By Gordon Hecht, Serta Simmons Bedding
February is typically a big mattress month due to Presidents Day, but the more celebrated occasion is, of course, Valentine’s Day.
We know this because stores like Wally World and the Frugal Hoosier have stocked their shelves with sweet chocolate treats. But providing a great night of healthy sleep may be the best gift of all, and a serious improvement over a box of Russell Stovers or Whitman’s Samplers.
Still, selling a mattress to a couple can often be a challenge. The following suggestions can help the 70 percent of shoppers who share a bed to find one they’ll both love this Valentine’s Day.
(Note: The tips come courtesy of Serta Simmons Territory Manager Michelle Chastain, who has provided over 20 years of great service to her customers. As she passed along the sales advice, Michelle acknowledged that she received it from another source, who may have borrowed it from someone else. To quote REO Speedwagon, “Heard it from a friend, who heard it from a friend.”)
• Consider Size. Queen is still the most popular mattress size sold in the U.S., but the number of king beds being purchased is climbing. Buying a new mattress is a great time to consider a new size. The more room a person has in a bed, the better they sleep. Talk to your customers about a new size. Ask if their bedroom can accommodate the comfort and size of a king. Giving your customer some options on how to upgrade may open them up to how a larger mattress could work for them.
• Identify the Poor Sleeper. Often one person in a couple will be a poor sleeper due to health problems, pressure points, sleeping hot or pain. Identifying the problem sleeper early in the conversation will help you speak to their issues. Typically, the partner of the problem sleeper just wants their better half to be happy, so resolve the problems and you’ll make both sleepers happy.
• Make it Fun. If mattress shopping was fun, customers would buy beds more often. Developing a rapport with your couple gives you an opportunity to make it a more enjoyable process. The more fun they have, the more relaxed they will be and the more likely they are to buy.
• Keep your Distance. When dealing with couples be mindful not to loom over them. This can make many shoppers uncomfortable. A good rule of thumb is to speak to them from one bed away and sit on a neighboring bed while they test mattresses. Getting down to their level lowers the intimidation factor and creates a friendly experience. Set the volume of your store music at a level to allow a conversation, but to also allow some privacy.
• Aim for the Middle. What do you do with that couple that can’t agree on comfort? Look for the center of the comfort spectrum, like a firm pillow top or tight top plush. If one person has their heart set on specialty foam bed and the other likes an innerspring bed, you can introduce hybrids. Often, finding the “couple’s compromise” can save the sale — and possibly the marriage!
• Keep Them Together. Couples will undoubtedly want time to talk over their purchase. Step away and give them the time they need, but don’t go too far. If they can’t see you, there’s a good chance that they will wander around the mattress department separately. When they start looking at beds on their own, you’ve lost control of the presentation.
• Talk to Both of Them. It’s very common for one person to dominate the conversation when looking for a mattress. Be sure to include both partners and get agreement from both to avoid comfort exchanges.
Remember, this Friday is a time to give a gift that shows love. Take it on the run baby, and make a new mattress set the special Valentine’s Day gift your shoppers will adore!
Gordon Hecht is Senior Regional Manager/Strategic Retail Group at Serta Simmons Bedding. You can write him at firstname.lastname@example.org.