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Selling Furniture & Mattresses – The Single Biggest Mistake Salespeople Make and How to Avoid It!

If you missed last week’s article go back and read it now, then come back. Here’s the link: The biggest mistake that all salespeople make is not understanding where they are starting from with their customer. Sounds confusing? I know. Imagine that the successful completion of your sale is represented by the number 10. If you reach the number 10 you have made the sale! Your biggest mistake is assuming that you are starting at 0. You might be starting at 0 with some customers, but with many customers because of their prior bad buying experiences, you are actually starting at a negative number not 0. Depending on your customer’s experiences and their self image you might start at -3 or even -9. So the single biggest mistake that we as salespeople make is under estimating how many times the ball has been pulled away from our customer in the past and how that affects how they view the sales process that they are now embarking on. Some customers would just as soon never have to deal with another salesperson in their life, if they could.

As salespeople we know the most deadly objection is the one you never get. It never gets brought out in the open and discussed. It lurks in the dark and sabotages your sale. This is why a customer’s fear of making a buying decision is so dangerous. This week’s article is how to diagnose this and the specific techniques you can employ to make the sale!

Read- The best retail salespeople almost always are the best at reading customers. Not just their words but their body language. They focus on their customer’s words, body language, and attitude to the exclusion of all else.

Ask- Questions that you can ask are, Have you been shopping? Are you having fun? When was the last time you purchased furniture or mattresses? How was that? Any question that reveals to you how they felt in the past and more importantly how they are feeling right now is a good question to ask. Be yourself and discover for yourself the questions that you are comfortable with.

Listen- You need to really listen. Listening with your ears is a good start, but listening on a gut level with intuition is what separates the great salespeople from the good salespeople. Tune into your customer with everything you have including your heart and your soul.

Understand- Once you understand that you are working with a customer who is coming into this transaction with quite a bit of fear, everything you say and do must communicate to the customer that you are not going to pull the ball away. You are not selling mattresses or furniture at this point you are convincing your customer that you are not Lucy!

Tools- Use your voice, your eyes, and your body language to communicate to your customer that you are not Lucy. Sharing success stories about another customer can be helpful in building your customer’s confidence. You must convince your customer that you will not pull the ball away!

Guarantees- Many stores have some type of customer satisfaction guarantee. The prudent use of these guarantees can help you make a sale with a fearful customer. No guarantee will help to alleviate your customer’s anxiety until she trusts you.

Keith Castonguay will tell his customers, “We’re not going to let you make a mistake.” He actually takes responsibility for the sale. It works for Keith and it will work for you under one condition.

The Secret- The one condition that must exist for Keith’s approach to work is that you must be trustworthy. This isn’t something you can fake. Either you have it or you don’t. The way one cultivates trustworthiness is by consistently day by day always doing the right thing, even when it costs you money!

Magic- The following four statements can yield magical results when a salesperson who has high levels of integrity uses them with a fearful customer. Warning: These techniques will back fire on you unless you have taken the time to build rapport and trust with your customer. Here they are:

1) “That was then, this is now” You are putting the fearful experience in the past and bringing the customer past it. A lot of work must me done before using this. It can come off as flippant and insensitive. Be careful when using this technique.

2) “Yes, you can-regardless of before” I know it sounds like a political slogan. Instead of using it word for word, think of how you can say this to your customer in other words.

3) “This ___ makes all the difference” This works especially well when you have pin pointed a particular incident which has created a lot of the turmoil that the customer is feeling. Don’t use this unless there truly has been a new development that can help to alleviate your customer’s fear.

4) “Finally, you can be certain you are making a good decision” This is very precise language that can help your customer over the proverbial hump. It is used at the end of a summation of benefits. It only works well when you have done a lot of ground work prior to this.

YOU- People don’t buy furniture and mattresses because of benefits and features. They buy solutions to problems from people they trust. Be that person that they trust. And make sure that you and your customer both have fun doing it!

Stay tuned for next week’s article. I knew this before but my five year old daughter gave me a new perspective on this necessary ingredient to sales success.

Action Step- What did I miss? Please share your wisdom with us! Your feedback is critical to this blog’s success. Please post your comments and questions. I answer them all.

Please email me any ideas for articles that you want me to write. Have you written an article on sales, goal setting, or time management? I’ll be glad to publish them in my ezine and on my website! Please email them to me at

Wishing You Success,


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Comments (2)

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  1. Larry Thibodeaux says:

    Great article! I will be sharing this with my sales staff. Thanks Pete for the continued devotion to the success of retailers like me.

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