The Turkish Rug Sales TeamWritten by Steve Waterhouse
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.
Smash the Window!Written by Steve Waterhouse
Doing what it takes to make sale
It was 7 am when I opened my office door and saw my boss sitting at my desk. He had just two words for meÖ
The day before had not gone that well. First, I was late meeting my local rep, Bill, for breakfast. We choked down a few eggs and waited so long for check that I thought waitress had gone home. Finally, I tossed my briefcase in back of Billís SUV and we headed out towards IBM plant. Youíve been there, so you know what happened next. Whenever you are late, traffic is unusually bad. As I stared straight ahead, Bill, who had only been representing us for 6 weeks, was trying hard not to ruin day by jumping down my throat. Finally, we reached visitors lot with 10 minutes to spare. We both knew 4 engineers and two buyers, who had reluctantly agreed to see us, had no patience for lateness. As I jumped out of Jeep, I hit electric door lock and ran to back gate to get my briefcase. Bill said, ďDid you just lock doors?Ē
Ok, so Iím an idiot. But how was I to know that in Texas they donít lock their cars and they leave their keys on floor mat! With 8 minutes left to get to meeting and my presentation locked in SUV, I flagged down security truck. I was hoping he had one of those metal straps that cops and chop-shops use to get into cars in a nanosecond. No such luck. All he had was a tire iron.
The next few second seemed like slow motion to me. I grabbed tire iron and, in one fluid motion, I smashed back window, grabbed my briefcase and returned tool to security truck. Bill looked likeÖ he looked like a guy who had just seen his brand new expensive toy vandalized in front of his very eyes. I just started walking to main building. Quickly!
This stuff happens. If youíve spent any time in field as a sales rep you have suffered through a disaster or two yourself. (by way, Iíd love to hear about yours if you care to send them to me. Let me know if I can share them.)
Iím no psychologist, but Iím told that Dr. Phil, Dr. Laura and Oprah all give same advice: They say, ďItís not what happens to you that matters, itís what you do about it.Ē So whatís plan? For me itís a 5 step process that we can apply to our sales lives and beyond.
First, anticipate potential problems early. Whether itís possibility of demo crashing, four extra people showing up for meeting, or a traffic delay on Long Island Expressway, itís our job to plan ahead. Have breakfast near clientís site rather than at hotel. Leave extra time for traffic. Double check demo system night before. Youíll know what to do if you think about it.
Second, have a plan B. This is especially true for two Tís: Travel and Technology. Neither can be predicted with certainty. I remember Windows 98 crashing during Bill Gates' demo at Comdex, do you? And who among us hasnít missed a flight due to weather or mysterious Ďmechanicalí delays? Bring a spare system for demo. Have someone else who can give presentation (send slides ahead via email).