The ABC’s of Mattress Sales

I’ve always liked this format, taking the alphabet and creating ideas for each letter. This originally appeared in Sleep Savvy under the title: “Alphabet Soup.”

            “You don’t need a               mattress do you?”

Accessories  Don’t just think of protectors, pillows, sheets, etc as add on sales, use them to help your shoppers maximize the enjoyment, benefits and longevity of their investment.

Benefits. It isn’t the product that is so important to shoppers, it’s what the product does for them. To shoppers a bed is a bed. Show them how the features contribute to back support, comfort, and pressure relief and most importantly to their quality of life.

Close the sale. Not closing mattress sales is a waste of time for your shopper and yourself. They are going to buy somewhere and there are most certainly products you have that they would be satisfied with.

Demonstrate mattresses by focusing first upon the benefit then the feature. “You can sleep in one place longer on this mattress. It has  a layer of convoluted foam that relieves pressure points.”

Educate shoppers about sleep. Learn as much as you can about the important benefits of deep sleep and the damaging effects of poor sleep. Use that knowledge to help your shoppers connect the dots to investing in a quality product.

Focus. Switch your focus from the product to the person.  Ask “How do you feel on this mattress instead of how does the mattress feel to you.” People may not like shopping but they do like feeling good.

Guided Discovery. Make selling steps more productive by involving the shopper in the process. Having goal oriented conversations empowers shoppers and makes them more likely to buy from you.

“Yes, I’m happy.”

Happiness. The one thing everyone wants is to be happy. There is no better product than a quality mattress to give people a better start on their day. Feeling good and being rested doesn’t guarantee happiness, but it sure does help.

Introduction  Always introduce yourself, ask for your shopper’s name, use it but don’t overuse it. Establish a relationship by spending a few minutes talking about your shopper and her needs.

Journal  Keep a daily journal of your interactions with shoppers. Note things that don’t go well to find possible solutions as well as things that do to share with fellow RSA’s.

Key The key to mattress sales is to understand that shoppers approach the process as satisfying a need. (Fixing a problem)  Through conversation you have the ability to help them want to buy by adding emotion. Giving people a glimpse of how their lives can be improved.

Listen. Slow down and give full attention to what your shopper has to say. Pause and consider before responding. I’m sure you know the old adage of why we have two ears and one mouth. Listen twice as much as talk.

Mission. Knowing what you do about the benefits of sleeping on a top quality mattress, make it your daily goal to help as many people as possible choose to buy one for their benefit.

Never ask what you shopper wants to spend, bash your competitors, nor use warranty, price or comfort guarantees to close sales.

Here's how you overcome objections. BEG!

Here’s how you overcome objections. BEG!

Overcome Objections by using your product knowledge to add value rather than stepping down in price or quality.

Product Knowledge. Objectively learn every product on your floor by lying on them and understanding how the specifications create and contribute to the comfort level, support and durability of each.

Qualifying Questions. Here are two questions that can change the dynamics of the selling process, increase your average ticket and customer satisfaction. “Which mattress feels most like your current one. Which do you like best now?”

Replacement.  Make sure to recommend customers replace not only their mattresses before they wear out, but also their pillows and protectors.

Support.  Shoppers mostly perceive comfort. It is up you to explain support and durability. Both contribute to the cost of the mattress and even more so to your customer’s satisfaction.  You do get what you pay for.

Train, Train, Train.  Top veterans are not big know it alls, they realize how much they still have to learn and are in constant pursuit of increasing their knowledge and skills.

Understand that your shoppers are on a mission to find a good value, help redefine value as it relates to their quality of life rather than their dollars. Price shoppers are reluctant to pull the trigger thinking there may be a better deal elsewhere.

Validate your shoppers choice to help them decide to buy. “Together we’ve gone through a thorough process to find products that will work for you, I think you’ve made a good choice with this model.”

Warranties. Always make sure your customers understand that warranties only cover defects not the normal wearing out process. Most warranties exceed the comfort life of the mattress for their protection.

eXamine your motives. (Taking a literary  license because I couldn’t think of an application for X-ray of xylophone or xenophobia.)  Putting others needs above your own will create more success than if success were your goal. People perceive intent. Serving instead of selling is a win win deal.

You are arguably the most important factor in a shopper’s decision of what and where to buy. Its true, people most often decide to buy from someone the like and trust.

ZZZ Sleep well and help others do the same. If you don’t already have a top quality

Looks like he's sleeping well.

Looks like he’s sleeping well.

mattress, get one ASAP and then share how your life has improved. It may be the best ingredient of all.

