The cover story
How to sell to your toughest customer... and men, too!
RETAIL ROAD TRIP
Art Van rebrands its bedding business with Pure Sleep BE MY GUEST
Sunny Kobe Cook on the upside of a business downturn CONSUMER CHECK
Study identifies four distinct types of postrecession consumers
Bigger. Better. Stronger!
17 Domestic Facilities and 29 International Facilities.
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IN THIS ISSUE where to find it
THE COVER STORY winning your toughest customer Delia Passi, CEO of WomanCertified, offers tips on how to sell the hardestto-please consumer. And if you learn how to please the all-important woman customer, you’ll find you make more sales to men, as well.
WAKE UP CALL from the editor’s desk
Signs point to a business rebound for bedding, so now’s the time to regain lost ground, not just in sales but in how we sell.
SNOOZE NEWS stuff you can use
Lack of sleep could be damaging your heart; Dubai company beats ‘mattress dominoes’ record; the seven basic steps of sales success; how to be savvy on Facebook; job stress can send you to the doctor; ISPA predicts 7.5% sales gain in 2010; ‘greenblushing’ can be just as bad as ‘greenwashing’; an afternoon nap may make you smarter...and more.
CONSUMER CHECK profiling your customer
Survey reveals post-recession consumers have changed in fundamental ways. Women in particular are emerging more frugal— and they’re finding new satisfaction in saving money.
27 29 32
BE MY GUEST by Sunny Kobe Cook
Sleep Country USA’s founder and former CEO says recessions like the one we’ve been living through can be good for business.
WHAT’S NEW for stores like yours
Vendors share new products and services of interest to mattress retailers in this periodic new magazine department.
CLOSING WORDS by Gerry Morris Understanding the dynamics of diversity is an important part of successful selling.
RETAIL ROAD TRIP the selling scene Top 100 retailer Art Van Furniture is rebranding its bedding presentation under a new concept called Art Van Pure Sleep.
SleepSavvy • April 2010
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SleepSavvy The magazine for sleep products professionals
Editor in Chief Nancy Butler 828-299-7420 email@example.com Senior Writer Barbara Nelles 336-856-8973 firstname.lastname@example.org Contributors Delia Passi Gerry Morris Sunny Kobe Cook Larry Shinkle Creative Director Stephanie Belcher The Jimmydog Design Group email@example.com Vice President of Sales Kerri Bellias 336-945-0265 firstname.lastname@example.org Advertising Services Manager Debbie Robbins 336-342-4217 email@example.com Circulation Manager Mary Rulli 336-491-0443 firstname.lastname@example.org Copy Editor Margaret Talley-Seijn Vol. 9, 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: 126 Parkview Lane, Reidsville, North Carolina 27320. 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. ©2010 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.
WAKE UP CALL from the editor
Forecast: Mostly sunny... with a few passing clouds
ood news! The worst is over. All signs say the bedding business is on the rebound. The mood was upbeat at the February Las Vegas Market, which was followed a month later by the ISPA EXPO in Charlotte, NC. That’s the International Sleep Products Association’s biennial trade show where bedding manufacturers do their shopping for mattress components, supplies and machinery. For producers to be buying, new orders have to be coming in from retailers. Those of us who are part of the EXPO staff and the ISPA leadership held our collective breath. By the end of the three-day event, it was smiles all around. Attendance was strong, orders were being written and the return of optimism was palpable. During EXPO, industry analyst Jerry Epperson shared his outlook, together with the latest bedding industry forecast from ISPA. Looking better and better! Dollar sales at wholesale are now predicted to rise by 7.5% this year. The recovery will become even more robust in 2011, ISPA predicts, with a 10% sales gain. (Read more on page 7 of Snooze News.) Jerry also ran through a list of key economic indicators that have turned positive for the home furnishings business and noted that major retailers are back on the road to expansion—a sure sign that consumers are back in the market and ready to make some of the big-ticket buys they’d been postponing. Dare we say “pent-up demand”? That has a nice ring to it, especially after so many months of waiting for the doors to start swinging again and
hoping yours wasn’t one of the companies destined to go under. But the reality is that both you and your company are probably stronger, wiser and better at what you do than you were going into the recession. “There’s always an upside to a downturn,” as former Sleep Country owner Sunny Kobe Cook points out in her Be My Guest column on page 27. The clouds in this sunny forecast? Well, there’s every indication that consumers’ free-wheeling spending days are over, maybe for good. A whole host of studies—including the one featured in Consumer Check on page 24—portray a far more cautious and discerning post-recession customer. And mattress retailers may have lost some hard-won ground with consumers in the past two years because of the aggressive tactics being used to stay competitive. No question the industry did some backsliding on advertised price points, leading too many consumers to believe that they can get a decent night’s sleep at a rock-bottom price. But there are signs that this, too, is beginning to change. Now is the time to start regaining lost ground, not just in sales but in how we sell. The emphasis belongs on quality. That’s the way to a real recovery.
