Congratulations on your decision to propose marriage to Kate. It’s about time – you have only been dating for four years. Now for the engagement ring selection. Kate is everything you always wanted in a partner, so you decide to get her a diamond ring that says all that and more. Your budget is a tidy $25,000, so you’re off to the nearest pawnshop to select the right diamond…what’s that you say, no way? Right, because even though a pawnshop may have the same diamond Tiffany might stock, you are not about to fork out $25,000 to a pawnshop, are you? Most of us won’t because of a cultural phenomenon we call “expectations.”
Expectations are set in many different ways. Restaurants do it with white cloths on every table, waiters in tuxedos and expensive art on the walls, setting definite expectations that you will enjoy an amazing dining experience. You may order chicken, as you would at a local diner, but here the expectations are different. Here you expect nicer, more comfortable seats, impeccable service, attention to detail, spotless silverware and a price to go with all of this. Here it’s not a chicken dinner; it’s coq au vin.
So what does all this have to do with mattresses, you ask? Everything!
Most sleep shop owners/managers train their sales employees to upsell. Staff are told to get to know what the customer is looking for, why she is in the market for a mattress, what brought her to your store, what’s important to her, etc. Yep! The RSA is building a relationship and that is very important because the idea here is to upsell - a key element in the retail mattress business. After all, if everyone walks in looking for that $199 promotional king set you advertised and actually walks out with it (a point I’ll deal with another time), everyone loses including the customer.
You want to sell some of those premium mattresses. You have to sell them because that’s where the real money is. So what have you done to help that RSA reach that goal?
Folks, I want to call your attention to the way most (over 70 percent) of retail sleep specialty stores are set up as seen through the eyes of your customers. As potential buyers enter most stores, their eyes are chastised by row upon row of rectangular boxes covered in fabric. I call it the Chiclet gum display scheme.
Now consider this: You take some of your better inventory and actually display it differently; say you build a wall and create a “roomette.” Or you remove that 80% off sign from behind that $2,800 mattress and replace it with some beautiful contemporary artwork. You could also place the king mattress set in a nice iron bed frame and cover it with an elegant duvet. You have now set some expectations that a customer understands. Yes, you’ll have to wash the duvet because customers will put their feet on it but you’ll sell more premium beds. That I can guarantee.
You have now successfully converted an area in your store to a “Tiffany” and set the proper expectations. Your premium mattress sales will increase as well as your ability to retain some good RSAs.
The assumption here is that you are already providing exceptional customer service along with attention to detail from the time the customer enters your store to the time she takes delivery of her new sleep experience. Tell her that her body may need time to adjust to the new sleep surface and make sure you capture her e-mail address. Follow up to make sure all is well.
Steven King is an author, speaker, teacher, and trainer. He has written two highly acclaimed books, including "Money in The Mattress: The Sales Associates Guide to Premium Mattress Sales" available on Amazon.com. E-mail him at email@example.com.