Professional Salespeople Just to Sell Beds...Are You Crazy?

Posted by David Fisher on

Would anyone on Earth want to invest the time, effort, and expenditure to develop a highly trained, extremely knowledgeable, professional sales staff just to sell mattresses? ABSOLUTELY NOT, especially if they're still wasting money advertising $199 Queen sets and their average bedding sale is around $699. But is this the customer they are targeting to grow their business?

Coil counts, firm, plush, and pillow top differentiations have been replaced with memory foam, gel, talalay latex, and hybrids, among others. Consumers are more aware of their sleep habits, specific needs, physical, and health issues. Advancements in technology have truly brought the bedding industry into the 21st Century. Products now help consumers suffering from fibromyalgia, sleep apnea, arthritis, acid reflux, and many other ailments. These new sleep systems offer features that benefit consumers by eliminating motion transfer, relieving pain and pressure from recent surgeries (or those lingering from older ones), optimizing spinal alignment, and reducing dust mites and bed bugs. The very nature of these dynamic advancements require a new breed of Retail Sales Associate, one who understands these technologies and can explain, educate, and demonstrate them (in layman's terms) to today's more sophisticated, demanding consumers. The more professional they are, the more health and medical knowledge they have, the more control and direction they will have in the selling process. This creates trust and gives consumers confidence that their sleep consultant has the expertise and experience to guide them to the right decision. This is what enables the RSA's to easily close higher-priced systems.

But do these bedding professionals just appear on the selling floor?

The industry has yet to master or even formally address a higher level of professionalism. Without any rational or dedicated developmental programs in place, most retailers let the cream rise to the top on their own, while the majority of RSA's remain average or good at best, without an ongoing process in place designed to raise their level of effectiveness. Organizationally, what incentives are set in motion and who is responsible for seeing that these RSA's are the best trained, most knowledgeable, most up to date technologically they can be? And what safeguards are there that guarantee these “Sleep Professionals” continue to perform at the highest levels possible?

The challenges are real and the future of the industry is at stake. Why should vendors need to build even stronger, closer relationships with their retail partners? Their success is dependent upon each other's. And both are dependent upon the success of the RSA for turning as many costly opportunities as possible into sales.  Does the industry really want to leave the closing rates to chance?

For tips on becoming a more professional sleep consultant enroll in Geek University.


About David

David Fisher is originally from Philadelphia, Pa. He owned and managed a chain of women’s shoe stores in Pittsburgh for many years. Later he was a sales associate at Levin Furniture in Pittsburgh, Rooms to Go in South Florida, and RC Willey in Las Vegas, Nevada. Fisher was National Sales Manager for Bell Sleep Products LLC, a bedding line developed for Bell Furniture Industries by International Bedding Corporation. He is currently a sales consultant with Macy’s. View all articles by David
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