I hope you liked this and found some helpful hints as well.

Posted in Empowering Concepts, Overcoming Objections, Sales Training, Selling Concepts, The Selling Process | 2 Comments

Increase Mattress Sales by Flip Flopping the Pareto Principle!

Retailer Now 1

This blog is a reprint of article I wrote for Retailer Now

Hopefully your curiosity compelled you to see what the heck the “Pareto Principle” is and what it could possibly have to do with mattress sales. Well, keep reading!

You likely know The Pareto Principle by another name,The 80–20 Rule. Roughly 80% of  effects come from 20% of the causes. It was first developed in 1896 by Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto as he researched his country’s uneven wealth distribution.

Now, the 80/20 rule applies to so many relationships between two quantities that in the world of statistics, it’s known as a power law. For whatever reason, it just seems to be a natural phenomenon that can be applied to almost anything.

Couple Examining Mattress With SalesmanOver the years I have certainly found this to be true, especially in home furnishing stores. In fact, some ratios can be even leaner. Sleep specialty stores also have their top tier of producers, but the production differences are not as dramatic for obvious reasons. But a surprising number of home furnishing RSA’s actually shy away from mattress sales, many more are just much less effective than they could or should be.

Why is that?

The major cause for some RSA’s to be less effective than others is the mattress shopper. That’s right. There’s a dramatic difference in attitude, motivation, demeanor and even body language between home furnishing shoppers and mattress shoppers. So much so that you can likely discern the difference the moment they walk into the store. One is more relaxed, animated, impulsive and yes happy while the other is more aloof, serious and purposeful and determined. Guess which one’s which and which one’s easier to approach? Bingo.

Amazingly, many sales associates willingly invest valuable time with “just looking, home furnishing browsers” that have no intention of buying, and shy away from a mattress shopper practically guaranteed to buy. While it may be quite appropriate to hand a business card to a browsing furniture shopper. Cards given to mattress shoppers may as well have the words “Please buy from our competitor” written on it.

0Do A Flip Flop

One of the best selling business books in the last decade, Richard Koch’s The 80/20 Principle, says you can achieve much more with much less effort, time and resources, simply by concentrating on the all-important 20 per cent, the producers. Some call this “Superstar Management” and there are arguments that can be made for it.

As that pertains to mattress sales, I disagree. If the glass is more than 3/4 empty, I say add more water. In other words. If you want to increase sales, focus on expanding the production of the 80 percentile in each category.

Now let’s take a look at some ideas on how to invert the ratios and maximize sales:

Mattress Sales / Sales Staff  –  Solution: More Effective Training

To me it’s just common sense that it’s more beneficial for sales management to spend 80% of their allotted time helping the 80% get dramatically better than to help the 20% marginally improve.  Actually this ratio works out well. Spending 20% of your efforts on the top producers pays big dividends, but because they are already performing well, they don’t need as much help.

RSA’s need to be trained to recognize the difference in attitude and motivation of each type shopper (furniture or mattresses) and be able to adapt accordingly. There is a different give and take, requiring a more serious approach to mattress sales. RSA’s must be prepared with product knowledge, features and benefits and a different set of selling skills. All can be taught and learned through effective and ongoing sales training. As I mentioned in last month’s issue, RSA’s must try to close every mattress sale or else let a competitor do so.

Mattress Customers / total shoppers  – Solution: Approach every shopper

Mattresses are the one product that RSA’s can mention to everyone entering the store regardless of what they are shopping or browsing for. Forming the habit of incorporating mattresses into the conversation can pay big dividends. It is less stressful than working with someone on a seeking the best value mission thereby helping RSA’s get more comfortable and confident showing and selling mattresses.  Some shoppers will actually buy and others will be more inclined to return to your store when they do need a mattress.

  • Sales & Profits / Mattress Customers –  Solution: Increase Avg.Ticket Price

Serve shoppers instead of selling them by encouraging all, and especially budget minded shoppers, to choose to invest in more supportive and comfortable products for their benefit to increase the quality of their lives. Increase attachment rates by always recommending accessory items to help enhance their enjoyment, maximize the lifespan and protect the investment in their mattresses.

  • Mattress Sales / Models – Solution: An Objective Approach

mattress_storeIt is quite common for RSA’s to develop habits, patterns, personal preferences and comfort zones, especially when there is an abundance of floor models available. Best sellers can be totally fabricated simply because RSA’s get “good” at selling them.

It’s imperative that each shopper must be met with an open slate, meaning, a totally objective approach. There is no way to know which models any given shopper may be happy with. RSA’s must have the knowledge and confidence to demonstrate and educate shoppers on every product on the floor and be able to gather and use pertinent information from every shopper to find the best matches.

