America is suffering from a sleep epidemic. Here’s a simple thought process that will help you—and your customers—drift off into dreamland
BY GERRY MORRIS
Do you have trouble falling asleep? Do you ask this question of all your shoppers and customers? Considering that Americans spend $7 billion on sleeping pills each year, according to Wikianswers.com—and NBC reports at least 8.6 million Americans use prescription sleep medication—maybe you should.
In our industry, there’s lots of talk about sleep—for obvious reasons. We talk about the benefits of deep, restorative sleep and the connection between sleep and mattresses. More and more, retail sales associates are addressing the subject, and that’s a good thing. But I believe RSAs have another opportunity to serve their customers—that is, take a little time to teach them about how to get a good night’s sleep and, especially, how to fall asleep.
While there are many resources with lots of techniques on the matter, I’ve learned one on my own that I’ll share with you, and it seems to have some merit.
Does it work for everyone? Probably not, but over the years, I’ve had many people tell me that it’s worked for them. My friend Rick says, “Wow! Gerry, that was amazing. I slumbered like a baby. It’s a wonder how a simple thought process can do such a miraculous thing. Thank you so much!”
Overcoming barriers to sleep
I’ve discovered that for many people, there are two common issues that can make falling asleep difficult. First, if you have a lot on your mind, your thoughts will bounce from one thing to the next, and you can feel overwhelmed. The other problem is you often keep thinking about the same thing over and over. For me, it’s usually something I have to do or deal with, like going on a trip or speaking before a group. It’s like being on a mental treadmill.
Here’s the process. Try it for yourself.
With eyes closed, pick an experience from your past that you enjoyed, like an event or a vacation. Start at the beginning and use your imagination to remember the experience in detail. See yourself getting up in the morning, perhaps driving to the airport or destination, and continue on in sequence. The slower and more deliberate your thoughts are, the quicker you will fall asleep.
The problem is that if your mind is busy, it will continue to divert your thoughts, so you have to keep coming back to your experience. It takes a little practice, but once you can get your thoughts under control, you will likely fall asleep.
I’m sure there’s a detailed scientific explanation for this, but all I know is that the trick is to get your thoughts concrete, linear and sequential. I think it has something to do with switching your mind from the imagination—an active, creative, problem-solving mode—to memory—a passive, reflective mode. Right brain, left brain. No doubt I’ll hear from lots of sleep experts on this, but my point here is to help you help others.
Sharing the technique
When you’re on the sales floor with a shopper, try this:
- Take a few minutes before qualifying to establish a relationship with your customers. “Before we get started, let’s talk about you for a moment.”
- Then ask, “Do you ever have trouble falling asleep?” If the answer is yes, say, “I can teach you something that may help.” Then you can suggest the method I just described.
- Your customers will greatly appreciate the fact that you’re even interested in how well they sleep. This is a good way of differentiating yourself. You will be addressing an important issue that most RSAs never mention. The great thing is that you will help some people learn how to fall asleep better while increasing your sales.
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 recently formed a strategic partnership with The Furniture Training Co. to offer a premium online training course, “Sell More Mattresses with Gerry Morris.” To view the course, visit www.furnituretrainingcompany.com.