email@example.com SleepSavvy • April 2010
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SNOOZE NEWS stuff you can use
Lack of sleep could be clogging your arteries
Bill Clinton’s recent surgical procedure to open clogged arteries could have its roots in lack of sleep, according to a segment on ABC World News with Diane Sawyer in February. “I was quite tired over Christmas and afterward,” the former president said at a press conference about his heart problem. “But from the time of the Haiti earthquake…I’ve been working a lot without sleeping much.” The report went on to point out that too little sleep is the most common sleep complaint among Americans—a dangerous state of affairs for our overall health. “Researchers say lack of sleep is connected to cardiovascular disease, hypertension and high blood pressure. It also compromises the immune system, contributes to obesity and severely impairs mental judgment,” ABC said, adding that research suggests that getting just one extra hour of sleep a night could dramatically improve health. A University of Chicago study that found that those who increased from 6 to 7 hours of sleep had a 33% decreased chance of having clogged arteries. The ABC report also cited a 2009 study in which heart attacks in Sweden rose by 5% during the springtime clock change, when people were adjusting to losing an hour of sleep. In the fall, when an hour was added, heart attacks dropped.
Always be a
first-rate version of yourself instead of a second-rate version of
— Judy Garland
Mattress dominoes competition continues
ntercoil International in Dubai is the new world record holder for the longest human mattress dominoes. The event, held in late February in conjunction with the Dubai Shopping Festival, toppled a total of 344 mattresses dominoes in just under 3 minutes. The previous record was 244. To watch the video on YouTube, go to: www.youtube.com/watch?v=bq5dpbUg7-k. The company won two previous spots in the Guinness Book of World Records—for manufacturing the largest mattress in 2000 and the largest bed set (base and mattress) in 2007.
SleepSavvy • April 2010
stuff you can use
Seven steps to sales success By Larry Shinkle The economy is improving and consumers are starting to spend again. It’s a great time to take a few minutes to get back to the basics and recognize what it is you’re trying to accomplish. As with any aspect of life, to get ahead you first have to understand and practice the fundamentals. Simply stated, sales is a process—one that’s often followed subconsciously during customer interaction. Many books have been written on selling and countless debates have taken place over the importance of each step. But the process itself is very logical and it’s based on seven simple steps: 1. Greeting. Just your tone of voice when you say “Hi” can set the mood for the rest of the process. 2. Establish rapport. Engage with the customer, show empathy and start to establish your credibility. Show that you understand her needs and are able to help her solve her problem. 3. Qualification. Ask questions and listen to the customer’s answers. The more you know, the easier it is to point her in the right direction. 4. Solve the problem. Provide your customer with solutions to her problem by relating how the features and benefits of your products do just that. Make her feel like your products are the best solution.
5. Do a trial close. Find out where you stand in the process— listen to your customer’s doubts. Is there a better solution on your sales floor or do you need to reinforce how the product’s benefits solve her problem? 6. Manage objections. Now the real selling begins. You may need to repeat some steps. Continue to engage your customer’s emotional involvement— without that, there will be no sale. 7. Close the sale. You know she is ready. It’s time to get a purchase commitment—the ultimate goal. Ask for the sale. Reviewing these seven simple steps from time to time can keep you focused in an environment that lends itself to distractions, ultimately increasing your effectiveness as an RSA and helping you close more sales. Larry Shinkle is a director of sales with Leggett & Platt Consumer Products Group, where he has held a number of sales positions over the past 10 years. Currently, his focus is on training for bedding retailers on the West Coast and overseas. Prior to joining Leggett, Larry spent 15 years in sales and training for W. Simmons Mattress, a California factory direct retailer. He can be reached by email at Larry.Shinkle@leggett.com.
