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April 2009


Study says ‘Grounded Consumer’ may signal long-term change BE MY GUEST

Qualifying the mattress customer is all about diagnosing the problem IN SNOOZE NEWS

Sleep Savvy goes digital!

Every customer wants better sleep. More customers than ever are considering a Tempur-Pedic Sleep System. Make the most of every customer. ÂŽ

Sell the best. Biggest Tickets, Highest Satisfaction, Lowest Returns.




Š 2009 Tempur-Pedic Management, Inc., All Rights Reserved.

IN THIS ISSUE where to find it



When times get tough, get targeted Direct mail and other types of direct marketing, including email, are cost-effective ways to target consumers who are most likely to buy—a smart way to go in a challenging economy. Marketing experts offer insight, advice and tips on maximizing impact.







from the editor’s desk

The economy is bad, but the perception is even worse. Don’t let the media’s endless reports of doom and gloom turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy for your store.







by Larry Wilson

A leader’s job is to keep the team together, even as some things are falling apart, by cultivating an attitude of a better tomorrow ahead.

stuff you can use

Women lose weight on “Sleep Diet;” research shows a happy face changes perspective; fewer than 9% of polled Americans feel well-rested; economy creates new “normal” for retailers; ban on “same as cash” deals ahead; the basics of connecting with customers; Internet is a key influence on home furnishings shoppers; latest mattress sales stats from ISPA...and more.


by Bob Muenkel

Qualifying the mattress customer is the most important step in the selling process. If you’re only asking the usual questions, you’re missing the best opportunity to differentiate your store from the competition.

profiling your customer

A new study introduces you to the “Gounded Consumer.” And new research reveals that offering a third choice helps customers make the right decision.

by Gerry Morris Hit-and-run selling can close a sale, but relational selling gets the referrals and the repeat business.

SleepSavvy • April 2009



Natural Talalay Latex Pillows Now you can offer your customers a truly “green� pillow product that is as comfortable as it is natural. Made exclusively with sustainably farmed natural rubber, our new line also features certified 100% organic cotton covers and biodegradable, jute fiber packaging.

Available in high loft design for side and back sleepers and low profile design for stomach sleepers.

a division of



SleepSavvy The magazine for sleep products professionals

Editor in Chief Nancy Butler 828-299-7420 nbutler@sleepproducts.org Senior Writer Barbara Nelles 336-856-8973 bnelles@sleepproducts.org Contributors Steven King Gerry Morris Bob Muenkel Art Direction Stephanie Belcher The Jimmydog Design Group stephanie@jimmydog.com Vice President of Sales Kerri Bellias 336-945-0265 kbellias@sleepproducts.org Advertising Services Manager Debbie Robbins 336-342-4217 drobbins@sleepproducts.org Circulation Manager Mary Rulli 336-491-0443 mrulli@sleepproducts.org Copy Editor Margaret Talley-Seijn Vol. 8, No. 3 ISSN 1538-702X Sleep Savvy is published 8 times a year by the International Sleep Products Association, 501 Wythe St., Alexandria, Virginia 22314-1917. Phone 703-683-8371, fax 703-683-4503. Website: www.sleepsavvymagazine.com. Sleep Savvy editorial office: 15 E. Hawthorne Dr., Asheville, North Carolina 28805. Phone 828-299-7420, fax 828-299-7490. Advertising services: 5603-B West Friendly Ave. #286, Greensboro, North Carolina 27410. Phone 336-342-4217, fax 336-342-4116. Subscription policy & rates Retailers: All U.S. retailers qualify for free subscriptions, up to 5 per location. In Canada, $10 per year; all other countries, $30. Manufacturers, suppliers and others: Personnel at ISPA member companies qualify for complimentary subscriptions, subject to restrictions. Nonmembers and all others: $30 U.S., $40 non-U.S. Please send subscription orders and changes to: Sleep Savvy, P.O. Box 4678, Archdale, North Carolina 27263 or fax 336-431-0317. ©2009 by the International Sleep Products Association. No portion of the content may be reprinted without permission from Sleep Savvy. Printed in the U.S.A.



from the editor Perception is everything


o much of what’s going on in our lives and around us is a matter of how we see it. Sometimes, how we see it and the reality are two different things. But, as we so often relearn, especially in marketing and sales: Perception is everything. I don’t want to minimize the tough economic realities we’re faced with right now––lost jobs, foreclosures, credit shortages, bankruptcies––and on and on. But while the realities are bad, the perception is even worse. Not long ago, I got a letter from Mike Vogt at Homestead Furniture (Nescopeck, PA) in response to a column in which I said I had become more tight-fisted with my money. Mike questioned my reason: “Tell me––what has changed in your life since the news has become so dire?” “What has changed, for you and millions of Americans, is your perception of how things are,” he pointed out. “For most Americans, nothing significant has happened to either their incomes or expenses.” Thanks, Mike, I needed that. I promptly went out and bought a new slipcovered Ethan Allen sofa I’d been thinking about for years––on sale at a great price, of course. (Hot consumer tip: This is an absolutely terrific time to buy new home furnishings!) Among the culprits Mike cited as responsible for the widespread negative perception was––you guessed it––the media: “The 24-hour news on cable, satellite and the Internet constantly talking about how bad things are.” I feel like something of a traitor to my own profession when I say that he’s right. It took a while, but I finally realized that heavy doses of nightly

news were not only toxic to my attitude, but they also offered little to no information that was actually useful. Lots of other recovering news junkies are now registering their complaints. I give NBC’s Brian Williams high marks for responding by wrapping up his nightly reports with stories about ordinary people doing extraordinary good. But 90% of what we see and hear remains unremittingly negative. A confluence of reality and perception is likely to take a bite out of consumer demand for bedding for some time to come. “For the retailer, this can easily become a self-fulfilling prophecy,” Mike wrote. “Cut advertising so there is less traffic. Cut inventory so you have more out-ofstocks on your best sellers.” But savvy retailers like Homestead plan to stay a step ahead by continuing to advertise, by focusing on value and service, by monitoring expenses and efficiencies, and by staying nimble enough to do the things that make them even better at what they do, so they’re wellpositioned for the business turnaround when it does come. And maybe most importantly, added Mike, “We’ve decided to not participate in the doom and gloom.” Perception is everything. But it can be changed. Start with yourself. Tonight, instead of watching the news, go shoot some hoops.


SleepSavvy • April 2009


Wood isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Especially when compared to a foundation made with steel. Consumers tell us that it’s a no brainer. And know this. At Leggett & Platt, we realize it’s not just a question of support or consistent quality, but noise too. After all, a cracked wood foundation can squeak and keep anyone up at night. Exceptional value is at the foundation of our commitment to you and your customers. Rest assured. Our friends at Serta are committed to selling all of their beds with a steel foundation. Think of it as one more reason they were ranked the number one major brand for consumer confidence by an independent survey. Because when you sell a foundation, the only thing that should crack is your customer’s smile!

Leggett & Platt Foundations are STEEL STRONG.

Innovation Redefined™

Visit us at: www.steel-strong.com/savvy.asp Be one of the first 100 to register on line to receive a Stainless Steel Knife!

