The price might be right, but it’s not the only thing driving sales. Quality, service and trustworthiness factor heavily in the decision to buy
BY GERRY MORRIS
Many people will choose to spend more money on the same product to buy from someone they like and trust.”
I can still remember the look of disbelief on the faces of the retail sales associates as I made this statement at a sales-training seminar I conducted for a mattress retailer.
Much to my surprise, as I was about to defend my remarks, a voice from the back proclaimed, “He’s right!” Hooray! It was the sales manager coming to my rescue.
He went on to explain.
“My wife and I recently remodeled our kitchen. We spent days shopping for the best deal on new appliances, going from store to store. Finally, we met a young lady who was so nice and caring. She sat us down and asked us so many questions we hadn’t even considered. We ended up buying from her even though we had found the same products at lower prices elsewhere.
“We surmised that if she was this caring, conscientious and concerned for our needs, then the company must be as well or she wouldn’t be working there. We were right: Everything from delivery to installation to post-sale follow-up was top notch. We have the utmost confidence that, were something to go wrong, they would be there for us.”
Boom! I couldn’t have made the case better. Thank you, Mr. Sales Manager!
The consumer-shopping advice website GoodBed.com supports my claim as well. Its research shows that few sales go to the very lowest prices. Most people really want to buy a quality product and have the reassurance and validation that they are doing business with trustworthy people and companies.
Price isn’t everything
It’s not a new concept. Heed the words of two great minds from the past:
“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.” —Benjamin Franklin
“The guest will judge better of a feast than the cook.”—Aristotle
In other words, people will forget about the price they paid for a product, but if they aren’t sleeping well, they will blame you and then post it on Facebook.
While price is important, many shoppers find that honesty, fairness, quality and service weigh heavily in their decision to buy.
Knowing that, RSAs should focus on developing trust and explaining the quality-of-life benefits of a mattress instead of sacrificing price and profits to make sales.
By all means, RSAs must follow the pricing practices and principles of their retailer, but for those that allow some degree of flexible pricing, here are some helpful tips to protect the value of your mattresses, instill trust and encourage your shoppers to buy from you.
1 Use caution. Having a little cushion to work with is one thing, but large drops in price for no valid reason can damage the reputation and credibility of the store, the brand and the RSA. In addition, some shoppers will not buy because of mistrust. “They must really mark the mattresses up. What is the real price? If I didn’t say something they’d take me to the cleaners! I’m outta here!”
2 Instill trust. RSAs with supreme command of product knowledge, confidence in their products and concern for shoppers’ well-being make the most sales.
Trustworthy RSAs are fair. They don’t cut deals for difficult customers and then sock it to the polite ones.
3 Add value. The best use of product knowledge is not to “read the recipe” of ingredients as shoppers consider each model. Rather, focus on comfort and address needs based on your shopper’s experience and expectations first. Then as objections arise, use product knowledge to add value by pointing out various features, highlighting their benefits.
4 Have confidence. Your company has most likely gone to great effort to provide quality products at fair prices. You don’t have to be the lowest to close sales.
Keep in mind you’re selling more than just the mattress set. Your company and brands stand behind the products. Your store employs quality people who are there to serve. It provides delivery and customer service and aid if and when there is a problem. You are a trained professional who can guide shoppers to make good choices.
5 Have a reason. Try getting something in return for dropping the price, such as buying more than one mattress, buying the entire package—protectors, pillows, etc.—or perhaps getting some referrals or testimonials. (But you have to be careful about the perception of “paying” for an endorsement.) Even getting permission to call for future needs or special promotions is better than no reason at all.
6 Step down and up. Sometimes it’s better to drop down to a lesser-quality model rather than drop the price too far. Other times it’s helpful to actually show a higher-price model to create more value. When a shopper shows interest in a model—before price becomes too big of an objection—suggest she consider a model above with the honest motive of showing better quality. Maximize the differences of the models when stepping up and minimize when stepping down. “Yes, this lesser-price model actually has most of the same features.”
7 Use analogies. Making comparisons of the cost vs. use of other consumer products can put the value of
mattresses into a better context. “Mattress may seem expensive, but they are still considered one of the best consumer products for investment. We spend more time on our mattress than we do on our tires, and tires wear out sooner. Have you priced tires lately?”
8 Believe in your products. The best way to protect the value of your products is to use them yourself, including accessories, then tell your shoppers how they have improved the quality of your life.
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 has 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.