Fat Frank is a Persian carpet seller or Iranian descent living in Australia. I know him very well and over time he's told me many of the insider skills of the carpet business, so I thought I would share them here.
Secret: Beauty needs uglyness to be truly beautiful.
"Back in 1997 people took Sundays off and I needed sales so I kept the shop open. One sunday I saw the CEO of a giant mining company walk into my shop. He told me about rug shops he’d visited in London and New York. He said that he had been looking for a particular rug for over two years. It wasn’t a very difficult rug- he simply wanted a fine green rug. I said give me 48hrs and I will find the perfect rug for you.
Sure enough I went to all the dealers I knew and found a nice Tabriz. I thought long and hard. How do I sell this rug to him?
I remembered years ago in Iran when I had gone to a match making party where I was supposed to find a wife. As I was sitting there a very plain, almost ugly girl brought the sherbert for me. I was highly disappointed. Then the real girl came and brought the tea. But because my mind was consumed by the plain girl, this second one looked very beautiful indeed.
Luckily I didn’t get married- but I almost did. My father said this is called ‘ugly and beautiful’ and it is a famous rug selling technique.
So before my appointment with the CEO, I went around the market a second time looking for a really ugly green rug.
I made an appointment and I went to his house with Rebecca. Without saying anything I unrolled the ugly one and I asked him to look at it. I saw the disappointment in his face. He told me that he expected better. In fact he was so put out he added that this was a waste of his time. I replied that I am a small dealer and I have another one to show him.
“Since I am here,” I said, “At least can you look at it?” He did not say yes but he just nodded. I unrolled the nice rug and his face lit up. He asked for some time with the rug and I asked for his cheque book. His face had told me he wanted it.
When the deal was finished and I was walking out of the house I thought: Now I really understand the power of UGLY AND BEAUTIFUL."