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Selling Furniture & Mattresses-Managing Customer Expectations

If you do this after every sale your customers will enjoy their purchase and be loyal to you. If you do not, they will call you with complaints and feel as though they bought a product that is defective. Any chance that you could have had a loyal customer will be gone. Here are some tips for managing your customer’s expectations so they have a positive experience with you and the products that they have purchased.

Wood- When you are selling a solid wood product at some point you should look at the customer and say, “Do you want to know the secret to telling if a product is solid wood?” Hopefully she says yes. You can then say, “One of the ways to tell if it’s solid wood is to look for the uniqueness of the grain, no two pieces of real wood are ever exactly the same. There will be blemishes in the grain which is part of the inherent beauty of the wood.” If you do not do this or some version of this, you are likely to get a phone call from Mrs. Jones complaining that there is a defect in her solid wood bedroom set. You as a salesperson have a choice to deal with it upfront or deal with the negative impact of it after the delivery. Hopefully your customer has purchased a wood kit to keep their new solid wood furniture looking great for years to come. Either way, tell Mrs. Jones how to take care of her new solid wood product. Her enjoyment of the product dramatically increases her chances of becoming a loyal customer.

Mattresses- Mattresses thirty years ago averaged around eight to ten inches thick. Now the average mattress is twelve to fourteen inches thick. In that time the average height of the innerspring unit has only increased about one inch. That leaves a low of an extra inch of foam to a high of an extra five inches of foam. The foam that is used to manufacture mattresses depending on the quality will soften between 15% to 30% its first year unless its latex. Then depending on the quality of the latex it will soften between 2-6% in its first year.

Knowledge- Knowledge is power. Do you want to prevent comfort returns? Ask your customer this question, “Mrs. Jones during the first year of your mattresses’ life it will soften 15% to 30% (unless its latex), will you still be able to get a good night’s sleep then?” This one question will prove to your customer that you are an expert and that you care. All mattresses soften during the first year. The only question is how much?

Expectations- The Better Sleep Council recommends that customers look at replacing their mattresses every five to seven years. Please visit the Better Sleep Council at In reality most customers keep their mattresses much longer than they should. The real average is closer to fifteen to twenty years. If your customer purchases a fifteen inch thick mattress and expects it to behave like an eight inch thick mattress, you are going to have one unhappy customer. Unless you manage their expectations and explain that their new mattress will conform to their body, the customer will call you panicked when in a month or two they have a normal body impression. There are many ways to word this but here is a version that I learned years ago and still works today to effectively communicate the proper expectations to the customer. “Mrs. Jones, your new mattress in the next couple of months should conform to your body. If it is still flat like a board and it is not conforming in the lower back and shoulder areas, please call me.” You will never get a phone call if you say this to your customer. If you do not use a statement like this to manage expectations you will get the phone calls from your customer after the service department declines your customer’s warranty claim.  A phone call that was preventable.

Protect- Protect your customer’s mattress warranty by explaining the two things that will void their mattress warranty. If a mattress has a stain on it the warranty is void. If proper support is not provided for a mattress set the warranty is void. Show your customers your protectors and encasements as well as your heavy duty frames with center supports and other support systems that are designed for beds. Every customer should be offered the opportunity to purchase these items to protect their warranty regardless of what level of product they purchased. Ultimately your customers will make the decision to protect their new investment or not. You cannot always control what your customer does but you can control what you do. By explaining and showing all your customers premium bed frames and protectors you have fulfilled your professional obligation to them.

Action Step- Please post your comments or questions.  I answer them all. Please also post your comments with your best practices for managing your customer’s expectations. For more ideas or to share successes please call me at 419-560-3169.

Wishing You Success,

Pete Primeau

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  1. Pete says:

    This comment was received by Jamie Floyd.
    Excellent content Pete, hope to meet you in person!

    “If You Can’t Change What You Are Looking at, Change How You Are Looking at It”. jwf

    Sent from my Droid Charge on Verizon 4GLTE

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