Break the Rule!

"Hooray, Our Mattress Sales are UP!"

“Hooray, Our Mattress Sales are UP!”

You don’t have to accept the Pareto Principle. Flip flop the 80/20 rule and dramatically increase your sales.


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Where have I been? Life gets in the way.



Bible Study with Charlie.

I am still around. It’s been quite some time since I’ve posted anything. In fact, it’s been quite some time since I’ve even checked my WordPress Blog to see if anyone has been reading it. Quite to my surprise, it’s been getting quite a few readers most everyday.

I was so pleased that I decided to start blogging again. Not committing to a specific schedule, but I will try to write at least one post per week. Please follow me on Twitter @gerrymorris and I will alert you when it do.
Well, to update you, I’ve spent most of the last five years dealing with family issues. First, spending time with and helping take care of my dad. When it seemed as though he was on his final demise, by changing doctors and spending time helping improve his quality of life, we had 3 good years before he died Oct 12, 2013.

Mom. Portrait of Dad when he was Chief of Staff at Hospital

Mom. Portrait of Dad when he was Chief of Staff at Hospital

He was ready to go and we celebrated his life. That left a grieving widow, my Mom that lived next to us. Her needs increased and we spent much time with her. Thanks to my wife, Mary Jane, things went really well until Mom began to “slow down”.  She willingly moved to an assisted facility only blocks from our house. This has been a tremendous blessing. She is extremely happy there.

In addition, our son Alex spent 6 of 8 years in prison. The culprit? His choice of drugs: methamphetamine, truly the devil’s drug. But by God’s Grace alone, he received God’s gift of salvation and that has made all the difference. Now his life is centered around Jesus.  He spent the last year with us and I’m so blessed that he is clean,healthy and sober.

Alex. Clean and sober. Thank God!

Alex. Clean and sober. Thank God!healthy, sober, employed and living on his own. God is good.

You may notice my once “beautiful head of hair” not only turned gray, it turned loose as well. Oh well. I just don’t look in the mirror much nowadays. It is what it is.


Mary Jane and me. Happy Together!

So, it seems our lives have transitioned into a new chapter. In my next blog, I’ll let you know what’s going on with my writing, speaking and training.


Thanks for reading this. My future blogs will be focused upon offering something useful to you. Please keep reading.

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

You Get What You Ask For

Low Prices, Discounts, Sales, Financing, Free Services, Giveaways, Promotions!

Plus 18 Months No Interest, No Payments!

Plus 18 Months No Interest, No Payments!

This is the predominant language of retail mattress advertising. It’s a bidding war where the winner is really the loser. Swing the door marketing does create traffic and does produce unit sales, but there is a price to pay. Low profits are just part of the cost.

Consumers already tend to think of mattresses as utilitarian. Advertising them as a commodity perpetuates that attitude. Is it any wonder mattress shoppers prioritize getting the most for their dollar?

It’s a daunting task for many retail sales associates to face these emboldened shoppers on a mission, searching for that elusive best value.

The Bearer of Bad News

How’d you like to be the bearer of bad news every time a high impact ad comes out? “Well, the featured mattress is about 10% of the price of our top quality mattresses, would you like to see them?”

When you add in the reality of retail, most mattresses are sold evenings, weekends and holidays, is it any wonder there is a high turnover rate.

But the real losers are all the people sleeping on products well below the quality they could-a, should-a, would-a bought, if only they were enticed and motivated to improve their quality of life rather than get a bang for their buck. They’ll never know what they’ve missed. What a shame.

Brand Awareness

Most manufacturers use advertising to create brand awareness, then it’s up to the retailer to create urgency and drive business into their stores.

Many manufacturers are putting out uplifting and inspiring quality of life messages. The breakdown is at retail where value, savings and urgency story reigns supreme.

The paradigm that drives retail is that if the consumer seeks value, we’ll give it to them. But it’s a Catch 22. Stores advertise value because shoppers seek value & vice versa.
Both are caught in a loop.

There’s a New Sheriff in TownMB900316924

Social Media is causing retailers take a closer look at the messages they put out.
People may be attracted by a retailers ad, but more and more are seeking validation about what and where to buy and are sharing experiences with their peer networks.

Which message do you think has the most positive impact on retailers?

“I just got a steal on a mattress. $499 queen with mismatched foundation and free delivery.” or “Sleeping on a cloud! Just got an awesome mattress and I feel great!

