Twenty tips for better close rates on beds

By Gordon Hecht, YSN Contributor

This is probably the best time ever to sell mattresses!

More people are aware of the value of good restorative sleep, and they are looking to you for solutions.

But since your selling process always improves when you feel confident, here are 20 tips for building your confidence and sales:

1. About eight out of 10 shoppers walking in your store are getting substandard sleep. They need and want a solution so they can wake refreshed and energized to take on the day.

2. For most people, getting six or less hours of restorative sleep leaves them with the same functionality you get with a blood alcohol content of .08, which is legally drunk. Sure, some people can get by on five hours, but an overwhelming majority of us need seven to nine hours of shut-eye. And there is no “sleep bank”; you can’t make up for lost sleep on the weekends.

3. All furniture and appliance store shoppers are mattress customers, especially those looking for recliners. Lead that next recliner guest into the mattress area. These people prize comfort, and some of them are sleeping in their recliners because their mattresses are so bad.

4. People looking for better sleep tell you that they need a new mattress. But a sleep system includes mattress, base, pillows and protection. Start building the package right away.  Accessories are necessities and improve the product experience; they are not add-ons.

5. In most furniture stores about 75 percent of living room and dining room shoppers are shown a mattress. The best time to sell something is when people are buying.  Show your mattress selection and build your average ticket.

6. People may not remember last night’s dreams or sleep position, so a good early qualifying question is “What part of your body hurt when you woke up this morning?” Find the “pain points” for your shopper. No mattress will cure medical issues, but the right sleep surface will reduce some pain and good sleep helps a body heal.

7. You save the shopper time, confusion, and errors when you ask the right qualifying questions.  Some really good ones are:

  • “Who else will be using the bed?”
  • “Is snoring a problem?”
  • “What do you like/dislike about your current bed?”
  • “When do you need your new bed?”

8. Don’t be afraid to ask what else they’ve seen that they liked, and why they didn’t buy it. Be bold and you will learn about the competition; then you can show how your selection stacks up.

9. Fitting someone for a mattress starts with fitting them for a pillow. It’s the bed for the head and about 25 percent of the sleeper’s comfort.

10. You help the shopper understand comfort comparisons when you ask if the mattress feels better or worse when you demonstrate the adjustable base. Once they are comfortable in zero-G, flatten out the bed so they can feel the difference. Then ask them if they want to return to the zero-G.

11. During the first test rest, ask “What can I change about this bed to make it perfect for you?” You’ll then be able to customize the comfort to their needs.

12. Quote the first price in dollars and then dollars per month with financing. That $1,199 bed ends up being an affordable $99 a month over two years.

13. Start a conversation about pillow and protection items by asking, “Do you sleep with a pillow at night?”  and “Do you have a five- or six-sided protector at home?”  You’ll get the shopper to try new pillows and learn whether you are replacing their mattress protector or will have to explain what one is.

14. Smoke out the price objection by gaining agreement on comfort, support, and profile. If your shopper is happy with those three elements, then their only objection is price.  Now’s the time to build value.

15. If a motion base was the same price as a box spring, how many people would get motion? The simple answer is everybody. People want adjustable bases; you only need to justify the cost for them.

16. Instead of asking if your shopper watches TV in bed, ask if they have a TV in the room.  You’ll get a more honest answer when you ask it this way, as many shoppers won’t admit to watching TV in bed.

17. Start the motion base demo by raising their legs first and then raising their heads. You’ll take pressure off their backs, especially if they spend a lot of time on their feet.

18. Always have a “no walk mattress” in mind. It’s the bed that you think has the best value.  Show it before your shopper leaves the store and close those be-backs now.

19. The simplest way to lose a mattress sale is by not asking for the it. Always ask them to buy, even if you think you’re a million miles from a close.

20. Selling mattresses means you don’t worry about size, color, or product damage the way you would with other products. No item is flawless, but mattresses are just an easier delivery.

Happy selling!

Gordon Hecht is a business growth and development consultant to the retail home furnishings industry and a regular contributor to YSN. You can reach him at