6 symptoms of ‘greenblushing’
he fear of being saddled with the term “greenwashing”— misleading consumers about the eco-friendliness of a product or service—has spawned an opposite. “Greenblushing”—which can be just as counterproductive, warns Gregg Labar, senior vice president at communications company Dix & Eaton. “It’s walking the walk but being too unsure and shy to talk the talk,” he says. Here are some symptoms: 1. Believing you need “all the answers” before you can talk
6 SleepSavvy • April 2010
about your program and progress. 2. Being reluctant to talk about your green activities, even when
asked to or recognized by outside parties. 3. Downplaying your achievements internally, which can be very de-motivating. 4. Being afraid to bring it up with customers in case they’re ahead of you or not interested. 5. Always assuming there’s more risk than reward in talking about your sustainability activities. 6. Feeling that what you’re doing is “not that special,” when, in fact, others could learn a lot from your ideas. www.sleepsavvymagazine.com
stuff you can use
Signs point to sustained mattress sales recovery
he U.S. mattress industry is expected to bounce back nicely this year, with unit shipments of mattresses and foundations projected to rise 4.5% and dollar sales (wholesale) predicted to increase 7.5%, according to the latest forecast from the International Sleep Products Association. The recovery should be even more robust in 2011. The ISPA forecast, released in early March, predicts units will grow 6.3% and dollars will increase 10% next year. The gains are a welcome relief after two years of losses for the industry. ISPA’s annual report, which includes final numbers for 2009, will be released later this spring. But in early March, ISPA estimated 2009 units would be down 8% compared to 2008 and dollars down 10%. In a March 3 session during ISPA’s EXPO 2010 in Charlotte, NC, industry analyst Jerry Epperson, managing partner at Mann, Armistead & Epperson, pointed to other indications of a turnaround. More furniture and mattress retailers have announced plans for “significant new store expansion,” he said—among them, Rooms To Go, Sleepy’s, Bob’s Discount Furniture, El Dorado Furniture, Haynes Furniture, Raymour & Flanigan, Art Van Furniture (featured in this issue’s Retail Road Trip), R.C. Willey and Ashley HomeStores. Retailers such as Home Depot, Target, Sears, Pier 1 and Havertys Furniture reported modest sales gains and significant profit increases in the last quarter, and profits are also up for publically owned companies in the mattress industry.
Sleep Experts promises you’ll ‘Love Your Mattress’
allas/Fort Worth retailer Sleep Experts, with 33 stores, recently rolled out a new ad campaign to tell area consumers “You’re Going to Love Your Mattress”TM and unveiled the Sleep Experts One Year Love Your Mattress Guarantee™, which gives customers a full 365 days to return or exchange their mattresses. The ads, currently running on radio and TV, feature real Sleep Experts employees, from delivery drivers and warehouse staff to store managers and human resources personnel. To see a store TV spot on YouTube, go to www.youtube.com/watch?v=kpqIY2iKSIQ.
Facebook savvy If your company has a Facebook presence—and it should—don’t forget to invite folks to “fan” it. Wherever you interact with the public—correspondence, advertising—put in a reminder to “Find us on Facebook.” Your Facebook URL should be short and sweet: www.facebook. com/yourstorename. If it’s a long string of words and numbers, claim your vanity URL by visiting: www.facebook.com/username. Check out the Username Help Center: www.facebook.com/help/?page=900. You have the right to appeal if another user has taken your trademarked company name. In addition to fresh content and promotions, a good Facebook page ought to include: ● An overview of your company ● Your website and contact information ● Press releases ● Videos ● The RSS feed for your company blog ● Fan commentary and interaction If you’re on Twitter, link to Facebook so that Tweets will appear there, too. Facebook offers a customizable tabbed interface, which lets you easily build out sub-pages with a specific focus. Add tabs for things like videos, photos, special promotions, discussion and events. Each tab has a unique URL, giving you the ability to promote particular events or photos as well as create some custom landing-page functionality. Don’t forget to create vanity URLs for your sub-pages, too. Sources: www.mashable.com and www.ducttapemarketing.com.
SleepSavvy • April 2010
stuff you can use
Job stress can send you to the doctor
● ● ● ●
id you know that stress in the workplace is a contributing factor in 75% to 90% of all visits to primary care doctors? In their book, Freedom Inc., Brian Carney and Isaac Getz cite research showing that stressful work incidents are even more damaging than major stressors in our personal lives. The effects include back pain, musculoskeletal problems, headaches, loss of sleep and energy, and emotional problems. The weakening effect on the immune system over time can lead to more serious illness like heart disease. And it’s not necessarily workload that causes the stress. Here are some other stressors that often are ignored: Someone interfered with your work. Others took resources or information you need for your job. Someone took credit for your work. Someone made a negative comment about your intelligence or competence.