A Higher Purpose

Dale Carnegie says to motivate people to your way of thinking, appeal to their more noble instincts. People do respond to a higher calling, but only if they hear it.

How about this message? We should be shouting it from the rooftops!

The positive impact of deep restorative sleep is greatly enhanced by a top quality mattress!

Getting deep restorative sleep may be the best thing we can do for our health, wealth and happiness.

When it comes to quality of life issues, a comfortable supportive mattress may be the best consumer product of all!

IMG_2564Imagine how a woman might respond to a message that sleeping on a top quality mattress can help her feel better and look younger, make her more productive, improve her relationships and make her better prepared to deal with daily challenges.

Want to make advertising more effective? Giving a glimpse of what life could be is a powerful motivator and a great place to start. Or you can have a clearance sale.

Either way, you get what you ask for.

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Simplify the Qualifying Process for Mattress Shoppers?

showroomBlink Part 2

In a previous blog: Mattress Shoppers Decide in a Blink of an Eye I asked the question:

Can we as an industry boil down the information we can obtain from our customers to a few indicators that will determine the type of mattress that will be best suited for them?

This blog answers that question.

Simplify Qualifying

Is there a simple way to more accurately qualify mattress shoppers to determine which mattresses are the good choices for each one?

A conventional mode of thought is to gather as much information as possible. But authorMalcolm Gladwell, in his book Blink, says that may not be the case. “When it comes to important decisions, often less is more?”

(Repeating from my last blog): Gladwell describes a cardiac clinic that discovered three basic indicators could be used to determine which patients, complaining of chest pain, would actually go into cardiac arrest. The accuracy of the predictions far exceeded the cardiologists’ judgements based upon multiple factors and years of experience.

Wouldn’t that be something, if there was a litmus test to determine which mattress  would best fit each customer?  Well there may just be. The best predictor of the future is often the past.

These three key indicators reveal the information that can help determine which mattresses customers will more likely be satisfied with.

  • The type, quality and comfort level of the shopper’s current mattress.
  • The length of time she had it.
  • The quality of her sleeping experience.

A Better Approach

1181867521_mattress1-220x165Here is a qualifying method that will help discover this needed information that will help guide shoppers to become satisfied customers.

The single most popular qualifying questions is “What feel or comfort level do you like?”
While this sounds like a great question, actually it is the opposite. Understand, most shoppers have only one reference point for their answer and that is the mattress they are replacing. They likely have no idea what other comfort are even available. The other problem is that what ever their answer may be, locks you into showing them what they want. Let’s say, they want firm. Trying to show them other comfort levels may sometimes cause them to mistrust you.

A better question is to simply ask, “Are you familiar with the three basic comfort levels available?”  Almost 100% of shoppers will say “No, I guess not.”

This opens the door to show a representation of a pillow top, plush and firm model, asking the shopper to take the time to really get the feel and to give each one objective  consideration.

“Let me show you so you will know. From there I will ask you some questions that will help determine which models you will be most happy with.”

Experience and Expectation

This approach puts the RSA in the advantageous position (for both parties) of pro action Woman Sleepingrather than reaction. Once that has been established, it’s easier to engage shoppers and discover their experience with their current mattress, then address their expectations for a new one.

“Which model is most like your current mattress?” 

Once established, gather the needed information about the shoppers current mattress and her sleeping experience on it.

“How long have you had it?”  “How much did you pay for it?”  “Did you sleep well on it?” “What did you like and dislike about it?”

The next step is to ask: “Which do you like best now?”

RSA’s must then evaluate all the information, keeping in mind multiple possibilities, i.e. the shopper has a firm and may now prefer the firm, plush or pillow top, etc.

If they are accustomed to a firm set, selling them a pillow top may not be the best choice and vice versa. If the experience was positive, it’s safer to suggest sticking with a similar feel or not deviating too far from it.

“Don’t fix what’s not broken.”

The biggest culprit for returns is when the customer makes an extreme switch in comfort levels, like going from a hard mattress to a pillow top, or vice versa.

For those that do elect to switch from firm to soft, it is especially important to address expectations. “Softer mattresses show indentations where you sleep, would that be of concern for you?” or “Do you have any back problems, do you expect a new mattress to fix that? Some people do respond well to new mattresses, but sometimes they need to visit a doctor.”

Its best to find out what their expectations are in advance and to make sure they are realistic.

Explain that one sleeps on a firm bed and in a soft one, resulting in body impressions and that it takes at least 30 days to adjust.

Taking extra time and care to explain will increase the likelihood customers will be happy with their mattress.

