process learned that real selling, and especially Team Selling, is alive and well.
The Turkish people are warm and friendly so it was not unusual to be approached by a nice looking, well dressed man in his late 20’s as we stood there reading our map. “You are looking for Blue Mosque?” he asked in broken English. “I can show you where entrance is. Come this way.” With that he started across the street and my wife, son Tim and I followed.
As we walked down the long sidewalk that leads to the Blue Mosque, our new friend said, “I am Azad. I am not tour guide, but I show you. You see that building over there? That is family business. After you see Blue Mosque, maybe, just by accident, we sell you a rug. Just by accident.” At this point I knew we were in for a great experience that is uniquely Turkish, and we were not disappointed.
The tour of the Blue Mosque was fascinating. We learned about the thousands of blue tiles that are used to decorate the Mosque in place of pictures, which are banned in Mosques by the Muslim faith. Azad, who seemed to have a story to accompany each topic, answered every question we asked in wonderful detail. As we left the Mosque we followed our host down a narrow stone alley to an area full of interesting shops. Azad pointed to the nicest store on the block and said, “This is my family store. I show you.” We were escorted into a room that was filled with beautiful rugs stacked, rolled and piled neatly in every corner. Azad introduced us to his Uncle, Habib, who owned the store and said that he would like Habib to show us around. With that, Azad left and we never saw him again.
Habib was very well dressed in a blue blazer and starched shirt and he spoke perfect English, which we later learned, he acquired at school in London. “Please, sit.” Habib said, motioning us to the couch. “Before I show you a few of my carpets, it is our tradition that we serve you something to drink. With that, one of his assistance entered carrying a traditional Turkish silver tea service with wonderful apple tea for three. Now the real show began.
Habib told us about the various styles, materials, patterns and origins of the rugs in his shop. For each type he mentioned, one of his cousins found a beautiful example and flew it out before us. I say ‘flew’ because that’s what he did. He was able to unroll a 5×7 rug and then spin it in the air so that it landed at our feet with the fringe perfectly straight and the carpet unwrinkled. One after another the rugs were spread out before us until there were easily several dozen rugs of every possible description piled on the floor. Finally, Habib asked, “Just so I can get a sense for your preferences, can you tell me, if you were to enjoy a Turkish carpet in your home, what size would fit best?” Gina and I agreed that the 5×7 would be best for a floor rug.
Again Habib asked, “If you were to have one of these beautiful carpets to enjoy in your home and pass on to your children, which style would you like?” His assistants moved carpets around until we had agreed on the basic style we liked. The process of elimination continued with up to three cousins flying rugs in and out of the display area until only four were left. Habib said, “Do you have a favorite among these?” We made our final choice and the cousins removed all except our favorite rug. Habib complimented our choice and assured us that we had picked the Rolls Royce of carpets. Knowing what a Rolls costs, I knew we were in trouble!
Now came the price. Habib opened his calculator and started entering numbers. In a few seconds he turned to us and said, “In US dollars, this carpet is $5,300.” Now I was prepared for a shock, but that was way out of line with our expectations, so let the games begin.
After many cycles of offer and counter offer, we finally set our firm price at $2,000. Habib said, $2,500? I apologized and assured him that my offer had nothing to do with the quality of his carpets but simply our budget and $2,000 was already $500 over our budget. We settled on $2,000 and walked out with our new rug.
But what had I learned? First, that Habib, Azad and his family were willing to spend a great deal of time with us before we ever talked price. The tour of the Mosque, the dozens of rugs, and the wonderful tea all added value to the sale.
We had also seen a great example of Team Selling. Azad did the prospecting, the cousins made the presentations and Habib was the closer. They worked together like they had rehearsed it a hundred times. In fact they had, and as a result their communications were flawless. Azad brings in 10 prospects each day and Habib has a 70% closing ratio.
We can learn a lot from the real pros in this world
Thanks to Mrs Sangeetha for sending me this. Such a nice article. This is not a new concept. If we think for an instant about your favourite family friend or any favourite relative …we may like their place….because of the people in their family also..we may like the hospitality of all the members of that family….we may like the caring wishes of the granny of that house or the lovely coffee given by the mother of that family or a quick recap of the politics by dad of that family……We may not have anywork with all other family members of your friend..they too may not have any work with us ..but the way they respond makes our relation with them different and sweet.THAT”S THE BEAUTY OF A BEAUTIFUL TEAM…