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The 6 Biggest Mistakes Salespeople Make in Furniture & Mattress Stores & How to Avoid Them

This article resulted from the answers received to the question, “What one thing does your competition say or do that helps you to make the sale?” The answers came from furniture and mattress stores in Ohio and Western Pennsylvania. Below are the most common responses.

1 Bad Rap Your Competition- I know what you are thinking, “How could anybody do that?” According to our survey it happens daily. It is the single biggest mistake that salespeople make in our industry. Never speak badly about your competitors’ products or services. Instead talk about the positive differences between your products and services and those of your competitors.

2 Lack of Product Knowledge- This surprised me. I have spent twenty nine years of my life learning and teaching product knowledge, goal setting, time management, and sales techniques in the furniture and mattress industry. Product knowledge forms the foundation of successful selling. Unfortunately we as an industry have a long way to go before all of our salespeople are serving our consumers well. Anyone who is in need of a great trainer for mattress sales please call Gerry Morris at 903-456-2015 or visit his website at

3 Ignoring the Customer- Leaving the customer alone to wander through a chaotic sea of furniture and mattresses is among the biggest mistakes that retail salespeople make in our industry. Most shoppers want to just look around. It is so important to respect them and give them the space they are asking for. But be sure to be available when they do have a question so you do not appear to be ignoring them. Learn to thread the needle between apathy and high pressure when working with your customers. Every customer requires a different level of attention and information before they are comfortable making a buying decision.

4 Talking Down to Women- Here is one of the most ironic developments in this survey. Not only do men talk down to women but women talk down to women also! Women either directly or indirectly influence the great majority of furniture and mattress decisions. Showing respect and sincere appreciation to women is the only way to go. Women that have great experiences with their sales associates are likely to spread the good word to their friends.

5 Lying to the Customer- If you do not know the answer to a customers’ question, excuse yourself, get the correct information, and provide it your customer. There is no excuse to ever lie to a customer about anything ever! It destroys your credibility and hurts the integrity of our industry.

6 Lack of Professionalism- While many of the other mistakes are tied to this, professionalism is really about the total package. Elements of professionalism include knowledge, techniques, appearance, attitude, motivations, focus, and how one carries him or herself. Strive to improve every day. As the great Jeffrey Gitomer points out, “You don’t get great at sales in a day. You get great in sales day by day.” Commit yourself to lifelong learning.

Action Step- There were other mistakes but these were the six biggest mistakes that retail salespeople make in furniture and mattress stores. Please go to my website at and comment on this article and please list other mistakes that salespeople make and what they can do to avoid them. Feel free to share your insights and suggestions with everyone. Next week I share your answers to the question, “What is different today in selling furniture and mattresses than twenty years ago?” The short answer is lots. The details are next week! Watch for our guest articles next week.

Wishing You Success,

Pete Primeau

PS Gerry Morris was kind enough to rewrite this article for me. Thanks Gerry!



I have been reading your articles. I want to invest in my training. Who is better Jeffrey Gitomer or Gerry Morris?




That is a tough question! I recommend both. I would start with Gerry Morris because he has highly specialized knowledge when it comes to mattress sales. Gerry was a mattress rep for years before he became a full time coach, trainer, speaker, and author.



“It is what you learn after you know it all that counts”

John Wooden

Legendary Basketball Coach

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Comments (4)

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  1. Sharon says:

    Great article. I am in furniture sales myself and I agree with your points. May I ask, what are your thoughts on follow up systems? I try to call my customers especially when they are discount incentives or generally get in touch if they are still in the market but I’m afraid I don’t have a very efficient system at the moment. Any suggestions?

  2. JAMES T says:


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