●Y ou were a target of rumors or gossip. ● You were excluded from a work-related or social meeting. ● You were given the silent treatment. ● Others failed to warn you about impending dangers. ● You were denied a raise or promotion without being given a valid reason. An important factor in reducing stress is increasing the control employees feel they have over their work. “Change the bureaucratic culture and give people real, even perceived, control over their work. Stop telling them how to do their jobs and the stress will go down,” they write. “This is equally important for people at the bottom of the hierarchy. Absenteeism will go down; hidden costs will go down. Engagement will go up.” Other important factors in stress reduction, the authors say, are a healthy diet low on sweets and junk food, regular moderate exercise and, of course, getting the amount of sleep your body needs every night.
BEDDING BIZ BEAT According to the latest data from Mattresses & Foundations the International Sleep Products Millions of Dollars Association’s Bedding Barometer, (wholesale) sales dollars (wholesale) for mattresses and foundations rose Sample of Leading Producers 1.7% in January compared to $350 $356 January 2009. Unit shipments rose 0.5%, increasing the average unit price 1.2%. Percent change Beginning with January 2010, +1.7% the ISPA sample of mattress ■ 2009 producers was increased by two ■ 2010 participants to a total of 20 comJanuary panies, representing approximately change, so a month-to-month 66% of the industry’s total dollar comparison of 2009 to 2008 data volume. All monthly data for 2009 is no longer available. was revised based on the sample
We goofed! In the March issue story on the Las Vegas Market, page 34, we mistakenly said that Anatomic Global’s Pure 7 bed series is “imported.” All of Anatomic Global’s products are made in its facility outside of Los Angeles and the company is proud to show the “Made in America” label.
8 SleepSavvy • April 2010
Sleep tight in the store? Hush!
im the lights and put on some soothing music. Sashay across the carpeted floors and pick your favorite side of the bed in an elegantly decorated room in pastel hues, artistic paintings and beautiful accessories. Need anything? Just ask the courteous staff to attend to you. That’s the promise of Mumbai’s Hush Home Sleep Studio (www.hush.in), where customers can actually sleep-test the company’s full range of luxurious mattresses, pillows, duvets and linens to find the perfect sleep system combination. Applause from Sleep Savvy!
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stuff you can use
America, we have a problem...with sleep
sleep environment—once a physical exam has ruled out any underlying medical issues. Curtailing physical activity before bedtime, avoiding caffeine for the several hours and not going to bed either starved or stuffed are among the tips from the Better Sleep Council (www.bettersleep.org), along with sleeping in a cool room and making sure your mattress is still giving you good comfort and support. Specifically, the BSC recommends that a mattress and foundation be evaluated for replacement every 5-7 years.
● American adults average 6.9 hours of sleep a night—less than the eight hours most sleep experts recommend. ● More than three-quarters of partnered adults say their partner has a sleep-related problem— the most common is snoring. ● One-quarter of American adults report that their sleep problems have some negative impact on their daily lives. While most adults don’t use any type of sleep aid, alcohol appears to be the popular choice—used by11% at least a few nights a month. Another 9% use over-the-counter sleep aids and 7% use prescription medications. Source: The National Sleep Foundation, www.sleepfoundation.org.
Too little sleep accelerates aging
Research published in the journal Aging (November 2009) indicates that the consistent lack of a good night’s sleep can speed up the aging process. You may be able to tolerate less sleep when you are young without any immediately noticeable side effects, but that changes as you get older. Lack of sleep decreases your ability to handle stress, increases motor and neurological deterioration, and ultimately shortens your life. “This study suggests that young individuals may be able to handle certain stresses, but the same insults at an older age cause genetic damage and appear to lead to health problems and earlier death. And it’s linked to biological clocks,” said Natraj Krishnan, a research associate at Oregon State University. There are many ways to improve sleep habits—and the
Taking an afternoon nap may make you smarter You’ll probably get some resistance from your boss, but if you want to impress him with how smart you are, you might want to take an afternoon nap. While findings are preliminary, new research at the University of California Berkley suggests that a long midday snooze readies the brain to remember things and take in new information. Researchers divided 39 young adults into two groups. At noon, all of them took part in an exercise that required them to remember faces and link them with names. At 6:00 p.m., after 20 had taken a nap break for 90 minutes, they got a new set of learning tasks. Those who didn’t nap performed about 10% worse—which is par for the course for all of us who work through the day. But the nappers were able to negate that decline. “This is further evidence that sleep plays a critical role in the processing of memories,” said lead researcher Matthew Walker. “It provides more evidence that it’s not just important to sleep after learning, but you need it before learning to prepare the brain for laying down new information.”
