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In new year, spotlight will illuminate RSAs
Welcome to the new year! In Mattressville, this will be the year of the retail sales associate, those largely unsung heroes of showroom floors.
We've got some special things planned this year to help celebrate the achievements of RSAs around the country.
For the first time ever, we will give RSAs a voice at our Bedding Conference, which this year is set for June 6-8 at the Turnberry Isle Resort, the outstanding property that hosted our biggest-ever Bedding Conference last year.
We have to give credit for this idea to Mark Quinn, the forward-thinking marketer at Leggett & Platt, who launched the Sleep Geek website last year that gives RSAs a stronger presence and profile in the industry.
Quinn and I observed the power of RSAs on a trip we took together last fall to a picturesque corner of Idaho.
We journeyed to Blacker's Complete Home Furnishings in Idaho Falls to salute the nation's top Sleep Geek, Collin Cook. He was the big winner in the 100 days of questions posed on L&P's Sleep Geek website (www.sleep-geek.com), and thus won $5,000 for himself and an additional $5,000 for his store, owned by his family.
This was not a contest based on sales. If it was, we would be singing the praises this week of some hot-shot RSA in a major market. But the Sleep Geek contest rewarded the RSA who correctly answered the question of the day in the shortest amount of time. And that RSA was Cook, who posted 18 daily wins to take the top prize.
Blacker's is far from the well-beaten paths of major mattress commerce in the U.S. The retailer sees mattress reps only every six to eight weeks, and those reps only conduct training sessions perhaps twice a year. So Blacker's found L&P's Sleep Geek website especially helpful.
The retailer became part of the national "Sleep Geek" community, joining thousands of RSAs who signed up for the site, which gives them information on a variety of sleep and mattress selling issues. "It helped us to sell not just a mattress but a good night's sleep," Cook said. "Think how much time we spend in bed. But consumers want to spend just $500. It's not that hard to step them up if you focus on the importance of a good night of sleep."
I've met many RSAs over the years, and I found Cook to be a good ambassador for them all, which winning the Sleep Geek contest positions him to be. He's passionate about what he does, a trait that all successful RSAs share.
I'll be telling you more about Collin Cook's work this year as we shine a spotlight on mattress RSAs.
And I wish all of you RSAs, and other mattress industry professionals, a prosperous and happy new year.