I just returned from speaking in Istanbul, Turkey where I bought, no, I was sold, a rug and in 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 street and my wife, son Tim and I followed.
As we walked down long sidewalk that leads to 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 Blue Mosque was fascinating. We learned about thousands of blue tiles that are used to decorate Mosque in place of pictures, which are banned in Mosques by Muslim faith. Azad, who seemed to have a story to accompany each topic, answered every question we asked in wonderful detail. As we left Mosque we followed our host down a narrow stone alley to an area full of interesting shops. Azad pointed to nicest store on 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 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 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 real show began.
Habib told us about various styles, materials, patterns and origins of 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 5x7 rug and then spin it in air so that it landed at our feet with fringe perfectly straight and carpet unwrinkled. One after another rugs were spread out before us until there were easily several dozen rugs of every possible description piled on 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 5x7 would be best for a floor rug.