The Selling Paradox



Do you want to increase your mattress sales? Sales strategist Jill Konrath offers 7 seemingly contradictory ways to go about it

The Selling Paradox With Jill Konrath man and woman signing papers

Sometime back, I ran across an article, “The 7 Paradoxical Sales Principles,” by Jill Konrath, a sales strategist, speaker and writer. I thought it might get your attention and hopefully give you some insight that will help your mattress selling skills.

I’ve always loved paradox, something seemingly contradictory but nevertheless true. For example, “By exercising more, you’ll be less tired.”

Here are Konrath’s seven paradoxical principles, along with my comments in italic to adapt them to retail mattress sales.

1. To win more sales, stop selling. When people feel like they’re being sold, they react negatively and put up barriers. Focus on helping your customers achieve their personal objectives — not making a sale.

My thoughts: It’s becoming cliché: Our customers don’t want to be sold. They want unique buying experiences.

2. To speed up your sales cycle, slow down. The more quickly you push to a close, the higher resistance you encounter. Go one step at a time. When your customers know you want to help them make the right decision — not
a rash one — the process moves

My thoughts: Through relational selling, focus on your customer and use guided discovery to help her conclude, “I want to buy this mattress because I believe it will improve my quality of life.”

3. To make decisions easier, offer fewer options. When you increase the complexity of the decision, you decrease the likelihood of winning the sale. To help your prospects move forward, give them less to choose from. Keep it simple — always.

My thoughts: If people like a dish you prepared, you wouldn’t take them away from enjoying it to read them the recipe. Most people don’t want to know everything about the product. They want you to know so they can have the trust and confidence to buy. Keep it simple and find out as much as you can about their experience, expectations and needs to narrow down the number of choices you show them.

4. To be more natural, prepare like crazy. Today’s customers suffer no fools. If you’re not ready with the
right message, questions or presentation, you’ll stumble or be stilted. When you do prepare, you can be your best self.

My thoughts: Few people buy a mattress online. Most gather information online before they shop. Don’t get caught off guard. Make sure you frequently visit websites of manufacturers and competitors to see what your shoppers may know. Keep up with your product knowledge, and not just on your brands.

5. To earn the bigger sale, start smaller. When you pursue the “whole shebang,” decisions become more complex and costlier, making it much tougher to get approval. Reduce the risk by starting small and proving
your capabilities. Then, it’s easy to grow.

My thoughts: Make add-on products a part of the sale. Don’t wait until you are about to write up the mattress sales to introduce accessories such as pillows, protectors and sheets. In addition, you must believe that all the extra products your store provides actually are enhancements to make sure your customers get the most out of their mattress investment.

6. To speed up your learning curve, fail fast. It’s inevitable that you’ll make mistakes. So, don’t wait until you’ve figured out the perfect pitch before moving forward. In sales, there is no failure — just opportunities for experimentation, learning and growth.

My thoughts: Instead of pitching, have a conversation with your customers. If you are sleeping on a new, top-quality mattress (and you better be — don’t make me come get you), try telling your customers about your own experience and what sleeping well has done for you.

7. To differentiate your offering, become the differentiator. That’s the biggest reality in today’s market. Your products, services or solution are secondary to your knowledge, expertise and the difference you make for your customers. Invest time in yourself.

My thoughts: Sales training should be a lifelong endeavor. At many of my seminars, I’ve had retail sales associates who have been selling mattresses for 10, 20, even 30 years or more still striving to improve their selling skills. Become an expert not only on mattresses, but also on sleep. Here’s a sample dialogue: “We’re a little different here. Not only do we know how to find the mattress that is just right for you, but we have some great tips to help ensure you get a great night’s sleep every night.”

Gerry Morris headshot
Gerry Morris

Thanks, Jill Konrath, for the great advice.

And now my favorite paradox of all: By putting others’ needs above your own, you will become more successful than if success were your goal. How can that be? People will want to buy from you.

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. To learn more about him and to buy his books, including the new “Mattress Matters,” visit 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


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