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The ABC’s of Comfort Selling

Comfort selling increases closing ratios and increases AUSP when combined with the proper merchandising, display, and advertising. The brilliance of comfort selling is that it combines a selection and diagnostic feature into its selling system. While there have been modifications to comfort selling over the years, here are the original tenants of comfort selling. We should all thank Nat Bernstein for developing comfort selling when he owned his sleep shops in Milwaukee.

Choice- Your display should have two beds side by side in the display that have opposite feels. One should be extremely soft and the other very hard. The danger here is if the customer does not feel a significant difference between the two products. We now see more complicated versions arising with medium feels as well. The starting place for the choice should be your highest price points. Some retailers are enjoying success with choices at the higher mid range price points instead of the highest price points.

Graduated Merchandising- The customer should have a selection of different feeling beds at various price points. A common misconception by buyers is that you have to offer every price point in hard or soft. If you do that you will actually lower your AUSP. Please call me if you have questions on this at 419-560-3169. It is beyond the scope of this article to fully explore this here.

Display- The ideal display allows the RSA and the customer to easily work within the firmness preference. The beds should be arranged from highest price to lowest price. There are dealers that do not follow this protocol that experience some success with comfort selling. They would be more successful if they made it easier for their customers to buy and their salespeople to sell by arranging the beds as recommended.

Comfort Test- Offer your customer a choice between your best firm and plush. Simply ask this, “Which mattress do you like better?” It is critical to not pitch or describe the beds at all.

The Next Two- If she picks the plush mattress. The firms are now eliminated saving both you and your customer time. Now ask her to lie down on the next two mattresses. Ask, “Which one feels the best?” If she picks any of the three you reinforce her selection by telling her she picked the best if she did. If she chooses the second or third choice you reinforce the selection by telling her how much she saved from the first mattress. “Mrs. Jones the mattress you like the best is two hundred dollars less than the first one you tried.” You then proceed to asking her the best question.

If- If she says “I can’t tell the difference” what she is often telling you is she has not found the right price yet. You can gently encourage her to try the mattresses again to see if she has a favorite. If she clings to “I can’t tell the difference” bring her down by one mattress at a time. After she lies down ask her “Which one feels the best?” Continue the process of showing one bed at a time until she says, “I like this one the best” then reinforce her selection and ask her the best question.

The Best Question- “What’s wrong with your old mattress?” This tells you which benefit she is the most interested in. It eliminates guessing about what is important to her. It allows you to tailor your benefit presentation to fit her needs and wants, which will increase your closing percentage.

Comfort selling offers many benefits to the salespeople, the retail customer and the store. Salespeople increase their closing ratios and their AUSP. Customers reduce their shopping time and salespeople reduce their selling time. Customers love comfort selling because they don’t have to listen to a long winded sales pitch. They only hear about the benefits they want to know about. To me comfort selling is the ultimate win-win-win!

Action Step- Please go to my website and find this article and post your comments about comfort selling. Also please send me any questions you may have about selling mattresses and furniture. This article was based on a question that I received last week. Please keep the questions coming. Tune in next week for our first success story.

Wishing You Success,

Pete Primeau

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Comments (5)

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  1. Douglas says:

    Great stuff Pete.
    I have found that giving customers an “experience” instead of a sales pitch is always more effective. After all, the customers comfort & happiness are the most important parts of the equation. When I train RSA’s I always focus on meeting the consumers 3 basic needs.
    1. Is this mattress comfortable?
    2. Is this Mattress durable?
    3. Is this mattress worth its price?

    If you can answer those questions you have usually earned yourself a sale & a happy customer!

  2. Pete says:

    Thank you for your feedback. Keep it coming!


  3. Alan Barnett says:

    Excellent point Doug, regarding “experience” by the customer. When i work with customers on picking out the right mattress, it is critical that they become engaged in the process. I want a continual dialouge that builds momentum, and leads to the eventual close.

  4. […] Eliminate Confusion- One of the challenges we have when working with a retail customer is to narrow the selection based on good questions, comfort tests, and feedback from them. The easiest system is comfort selling. Click here to read more […]

  5. […] comfort selling it’s a choice between two beds. Click here for my article on comfort selling Some stores use up to four or five test beds depending on their selection and their system of […]

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