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David Perry

Down time is good time for phone selling, training

Retail Bedding Playbook

AVENTURA, Fla. - Most mattress retail sales associates have at least an hour of down time in a typical work day, a survey of RSAs done for Leggett & Platt reveals. And one-third of those RSAs have more than three hours of down time a day.
Mark Quinn, segment vice president of marketing for Leggett & Platt, shared those survey results in a presentation at Furniture/Today's recent Bedding Conference here. In his analysis of the results, Quinn said the RSAs could be using that down time to brush up on their selling skills, boost their product knowledge, and even to reach out to potential customers on the phone.
The survey of 140 sales associates was done through Sleep-Geek.com, the education and networking site that L&P established last year for retail bedding sales associates.
Quinn noted that most RSAs responding to the survey said they spend relatively little time each day selling their products on the phone; 78% spend less than an hour, and 20% spend one to three hours.
It would be natural for RSAs to use some of their down time for phone selling or working with local chiropractors, sleep clinics or even gyms to promote the idea that a good mattress can improve quality of life, Quinn said. They could also pursue educational activities, including checking out the resources at Sleep-Geek.com, he said.
At the Bedding Conference, Quinn asked audience members to offer their take on RSAs' down time. The audience members, who included top retailers, producers and suppliers, have an exaggerated view of how much down time the RSAs actually have, the audience poll revealed. While one-third of the RSAs say they have more than three hours of down time in a typical day, about half of the audience members thought they had that much. And while 28% of the RSAs report they have less than an hour of down time in a day, just 16% of the audience members concurred.
Quinn said it is important for the industry to have an accurate view of the actual amount of RSAs' down time. He also said that down time is part of the nature of many sales jobs.
"The real question is, how can we as an industry support this group when it comes to phone selling or working with these outside groups? Are there phone scripts we can help them create? Can we coach them on getting referrals with existing customers so there is a list to call from? Can we feed them prospects that we get from our websites? We can't lay this all at the feet of the RSA. The industry needs to step up."

How much down time do you have during a typical work day?

Under an hour............28%
One to three hours.......39%
More than three hours....33%

Source: Sleep-Geek.com 2012 online survey of retail sales
associates

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