ON LEADERSHIP by Larry Wilson

Nothing to fear but fear


hese words came to us in 1933 from President Franklin D. Roosevelt as he described the Great Depression. Here’s the whole quote: “So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself – nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.” Yes, it’s tough out there. There’s plenty to be concerned about. Yet, it’s clearly the leader’s job to keep the team together, even as some things are falling apart. What’s the leader’s biggest challenge? It’s to cultivate a positive attitude of a better tomorrow rather than allowing a culture of doom and gloom. As FDR said, apply efforts to “convert retreat into advance.” Start by not thinking that you and you alone have all the answers. You don’t—no one does. I can tell you who has the best answers. It’s the team itself. If you haven’t been leading this way, now is the best time to fully change your leadership style and start encouraging your staff and associates to get involved. It’s time to see them as part of your opportunity rather than part of your problem.  What’s the benefit of engaging people to do more than just their jobs? It’s huge. Unless you’re living in a cave, you know change is happening at speeds never seen before. Old rules have to be replaced by new rules, new answers and new solutions. All people are unique, with talents that are often overlooked and undervalued. There is no greater waste than that of human potential.  Leaders exist to help others tap into this undiscovered potential. To do so, leaders have to let go of thinking that their job is to control and command. These new times require leaders to serve their followers by empowering, freeing and coaching them to make their best choices.  When we do those things, people return the favor by not just doing their jobs, but doing what’s right. Right means optimally serving the customer, supporting their peers and gifting the use of their own special talents, creativity and passion to improve the whole organization. 

What might this look like? Like a high-performing team that’s learned to work together to apply its efforts to “convert retreat into advance.” Retreat is about the past. Advance is about the future.  Stay future-focused Here’s what makes morale improve: ● A leader who keeps the team focused on future-speak rather than the pains of the past.  ● A team that collectively creates a meaningful purpose for the work being done.  ● A team that collectively creates four to eight agreedupon values to guide their behaviors. ● A team that collectively creates a two- to three-year future vision that pulls people forward. ● A weekly “Where are we going?/ How are we doing?/ How can we do better?/ Is it fun?” meeting. You might be saying, “Those are great, but how do we deal with the problems and fears that are pulling us down today?” Get real. Nothing is pulling us down except how we think. Since we feel the way we think, I want to give you a thinking tool—one word. The word is “inconvenient.” That’s usually the reality when things go wrong.  Most fears are irrational: False Events Appearing Real. Irrational fears come from irrational beliefs you and your associates create. You can erase and replace that thinking. A situation may not be what you wanted, but it’s something you can handle. We all need to remember that fact. But what if you lose your job? That would be—now think reality—inconvenient. It wouldn’t be a terrible tragedy and it wouldn’t be the end of the world.  Preach this “inconvenience rule”—an attitude rooted in reality—to all of your associates. This is how we think and who we are when we’re choosing growth over fear, when we remind ourselves every day: “Inconvenience—that’s something I can handle. Now I’ll get on with living.” ●

Larry Wilson is an internationally recognized pioneer in change management, leadership development and strategic thinking, and is the co-author of The One-Minute Sales Person. He has founded two companies, Wilson Learning Corp. and Pecos River Learning, and is currently spearheading The Wilson Collaborative. Larry works with companies to help them “create the organization that, if it existed, would put them out of business.” His clients include major mattress manufacturers and retailers. Larry can be reached by email at larry.wilson@mac.com


SleepSavvy • April 2009


Black is the new Green. Introducing our new, environmentally-friendly bedlegs. For 40 years, Universal Bedlegs has been manufacturing sturdy, durable bed supports to replace unwieldy metal bedframes. And now we’re fabricating them from

100% recycled materials. Available in 3, 5, 7 or 10 inches, these are the same great bedlegs our customers swear by, with the same weight-bearing strength. Hidden under the bed, they’re neatly out of sight, but you can rest easy knowing you’re supported by the smart alternative. Finally, a bed support system that’s safer for shins and toes—and safer for the planet! Universal Bedlegs are made in the USA

Choose whatever size you desire: 3, 5, 7 — even 10 inches!

Visit universalbedlegs.com or Call 866.313.LEGS or 415.453.0255

SNOOZE NEWS stuff you can use

Lose weight with the Sleep Diet? It really works!

When a doctor swore to an editor at Glamour magazine that he could help women lose weight just by making over their sleep habits, the magazine staff was dubious. Research has linked lack of sleep to weight gain, but certainly weight loss requires hard work, diet and exercise—right? They decided to put it to the test. So sleep experts Michael Breus, Ph.D., and Steven Lamm, M.D., created a plan for seven Glamour readers of varying weights, asking them to get at least seven and a half hours of sleep a night. That was all. In fact, they asked the women not to make any significant diet or exercise changes to see if sleep and sleep alone would make a difference. Did it ever! At the end of 10 weeks, the women had lost 6 to 15 pounds. Finding the time for extra sleep every night proved tough for some, but even those who didn’t follow the plan exactly noticed inches disappearing from waist, bust and hips. The story and diet were featured in the March Glamour and a Today show segment with Meredith Viera, Dr. Nancy Snyderman and the seven dieters. To read the story, go to www.glamour.com/magazine/2009/02/lose-weight-while-you-sleep.

Sleep Savvy now available digitally!

We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as

we speak.

— Epicetetus Greek philosopher


leep Savvy is now being published in electronic format, as well as in print. Our new digital magazine is identical to the printed version and just as easy to read. Page navigation is simple, fast and fun. And it has a few features that you can’t get in print, including live links to websites and email addresses. Best of all, you’ll be able to read each issue online weeks before it arrives in the mail. To check out the latest online edition of Sleep Savvy, visit www.sleepsavvymagazine.com.


SleepSavvy • April 2009



stuff you can use Steven King’s


How you say it says volumes During the mattress presentation and throughout the interaction with your customer, it’s important to be very aware not only of what you say but how you say it. A smile is essential. Wear it from the minute the customer enters the store. A smiling salesperson is usually rewarded with a reciprocal smile, starting the relationship off on a positive note and dispelling almost any negative mood the customer drags in. Be aware of the speed of your speech while communicating with your customer. Slow translates to honest. Watch your body language. Always remain in an open, inviting position. Never fold your arms across your chest or place them on your hips. Always look at the customer when you address her. Make your eyes big—it makes

you look less threatening. If you sneeze or cough, cover your face with your hand and excuse yourself. Tell the customer you’re going to wash or sanitize your hands and will return momentarily. She’ll appreciate it. There are some things you should never say to your customer. Never talk about politics or religion. Never gossip or bad-mouth your competition. Never build value in a mattress at the expense of another mattress. No matter what mattress your customer selects, she needs to feel good about her selection. If you care about establishing trust with the customer, banish these phrases from your lexicon: “To tell you the truth…”,”To be honest with you…”, “If you ask me…” After any of those, she won’t believe a thing you say. Steven King is president of Steven King & Associates, a sales training firm, and the author of Money in the Mattress: The Sales Associates’ Guide to Premium Mattress Sales. You can contact Steven by email at moneyinthemattress@hotmail.com or order his book at www.moneyinthemattress.com.

Study says put on a happy face


our smiling face might do more than just make a customer feel welcome—it might just make her more open to your suggestion that buying a $2,000 mattress is a good investment in her future health, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research. “A positive mood enhances efforts to attain future well-being, encourages broader and flexible thinking, and increases openness to information,” write study authors Aparna Labroo (University of Chicago) and Vanessa Patrick (University of Georgia). The researchers presented study participants with sets of statements preceded by either a smiling face or a frowning face. “The results revealed that simply associating a smile with a statement resulted in the statement being construed at a higher, more abstract level,” they wrote. Apparently, being in a good mood allows people to step back emotionally, think in less concrete terms and be more in tune with long-term benefits. So it may not be a stretch to say that your best sales tool in tough times is your smile.

