BY GERRY MORRIS
Without your help, people who have spent their lives sleeping on a bad mattress may never know the benefits of a quality bed set
“I can’t wait to sleep in my own bed. My cousins’ beds were so uncomfortable. They don’t know what they’re missing.” Those words from my daughter Amanda—11 years old at the time—have changed many lives for the better. How? Read on.
At the time Amanda made that statement 20 years ago, I was a sales representative for Serta, but she didn’t say her proclamation for my benefit. It was simply an honest declaration from a sleep-deprived young girl returning home from a family visit.
My first thought was, “I bet those cousins really aren’t aware of the poor quality of their mattresses or likely their lack of quality sleep either”—like fish that don’t know they’re wet. Fish are born in water and that’s the environment in which they always dwell, with no other reference.
I imagined the countless people sleeping on inferior mattresses—completely unaware. What a shame.
When replacing their mattress, a surprising number of people who are accustomed to sleeping on cheap or worn-out bedding buy another cheap bed because, by comparison, even a low-quality mattress feels much better than theirs. And, unfortunately, kids with no other reference than a poor-quality mattress—like Amanda’s cousins—will buy inferior mattresses as adults, repeating the cycle unless someone brings better mattresses to their attention. Hmm. I wonder who would be in a position to do such a thing?
I quickly began incorporating this revelation into my sales training, putting an exclamation point on it by declaring, “It is entirely possible that people spend an entire lifetime never knowing the difference!”
While I said that hypothetically, I knew this tragedy was not only possible, but probable and, one day, my hypothesis was proved true. While visiting one of my retailer customers, the manager wanted to show me a mattress set the delivery team had picked up from a man who had purchased a new set. It was the most horrible bed I’d ever seen. It had a stained and tattered olive-hued paisley cover. If it had any comfort layers left, I couldn’t tell—it was as thin and broken down as if it had been run over by steamrollers. On closer inspection, we discovered a law tag from 1968 showing it was a rebuilt set. The man had paid $20 and slept on it for 40 years.
What could have been
Almost everyone understands the cumulative effect of daily taking vitamins, exercising, staying hydrated and eating well. Comparing a person who practices these disciplines for 10 years with someone who doesn’t can be startling.
Then consider the amount of time each of us spends in deep, restorative sleep during a 10-year period. It can produce dramatic differences, not only in our physical appearance, but in literally every aspect of our lives. Extra minutes of sleep that are facilitated by a comfortable, supportive quality mattress can pay huge dividends. Conversely, sleep deprivation, even at low levels, has an aggregate effect—and it’s not good.
And what can be
I encourage retail sales associates to imagine that each shopper they encounter is like one of the two examples above.
Whatever mattress set shoppers buy, they likely will spend at least seven years, if not longer, sleeping on it. And you have one opportunity to help them choose to invest in a comfortable, supportive quality set.
Now imagine how such an empowered approach to selling quality products will impact the lives of your customers. It’s not hypothetical to believe some married couples will improve their relationships and enjoy each other more. (New research, in fact, shows this. See story on page 10.) Parents, being better rested and feeling renewed, will be better equipped to care for their children. Everyone will be more productive at home and at work. Kids will do better in school, behave better at home and perform better in extracurricular activities. This list goes on and on.
Recently, I spoke to the sales staff for a group of stores during a Saturday morning sales meeting. During my 30-minute talk, I focused primarily on these empowering concepts.
The next day, the owner called to tell me their stores had tripled their average business for a Saturday. I was stunned and don’t want to take all the credit, but it seems the RSAs left the sales meeting and eagerly encouraged shoppers that day to invest in quality products for their benefit. RSAs who had previously struggled with showing shoppers “expensive” sets now felt it was a disservice not to do so. And customers responded by investing in quality mattresses, their sleep and their health.
Keep in mind that it’s not the mattress itself but what the mattress does for people that matters most. Focusing on a sleep set’s benefits will help shoppers put mattresses in their proper perspective as one of the most important consumer products they buy.
Don’t stop there
Knowing as you do the life-enhancing benefits of sleeping on a quality mattress, don’t keep the information to yourself. Make it your mission to share it.
RSAs working in home furnishings stores should ask every shopper about their mattress. I once approached a woman shopping for something else about her mattress, asking if she’d come try some of our new really comfortable bed sets to compare with hers once she got home. To my surprise, she ended up buying a set. To my even greater surprise, I later found out she already had bought a sofa and loveseat and was heading for the door when I met her.
Why not keep your business card with you at all times and talk to people you meet about their mattress? Many RSAs do this and they know it has made a tremendous difference in their sales. More importantly, it has made a tremendous difference in people’s lives.
What a difference a quality mattress can make! What a shame that some people will never know! Unless you tell them, that is.
Sleep well and help others do the same!
Gerry Morris is an author, consultant and training coach with more than 20 years of experience in the mattress industry. Morris’ Inner Spring training company has a strategic partnership with The Furniture Training Co. to offer a premium online training course, “Sell More Mattresses with Gerry Morris.” For more, check FurnitureTrainingCompany.com.