The sales season officially kicks off with Memorial Day and lasts through Labor Day–with July 4 in between. Are you prepared?
BY GERRY MORRIS
Everyone is a potential customer because (most) everyone sleeps on a mattress every night. Mattresses wear out and get replaced—this can and does occur consistently day in and day out.
So why is there a season to mattress sales? Here’s why. While people may become aware they’re not sleeping too well, they don’t feel an urgency to replace their mattress set as they do with other high-use products, such as tires or appliances. The decision to replace a mattress usually is deliberated.
With that as a backdrop, here are the primary factors that create our season:
- Dollars. Some people will put off the decision to buy until they are in a better financial situation. In many cases, that is half a year away from Christmas and the holiday season and post-April 15.
- Awareness. With the plethora of information about the benefits of sleep, more and more people are becoming aware of its importance. May being Better Sleep Month prompts their attention. Smart retailers are mentioning it in their ads. In addition, spring cleaning focuses attention on household items.
- Promotion. Finally, we, as an industry, largely are responsible with the increase in advertising, most specifically during Memorial Day, July 4th and Labor Day. There is such a push from so many retailers that many consumers take notice and are compelled to shop.
Whatever the reason for the season, one thing is for certain, shoppers respond to the enticement of sales and discounts.
Summer selling suggestions
Here are some tips to help you serve your shoppers and have them choose to buy from you:
O Cover the basics. Get plenty of rest, stay well-nourished and hydrated to keep your energy levels up. Check your appearance and attitude to make a good first impression. Get to work early and make sure everything is ready to go before the first shopper arrives.
Keep your store looking great inside and out. Pay attention to details. A good rule of thumb is to have a place for everything and everything in its place—clean as you go.
Keep floor models fresh and pricing correct.
Make sure you know your inventory and delivery schedule.
Many of your shoppers will be responding to ads and promotions. Don’t get caught off-guard.
O Dealing with multiple shoppers. As new shoppers enter the store, excuse yourself to greet them and let them know you’re with a shopper but will give them full attention when through.
Reduce stress by staying calm and controlled. It will lower tension levels for everyone.
If you get swamped, try getting everyone’s attention and make an announcement. “As you can see, we are quite busy today. Let me help you get started and then I’ll be able to better serve you.”
A great way to start is to quickly show people the three basic comfort styles—pillow top, plush and firm. Suggest they try them out. Ask your customers to find one that is most similar to the one they are accustomed to and then find one they like now. This is great information that can help expedite their time and yours.
O Keep shoppers in your store. With value-minded shoppers, their inclination is to shop around seeking the best deal. Give an incentive such as a mattress protector, pillows, etc. to stay or comeback.
Consider offering, coffee, water, cookies or snacks. Videos, background music and even pleasant scents can create an environment that promotes patience.
Don’t be tempted to say: “We have the best products, prices and values and a money-back guarantee, etc.” Every store says that. Instead try, “While there are lots of good values out there, our specialty is helping our customers find products they will be most happy with. I’m confident we can do the same for you!”
O Don’t be an order taker. Focus on each customer one at a time with a goal to help them choose to buy a quality product for their benefit.
Once I asked a sales manager what made his No. 1 sales associate so great. He said that he gave the same caring attention to every shopper regardless of what they were looking for. He always suggested add-on products to enhance their purchase and always asked about other or future needs and for referrals.
When other shoppers witness your calm, careful guidance, they will be more likely to want the same for themselves.
O Finally, close the sale. Think of it as a disservice not to. Shoppers need mattresses. Be confident that you have good values and models they will be satisfied with. Don’t waste their time or yours by not closing.
The season is approaching, remember, “It’s better to be prepared and not have an opportunity than to have an opportunity and not be prepared.”
My hope is that you have lots of opportunities and are prepared for them.
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. His Inner Spring training company recently formed a partnership with The Furniture Training Co. to offer a premium online training course, “Sell More Mattresses with Gerry Morris.” Visit www.furnituretrainingcompany.com.