8 SleepSavvy • April 2009

Poll: Few Americans feel rested when they wake up


n an online poll, the National Sleep Foundation asked people how they typically feel when they wake up, and here’s how they responded:

52% 8.9% 38.5% ■ Slightly groggy ■ Exhausted ■ Well-rested www.sleepsavvymagazine.com


stuff you can use

Quotable “Driven by hyper-competition, government and business leaders have fallen into the bad habit of sleep deprivation. It trickles down into widespread practice and culture. It results not only in mediocre decisions, but bad decisions and low performance. “Sleep deprivation should not be the norm, because we’ve all got a lot of tough problems to find solutions for in 2009. So let’s all try to get more sleep. The world will be a better place.”

—Max Kalehoff, vice president of marketing for Clickable

Money in the mattress…really!


t Chanel’s spring fashion show in Paris, the iconic design house introduced the Mattress bag, an ultrachic way for stylish women to put their money in the mattress. As The New York Times pointed out, it might also double as a travel pillow for some in-flight snoozing. Or perhaps an impromptu bed for a pooped Pomeranian. The designer’s flight of fancy promises to be a sleeper hit. But most women will only be able to dream about it—considering the price will likely top that of a premium version of the real thing.


A new ‘normal’ emerges for retailers


new ‘normal’ is emerging in 2009 as retailers and consumers recalibrate their values and rethink their expectations,” according to STORES Editor Susan Reda. In What’s Next for Retail in ’09, Reda pointed to “subtleyet-substantive shifts in attitudes toward spending and saving, and the corporate mindset with regard to sustainability, optimization and transformation.” Here are a few of the key trends she identified for retail this year: ● Consumers are looking for information. Retailers need to find ways to provide in-depth access to product data.


● Consumers want to provide feedback and read other shoppers’ reviews. “Give them a voice in goods and service—and don’t forget to listen to what they have to say,” Reda advised. ● Products that convey a sense of home and hearth will resonate with shoppers. While Reda pointed to small appliances and electronics

as examples, presumably mattresses can benefit from this trend as well, when positioned properly. ● Empathy with customers’ problems and gestures of kindness will go a long way towards winning customer sales and their kudos. ● High-def is the name of the messaging game, so investments in digital and interactive signage may be critical to customer decisions at the point of sale. Reda called on retailers to “make investments that will position their companies for growth eight, 12 or 18 months from now, a time to challenge old ways of thinking and to foster a culture of innovation.” SleepSavvy • April 2009



stuff you can use

Are cell phones sabotaging sleep?

Ban on ‘same as cash’ set for 2010


he National Retail Federation www.nrf.com is asking Congress to overturn new Federal Reserve regulations that would effectively ban retailers’ “same-as-cash” offers. The regulations are set to go into effect in July 1, 2010. Issued in December, the regulations are intended to improve disclosures that consumers receive in connection with credit card accounts and other revolving credit plans, but the effect on same-as-cash programs goes beyond disclosure. “Rather than effectively regulate them, the Federal Reserve has effectively banned these programs—throwing out the good with the bad,” said NRF Senior Vice President and General Counsel Mallory Duncan. NRF has asked that the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee “revisit the Fed’s recent actions and instead take steps that will improve transparency while preserving one of the genuine consumer benefits in today’s pressed financial environment,” Duncan said. Although the regulations won’t go into effect until July 2010, they could affect some pre-existing deferred-interest offers because of the length of the agreements.


f you’re having trouble getting to sleep, try putting your cell phone away a good half-hour before bedtime. Researchers at Loughborough University in England found that after a 30-minute exposure to cell phone signals in talk mode, people took nearly twice as long to fall asleep as they did when the phone had been off or in standby mode. The scientists believe the effect probably reflects the time it takes the brain to relax after being agitated by the phone’s electrical field.

6 basics of connecting with customers






Lack of clutter, in-stocks on key items, logical adjacencies and a rational traffic flow are fundamental. “A weak structure signals broken promises and sets a mood of doubt,” the magazine says.

Be clear about what you sell and how you sell it. “Mattress sets at Kroger or $3,000 scooters at Ace Hardware counteract the brand images these retailers have spent millions to construct,” CSA points out.

Retailers have to give customers a sense that they are in control of the experience, starting with the recognition that people don’t start shopping immediately inside the front door. “As it relates to their target segments, stores must uncover shopper anxieties and remove those barriers,” the magazine says.

10 SleepSavvy • April 2009



stuff you can use

10 curious facts about sleep 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

The record for the longest period of time without sleep is 18 days, 21 hours, 40 minutes. The record holder reported hallucinations, paranoia, blurred vision, slurred speech, and lapses in memory and concentration. If it takes you less than five minutes to fall asleep at night, you're sleep-deprived. The ideal is 10 to 15 minutes, which means you're tired enough to sleep deeply, but not so exhausted you feel sleepy during the day. A new baby typically results in 400-750 hours of lost sleep for parents in the first year. Elephants sleep standing up during non-REM sleep, but lie down for REM sleep. (Rapid Eye Movement sleep is the stage in which dreams generally occur.) REM sleep may help developing brains mature. Premature babies have 75% REM sleep—10% more than full-term babies. After five nights of partial sleep deprivation, three drinks will have the same effect on your body as six would when you've slept enough. Humans sleep an average of about three hours less than other primates such as chimps, rhesus monkeys, squirrel monkeys and baboons, all of which sleep for 10 hours. Feeling tired can feel normal within a relatively short period of time. People deliberately deprived of sleep for research initially noticed the significant effects on their alertness, mood and physical performance, but the awareness dropped off after the first few days. Snoring occurs only in non-REM sleep. Teenagers need as much sleep as small children (about 10 hours). For the average adult aged 25-55, eight hours is generally considered optimal. Source: The National Sleep Research Project (Australia).

9 10

Design your store to capture and engage “Design remains a powerful force in retail,” according to Chain Store Age. “Every store is a canvas, using art and ingenuity to capture and engage.” Currently influenced by the green movement, global awareness and all things Asian, retail spaces are evolving to express the meaningful experiences shoppers seek. ● Color palettes are being taken from nature—grassy greens, spicy reds, ripe fresh tones tempered with neutrals—along with natural forms, imagery and organic materials. ● Blond wood and Zen-like minimalism are the choice of upscale brands. ● Shoppers continue to place a high value on authenticity, which plays out in store materials. ● Segmented spaces rather than wide-open floor plans intrigue customers. ● The Asian invasion appeals to a growing niche of design sophisticates. ● The urban influence is still very much alive.


According to the magazine Chain Store Age (August 2008), there are six basic character traits retailers must demonstrate if they want to connect with customers:




Understanding your primary customer is key to connecting emotionally. “Trust and emotional ‘stickiness’ are conferred on a merchant that’s a great editor—one that keeps what’s meaningful and ignores the rest,” according to CSA.

Don’t underestimate the power of store design in helping shoppers “access an experience of meaning”— one that speaks to “dreams and aspirations,” says CSA. “Inspirational ideas, specialized knowledge, social cause or any stimulation greater than the acquisition will differentiate and engage at a deeper level.”

