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Weekly Better Bedding Selling Tip #4 - The Four Letter "F" Word-FIRM

Furniture World Magazine

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See additional articles in this Furniture World Magazine Series below

Article Summary: A mattress that is too hard or “FIRM” will arch and stretch the lower back muscles if your customer is a back sleeper. It will increase the pressure points on the shoulder and hips if they are a side sleeper.

View all articles by Gordon Hecht

by Gordon Hecht and Denny Bradford , Ashley Sleep

Is the firmest mattress always the best mattress for your customer? For decades, Doctors and Chiropractors have told us that a “FIRM” mattress is the best and soft mattress is not. What we have understood FIRM bed to be is a HARD bed.

Consumers believe that the harder the mattress, the better the support. This is not always the case. Think about it- the floor is firm, but is that good for our backs?

Remember, our body has curves, and we need a bed that contours to that.
When a customer walks into a store and a salesperson walks up and greets them with “Can I help you?”,   you know the answer will be? “No thanks, I’m just looking”.

That salesperson has just been dismissed by the customer. This is a trained response. Now the salesperson has to work extra hard to get that customer to open up and talk. In that same light-when you ask a customer if they want a firm or soft mattress, 9 out of 10 times you will get the answer firm. This is called a trained response.  As salespeople, we do not want trained responses.  When greeting a customer, avoid using the word FIRM. For decades, we have been told that FIRM is good and it’s ingrained in our minds is that a firm bed is best.

What we like to ask is “do you want a hard or soft feel in a mattress”? Firm is considered support. Any mattress over a $599 price point will have good support. We want to make them aware of what FEEL they prefer, what comfort level? This will help you tailor your qualifying questions for that customer.

Something that is too hard or “FIRM” will arch and stretch the lower back muscles if your customer is a back sleeper. It will increase the pressure points on the shoulder and hips if they are a side sleeper. Feel for yourself by standing against a wall with your heels, shoulders and head touching the wall and see how much Pulling and stretching in your neck and lower back you’ll feel. These is why people sleeping on beds that are too hard toss and turn during the night trying to find a supportive position.

Next week: Body Language and Positioning.

This series is written by Gordon Hecht and Denny Bradford, Ashley Sleep Directors of Sales. To comment or ask a question on any of the bedding tips in this series, contact Gordon Hecht at ghecht@ashleyfurniture.com.

Gordon Hecht is a 35+ year veteran of the Furniture Business, starting as a delivery helper in Las Vegas, NV.  He has served as a Regional Manager and Director of Training for a large Midwestern chain.  Currently with Ashley Sleep  division of  Ashley Furniture Industries, Gordon travels the East, Midwest, and Canada training retail sales teams on selling bedding and works with store owners to maximize sales.  Gordon resides in Columbus, OH with his wife, and has one adult son.

Denny Bradford started in the bedding business as a store manager for a Texas based waterbed dealer.  His 18 years of sales and management experience includes directing a seven-store bedding chain and serving as Bedding Director for a Dallas based retailer. Denny covers the Western US and Canada for Ashley Sleep.  He resides outside of Dallas, TX with his wife and son.


Gordon Hecht is Director of Sales for Ashley Sleep division of Ashley Furniture Industries. He started his 30+ years experience in the Home Furnishings industry in Las Vegas, NV as a delivery helper and driver. From that ground level start he started his sales career-and passion for our industry-while in college.

He has been recognized for outstanding sales and management achievement with several organizations including Drexel-Heritage, RB Furniture, Reliable Stores, and Sofa Express. He has served as Store Manager, Multi-unit manager and Director of Training. With his first-hand knowledge of our industry’s front line Gordon has devoted his career to guiding others to exceed their goals.

Joining Ashley Furniture HomeStores in 2007, Gordon managed a 44 store district covering 11 states and 4 time zones. He joined the Ashley Sleep team in 2009 and has worked to make it one of the fastest growing bedding lines in the country.

Co-author of the “Better Bedding Selling Tips” featured on Furniture World Online, Gordon has been a frequent contributor to company newsletters, and contributing writer for industry magazines. Gordon is based in Columbus, OH and is married with one adult son. He can be reached at  ghecht@ashleyfurniture.com

View all articles by Gordon Hecht

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