BY GERRY MORRIS
“People who like quotes love meaningless generalizations.”
That’s according to Graham Greene, the English novelist and, I would say, a sourpuss. Sorry, but I do like quotes and use them often in my Sleep Savvy columns.
I Googled to find out why some people (like me) favor quotations and some people (like Greene) disdain them and found this: “Quotes can lend your opinion a sense of legitimacy and can make you seem well-read. The only problem with quotes on the internet is that you can never be certain of their authenticity.” That’s credited to Abraham Lincoln. Ha!
Following are some great quotes, along with my comments as to how they can be applied to retail mattress sales. I hope you love “meaningless generalizations” as much as I do and aren’t like Mr. Greene with his grumpy pants on.
“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”
—Thomas Edison, inventor and “legendary failure” who never gave up. (I’m glad he didn’t or I’d be using candlelight to write this by hand.)
As a retail sales associate, you will get objections from shoppers: Keep overcoming them. Remember that mattress shoppers are on a value mission, always searching for that elusive “best deal.” Do them a favor and close the sale at your store.
“Quality performance starts with a positive attitude.”
—Jeffrey Gitomer, sales expert. (I’m starting to like his hairstyle more and more as mine begins to resemble his.)
Everyone knows that success is related to attitude. It’s one of the foundational elements of selling. If you approach every shopper assuming she likely will buy, you greatly increase the odds that she will. Assume she won’t buy and she most likely won’t.
“Motivation will almost always beat mere talent.”
—Norman Ralph Augustine, aerospace business leader and former undersecretary of the Army. (I bet he sleeps on memory foam.)
If your motivation is to make the sale, then a shopper is just the means for you to get what you want. If your motivation is to help as many people as possible enjoy the life-improving benefits of restorative sleep facilitated by investing in a quality comfortable mattress, then your sales will increase—as will your loyal customer base.
“Outstanding people have one thing in common: an absolute sense of mission.”
—Zig Ziglar, author, sales expert and motivational speaker. (I got to meet and hear this wonderful man speak on several occasions.)
The most successful companies have a mission of service to their customers and remind themselves of it on a daily basis. Make this your store’s mission statement: “Knowing what we know about the benefits of deep, restorative sleep, we will help as many people as possible choose to invest in a quality mattress.”
“There is little success where there is little laughter.”
—Andrew Carnegie, industrialist. (He was obviously successful, but in photos he doesn’t look like he did much laughing. Was this steely-faced guy a grumpy pants, too?)
Why not make the experience of buying a mattress entertaining and fun? Be yourself and engage your shoppers as you would your friends. Casual, confident, convivial and cheerful are characteristics that make customers comfortable. (Can’t get enough C-words? I wrote a whole column about selling and marketing strategies that start with “C” in the July/August issue of Sleep Savvy.)
“The successful warrior is the average man, with laserlike focus.”
—Bruce Lee, martial artist, actor and filmmaker. (If he had tried his hand at mattress sales, he would have been a black belt at closing the sale. Bruce Lee: “You will buy this mattress!” Shopper: “OK. Don’t kick me.”)
When I asked the manager of a successful furniture retailer what made his No. 1 RSA so great, he replied, “He totally focuses on every shopper and gives them his full attention whether they are shopping for a lamp or a whole houseful of furniture. It makes them feel special because, to him, they all are.”
“Maybe I was born to be a merchant, maybe it was fate. I don’t know about that. But I know this for sure: I loved retail from the very beginning.”
—Sam Walton, founder of Walmart and Sam’s Club. (But what would he know about retail?)
Retail sales is an exciting profession. Every day is different; every shopper is different. Mattress sales arguably are at the top of the list of consumer goods to buy or sell: Everyone sleeps on a mattress every day, so they wear out and need to be replaced. More importantly, few, if any other, consumer products have such a direct positive effect on a person’s quality of life.
“You walk into a retail store, whatever it is, and if there’s a sense of entertainment and excitement and electricity, you wanna be there.”
—Howard Schultz, founder and chief executive officer of Starbucks. (I know how he can get more sleep.)
Companies like Starbucks create compelling cultures. People want to step into their world, feel as though they are a part of something special, take a piece of it home, tell others about it and go back for more. What if you could create an experience like that? Well, why not? It’s the people who love working at those companies that really make the difference.
“Know how to effectively voice a complaint or make a claim at a retail store.”
—Marilyn vos Savant, magazine columnist, speaker and Guinness World Records holder of the highest IQ. (Of course she knows how to do those things. She probably knows how to do everything.)
Wouldn’t it be great if all customers knew how to do those things? Since that’s a pipe dream, it’s important for RSAs to know how to effectively respond to a complaint or claim from a defensive, offensive, emotional or possibly irrational customer. J.D. Power and Associates, a marketing information services firm headquartered in Westlake Village, California, says that you can create advocates for your company by taking care of problems quickly and in a way that satisfies the customer.
“All things being equal, people will do business with, and refer business to, those people they know, like and trust.”
—Bob Burg, speaker and author of several books including “The Go-Giver.” (He must like alliteration as much as I do.)
Dang. I’ve used this one so many times over the years, I thought I’d come up with it. I always add that many people willingly pay more for the same product just to buy from someone they like and trust and whom they believe has their best interest at heart.
“Treat objections as requests for further information.”
—Brian Tracy, consultant, author and speaker. (Another top expert on sales who can state the obvious. It’s still worth repeating.)
An important function of product knowledge is to overcome shopper objections by adding value. Find products that your shoppers like and then build your case with important benefits first and features second. When there is an objection, you can say, “Yes, this may seem expensive, but let me show you what makes it a great value.”
“Sleep well and help others do the same!”
—Gerry Morris, purveyor of “meaningless generalities.”
Gerry Morris is an author, consultant and training coach with more than 20 years of experience in the mattress industry. To learn more about him and to buy his books, including the new “Mattress Matters,” visit SellMoreBeds.com. 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 information, check FurnitureTrainingCompany.com.
Book offers more
Gerry Morris’ latest book, “Mattress Matters,” collects the mattress industry veteran’s information- and tip-packed columns and articles on selling mattresses from Sleep Savvy into one handy manual. As a special offer exclusively for Sleep Savvy readers, you can purchase a copy for only $12.95 (regularly $19.95). Use coupon code: f3c4jq. Visit SellMoreBeds.com to order your copy now.