Brand selection represents the person you want to be and the qualities of the group you want to be identified with. “Retailers gain momentum by attracting the right influencers whose word-of-mouth and presence in the store propels sales,” the magazine concludes.


SleepSavvy • April 2009



stuff you can use

Unity Marketing

Internet key influence on home furnishings shoppers


nline buying captures just over 5% of the total home furnishings market, so some marketers may think they don’t need to put much emphasis on their websites and other Internet marketing strategies. That would be a big mistake,

according to Pam Danziger, president of Unity Marketing. www.unitymarketingonline.com “The real power of the Internet comes from its ability to influence the shopper,” Danziger said, citing research conducted in 2008. “Home shoppers turned to

Brand, offers are main reasons to shop online


rand, special online offers and easy-to-use features are the primary reasons consumers turn to online shopping sites, a recent Harris Interactive survey has found. Consumers also turn to social networks for advice, recommendations and sale offers for online purchases. The survey, commissioned by e-commerce solutions provider Volusion www.Volusion.com , polled 2,462 adults 18 years and older who are online shoppers. Key survey findings: ● 92% said brand is at least somewhat important to initially attracting them to shopping sites. ●5  0% said special online offers would encourage them to shop online more frequently. ●4  8% said easy-to-use features are very important for initially attracting them to e-commerce websites. ● 32% would shop online more if sites were easier to use. ●3  0% would be encouraged to shop on social networks if special sales and exclusive products appeared there. ●2  7% would be encouraged to shop on social networks if they could view comments on various items for sale there. ● 24% would shop online more if checkout procedures were easier.

12 SleepSavvy • April 2009

the Internet first when they wanted to learn about new items to buy to decorate or remodel their home. The Internet ranked ahead of instore displays and sales associates, word-of-mouth and magazine ads in terms of influencing the shopper. “When it comes to making purchasing decisions, shoppers want facts and figures that they can use to compare brands and offerings.  Today’s shopper expects the highest quality product possible along with exceptional value, especially when so many brands are vying for scarce discretionary dollars, and it takes information to determine quality and value. This is just the kind of data the Internet provides so well.” Danziger urged marketers, including mattress and furniture retailers, to establish “a robust online presence, packed with data that includes price, product details, brand information, and customer reviews and feedback.”

Retail size matters Percentage of consumers who trust these groups “a great deal/mostly” to be honest and fair:

29% 62%

Large, national retailers

Small, local retailers Source: Yankelovich Minute Monitor






In this turbulent financial climate, sure things are hard to come by. Which is why all of us at Restonic are proud of what we continue to offer you, each and every day – a stable supplier you can count on, and quality products at great values. This is why we can make this pledge to you:

��| T H E R E S T O N I C B R A N D P R O M I S E |�� Restonic Mattress Corporation is the “ G O T O ” B R A N D for retailers who are looking for a bedding partner who is M O R E R E S P O N S I V E and provides G R E AT E R V A L U E to them, because our R E TA I L E R S ’ S U C C E S S is our top priority.


Tom Comer | RESTONIC BUFFALO Buffalo, NY 716.895.1414

Ken Akers | RESTONIC TOLEDO Toledo, IA 641.484.3344

Richard L. Stevens | RESTONIC GRAND FORKS Grand Forks, ND 701.775.5461

Lee Quinn | RESTONIC NEW ALBANY New Albany, IN 812.945.4122

Steve Everton | RESTONIC IDAHO Filer, ID 208.326.3407

Brent Ford | RESTONIC HOUSTON Houston, TX 713.222.7394

Bob Parker | RESTONIC JOHNSON CITY Johnson City, TN 423.434.1020

Gary Robinson | RESTONIC MIAMI Miami, FL 305.635.2337

Robert Bancroft | RESTONIC FAYETTEVILLE Fayetteville, NC 910.425.0131

David Walker | RESTONIC OREGON Newberg, OR 503.538.8875

Jim McKinney | RESTONIC SPRINGFIELD Springfield, MO 417.866.2747

Randy Karp | RESTONIC SAN FRANCISCO Burlingame, CA 650.344.1980

Ron Passaglia | RESTONIC Atlanta, GA 847.241.1130

Roland Elpers | RESTONIC HAVEN Haven, KS 620.465.2242

Don Balsavich | RESTONIC ESCANABA Escanaba, MI 906.789.9902


stuff you can use

U.S. prefers TV to sleep

Just for laughs


pparently, Americans love television more than sleep. According to a recent report from Nielsen, Americans spent an average of eight hours and 18 minutes a day watching television during the 2007-08 television season, a record high since measurements began in the 1950s. Doing work, watching TV and using the computer—close to bedtime and especially in the bedroom—hinders quality sleep. In the March 2009 issue of Sleep

Savyy, the Retail Road Trip incorrectly identified two mattress lines sold by Le Sleep in Knoxville, TN. Natural Living is a name tradeCorrection marked, produced and distributed solely by Carolina Mattress Guild, not in partnership with Anatomic Global. Le Sleep sells another mattress line made by Anatomic Global. In addition, the Sleep Quest line is made exclusively by Carolina Mattress Guild, not by Corsicana.

“Now, this little baby will really save you money!”

BEDDING BIZ BEAT The dismal sales news continued in January, as wholesale dollar shipments of mattresses and foundations declined by more than 16% and units declined by 18.5%, compared to last January. However, sales were stronger than they had been since last September. The data, a sample of 18 producers, is published monthly by the International Sleep Products Association.

Mattresses & Foundations - Millions of Dollars (wholesale) Sample of Leading Producers

$406 $340

$334 $297





$248 $220

$275 $240

Percent change -12.6%

Percent change

Percent change

Percent change

Percent change

Percent change












Source: ISPA monthly Bedding Barometer, a sample of leading U.S. mattress producers

14 SleepSavvy • April 2009

■ 2007 ■ 2008 ■ 2009


Therapedic International advertises in Sleep Savvy because our customers and prospects read it! “Retailers read Sleep Savvy


March 2009

The magazine for sleep products professionals

because there are articles in every issue that they can’t get from other publications. Sleep Savvy is the only publication that is written to the mattress retailer, from cover to cover.”

Gerry Borreggine President, CEO Therapedic International


What motivates mattress RSAs?

Are your ads getting read? Advertise in Sleep Savvy.

Here’s a hint: It’s not this!

AIR | INNERSPRING | LATEX | POCKETED | VISCO We are a global group of strong, independent bedding manufacturers, working together and sharing ideas to meet the needs of local, regional, national, and international retailers.

RETAIL and ROAD TRIP By combining world class technologies, local know-how, flexible operations, Knoxville retailer opens our factories can create exactly the right products for virtually any market.

