• David Perry

Bedding executives offer sales tips for RSAs

HIGH POINT — Bedding executives don’t just do their work on the factory floor. Many of them also make regular visits to their retailers’ sales floors and spend time conducting sales training sessions for retail sales associates.

Bob Naboicheck, Gold Bond’s president, takes a hands-on approach to sales training, visiting his dealers across the country and training RSAs in how to sell his company’s mattresses and futons.

Mike Zippelli, CEO of Classic Brands, also has years of experience with mattress retailers and RSAs, as does Robert Oexman, the director of Kingsdown’s Sleep To Live Institute.

Hugh Landes, Vispring’s vice president for North America, regularly meets with Vispring’s growing network of dealers, talking about the importance of what his luxury bedding line can do for their business in the highly competitive mattress arena.

On this page, those four bedding leaders share some of their best sales tips and tactics for RSAs.

BobBob Naboicheck:

Take your time

Don’t try to close the sale immediately

The first thing the RSA needs to do is stop trying to close the sale in the opening sentence. He needs to make the customer feel comfortable about assisting him in finding the appropriate mattress, not trying to make the sale first and foremost.

Be very knowledgeable, and listen to your customer. Listen for what they are looking for. Those are probably the most important points.

Ask for the sale

At the point when they have narrowed the selection down, there is nothing wrong with the RSA saying, “What can we do to get you take this mattress home today?” You have to be able to ask for the sale, or you are probably in the wrong business.”

Robert Oexman:

abcdEngage the customer, listen carefully

Ask specific questions

The most important advice I can give to an RSA who is out to sell bedding is to engage the customer by asking some very specific questions. Instead of asking about the size of the mattress, maybe ask questions about why they are in the store today or what drove them in to buy a mattress today. Typically they will say it is about back pain or sleep issues. Take time to actually listen to the consumer.

Once they give you some information — “I’m here because I’ve started developing back pain, along with some sleeping issues” — listen to the consumer. And address the specific product attributes that relate to their problem.

For example, if they are having shoulder pain or hip pain, talk about the pressure relief they need to get on that mattress. A lot of times they may say they need a firm or hard surface. Be able to explain that is really not what they need; they actually need pressure relief.

Take time, and ask specific questions. The customer is there to solve a problem, and it’s typically sleeping issues or back or hip pain issues. Ask the questions and then listen. Let them talk it out.

Negative perceptions of RSAs

I hear people say the RSA is probably no better off than a used car salesman. Maybe years and years ago that was true, but I don’t think it is today. Often times when I go in and do training with RSAs, and I ask specific questions about sleep issues, about pain and those kinds of things, the RSAs are able to engage with me, and they have done enough research and enough study they actually know the answers to a lot of these issues.

If they have some time during the day and have an opportunity to read, I ask them to look at sites about the causes of back pain and how that relates to sleep. I think the typical RSA today is getting more educated. They want to learn about what is causing people to come in with these issues.

I think the old idea they are used car salesmen is just not true. I think we have a lot of very good educated, motivated, people.

Mike Zippelli:

MikeDon’t talk prices too early

Get customer information

One of the items the RSA might miss during the sales process is what happens if he doesn’t sell that customer or he needs to follow up? Getting that name, getting that email address is a critical component of the sale. Sometimes it is best done incrementally. First name? Last name? Where do you live?

If I couldn’t sell it today, can I follow up? Can I send that customer specials that we may have and capture that email address to be able to follow up with that customer to ensure you get that sale eventually.

Qualify the customer first

There are some important don’ts in a sale. It is very common for an RSA to be polite and to answer a question. The customer says, “How much is that bed?” Immediately the RSA says, “That one is $799.”

That is a big mistake. You have to qualify the customer first. Find out if the bed is for them. Find out how soon they need it. Making a presentation or giving a price before qualifying the customer is the biggest mistake you can make in a sale.”

Hugh Landes:

HughAlways start at the top

Selling up by selling down

How do we increase our average ticket? How do we sell higher ticket beds?

When presenting a mattress, you should always start at the top. It’s a lot easier to sell down instead of selling up. When you start presenting a $30,000 bed, you are much more likely to sell a $20,000 bed or a $25,000 bed. If you start with an $8,000 ticket, it would be very difficult to increase the sale to $15,000.

Show the bed with accessories

Another key point in increasing the ticket is to emphasize accessories. When we present the bed, we always present the best presentation. We include a topper, we include a headboard, we include the nicest leg options, and we also include the nicest fabric options.

David PerryDavid Perry | Executive Editor, Furniture Today
dperry@furnituretoday.com

Hi, online readers. I'm David Perry, executive editor of Furniture/Today, and the writer on the mattress beat. Get my musings on mattresses on our web site and on my Twitter feed. And let me know what you would like me to write about in the wonderful world of mattresses.

Follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/DT_Perry
See my first music video at http://ftbeddingman.com/

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