While there are lots of qualifying issues to consider, it’s advantageous to streamline the process. These three simple indicators can reveal the information to help determine which mattresses may be likely be good choices for each and every customer.

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Trends that Can Help Mattress Retailers Increase Sales and Profits

Note: This is a reprint of an article I wrote for Retailer Now last year. The publication for the National Home Furnishings Association. Thought I’d share it with you.

What’s New?

Mattresses Are Good!

Every so often a new trend will start in the mattress industry, such as non flip, or “memory foam” and such. Some are new and some are recycled ideas from the past, as the case may be now. If there is a trend in the industry over the last year or two that can offer mattress retailers a way to replace fewer footsteps with higher sales and profits, it’s gel mattresses and adjustable bases. I speak of them together, because the two go hand in hand as I’ll explain.

It’s understandable that gel is doing well. It’s relatively new, lots of hype, has a great unique feel and a  real curiosity factor. Their simplicity makes it easy for RSA’s to learn and consequently present to shoppers, an important factor with the higher ticket prices.

A New Trend?

But adjustable bases have been around for decades.  So what’s going on with them? What’s behind their increasing popularity?  The growing popularity of gel along with memory foam and latex have boosted adjustable sales for the last several years. They are ideally suited for each other, because of the obvious flexibility and conforming properties of non innerspring mattresses.

The increased demand for adjustable beds has resulted in more availability, lower cost and better design. New signature-select-splitking-adjustable-bedmodels are more sleek, less cumbersome and are touted for their ability to personalize and enhance the sleep experience.

Additionally, they can help transform a bedroom into a media haven. So Instead of being associated with hip replacement, adjustable beds are just hip. Yeah!

Jump on Board

  • Display:

Showcase the top ticket gel mattresses on adjustable bases with upscale lifestyle images and all the accessories in a bedroom /media center setting. BUZZZZ!

  • Merchandising:

Offer multiple levels of price points in both gel mattresses and bases. You can take the gel story down to lower price levels by offering innersprings with gel comfort layers. The same with bases. Feature a top model then offer several step down versions.

  • Presentation:

Encourage RSA’s to spend more “quality time” with their shoppers. Teach them to use the “curiosity factor.” “You have to come try these awesome new models, and then we can find a model that’s just right for you.” As shoppers step down, minimize the differences and maximize the similarities. The longer they lie down, the more likely they will buy.

  • Demonstration:

Have shoppers lie on an adjustable bed in a flat position. Let them them raise the head and then the foot to a position they like, taking plenty of time. Then ask them to put it back in the flat position. SOLD!

  • Advertising:

You get what you ask for. Focusing on price may bring footsteps, but also bargain hunters. Use lifestyle images to feature gel, adjustable and other top quality products. Giving people a “glimpse of what life could be” can evoke the emotions that motivate people to take action.

Surfer on a Wave

Try these suggestions and ride the wave to higher sales and profits!

Posted in Industry Topics, Retailers | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Retail Mattress Pricing and Discounts

MM900213527-1A Matter of Policy

When retailers seek my advice on how to get their pricing and discounts under control.  Here is an example what I suggest in general terms.
It’s wise to address pricing and discounts as a matter of policy. Along with quality of product and customer service, fair pricing practices play an integral role in the credibility and reputation of a company. I recommend a clearly defined and written policy that can allow for leeway, flexible pricing, and exceptions for unusual circumstance, but otherwise should be adhered to without exception.

Creating MistrustSlumberland Furniture and Mattress O'Fallon Store 63366 63128 St Louis Mo Lazboy Tempurpedic Sealy Simmons Natuzzi Leather_medium

The general public has been conditioned to expect not only sales and discounts by the mattress industry, but also price negotiation at the point of sale. On utilitarian type products, tires, appliances, mattresses, the prevailing mindset for shoppers is one of replacement. Needs vs. wants. Most people prioritize getting a good deal, or as they say, “bang for their buck.”  Often that deal may be a perception.


Bait and Switch

Bait and Switch?

With mattresses being such a competitive product, retailers have made the “lowest price, longest financing, most free services” the main reason for consumers to shop their stores. I call this “swing the door marketing” and it harms our industry by creating mistrust. It may not technically be “bait and switch” but it is certainly perceived as such by many consumers. Just google it and see for yourself.

While this approach may increase traffic, there is a price to be paid for doing so, in the form of lost profits and credibility. Consumers shop for mattresses like a commodity, not caring where they buy it and certainly not developing loyalty to a particular retailer. It’s hit and run buying and selling.

