BY GERRY MORRIS
Retail sales associates can make mattress shopping easier for consumers by being educated, engaging and enthusiastic
Here’s why. It cannot be overstated or mentioned too often: Understanding the consumer’s mindset is the key to employing a successful strategy for retail sales associates who want to help their shoppers choose to invest in comfortable, quality sleep products, while enjoying the process and, most importantly, being satisfied with their purchase.
Many people are disappointed when they need to replace high-use, pricier items, like tires, some appliances and, yes, mattresses. That doesn’t mean people hate shopping for or buying a mattress. To the contrary, many consumers are becoming more aware of what a great product mattresses are. Still, replacing a mattress often requires people to use dollars they’ve earmarked for items on their wish list of things they want to buy or activities they want to do.
In home furnishings stores, you often can tell which shoppers are looking for furniture and which are looking for a mattress by their demeanor: “Look at that! Isn’t it beautiful?” versus “Let’s make sure we get a good value.”
This is the essence of why mattresses aren’t always the easiest products to sell and why so many RSAs struggle with the process. So, here are some great suggestions to help make mattresses easier—and more enjoyable—for people to buy and for RSAs to sell.
(You might notice my attempt to impress you with a few lofty words. I had to look them up to see what they meant. LOL.)
- Engage: Use conversation rather than presentation (talking with, not talking to) so shoppers participate in the process. By asking open-ended, meaningful questions, then pausing and listening to shoppers’ answers, questions and concerns, you’ll make shoppers feel more comfortable choosing to make a purchase.
- Earnestness: Having a sincere desire to help shoppers choose to invest in a quality mattress set for their benefit will help sell more mattresses than almost any other selling skill. People can perceive motive and want to buy from someone who cares about their well-being.
- Entertain (“to receive and treat as a guest”): Instead of thinking of shoppers as people who might buy from you, appreciate them as individuals who are giving you an opportunity to earn their business. Treat them like a welcome guest.
- Empower: Explain to shoppers that you will give them the information, based upon their input, that will narrow their choices, allowing them to select the mattress they like best.
- Enthusiasm: Try telling your customers, “I love talking to people about mattresses!” That simple declaration often can change shoppers’ attitudes in an instant and they’ll think, “Wow! Maybe this won’t be so bad after all.”
- Enlighten: Share the benefits of mattresses and a great night’s sleep. Tell shoppers: “I’ve learned how quality mattresses are one of the best consumer values there is. People who sleep well each night tend to feel better, are happier, healthier, get sick less often, have better relationships, look better, tend to weigh less and are more productive. Many of our customers call back to let us know how great they are sleeping!”
- Erudition (“the quality of having or showing great knowledge”): To be erudite, an RSA must invest the time necessary to gain the requisite product knowledge and selling skills. Emboldened shoppers who tend to keep RSAs at arm’s length often are disarmed by caring, conscientious sales associates who demonstrate their deep knowledge of sleep products.
- Educate: Before jumping into the selling step of qualifying, take a few minutes to explain what shoppers will see on the showroom floor. Tell them: “Mattresses are a pretty simple product, but don’t let that deceive you. There have been dramatic improvements in the quality of materials and engineering, resulting in maximum comfort, conformability, support and durability that make mattresses one of the best products you can buy. Let me show you some mattress basics, explain the different comfort levels and tell you why adjustable bases are the fastest growing trend in the industry.”
- Expectations: It is best to address expectations and objections early in the process. People are more understanding when they know things upfront rather than being surprised by them later. For example, waiting to tell customers about the delivery schedule until after they decide to buy the bed can let all the air out of their expectations balloon. When discussing potential issues, give them a positive spin. Try this: “We order mattresses as we sell them to make sure you get a fresh new product, not one that has been sitting on its end in a warehouse collecting dust.”
- Experience: Always gather information about shoppers’ current mattress, including its comfort level, its age, when they last slept comfortably on it and what is prompting them to replace it. That’s such valuable information. Also find out if they have shopped elsewhere and, if so, what they’ve seen that they’ve liked.
- Evoke emotions: I describe this as giving a glimpse of what life could be. Tell shoppers: “Take all the time you need. Lie in the position you normally wake up in, then close your eyes and imagine it’s late: You’re tired and need to get up early. Then focus on how you feel, starting with your feet and working your way up. Keep in mind that you will likely spend the equivalent of 10 days per month on your mattress. It can make a huge difference in how you feel each day.”
- Ease: Put your shoppers’ minds at ease. Tell them: “We carry only great brands with durable, quality products that provide support and comfort. So, we can spend our time narrowing the selection to a few mattresses you can choose from. We sell lots of mattresses and have customers all over who are sleeping better as a result.”
- Elucidation (“explanation that makes something clear”): Elucidation is a great technique for overcoming shoppers’ objections to factors like price. Try this: “Yes, mattresses, like many other products, have gotten more expensive. That’s because of all the wonderful improvements that dramatically increase your sleeping comfort. When you consider that most people spend the equivalent of 10 days per month on their mattress, mattresses endure more wear than almost any product you can buy.”
- Encourage: Every mattress sale must be closed. Every shopper is going to buy from someone. Remember, regardless of how convinced shoppers are to buy a particular mattress, deep in the recesses of their minds is a little voice telling them to shop around to make sure they are making the right choice. Remind them: “You’ve done a great job selecting this mattress. I’m confident you are making the right choice.”
- Entreat (“to ask or request”): With their mind at ease, you can then tell shoppers: “So, let’s get you sleeping on this mattress as soon as possible. We can deliver it this week. Which day would you prefer? And we have a great financing plan.”
- Enjoyment: Maximize your customers’ enjoyment of their new mattress and help them protect their investment by encouraging them to buy a mattress protector, pillows and a frame, if needed. Remind them: “A new protector will keep your mattress clean, fresh and sanitary. And new pillows will help you sleep even better!”
These are but a few ideas that can help make mattresses easier for your shoppers to buy and for you to sell.
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 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.