In a recent trip to Egypt, I was fortunate to meet Ayman Yassen, a wonderful salesperson and the founder of Essential Oils & Herbs in 6 October City, Egypt. I was standing in the lobby of a tourist-filled hotel mesmerized when I saw customer after customer walk into the store and leave after purchasing something. I knew that Ayman had a gift for sales and I was really curious about what his techniques were that led him to be so successful so I asked if I can interview him and he agreed.
Ayman Yassen began selling oils and herbs in the beautiful resort town of Sharm El Sheikh, out of his uncle’s shop when he was only fifteen years old. A few years later he began his own business and it became very successful. It was in Sharm El Sheikh where Ayman began to understand the importance of building real, genuine rapport with his customers and allowing them to explore his shop without the hassle of being bothered to make a purchase. In January of 2016, after fifteen years in Sharm El Sheikh, Ayman moved his family and his business to 6 October City on the outskirts of Cairo.
It is working with tourists that Ayman loves. He is fluent in English, Italian, German, and Arabic of course. His entire sales philosophy is built on creating an entire atmosphere in which the sale can take place in a completely non-pressure manner.
First, Ayman’s products are good—I mean, really good. His competitive advantage is his ability to blend essential oils and herbs to achieve certain desired values and benefits, including relief from stomach aches, skin conditions, or to assist with any dietary needs. Ayman has a wealth of knowledge of natural herbs and remedies to assist customer needs.
It is important to note that Ayman has zero formal education or formal training in sales. All of his techniques have either been learned from working in his uncle’s shop as a youth, or developed through years of honing his craft.
From the moment a customer enters Ayman’s shop, they are greeted and offered a complimentary welcome drink of Hibiscus. His store is lined with comfortable couches and a large table, facing the glass cabinet with an exotic essential oil collection. After discerning a customer’s native tongue, Ayman then engages with them by speaking their language to build a natural rapport. If the customer suffers from nasal congestion or allergies, then Ayman will offer them a mint-water concoction designed to help clear nasal passages. Ayman then proceeds to introduce his potential customers to his line of cosmetic oils and blends, perfume oils and scents.
He finds demonstrations are very important. According to Ayman, there is nothing more important than allowing a customer the chance to hold your product in their hands and to actually try it. He encourages customers to try different blends, understanding that if they like it, they will come back—and they seem to do so. Return clients and word-of-mouth are very important to his business.
At the end of the day, it is TRUST that is at the core of Ayman’s sales process. It is all about cultivating the trust of both Ayman and the products that he is selling. Following, the demonstrations and introduction to his products, Ayman simply reads the body language of his prospective customers to determine their level of interest. He uses his years of experience to assist his intuition and gut feeling. With the clear understanding that a customer will not be happy to spend money when they are pressured, Ayman allows them to make the decision on their own, and as his experience shows, when they do, they return.
Now how successful is Ayman’s approach? It has a 95% close rate. Nearly every customer that Ayman finds to be interested following the demonstration (which seem to be many), follow through with a purchase. This is further exemplified by his Testimonial Book filled with glowing praise from customers coming from all over the world.
The build-up to sale is the most important part of Ayman’s process. After creating rapport and establishing trust of himself and the product through demonstrations, Ayman has learned to accurately read the body language of his potential customers before closing any sale.
I look forward to my next trip to Egypt and catching up with Ayman to see how his business is doing and if I can learn anymore about the art of the process.