16 Bedding Sales Tips
Furniture World Magazine
By Peter A. Marino
By Peter Marino
1 Create rapport with the customers. Don’t make this a grim experience. You’re not selling caskets.
2 Find out what their current mattress is like. Was it once a comfortable mattress that gradually lost its comfort?
3 What’s wrong with its current performance? Does it sag? Is its edge support gone?
4 Make shopping for a mattress a pleasant experience. Customers don’t buy when they’re mad, sad, or scared. They only buy when they're glad. Make them glad.
5 Shoe salespeople don’t just show their shoes; they have their customers try them out. Don’t merely point to your mattresses. Have the customers try them, and not just for a few seconds.
6 Once you get through the regularly asked closed probes having to do with size, who’s going to be sleeping on the mattress, etc., start to ask some open probes, such as, “Mind telling me what the most important thing your looking for in your new mattress?”
7 Tell your customers you are going to have them go through comfort buying. Don’t refer to it as comfort selling. Unfortunately, the word selling has negative connotations like the words taxes and mortgages.
8 You can never know too much about your sleep sets, but you can talk too much about them. Customers don’t come in to learn about how to manufacture a sleep set. Were that the case, your owner would have advertised for them to go to a mattress factory.
9 If you are selling in a furniture store, you may need to guide your customers to your store’s sleep shop. Along the way, develop good rapport with your customers, and if you have the time, get some valuable information from them. You might try the 3-step opening: “Would you mind telling me, on the way to our sleep shop, what your greatest concern is about buying a mattress? That way I can skip all those questions that have nothing to do with why you’re here. Would that be all right?” You can use the same 3-step opening if you work in a sleep shop. Simply skip the words “on the way to our sleep shop.”
10 Regarding the manufacturers specs, take your cue from the customer. Most customers don’t want to hear about the specs. No matter how good you are at explaining them, most customers just end up confused. If the customer should ask about the specs, explain them as briefly as you can by using the model samples with which your store provides you
11 Don’t talk features and benefits until your customer gets on one of your mattresses and his or her body language tells you he or she likes that one. At that point you might say something like the following; “What you’re liking about this mattress is the way it cradles and caresses you as it supports you. Let me show you a sample of the foam on this mattress. It’s the same foam that burn centers use to conform to the sensitive bodies of burn victims. Features tell, but benefits sell.
12 The best way to handle a price objection is to make use of the following sayings before objection ever comes up:
(a) When you buy quality, you cry only once.
(b) You don’t always get what you pay for, but you hardly ever get what you don’t pay for.
(c) Price is much like condiments; you should be putting them on food that already tastes good. Price alone won’t ever give you a good night’s sleep, or your present mattress would be doing that for you. It’s already paid for!
13 In asking for the sale, timing is everything. But keep in mind that timing must always be accompanied by buying signals. The stronger, the better. It is at the point of asking for the sale that all the little things you did to create excellent rapport with your customer pay off. Remember, customers don’t buy when they are mad, sad, scared; only when they are glad.
14 Remember that rapport is both a state and a process, and that it is a volatile state. As soon as you discontinue the process that won you rapport, it can vanish in a second.
15 When you ask for the sale, do so with confidence. Remember the Roman poet Livy’s words: Confidence begets confidence.
16 Handle every customer objection as an implied need. Your task is to support the implied need, and not to look upon the objection as an adversary to be overcome. Selling is a collaborative process, not a competitive one.
Corporate trainer, educator and speaker Dr. Peter A. Marino has written extensively on sales training techniques and their furniture retailing applications. Scores of his articles are posted to the "Sales Skill Index" on furninfo.com. He is available for in-store training, and speaking.
Read other articles by Peter A. Marino