Three times I have revisited Turkey after living in the country for two years in the 1970’s. How could I ever forget? Salespeople everywhere can glean some wisdom about the unique sales approach by walking through the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul. At least three unmistakable key sales components are apparent: ask questions, be persistent and appeal to emotions.


As you revel at the array of products lining the street in the Bazaar, you hear someone say, “We have a great deal on leather coats today. How would you like to buy one?” On it’s own merit a question is one of the best ways to begin a relationship with a new customer. Questions early on show interest and allow you to gather information. However, at the beginning of getting to know someone, you want to use what I call high fat questions. High fat questions will usually get more than a one word response from someone. This question, “How would you like to buy one?” is headed for either a “sure,” or more likely “no” answer. Now a follow on question, “But, why?” is high fat. Sure, you could answer it with one word like, “because.” More likely you will begin to explain why you are not interested or say what you are really doing is just browsing. Try using “How come?” in place of “why;” it does the same to inquire in a less heated way.

Questions give the asker power. You can better control the direction of the conversation. Regardless of how a customer responds to a question you gather relevant information when you listen. This merchant is going to help one of us buy.


As a salesperson masters the art of questions, it’s easier for that steadfastness of purpose you need to help the customer buy. When you ask questions, you nurture persistence. It becomes pleasing to discover more about your customer.

Most salespeople give up way too soon. Brian Tracy, master sales trainer, states a statistic that 80% of salespeople quit just at the time when most of the sales are made. Consider persistence a necessity. You can’t drive a nail into a block of wood with one try can you? Sometimes it takes more than one try to have your message take hold.

If you sense your prospect feels pressure or keeps coming up with excuses, then tone things down. But at least, either state or agree on the next step, even if it means then the customer says no. Put energy into finding out what your customer needs and presenting what you have in a way it will satisfy those needs. One merchant knows that my son is going to buy a Turkish drum and he keeps helping him to decide which one.


Get the customer involved. By engaging your customer you get to the emotion of how a product or service will make them feel. Their face shows it; their voice lets you hear it. At a more subtle level, even their breathing lets you know they are a buyer. The merchants in the Grand Bazaar of Turkey wisely and easily do this. Not only are you intrigued by their fondling of some products, you want to feel the silk as well. Between your fingers, on your face, you love the luxurious softness. People don’t buy a car because of logic. They buy it because it makes they’ll look prestigious driving in it. Or they love the sound of the stereo. Or they love the way the leather feels. Create situations so your customer can feel the emotion of wanting want you have. After tapping several different size drums my son begins to negotiate for the best price on the drum he’s decided on. His emotion helps him to want to take this memory home with him.

Whether you sell shoes or insurance, whether your products are tangible or intangible, and no matter if what you sell takes a minute or a year, its questions, persistence and getting the customer involved that move sales results from fiction to fact.