Dispatches from Istanbul or What I Learned About Selling From the Turkish Carpet Salesman

October 8, 2008 at 9:34 am | Posted in Customer Service, sales, Sales Training, small business, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Just back from a fabulous week in Istanbul. Saw the sights, ate great food, took a Turkish Bath (!) and, yup, shopped.


Here’s what I learned from Ahmed, my favorite guy in the Grand Bazaar:


Aim to be first. (Heck, Fast Company once had a cover article entitled something like “How Fast Are You” but I think Ahmed had this covered before them.)   Here’s what Ahmed knows. The salesperson that gets to the prospect, presents a compelling value-proposition and then pushes back buyer resistance stands a much better chance at winning the business than the slow-to-the-dance sales rep that makes their calls and presentations “after the fact”.


Aim to be different.  Not better.  OK, of course you are better but do prospects really like to hear that they selected an inferior product or provider and that they were duped in the past or have been deluded all this time. Of course not. Aim to point out how your benefits make you DIFFERENT and then, of course, show how these points of difference make you better (don’t use the word!)…but lead them to recognizing the fact that you are better and don’t push the fact down their throats.


Aim to be gracious.  Yes gracious. I was offered tea in every stall in the Grand Bazaar. Everyone was polite and yes, even insistent, but it was all done with grace and good nature and even when I did not become a customer, the pleasant demeanor and courtesy was always there.


Aim to be flexible.  OK, your prospect or customer is not receptive to your first offer. Think about how you can reposition what you are delivering so that the benefits are more in line with what they need and want.  In this business economy it is surely not the time to adopt a “my way or the highway” demeanor yet that is exactly what happened to me the other day when trying to get a new phone system for my office.


So there you have it. A few quick reminders to help you keep your sales flowing. Tea anyone?


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