With this preconditioning, it’s no wonder that shoppers are ready to bargain. Sales associates facing that mindset are often put upon their heels and go into a reactive mode to demonstrate value. Not an easy proposition on a product with such limited parameters as a mattress. (2 components, 4 sizes).

Knowing that, many retailers purposefully inflate their prices in order to give the customers the perception of a deal. Mark up to mark down. It does work, but that system is fraught with problems.

Unprepared RSA’s that have leeway on pricing most often bypass any real selling and addressing of customer needs by dropping price for no valid reason when shoppers raise objections.

Trust me.

Trust me.


Pricing and discounting gets into the whole area of fairness. How fair is it for one polite customer to just accept the list price while the next one that rudely demands a deal and threatens to walk out buys the same product at sometimes hundreds of dollars less?

I’ve been in markets where word has gotten out about retailers that drop price in this manner. In time, shoppers learned that all they had to do was act disinterested and threaten to walk out  to get the “real price.”
In today’s world or social media networking, that word of mouth now travels at light speed.

Principal Based Pricing

But there are many successful retailers that do not play that game.
It starts with the company, and all the employees valuing and believing in the products they offer. They are proud of the products. They sell them at fair prices and they don’t go around cutting individual deals. The price you see is the price you pay.

I dealt with a 50 plus year old family business in Dallas that adhered to this type of pricing. Weir’s Furniture Village. They publicly proclaim their pricing principles. Both their sales associates and customers understand and accept it.


This is the price.

Their RSA’s present the products on their own merit, focus upon addressing their customers’ needs, proudly defend their prices as fair and let the chips fall where they may.  Of course, they are not the lowest price on any given product, but research confirms that many people will willing pay more for the same product to buy it from someone they like, trust and believe is working in their behalf.  When investing in a quality mattress, shoppers like believing that the retailer will be there when they need them.

Over the years Weir’s commanded such a great reputation that when twice a year they offered a mere 10% off. Amazingly, customers would line up out the door before the store opened to take advantage of it. This, in the midst of other retailers offering 50% discounts on a daily basis. So, there is something to be said for legitimate sales and promotions. If authentic, they can drive good quality footsteps.

Retailers that want to take this approach, must price their products to where they believe it’s fair and competitive based upon the relativity of quality as compared to others. Meaning, if their goods are of better quality than their competitors, the prices will justifiably be higher.

Ideas and Suggestions

Publicly state pricing policy. “We price our hand crafted products fairly. Unlike other retailers, we do artificially not mark our prices up in order arbitrarily mark them down to give the perception of a “good deal”….”  Again, shoppers are conditioned to expect discounting. You can change their expectations with a stated pricing policy and they will accept it. If they understand that up front, it makes the process much easier.


There is nothing wrong with building in a modest discount for special situations. But it is MP910220936important that discounts have a valid reason. As an example, one could offer discounts  for buying more than one set.

If you do allow some leeway on pricing, it is vital that pricing drops have some valid reason and that cannot be because the customer was demanding it. I can’t overstate the importance of holding price except for legitimate reasons. Like the old saying goes, if you give something, get something in return. That is an valid and honorable position to take. i.e. purchase the entire accessory package, or buy more than one bed, etc

Some retailers hold the value on their mattress sets and discount accessories and or services.

Legitimate Sales and Promotions

I am a big believer in legitimate sales and promotions to not only incentivize shoppers, but also to allow them to invest in better quality products than they may otherwise choose. That will be a topic for a later date.

Posted in Industry Topics, Priciples of Success, Retailers | Tagged | 1 Comment

Mattress Shoppers Decide in a Blink of an Eye

In the Blink of An Eye

“I would rather trust a woman’s instinct than a man’s reason.” – Stanley Baldwin

In his #1 best seller, Blink, The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, author Malcolm Gladwell, reveals that our subconscious is even more powerful than we thought, going well beyond intuition.

There is part of our brain that leaps to conclusions called the adaptive unconscious. The study of this kind of decision making is one of the most important new fields in psychology.

I believe this book contains a great number of ideas and concepts that can open up  new areas of discussion to help our industry better communicate with and serve our customers.

Here are a few of the major points along with my thoughts on how they can impact retail mattress sales.

Gladwell says this “giant computer of ours” is capable of making very quick judgementsMB900442237based upon very little information. He asserts these subconscious decisions are often superior to our conscious ones because the “more is better” approach often creates too many hypotheticals, resulting in confusion.

