Selling Sleep (General Tips)

I don’t want get too personal, but I’m not a huge fan of shopping. I’m sorry, I don’t mean to over-share. You shouldn’t care that I don’t like to shop, but you should care how your customers feel if you’re selling mattresses to make your living.

Normal salespeople have a reputation for being pushy and overbearing. I have bought things from these people before, I have bought big-ticket items from these people before. But I figured out how to never to go back to these kinds of people or the places that employ them because it made my life a lot better to situations like this completely. It made me extremely distrustful of those in sales (surprise, surprise).  Again, I’m not necessarily the average consumer, but I think most people would be happier with a person who knows their stuff inside and out, and just wants to present it so people don’t have to do all the research on their own. I would also love to meet someone who honestly tries to get to know what I want based on my budget and needs. It’s easy to miss what people say, and it’s even easier to miss what they don’t say. I’ve worked with people a great deal, and it’s rare for me to come across someone who truly recognizes what the other person is asking for or saying. To keep pace and compete with online sales, it’s important to have a great technique with customers.

Sounds great in theory, but if you’re working on commission or you know your shop has a quota to hit, then it’s not going to happen. It’s not how humans work. It’s not fair, and it’s a situation to be avoided at all costs, but it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t happen. The commission-based structure might work for a time and motivate your employees, but your employees are likely motivated by fear of not making enough to pay rent. You don’t want a staff running on that kind of energy.

If you approach the product and the customer with relaxation in mind, you might be able to get the buyer into the state of mind of what it’s like to need the very product they’re testing out. It’s hard to get comfortable on any bed when you’re not tired and you know a salesperson is looking right at you. It’s kind of weird. But if you give them the relevant information of how the mattress will help them feel during the night, and then back off a little you could see some grateful people which might lead to better results.

Salespeople work for years on techniques, but a lot of it can’t be taught. Like most people, I’m a sucker for someone being nice to me, complimenting me, flirting with me. I don’t particularly care what their motivations are, I’m having a good time in the moment. Although, I’m not even sure if I do like those things anymore because I’ve made enough bad purchases to know that I can’t let myself be around people like that. Lo, the internet was invented at a great time for me because now you really don’t need anyone around to buy. Everyone from managers to gurus will tell you that they can make you a better salesman and they aren’t necessarily lying, but can they make you good enough to make good money? That’s a completely question. From everything I know, sales is just too imprecise to make any definitive statements about.

I’d be a terrible salesperson. I would likely start the conversation off by telling you why my product is mediocre. It’s the same reason why I have a hard time in my career, I’m the first person to tell you my many weaknesses which doesn’t blow over well with employers. The thing is though, there are a lot of people out there who can sell you something you can benefit from. A mattress is literally where you spend more time than any other place. It’s insane that people don’t know exactly what works for them, but the unconscious part of time you spend on that mattress is obviously a huge mental hurdle. Develop too much of a love of your mattress and you’ll never make it to work on time. Think about it too often and now you’re spending up to 40% of your day devoted to sleep. Don’t you already commit enough of your energy? I get both why people think about and obsess over sleep products, and why they just forget about them until they crash into them after a 14-hour work day, or a sleepless night from a new baby.
As a company owner, salesperson, manager or cashier, it’s important to understand the dynamics of those who walk into a store. Also, ‘browsing’ for mattresses is a little hard to do. When someone walks into a store, they’re not likely just having fun unless it’s first date on the set of a rom-com movie. Most people know their mattress is shot and they probably don’t want to go around to too many places. People with very little money will seek out their nearest Ikea, older people with more cash will do a little more research but not necessarily a ton of it. The more relevant information and experience you have, the more likely you are to be able to peg who comes in and why. Things like determining who would be the prime person to turn straight to the internet if you don’t impress them, or who wants to just make a purchase right away and not hear any kind of spiel or who just needs their questions answered fast.

If you make decision in the store, it’s equally important to recognize your employees. Untapped talent is everywhere, and it just takes a sharp eye to see it. Value the people who help make your customers happy without feeling like they were taken advantage of 6 months later.