Mattresses and Golf Clubs

Golf Lessons (What the Mattress Industry Can Learn From Golf)
There is a similarity between golf clubs and mattresses. No, I haven’t lost my mind,         but I’m pretty sure that I have your attention now.
I don’t play golf, even though I do like watching it for some reason. I never have played and probably won’t, so while I’m no expert, I do know that we can learn a lesson from golf.

OK, I’ll Explain                                                                                                                               The similarity is that golf clubs are limited in design by strict parameters as are mattresses. In the modern era there always has been and always will be putters, irons and drivers . Mattresses always have and probably always will have a mattress and a foundation and come in four basic sizes.

I Get It!                                                                                                                                        Golfers, please don’t write to let me know how much clubs have improved. Same with mattresses, I get it. But in a broad context, or from a distance both look pretty much like they always have. Improvements have been in subtle incremental changes in design and in the quality of materials and in the case of mattresses, the quantity of materials as they have gotten thicker.  But from the perspective of the average consumer, a golf club is a golf club and a bed is a bed. But this is where the similarities end.

Imagine That!
Last weekend a friend of mine was talking about how often golfers replace clubs. He said some do every few years not because the clubs wear out, but because of the new technology that becomes available.  Compare that to mattresses where people tend to keep them long after they have worn out. Mattresses keep improving with better technology as well, so what’s the difference? It doesn’t take a genius to figure out why this is.  There’s not much excitement about buying a new mattress. What a shame.

Engaging the Imagination                                                                                                          So let’s take a look at why there is an excitement about buying golf clubs. Do you think golfers are most interested in the clubs themselves?  I’m sure there is some thrill in the visual aspects and feel of the new tools, but what is most exciting and compelling is the prospect of what the new clubs can do for their game.
I call it, “getting a glimpse of what life could be.” As they get the feel of the club and take a practice swing, their imaginations allow them to vicariously experience scenarios that evoke strong emotions.  Seeing that perfect shot in one’s mind is often powerful enough to motivate them to take action…buy the clubs.

Stop Damaging Our Industry!  (And Our Customers’ Quality of Life)

Unfortunately, much of our industry and our customers focus upon the product itself more than what it can do for us. This is especially true at retail.Many manufacturers do attempt to create images of a better life, health and happiness.  But because of so much competition, retailers get into bidding wars for lowest price, most free services and longest financing.  Why?  It works.  It does swing the door, but the result is that lots of people buy cheap mattresses. It is what it is.

Why Don’t We Get It?
Amazingly, even Downy fabric softener gets it. Their new emotionally driven commercial campaign with great lifestyle images and soothing music makes me want to go buy some. But as long as  retailers believe that $299 and $399 pillow tops is the best way to sell mattresses, RSA’s will be set up to fail by being the bearer of bad news having to explain that the quality mattresses sell for more than triple that much.

Lack of Awareness

 Is it any wonder that consumers don’t trust us? Is it any wonder that selling mattresses is stressful? Is it any wonder that we have a high turnover rate? Just like the golfers with new clubs, many consumers do like the look and feel of the new top quality mattresses, but when they fail to make the connection of what the mattress can do for them, they step down to a “safer choice” that fits their budget. Golfers aren’t willing to hack around the course with old inferior clubs. Why are consumers willing to toss and turn all night on cheap, worn out mattresses?  It’s simply a lack of awareness.  It’s up to us to connect the dots and help them see the light by putting mattresses in their proper context as one of; if not the best products consumers can buy.

One Customer At A Time

If you are a sales associate, what can you do? Well, through conversation you have the ability to redirect customers’ focus and help engage their imagination.
Instead of asking, “How does this mattress feel to you” try asking “How do you feel on this mattress?”  Get her to really think about it. “Imagine it’s late and you’re really tired and have to get up for work tomorrow. Do you think you would be able to fall asleep more easily on this bed? Do you think you would feel pretty good each morning after sleeping on it all night?  If so, imagine how you could feel sleeping well on it every night.”

Mattresses Are The Best Product To Buy And Sell!

Tell a woman that in 10 years most people will look younger, weigh less and feel better by sleeping on a quality comfortable mattress because they can get extra minutes of REM sleep per night.  WOW!  It’s true. It’s in this deep state of sleep that our minds are renewed and restored and our body tissues are repaired at a cellular level.
Help your customers’ use their imaginations to get a glimpse of what life could be and many will invest in a top quality mattress to make their dreams come true.

Take a Swing at it and let me know how it works for you.


About sellmorebeds

Gerry Morris is an author, speaker, and veteran industry consultant with over 25 years of experience in the mattress business. Gerry began his career as a manufacturer’s representative for Serta in 1986. He is passionate about the benefits of a good night's sleep and enjoys educating others on the true value of a good mattress. Gerry is the author of Sell More Beds and Spring Training, two of the most widely read books in the history of the mattress industry. Gerry is a columnist for Sleep Savvy Magazine, a member of the National Speakers Association and a sought after sales trainer and coach. He is also an avid and accomplished triathlete.
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3 Responses to Mattresses and Golf Clubs

  1. Great article Gerry! Coincidentally, I actually drew a comparison between mattresses and golf clubs in a blog post as well:

    One hypothesis I had about how they differ (at least today) is that golf clubs deliver *measurable* performance improvement, meaning people can actually *see* that they hit the ball farther or straighter. Mattresses certainly do deliver sleep improvement, but up until now, this improvement has not been something most people can easily measure. If this can be solved, I think it will be much easier for the mattress to get full credit for the sleep improvement it delivers, and I do think you would see more people upgrading their mattress to the “latest and greatest” even before their mattress wears out.

    • sellmorebeds says:

      Great points. “Improvement” in relation to mattresses is more anecdotal than quantifiable but still valid. That’s why I advocate RSA’s sleeping on quality products and sharing their “anecdotal” evidence with their shoppers with the goal of helping improve their quality of life.

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