  • Mattress shoppers immediately begin to draw conclusions about a retailer from the moment they enter the parking lot. It’s important that every detail of our presentation be objectively examined, improved or enhanced and maintained. Based upon the messages from a store (advertising) and about a store (word of mouth) prospective shoppers quickly decide whether or not to visit. If they choose to, most formulate expectations. i.e “I’m going to get bang for my buck”, or “I’m going to find a mattress that I can sleep better upon.”

Gladwell demonstrates the effectiveness of what he calls “thin slicing” using a study group to identify effective vs. ineffective college professors based upon only two seconds of video tape with no sound. Their judgements were consistent with evaluations of those same professors made by student’s after a full semester of classes.

  •  Shoppers size up RSA’s immediately. There is nothing more important than being fully prepared. Everything from product knowledge and selling skills to grooming, attitude and body language must be scrutinized. It works both ways, RSA’s also make snap judgements about their shoppers. It’s important to never judge by appearance. Instead, assume that each shopper may likely choose to buy a top quality mattress.

Just Looking?
Maybe she saw something she didn’t like!

In another study, Gladwell shows that doctors that weren’t sued for malpractice are ones that patients thought listened to them and cared about them. For patients, it isn’t what happens to them that causes the to sue, it’s if they like the doctor or not. The report went on to show that the doctors not sued, spent on average, 3 minutes longer with each patient.

  • The point we should consider is obvious. RSA’s that take the time to listen, show respect, and address concerns will be much more successful than those that don’t.

Gladwell goes on to describe a cardiac clinic that discovered three basic indicators could be used to determine which patients complaining of chest pain would actually go into cardiac arrest. The accuracy of the predictions far exceeded the cardiologists’ judgements based upon multiple factors and years of experience.

  • Can we as an industry boil down the information we can obtain from our customers to a few indicators that will determine the type of mattress that will be best suited for them?

In the blink of an eye, our customers jump to a series of conclusions.

What are they concluding about your store, your products and you?


Note: This is an excerpt from one of my Sleep Savvy columns.

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Make Your Dreams Come True? Sleep on A Comfortable Mattress!

Note: This is an article I wrote for a Women’s Magazine. Thought I’d share it with you.


Make Your Dreams Come True? Sleep on a Comfortable Mattress!

It’s not just a catchy phrase; research now shows that getting deep, restorative sleep on a comfortable, supportive mattress can better enable you to fulfill your dreams because you can wake up each day physically, intellectually and emotionally renewed.  In this improved state we are more efficient, productive and better equipped to relate and interact with our family and others.

Every month, the average person spends 10 days sleeping on a mattress. We all understand that daily vitamins, exercise, and healthy meal choices all have a cumulative beneficial effect over time.  The positive effects of sleep over time may have even more dramatic effects on our health and appearance.

It’s especially important for children to sleep on quality mattresses as they grow and develop.

So why are people wary of buying a new mattress?  

It’s just human nature.  We buy things we want for how we imagine they will make us feel.  The items we want offer us an emotional payback and the hope for happiness.

But, we tend to take products that we need and depend upon every day for granted.  We buy those items for the function they perform using our intellect and logic to discern value.  Because mattresses seem similar, it’s not always easy to establish their value.

Real Value

The real value of a mattress is how it can make us feel.  A quality mattress offers a direct path to a deep down foundation of happiness and a sense of well being.   If you haven’t tried a new mattress recently, you will be amazed with the plush comfort and the luxurious covers.  Go see for yourself.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you shop.

  • Don’t scrimp.

Like anything else, you get what you pay for.   The better the mattress the more likely you will get extra minutes of deep uninterrupted sleep per night.  They are one of the most important investments you can make.

  • Buy from a reputable store 

Reputable stores know how to match you with the right product.  Caring associates beginCouple Examining Mattress With Salesman by asking you questions that will help them understand and meet your personal sleep needs and have the genuine motive of helping improve your quality of life.

  • Test drive

Just as you would test drive a car, take plenty of time to really get the feel of the mattresses by using a comfortable pillow, lie in the position you normally wake up in and let your imagination kick in. Get a glimpse of what life could be if you could escape from life’s daily stress to a cloud in the bedroom every night.

  • Consider your experience and expectation.

As you try different models, find one most similar to your current model and then see if you like other comfort choices better.  If you slept well on your current style for a number of years then consider staying with a similar feel.  If you like the thicker, softer models, keep in mind that you sleep in, rather than on them, as you would with a more traditional, firmer model.  Do expect the thicker, softer ones to show indentations because they are designed to conform to you. Allow 30 days to adjust to a new mattress.

  • Enhance the experience

Maximize your enjoyment of a new mattress and protect your investment by including these important accessories and services with your purchase.