Le need Sleep to create cater Tell us what your customers - and we’ll it!

to women’s sensibilities MARKET SCENE

Sharp pricing, shades of green, brand unveilings are Las Vegas headliners

For information and rates, contact Kerri Bellias 336-945-0265 or kbellias@sleepproducts.org


New research: Stress reduced when sleeping on a new mattress

creative flexible


www.therapedic.com / 800-314-4433 Contact: Gerry Borreggine / 609.605.0535 / gb@therapedic.com

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10/3/08 3:46:31 PM

Direct marketing

When times get tough, get targeted By Barbara Nelles


conomic conditions are taking their toll on consumer response to all forms of advertising, including direct-marketing efforts, marketing experts say, but still there is no better time to roll out new direct-mail and other direct-response campaigns. In fact, engaging in direct marketing may be critical if you want to continue to pull in customers during tough times. “Direct marketing is something every retailer should be doing because it goes after sales right now, using measurable and testable marketing techniques,” says Grant Johnson, CEO of direct-marketing agency JohnsonDirect. www.johnsondirect.com Direct marketing allows retailers to target previous customers—a very important group in times like these when prospecting for new customers is especially difficult. Your previous customers know you and your business, and they are more likely to respond to your value-driven offer. So, what exactly is direct marketing? It’s any type of targeted communication that seeks a direct response from consumers, the results of which are (hopefully) collected in a database for future analysis and use. It can involve

16 SleepSavvy • April 2009

many different types of delivery, including postal, broadcast, phone, point-of-service and digital. Direct mail is the most familiar. Digital is the fastest growing. But whether you are an old hand at email marketing or have yet to send out your first direct-mail postcard, it’s critical to keep in mind how the current economic climate is affecting consumers. “I truly believe the consumer may be changed forever,” says Lois Boyle-Brayfield, president of direct marketing specialist J. Schmid & Associates. www.jschmid.com “None of us feels as rich as we did a year ago—similar to those who lived through the Great Depression, we are all being affected. For all of us it’s about right-sizing.” Advertisers are catching on, Boyle says. “McDonald’s ran a highly successful billboard campaign in the first quarter, which said basically ‘$4 coffee is dumb. Come buy coffee from us.’ The campaign was so successful, they had an enormous run on coffee.” More than ever, success at direct marketing takes a skilled and compelling combination of the right offer, the right presentation, the right delivery method and the right list of targeted consumers.



SleepSavvy • April 2009



when times get tough, get targeted

DM design do’s


aren Saunders, author of Turn Eye Appeal to Buy Appeal: How to easily transform your marketing pieces into dazzling, persuasive sales tools!, offers these tips on designing effective direct marketing pieces. ●U  se powerful photography or art, interesting colors, interesting graphics—but use them sparingly. ● Include enough white space— it aids legibility and gives the reader’s eye a resting point. ●T  ake advantage of free or lowpriced clip art and stock photos that are available online. ●A  dd dramatic contrast with colors, shapes, fonts and graphics. ●C  reate a consistent look throughout the piece. Repeat key design elements, such as bullets and headers, in the same size, color and font. ●K  now when to use “serif” and “sans serif” fonts. Serif fonts have tiny horizontal strokes attached to the letters that help readers’ eyes flow from letter to letter, so they are good for the body copy in text-heavy pieces. Sans serif fonts are good for headlines because they slow readers down and grab their attention. For more information, visit http://macgraphics.net

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April 2009

Go postal Despite postage hikes, and perhaps tapping into nostalgia for nondigital communication, direct mail is enjoying a resurgence, direct marketers say. Individual postcards are an economical tactic for lean times—a solo campaign runs about 50 cents to $1 per address. Are sales particularly strong at certain times of the year? Spend your direct-mail dollars then. And always plan for repeat mailings in order to sway today’s cautious consumer. There are a number of directmail “aggregators” offering a variety of inexpensive distribution tactics that are especially good for prospecting. Companies like ADVO/Valassis www.valassis.com offer highly targeted door hangers and door packs, glossy magazines, circulars, newspaper inserts and packaged coupon packs. The cost per household can be as little as 5 cents. Being able to monitor response and calculate return on investment—to the penny—are cornerstones of well-executed campaigns. “Campaign metrics are pretty simple stuff,” Johnson says. “All you need are basic spreadsheet skills.” What is a good return on investment for a typical direct-mail or direct-marketing campaign? It depends. “If you mailed 5,000 postcards and got 0.5% response, that’s only 2.5 people,” Boyle says. “But if your average ticket was $3,000, that can be very profitable. Your mailing didn’t cost nearly that much. But what if sales were on low-ticket items? It’s hard to predict.” A successful campaign yields as little as three times to as much as 10 times what you spent, says Joy Gendusa, CEO of direct mail marketer PostcardMania.

www.postcardmania.com “The best response rates we see are when marketing to current customers. They can be as high as 10% to 20% due to customer loyalty—but that’s not typical for furniture and other durable goods retailers.” “Frankly, most retailers are not very good at tracking response to direct mail,” Gendusa says. “But it’s essential. Make it easier by copying the big guys. One basic tip is to make your postcard into a big coupon—think Bed Bath & Beyond—that customers must bring into the store with them.” Capturing a source code at the cash register is a common practice, whether via a hand-collected coupon or postcard or a scanned code. If coding isn’t used, you will want to compare collected customers’ names and addresses to the campaign mailing list and note whether the shopper is responding to a current direct-mail offer. “RSAs can be an obstacle here if they don’t follow through with gathering customer information,” Boyle says. “You need to educate them and get them on board with your plan. Some database-builder systems require that stores collect zip codes or phone numbers at checkout, so they can see what is working and what isn’t. I had one retailer whose RSAs were simply inputting their own phone numbers over and over because they didn’t want to ask.” Make a list Does your store maintain a previous customer database? If not, it’s time to start one. Mass mailings are not the way to go with direct mail, although many retailers continue to make that expensive mistake, the experts say. It’s all about database marketing— building, maintaining and marketing to previous customers and warm prospects. www.sleepsavvymagazine.com


when times get tough, get targeted Retain your mattress delivery information, and collect and enter complete customer contact information and purchase information into your spreadsheets or database system. If delivery is not part of the purchase, make sure RSAs have customers fill out a warranty card or other information card during checkout. Use your current mailing list to request referrals. When people have a good experience in your store they’ll feel good about referring others. Ask satisfied customers to refer friends and do it more than once. “Send out a letter or an email asking for a referral,” Johnson says. “Include mattress care hints and conclude with an appeal: ‘We are successful when you refer others to us.’ Or take it to the next level and run a contest: ‘For every referral received, we’ll enter your name in a drawing for a $100 credit on your next purchase, or a gas gift card,’ etc.” Augment a meager mailing list with rented lists if need be. Check out SRDS Media Solutions www.srds.com , an information database of mailing list resources. But remember how important your list is—40% of a campaign’s success hinges on the list and the media. “Always keep in mind the attributes of your best customers—married, household income above $70,000, own their own home—when you select rented lists,” Johnson advises. It’s critical for mattress retailers to keep and maintain lists long term, because in about five years the customer who bought a set from you may be ready to buy again. “You continue targeting those customers over time,” Boyle says, “reminding them about the good experience they had in your store www.sleepsavvymagazine.com

Email marketing: Things you need to know Unlike a postal mailer, your email’s appearance is difficult to control when it arrives at its destination. There are about 30 commonly used email clients and each may display your email differently. Some recipients will be viewing your email on their cell phone or BlackBerry. Images and links are often turned off by default. When the recipient clicks ‘open’, your HTML creation may bear little resemblance to your original design. So test its appearance in as many email programs as possible. Make sure you follow accepted best practices. Companies perceived as “spammers” get blackballed by Internet service providers and worse. Whether you host and send email yourself, use an online application or an outside provider, learn about federal anti-spam legislation. There are numerous laws restricting spam around the world, including the United States’ CAN-SPAM Act. www.ftc.gov/spam The act prohibits misleading subject lines, requires the use of a valid reply address and mandates clear opt-out instructions, among other provisions. You might want to think about using an online email marketing application such as Constant Contact www.constantcontact.com , Lyris www.lyris.com or iContact www.icontact.com for composing and hosting your email direct marketing. These software service vendors and many others offer a range of tools from templates to list management to “spam checks” that can increase your campaign’s deliverability. Fees are generally based on the size of your stored email lists, not the number of campaigns you launch.

