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Selling Furniture & Mattresses – Guerilla Retail Selling Tactics Roundtable

This is not a selling 101 issue. It is advanced Guerilla Retail Selling. You know I don’t believe in be-backs but there are times when despite your best efforts you cannot close the deal. The best salesperson I knew in retail would lay what I call land mines for the next salesperson. The sale would blow up and the customer would come running back to him.

Typically the conversation goes like this.  If you want to know if your salesperson knows what they are talking about, ask them _ _ _.  If they tell you something other than _ _ _ you should continue to shop until you find someone who is competent to help you. There are a hundred ways to lay a land mine that is just one way.

One of the best mattress salespeople I know used to show the customer a mini demo and tell the customer that the mini demos are plated to look pretty for the showroom but at the factory they look very different. If your salesperson has been to the factory they would know this. He would then suggest that they ask their salesperson if the demo unit looks exactly like the springs in the factory. An experienced salesperson who has been to the factory would say yes but the springs in the factory are not plated. Many customers came back to him based on this land mine. What are your favorite land mines to lay?

Here is another approach by Jerry Young.

I always hope they will just buy and not continue on but… knowing that it isn’t a perfect world here are a couple of land mines that I lay out there.

We sell a lot of reclining furniture and when I get a customer that is going to “shop around” I always point out the dual release mechanisms and steel seat boxing on our reclining manufacturers. I then tell them to ask about construction when they look (and point out all ours are made in the USA) and if they get a “warranty answer” instead of facts it is a sign there is not much good to say about the product.

When selling solid wood bedrooms I always point out that even on a “solid” group the large side panels will most probably be a veneer to give it strength and durability. It opens the door to make the next salesperson look bad when they just say all solid.

I’m sure there are a thousand more but these come to mind this morning.

Here is another approach by Brian Pancost.

All mattresses get body impressions.  If a salesperson EVER tells you his won’t, run away. I find education is the best. Inform the customer about all aspects of the mattress. The other thing to do is be confident in your prices and tell a customer how to comparison shop. Tell them how to tell the different levels and what to look for. DON’T bad mouth your competition. Do a coil demo and explain what they are going to see. Some “walkers” can be turned with more information and the longer you can keep them the more likely they will buy. Inform them on how to derail the 2 sided bed argument. Bring it up and explain to them why. I disarm Original Mattress by telling customers the mattress companies went to one sided mattresses to save money….not by putting less in the mattress but to save money on warranty claims.

Here is another approach by Jonathan Diprinzio.

One of the land mines I always lay is the Lifetime Warranty… We all know that it is a limited lifetime warranty. I set this up by saying that this brand x has a lifetime warranty and I’m sure when you were out there shopping (always assume they have shopped elsewhere) that you heard lifetime warranty. Now let me tell you the rest of the story… and this is every single furniture manufacturer not just those at John V. Schultz. Then I explain that it is one year full warranty and that afterwards we replace the part per the manufacturer and the customer is required to pay the labor and service call. And that’s every manufacturer. So if you hear lifetime and no other explanation you didn’t get the rest of the story. It only takes one small thing to destroy trust.

Another thing is premium mattresses not having comfort impressions. Most of the sales associates at other stores will lie. Tell the truth, you will get some comfort impressions but they will be within reason. When the other sales associate makes promises that are too good to be true, most customers can tell they are not being truthful, trust is broken and they sell the mattress for you.

Action Step- Please post your favorite land mines to lay! What did I miss? Please share your wisdom with us! Your feedback is critical to this blog’s success. Please visit and Like us! Our like page has the latest breaking news in the industry as well as product information, inspiring videos, motivational quotes, and selling tips!

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Comments (4)

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  1. Pete Primeau says:

    During my time on the selling floor, I subscribed to the theory that I needed to show the customer
    “why they should buy from me, not to be afraid of buying somewhere else.”
    This keeps you as a sales person, away from bashing the competition.

    Talk about the differences. If all else is equal, you should get the be-back.

    Kind regards,

    Ira M. Fishman

  2. Pete Primeau says:

    Hey Pete,

    I’ll give it a try.

    Ask them – How many coils should be in a mattress? Tell you something other than – coils are not the only determining factor in purchasing a mattress. The quality and amount of padding in addition to the coil unit will ensure the support and comfort you desire. Lay down on a set of bedding to establish the feel and support you are seeking. Don’t let the number of coils influence your decision, etc.
    Ask them – How much should a good mattress cost? Tell you something other than – It depends on your personal affordability in addition to your committed investment for a comfortable and durable set of bedding for the next ten to twenty years. (then calculate an investment of a set of bedding using a sale price and a determinate amount of time, i.e. 10 year period)

    Happy Easter to the entire Primeau family.
    Jim Bodino

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