  • pride_hotel_bed1_lsMattress Protectors.  The new generation of “pads” are breathable and moisture proof and will keep your mattress dry, fresh, odor free and sanitary for years.
  • Top quality frame.  Inadequate frames can actually cause damage to your mattress set and possibly void the warranty
  • New Pillows.  Pillows should be replaced every couple of years. Pillows wear out more quickly than mattresses and can cause neck and back problems. Also, they become unsanitary.
  • Sheets and comforters.  New high thread-count sheets have the feel of silk and are more durable than ever.  Comforters offer new breathable temperature-regulating fibers.


Create a haven in your bedroom with a luxurious mattress and dream away!

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“No Virginia, There is No Perfect Mattress.”


Santa in bed. Courtesy of Simmons Mattress Co.

In 1897, Dr. Philip O’Hanlon, a coroner’s assistant on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, was asked by his then eight-year-old daughter, Virginia (1889–1971), whether Santa Claus really existed. Hence the now famous reply, “Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus!

I’m glad Virginia didn’t ask her dad if there really was a perfect mattress.

While there is a Santa Claus, there is no “Perfect Mattress.” Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but there isn’t one model that is “perfect” or even “just right” or “best” for any prospective buyer.

Tell the Truth.. the Whole Truth… and Nothing But the Truth!

No cheating. There is no degree to honesty.

There is no degree to Honesty.

The truth is that there are a lot of good mattresses out there. And for most people, there are probably an abundance of models they would be satisfied with. Unless unless there is something really wrong, poor quality or support, defect or just or a comfort level that is dramatically wrong for them, most people pretty quickly get used to their new mattress and don’t really think about it.

On A Mission


“You think this here’s hard?” “The little lady and I went mattress shopping last week.”

Yet on most every sales floor, everyday, RSA’s and shoppers set out on a missions to find the ideal mattress.

It’s important to understand the mindset of shoppers. seeking an elusive best value is either at the top of the list or close to it. It will always be a major factor. That’s why, even when shoppers do find mattresses they like, they are still reluctant to pull the trigger.

Now add in the burden of trying to  find the “perfect one” (which implies that there is such a thing), well, is it any wonder that closing mattress sales is not an easy proposition.

While finding the perfect mattress as a stated goal may sound good and reassuring at first, in reality, it may have the opposite effect.

“How Can I Be Sure?” (BTW: A great song by the Young Rascals)

I’ll ask you some questions and then together we will find the perfect mattress or the one that is just right for you? ” What can be wrong with that. Well once they start the process of finding that bed, it doesn’t take long for  shoppers quickly surmise, there are too many mattresses on this floor to even consider them all.

Their minds start working. “Wow, this is just one store, there lots of stores to choose from. “Uh Oh, If we are looking for the perfect bed, how in the world can he/she or I know for sure. How can anyone know?”

Even if they do buy, that thought of the ideal bed may likely haunt them. This is one of the main causes for either buyers remorse or worse, for customers to continue shopping in an effort to validate their purchase.

So what now?

A Better Goal

Ball in the Net


A better goal is to use Guided Discovery, a goal oriented conversation with the goal being to find a few models to choose from.

Not only do we want every shopper to buy from us, we want them to be satisfied, assured and confident with their decision.

The more empowered shoppers are and the more ownership  they have in the process, the more confident, validated the will be.  They more more likely stay in the store and buy from you. They are less likely to wonder what they may have missed.

Down Play

Wood, Steel, Upholstery

Wood, Steel, Upholstery

Typically we try to build up mattresses by touting their unique, qualities, features and benefits. That just makes sense.

Paradoxically,  we may be better off downplaying the product, playing up the simplicity and similarities between mattresses.

Note: Don’t get me wrong. For their benefit, I always steer people toward the highest quality they can afford. This approach just helps your shoppers be at ease.

Try This:

“Mattresses are really pretty simple and there are many quality products on the market. Our store can buy any brand we want. We have chosen these brands and models because of their quality and their performance over they years. We have supreme confidence in them.”

We have happy customers all over the area sleeping comfortably on mattresses they bought here. The key to mattress shopping is taking the time to find some models that work for you and then let you choose one you like the best.  That’s exactly what we will do today.

By taking this approach, you are not setting the bar so high that your create doubt and uncertainty.

Wait then Validate

After your shopper lands on a model or two they like, then by all means, use product knowledge, features and benefits to overcome objections and validate their choice.

I think you’ve picked an excellent model that will provide you years of sleeping comfort.”

“Let’s not keep you waiting another night!”

Woman Sleeping
“Yes Virginia, this one will do just fine!”

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