Survey shows email makes an impression––and sales


recent email branding survey conducted by Epsilon/ ROI Research explored the impact of permission-based email marketing. Here are some of the findings: ● 57% of consumers said they have a more positive impression of companies when they receive email from them. ●5  0% said they’re more likely to buy products from companies who send them email, whether their purchases are online or at a place of business. ●6  7% of respondents said they purchased products offline as a direct result of receiving an email from a retail company. ●8  4% of respondents said they like receiving email from companies with whom they register. ●6  0% of women and 49% of men regularly save email in their inbox to refer to later when making purchases.

SleepSavvy • April 2009



when times get tough, get targeted and with your products.” Devise a plan for nurturing relationships and maintaining connections. Consider a newsletter and other informational mailings. “Perhaps create a customer appreciation event for good customers. Invite them and their families for special savings at special hours. Treat it as exclusive and non-hard hitting,” Johnson says. How many communications with previous customers are sufficient? It depends on their purchase history—another reason to maintain that database. Frequent or big-ticket customers get the most attention, perhaps as much as six to 12 mailings or emails per year. Others might receive a single mailing or contact per year.

20 SleepSavvy • April 2009

Get smart Testing and refinement of directresponse campaigns allows you to find tactics that resonate with con-

sumers. “Your first effort will be your stupidest,” Boyle says. “Once you figure out what works, push it to its limits.” Retailers with database management systems in place can easily implement sophisticated campaigns that test different offers to different addresses, Gendusa points out. But simple tests work, too, says Johnson. In a family business where father and son disagree over which offer will be most effective, “do a media split test—divide your database into odd and even numbers. The evens get one offer, the odds another. When the campaign is over, see what resonated.” If you want to ensure your next campaign makes the right offer at the right price to the right consumer,



when times get tough, get targeted

12 tips on writing great DM copy 8

If you’ve included a special offer, articulate it in a clear, compelling manner. Try testing different offers with different list segments. Which offers worked in the past? Can you brainstorm a giveaway that will not impact your margins?


Beware of focusing the entire message on having the lowest price—it will only work if you really are less expensive than everyone else, which is a difficult promise to make in a highly competitive category and economy. And it can have unintended results, like starting a price war in your market.



ere are a dozen direct-marketing content tips from Tony Attwood, U.K.-based direct-mail marketing guru and founder of Hamilton House Mailings plc www.hamilton-house.com and Lois Boyle-Brayfield, president of direct-marketing agency J. Schmid & Assoc. Inc. www.jschmid.com

1 2

Place your name, location and contact information in plain sight—it’s the first thing a recipient looks for.

Headline a benefit such as “No more backaches when you sleep on a ______” —not lists of product features.


Do support that headline benefit with a strong value story—especially in today’s economy. Provide facts and figures that underline value, add a free gift or extra discount to compel consumers to act.

4 5 6

Consider posing a provocative question in the headline—“Are these the three things you dread most about mattress shopping?” Recipients will read on just to see if you got it right. Develop your question and provide your solution in a paragraph or two, using a conversational—not promotional—style.


Make information very easy to understand and don’t assume anything. Write in very short paragraphs, and avoid fine print and disclaimers when possible. Recipients will scan, not read word for word.


Inject some humor. It’s rarely seen in direct mail but is a great way to form a connection with your audience. Perhaps open the piece by discussing a mattress or sleep-related issue that is a source of annoyance—whether it’s dealing with high-pressure mattress sales associates or waking up in the morning with aches and pains—then surprise readers by adding a comic twist.

Remember, “you” and “free” are the two most powerful words you can use. Put your most powerful words at the beginning of sentences and paragraphs.

Include a call to action. Tell the reader what you want her to do and how to do it—and repeat it more than once in your copy.


Announcements do not make attention-grabbing headlines. “ABC introduces the XYZ mattress” will not work—nor will following it up with your number of years in business and the latest technology behind the XYZ.


SleepSavvy • April 2009



when times get tough, get targeted you need a database that contains “recency” of purchase, frequency of purchase, price range and product description. “Recency of purchase can be your best predictor of a future purchase, even with mattresses and furniture. If someone buys an occasional pillow, they are not nearly as prime as someone who has bought more than one mattress but hasn’t been heard from in a couple of years,” Boyle says. “Don’t give those customers away to your competition.” “A customer who bought bunk beds isn’t the same as someone who bought a $3,000 mattress. Understand who they are, know where they live and target them with appropriate offers,” Johnson says. “Distance from your store is another important factor to

work out in targeting direct mail campaigns. It’s usually trial and error,” Boyle says. “One retailer we worked with did a geographic selection of names within a region. It was a very profitable prospecting effort, but expanding it out to 10 miles was not as successful, so we narrowed it back to seven miles and found the sweet spot.” Go digital When shoppers are having a good experience, they are usually willing to share personal information, says Boyle—so ask for their email addresses. Then do your best to turn your customer contact list into an opt-in email list. Add a method of capturing prospects’ email addresses to your website. Offer free downloads,

Questions to ask when DM doesn’t work


o, your last direct-marketing piece was a flop? Don’t just blame the economy and today’s tight-fisted consumer. Take a close look at your campaign, says Grant Johnson, CEO and founder of direct marketing agency Johnson Direct www.johnsondirect.com , and ask yourself the following questions: ● How important does your campaign or piece make recipients feel? ● Is the envelope/subject line/headline impossible to ignore? ●D  o you give recipients a convincing reason to continue reading or to interact? ● Do you make them feel “singled out” to reap exciting benefits? ●D  o you announce an appealing offer that implies high value? “FREE offer for preferred customers”? ●W  as the content—especially the opening paragraph—dripping with “YOU” copy? ●D  id you make sure the offer wasn’t loaded down with qualifiers, conditions and disclaimers? Consumers “crave simplicity,” Johnson says. Remember, consumers are bombarded by hundreds if not thousands of media impressions each day. If a direct-marketing attempt doesn’t get their attention immediately and keep it, offer high value and make them feel special, you’ve just wasted your money.

