Tuesday, June 3, 2008

How Can a Rug Dealer Survive in Hard Times?

I was thinking to find out how a rug dealer can survive and become successful in a stormy market like the one we are experiencing these days! By successful, I mean to be able to pay the bills, and take some money home. This is becoming tougher every day with soaring gas prices, unemployment, credit crash, declining home values, the election year and so on. But is it really impossible to survive? Maybe not.

I believe the first step to survival as a rug dealer is not to lose hope. The minute we lose hope and yield, we lose the battle. Second, in a difficult time like this, we have to work harder and smarter. People (read customers) can realize and appreciate you knowledge and expertise and if this is accompanied by good will and satisfactory services provided to the customers, they will appreciate it and this will pay off in the mid and long run. Treating my customers seriously with respect and care and establishing good relationship with them has paid off for me. I try to become friends with my customers and I enjoy this.

I received a phone call from a customer who lived in Glendale, a city up to the north east of Los Angeles, 20 miles away from my rug gallery. This young lady had several old Persian rugs. She needed appraisal, cleaning and repair for all of them. When I went to her house on Sunday evening at 6:00 pm and measured each rug and gave her estimate for the rug appraisal, rug cleaning and repair, she said that she had no money and could not afford to go ahead with all that. She also said that she had thought I could do the appraisal in her house for free. I was about to lose my temper and my patience. But I controlled myself and told her politely how would it be possible for some one to drive 20 miles to your house on a Sunday evening to appraise several rugs for you for free and return home and drive back another 20 miles?!

After I gave her my professional advice on what to do, she agreed to appraise two of the pieces and give me one piece for cleaning. Her total invoice became $230. It was not that great, but at least this made her happy and I did not return empty handed, and I am sure she will give me more business in the near future after her financial situation improves.

Khosrow Sobhe

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