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Selling Furniture & Mattresses – Engage…Do Not Run!

An owner recently shrieked in horror as he listened to one of his RSAs miss a great opportunity to engage a retail customer looking at a particular mattress. Instead of taking the time to ask meaningful questions to discover the customer’s needs, the RSA simply switched the customer to another product. Here is the rest of the story.

Statement- The amazing thing is that the customer just made a statement.  It wasn’t even a question or an objection. The customer simply said, “I’ve heard that these mattresses can sleep hot.”

Opportunity Lost- So the customer was begging for engagement and instead of asking one follow up question he switched the customer to a different brand which may not have been the best choice for the customer. There are many questions that could have been asked.

Questions- Before reacting to the customer’s statement, he could have asked, “Is the possibility of this sleeping hot an important concern to you?”  Or just “Oh?” This simple one word statement essentially asks the customer to continue speaking so you can more fully understand their needs and concerns. Or with curiosity ask, “Where did you hear that?” Please post your favorite questions to ask the customer in this scenario.

Testimonial- One of the top salespeople in the same company offers this advice. In the same scenario he shares his true testimonial. He owns the Brand A mattress and is aware that some customers think it is hot to sleep on. He lets the customer know that he has heard this concern before from other customers but assures them that this has not been a problem for him. He continues to seek engagement by asking questions and guiding the customer through the selection process based on feedback from the customer.

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Comments (12)

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  1. Pete Primeau says:


    On the subject of a bed sleeping “hot” that the salesman did not address (wrong) many customers come into stores saying they have heard that these beds sleep hot, we need to train salespeople to understand the difference in domestic and imported memory foam and the difference between open cell and closed cell memory foam. As we know, the closed cell foam from China can sleep hot and trap your body heat, and far too many customers are being sold this product thinking that they are buying a Tempur-Pedic or something just like it and therefore they think all memory foam beds are hot. We need to explain this to RSA’s so they can be armed with the correct information so if they sell domestic quality open cell memory foam that they have the information to arm the customer with. Therefore giving the customer the knowledge to know the difference and for the RSA to show the customer that he/she is the expert in this area and in turn establish confidence with the customer which will increase the RSA’s credibility and hopefully close the sale.

    If a RSA is properly trained and armed with credible information he/she will not “run away ” from these questions or objections, but instead embrace them and educate the customer and close the sale.

    Rick Lynch

  2. Pete Primeau says:


    Many times a consumer will bring up concerns that are stall tactics
    because they are close to making a purchase decision & feel frightened.

    It’s important to find out if a concern is legitimate or perhaps it’s the
    customer reaching out for the RSA to give them reassurance that the
    product they’re interested in will fulfill all of their needs.

    It is critical to find out how important this concern is to their decision making process.
    I might ask the customer whether they’re sleeping hot on their current mattress.
    If they are, they will sleep hot on any mattress, & the RSA probably should avoid selling
    a product that has had some complaints of this nature. If the customer doesn’t complain
    of sleeping hot on their current sleep set, then reassure her that they most likely
    won’t sleep hot on this one either.

    Switching to another brand because of the perceived concern is taking the easy way out
    and could result in a lost sale. (If the customer was predisposed to buying the brand in question.)

    Kind regards,

    Ira M. Fishman
    Mattress Executive

  3. Pete Primeau says:

    I love these newsletters. I will call you on Monday have a great weekend.
    Tim Tyler

  4. Pete Primeau says:

    Hey Pete,

    Thank you for the wonderful lunch that was great! You are a pleasure to work with!
    That question should be reframed.
    Thank you for sharing that with me. In order to help you find the correct mattress and to make sure I understand your concerns, may I ask you a question. What I hear you saying is that you want to sleep at a comfortable temperature and stay dry and feel fresh not “hot and sticky”. Of course they will say yes. Now you can present the benefits and the reasons why the mattress they were interested in will work or move them into a bed that will fulfill their needs. This is perfect opportunity to present a mattress protector that will provide them with the protection they need. Remember when you help a customer invest in great healthy night’s sleep they must have the correct comfort and support. They need a Total Sleep System (TSS). The correct pillow provides them with 25-30% of their comfort. The mattress protector will wick away moisture and heat and help the customer sleep dry and cool and provide them with healthy, restful, deep sleep.
    Now you are listening to the customer, you understand their needs better and you are teaching them how to make the best decision possible. You are establishing a high level of trust along with a deep understanding of their needs. You are not selling them anything you are transferring belief. You are true professional. I hope this helps.

    Merry Christmas!

    Jonathan DiPrinzio
    VP of Sales John V Schultz Furniture & Mattresses

  5. Pete Primeau says:

    One thing you should mention is that not only did he switch brands but at a significantly lower price with proportionately lower commissions.

    Nick Markos

  6. Marina Klima says:

    Thank you for the insight, Pete. Opportunity lost describes exactly what we are all guilty of- desire to talk and look important instead of getting things done.

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