22 SleepSavvy • April 2009

e-newsletters, contests or surveys in exchange for inputing personal information. Drive more visitors to your site by prominently displaying the URL everywhere—advertising, store signage, receipts—along with a teaser question to coax online visits: “How much sleep is enough?” or “Learn six tips for a better night’s sleep.” Follow up with a phone call or email to these warm prospects, Gendusa says. “Say, ‘Hello, I saw you downloaded our guide. You may be interested in a special offer we have this week.’ Include your picture and your signature.” “But tread carefully; it’s a funny medium. People are very quick to take offense at unwelcome email and click delete,” Johnson says. “My email rule of thumb is to inform, educate, entertain—then sell.” Be sure your direct marketing and your website are in sync, because 85% of your recipients will go to your website before heading out to your store. “Websites should reflect the special offers and promotions going on at your store,” Gendusa says. “We critiqued 300 client URLs in fall 2008 and, frankly, I was appalled at the quality, the outdated and missing information, and the fact that current promotions were not even mentioned.” If you can’t keep your site current, at least post a message on your home page: “These are some of our offers. Please visit our store to discover our latest promotions and specials,” she says. Even better, a direct-mail campaign can have its own landing page or microsite. That’s a temporary splash page that provides all the information about the special promotion taking place and links to your store’s main website. Websites need to be “living, breathing things,” Gendusa advises. “They are an eye into your store.” ● www.sleepsavvymagazine.com




Visit us at:

April 25-30, 2009

BE MY GUEST by Bob Muenkel

The real reason is that their current sleep system is not providing the comfort and/or support necessary to allow them sufficient time in the deeper, more restorative stages of sleep. This loss of deep, restorative sleep is negatively impacting how they function during their waking lives. Now, if customers would just come out and say that, we would all be better equipped to help them. It is the sales associate’s role to understand this and to guide the communication process toward discovering the sleep problem––whether

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What’s the real reason consumers go shopping for a new mattress?


it’s comfort, support or both––and to solve the sleep problem with a targeted feature-benefit presentation, while involving the consumer in the process. Qualifying for desire Selling mattresses is a customer-based, solution-selling environment. The importance of qualifying the customer cannot be overstated. In fact, it could be argued that qualifying is the most important part of the sale. If sales associates learn to thoroughly question their customers to determine actual needs and wants, they are halfway to the sale. Qualifying can be separated into 1) qualifying for need and 2) qualifying for desire. They are fundamentally different. Need brings the client through the door. Desire brings the client to the desk. Qualifying for need means determining the facts by asking questions such as: 1) What size are you looking for? 2) When do you need it? 3) Is this for every night use or occasional use? Every sales associate does this as a necessary part of the sales process. Competence in this task is measured by thoroughness and listening skills. But if these are your only qualifying questions, it is nearly impossible to differentiate yourself from your competitors. Qualifying for desire is different and can best be defined as diagnosing the sleep problem. Very few mattress sales associates diagnose sleep problems, which can SleepSavvy • April 2009


BE MY GUEST by Bob Muenkel

be broken down into 1) comfort problems and 2) support problems. This important step is precisely where you can differentiate yourself from the competition. Comfort problems A consumer experiencing comfort problems will report any or all of the following: ● Delays in falling asleep ● Waking during the night ● Tossing and turning ●Discomfort in the arms, legs, shoulders and/or hips while in bed ● Tiredness and feeling groggy throughout the day ● Needing to nap during the day ● Inability to focus or concentrate on tasks ● Irritability and moodiness.

26 SleepSavvy • April 2009

some cases, a sleep disorder or other medical condition), they often indicate that the mattress itself is causing circulatory distress.

While problems getting comfortable at night may be a reflection of emotional and physical stresses experienced during the day (or, in

Support problems A consumer experiencing support problems will report one or both of the following: ● Back pain, stiffness, soreness or fatigue upon getting up and/or during the day ● Neck pain, stiffness, soreness or fatigue upon getting up and/or during the day. To qualify for desire, you need to ask diagnostic questions to uncover comfort and support problems. Diagnostic questions steer the conversation towards a consumerfocused examination of the real reason why your customers are shop-


BE MY GUEST by Bob Muenkel

ping for a mattress––they are seeking solutions for sleep problems that are negatively impacting their lives. Competence in this task is measured by the quantity and quality of the diagnostic questions intended to draw out the underlying sleep problems.

towards a solution-based conversation that is followed by a targeted, benefit-based selling process.

Diagnostic questions Here is a list of diagnostic questions that you can use in qualifying: General diagnostic questions ● On a scale from 1 to 10, how would you rate your sleep? What would make it a 10? ● How do you feel when you wake up in the morning? ● Do you wake up in the middle of the night? If so, how often? ● How long has this been happening? ● Does your partner’s movement wake you up? ● How many hours of sleep do you usually get? ● What’s preventing you from getting a full night’s sleep? ● Do you sleep on your back, side or stomach? ● What position are you in when you fall asleep? ● What position are you in when you wake up? ● When was the last time you had a good night’s sleep? ● Do you sleep better when you travel? Questions about comfort problems ● How long does it take you to fall asleep? ● Do you experience any tingling sensations in your arms or legs? ● Do you feel pressure on your shoulders and hips? ● Do you toss and turn much through the night? ● Are you waking during the night? If so, how many times? ● Do you feel rested in the morning? ● Do you feel like you need a nap during the day? www.sleepsavvymagazine.com

● Is your current mattress comfortable? ● When was the last time your mattress felt comfortable? Questions about support problems ● Do you wake up with pain or stiffness in the morning? ● Do you have any back or neck problems? ● Does it take you a while to loosen up and get going in the morning? ● Once you get up and move around, does the pain and stiffness go away? ● How long has this pain or stiffness been happening? ● Does your pain wake you up during the night? ● When was the last time you woke up without feeling sore? These are by no means complete lists––there are hundreds of questions you might ask to uncover comfort and support problems. The point is that these are the types of questions that should be asked to gently guide the sales interaction

Qualifying is a conversation Successful qualifying is a process, not a self-contained script with a defined beginning and end. Asking diagnostic questions should not be an interrogation. Instead, it is best performed as a purposeful, but casual, conversation that is flexible and nonthreatening. Consumers generally feel more at ease when they can safely explore their needs and wants with a caring professional. Practice is the foundation for developing a natural conversational speed and tone that enhances the diagnostic process. It’s not always what you say that makes the impression; often, it’s how you say it that matters most. Successful qualifying is a planned, practiced art where excellence is measured in its simplicity and subtle execution. Remember: Consumers make high-ticket buying decisions when their confidence in the outcome exceeds their fear of making a purchasing mistake. Asking diagnostic questions is a critical step in setting up a solution-selling process that builds confidence in the outcome. ● Bob Muenkel is the director of mattresses for Furniture First, a premier buying cooperative with 166 independent furniture store members across the U.S. His mattress industry career spans 19 years, including six years with Sealy and 11 years at Sleepy’s, currently the No. 2 mattress retailer in the country. Bob is currently working on a book about selling mattresses; this column includes excerpts from his upcoming book. Contact Bob at bmuenkel@furniturefirst.com.

SleepSavvy • April 2009


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CONSUMER CHECK profiling your customer

Bad economy creating the ‘Grounded Consumer’


he days of consumers buying freely—even if they had to do it on credit—have come to a halt as the economy has tanked. They’re shopping less, purchasing less and bar­gain hunting when they do buy. New research shows that this may not be a short-lived response to finan­cial difficulties but a more dramatic and long-lasting shift in consumer attitudes. “Grounding the American Dream: A Cultural Study on the Future of Consumerism in a Changing Economy” identifies a five-stage process consumers are undergoing as they struggle through a major cultural transformation and examines how they are coping and rebuilding their lives while facing the loss of many of their financial dreams. The research comes from Context-Based Research Group, a Baltimore-based eth­nographic research firm, and Carton Donofrio Partners, a marketing firm also in Baltimore. It’s based on studies conducted in late 2008 in Baltimore, Miami, New York, San Antonio, and Lexington, KY. “This is more than an economic crisis; it’s a cultural crisis,” says Robbie Blinkoff, co-founder of ContextBased Research Group. “As anthropol­ogists, we knew the aftershocks would be far-reaching, so we took to streets, schools, malls and homes to understand the impact.” The researchers conclude that most people will complete the process and emerge with a new consumer identity they call the “Grounded Consumer.” Here are the five stages: Stage 1: The realization Goodbye homo economicus. This is the phase when consumers come to under­stand how the larger economy intersects with their personal economy and what they need to do to make changes. Dur­ing this stage they realize that what they purchase doesn’t equal their identity—they are not what they buy. This new thinking forces them to re-evaluate all of their purchases. Stage 2: How did I get here? In this stage consumers assess their financial situations and realize it can be fatal to live a life on credit. The mantra: “My life is not a loan.” Living below your means is now en vogue. www.sleepsavvymagazine.com

Stage 3: Creating a new value equation This is when consumers move from a “me” economy to a “we” economy. This involves emphasizing a new kind of value equation that moves consumers from putting “me” first to putting “we” first. In this equation, purchasing deci­sions balance rational, emotional and social needs. Stage 4: Unstuffing my life During this stage consumers start building a new consumer toolkit and get practical about removing excess stuff from their lives. They’re belt-tightening, but still finding ways to obtain gratifica­tion—often through little luxuries. The mantra: “It’s time to trim the fat, not the fun.” Stage 5: Walking the talk The first four stages lead to life-altering transformations. Stage 5 is when con­sumers start putting new decisionmak­ing skills into action. The new Ground­ed Consumer who emerges is ultimately better, smarter and more connected than their predecessors. They realize that the road to achieving their dreams isn’t always paved with purchases. SleepSavvy • April 2009



profiling your customer What can mattress manufacturers and retailers do to cope with the attitudes and behaviors of the Grounded Consumer? Here are some of the researchers’ suggestions: ● Make your products recession-proof. “Products that speak to consumers from a more holistic perspective—that deliver on the heart/emotional and hand/ social side of the Grounded Consumer’s value equation—will have a better chance of making it through the tough times,” the report says. ● Consider your pricing structure and help consumers feel responsible in their spending by helping them see the value of your product.

●E  mphasize the health and quality-of-life benefits of a quality mattress and a good night’s sleep. “Prod­ ucts that provide clear messaging on the product’s health benefits will go a long way toward giving consumers the extra information they are always seek­ing, particularly during anxious times,” the report concludes. ● The complete report, “Grounding the American Dream: A Cultural Study on the Future of Consum­erism in a Changing Economy,” which includes findings, subjects’ stories and study insights is available for download at www.groundedconsumer.com.

Want consumers to buy? Give them 3 choices


hat new Blu-Ray disc player has your name on it, but the latest iPhone is calling you, too. Which will you buy? During normal economic times, you might take both. But now, most consumers don’t have the luxury of saying, “I’ll take one of each.” What happens in consumers’ brains as they consider tough choices? And what can retailers do to help them make up their minds? Research by Akshay Rao, a marketing professor at the University of Minne­sota’s Carlson School of Management, shows that consumers have an easier time making decisions when they have a third, less attractive option to consider. For example, add a typical DVD player to the scenario above and you’ll probably buy the sexier Blu-Ray. The less-appealing DVD player makes the Blu-Ray look even better. “When a consumer is faced with a choice, the presence of a relatively unattractive option improves the choice share of the most similar, better item,” Rao says. In their Journal of Marketing Research article, “Trade-off Aversion as an Explanation for the At­traction Effect: A Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Study,” Rao and co-author William Hedgcock, assistant professor of marketing at the University of Iowa, explain the reasons for the “decoy” effect. Researchers scanned the brains of volunteers while they decided between several sets of equally appealing op­tions, as well as sets that included a third, somewhat less attractive choice. Overall, the presence of the additional “just OK” possibility systematically in­creased volunteers’ preferences for the better options.

30 SleepSavvy • April 2009

The fMRI scans showed that when making a choice between only two, equally preferred options, subjects tended to display irritation because of the difficulty in choosing between them. The presence of the third

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profiling your customer option made the decision easier and more pleasurable. There are several practical implica­tions of the findings, the researchers say. For instance, consumers often encounter “irrelevant” alternatives when looking for travel information, vacation sites, cable deals and cell phone plans. Those unattractive options ought to reduce the negative emotions they feel when trying to make a decision. By the same token, mattress retailers that offer a choice of “better, best and best”—a variation of “good, better, best”—ought to be able to ease consumers’ anxiety by allowing them to discount the “better” bed in favor of a “best” option. “Retailers interested in helping to ease the pain of consumer decision-making may introduce decoys, loss leaders or other products similar to the ones they really want to market. It will make the focal product look more attractive,” Rao says. “Plus, a frustrated customer strug­gling to choose between two equally attractive options may decide not to buy anything. The introduction of a third option may be better for everyone.” ●


A frustrated customer struggling to choose between two equally attractive options may decide not to buy

” anything.

SleepSavvy • April 2009


CLOSING WORDS by Gerry Morris

Hit-and-run vs. relational selling


ven though there are countless categories of goods and services, there are really just two basic types of selling. What separates the two is the potential for repeat business. Hit-and-run selling, as I call it, involves a one-time purchase, such as the type you might make from the proverbial used-car or door-todoor salesman. Relational selling has the potential—and the goal—to sell goods and/or services to the same person with some degree of frequency or consistency over an indefinite, but hopefully long, period of time. Hit-and-run selling focuses on the product. Relational selling focuses on the customer. Compared to relational selling, the

Which type are you? Compare these descriptive words for each selling type. Which type best describes you now and which type do you want to be? Hit-and-run
























32 SleepSavvy • April 2009

Unfortunately, that’s why many consumers lump us in with the used-car and door-to-door stereotypes.

odds of closing a hit-and-run sale on a first encounter are actually fairly high––if the sales associate has the skills and drive. But this has a real downside. Relational selling, as the name implies, requires establishing and developing a relationship prior to making the sale. An example would be selling mattresses at the wholesale level to a retailer. In some cases, this may take years. So which type of selling applies to retail mattress sales? In consumers’ minds, it’s a hitand-run purchase. To them, a mattress is a one-and-done buy. Forming any kind of relationship with the RSA is not even on their radar screen. What’s the point? So mattress retail selling lends itself to hit-and-run. After all, we know that you usually have only one shot at the sale. Statistics show that if someone leaves without buying, they will probably buy elsewhere. This creates urgency or even desperation and can lead to some really poor selling practices.

You have the power The truth is that you—yes, you— have the ability to change the entire dynamic and consumer impression of our industry one customer at a time by approaching the selling process in a relational manner. You really can develop a clientele and build a long-term business. Since a customer may sleep on a mattress for many years, the frequency of purchase may not be often. But other needs may arise that can result in repeat business, such as mattresses for guests or a growing family. In addition, RSAs who use relational selling get referrals through testimonials from satisfied customers. We all know that word-ofmouth is the best way to build a business. But the best benefit of relational selling is that it creates a unique buying experience for your customers, which results in increased sales of higher-quality products. ● Gerry Morris is director of training and development for SleepTrust. As a bedding sales rep for more than 20 years, Gerry has shared his insight with thousands of bedding sales professionals. He is also the author of Spring Training: A Supplementary Guide to Mattress Sales and Sell More Bedding…Guaranteed. Contact him at Gerry.Morris@SleepTrust.com or by cell phone at 903-456-2015. www.sleepsavvymagazine.com

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Sleep Savvy April 09  

The magazine for sleep products professionals

Sleep Savvy April 09  

The magazine for sleep products professionals