Just for laughs
Groucho’s answer to insomnia
omedian Groucho Marx’s sleeping problems were triggered by the 1929 stock market crash, in which he lost a small fortune, according to a recent issue of The Week. The story goes that to avoid wee-hours boredom, he would call strangers on the phone and insult them, or come up with such classic jokes as this one: “Question: What do you get when you cross an insomniac, an agnostic and a dyslexic? Answer: Someone who stays up all night wondering if there is a Dog.”
10 SleepSavvy • April 2010
The cover story
Winning your toughest customer How to get in her corner and sell on her terms
By Delia Passi
t’s true that women are the toughest customers—we have higher standards, more distinct preferences and unique expectations. And why shouldn’t we? Statistics compiled by Diversity Best Practices show that women control 83% of all consumer purchases and comprise 88% of all retail shoppers. With that much decision-making power, we’ve got to use it wisely. And yes, sometimes women can be a little tougher to figure out. In fact, some of you are still baffled by that ageold question, “What do women want?” When it comes to selling to women, even some female salespeople get a little bewildered. Well, listen up—the reason it’s such a tough question to answer is because it’s the wrong question. What we really should be asking during a sale is, “What does this particular woman want?” If you learn to ask yourself that question and listen properly for the answer, I promise you’ll revolutionize your relationships with women—both personally and professionally. At its core, sales is about relationships and communication. I’m here to be your personal coach on understanding how women think, buy and communicate so that you can make adjustments to how you sell and provide customer service. You can turn your toughest customers into your most powerful allies. A few small adjustments can lead to a significant improvement in your success when selling to women—and to men as well!
12 SleepSavvy • April 2010
SleepSavvy â€˘ April 2010
THE COVER STORY
winning your toughest customer Here are the facts: ● Women make 85% of all bedding purchases, according to a November 2009 article in the Pittsburgh PostGazette. ● Women account for 71% of all adult bedroom furniture purchases, according to a 2008 consumer survey by The Retail Experience. With these numbers, you can’t afford not to cater to her needs and preferences. So, where do you begin? Let’s start with the basics. In general, women and men approach the shopping and buying process quite differently. Most men are what I like to call “hit and run” shoppers—they want to park near the door and get in and out fast. According to a recent study we conducted with the Wharton School of Business, men seek quick buying solutions, while women appreciate having options. If you want to attract male customers, the absolute best thing you could do is provide a drive-up window for the quickest transaction possible. Women, in contrast, are more like “fine dining” shoppers. They want to scrutinize the menu, get to know their server and take a peek at what other people are having before making a choice. They want to weigh the pros and cons of each mattress, sit on each sofa and touch all the fabric samples. For women, purchases are more about their emotions and senses. In other words, a mattress is about more than just the material it’s made of—it’s about comfort, re-
14 SleepSavvy •
laxation, rejuvenation and health. Those are the details you need to talk about in order to connect with her, and that’s why women seek more individual attention, deeper respect, better communication and—though it should go without saying—for salespeople to keep their gaze above her collarbone. Though men and women buy differently, it’s important to realize that the special touches and customer service practices that your women customers appreciate will also impress your male customers. Going the extra mile is always appreciated. Basically, you have to learn to sell to the more particular customer. So, if you learn how to please the all-important woman customer, you’ll find that you’ll do more business with men as well. Before I go into detail on practical ways you can increase sales and customer satisfaction with women, let me say that not every suggestion will apply to every woman exactly the same way. Every customer is an individual—and women, especially, want their individual needs to be recognized. But whether it’s because of evolution in gender roles or because boys and girls learn different behaviors in childhood, certain traits and preferences have emerged that we can safely say are common and widespread. Getting ready for her In general, the atmosphere of a store is more important to a woman than a man. There are a few things you can and should do to make your store more comfortable and inviting. First, make sure that the outside is well maintained, the parking lot is clear of litter and the store entrance is well lit and well marked. Even if it’s not your job to pick up litter outside, take responsibility and pick up any trash you see on your way in. Any
improvements that make getting into your store safer and easier will make her more comfortable coming in. Women can make sweeping judgments about your respect and concern for her based on many elements of the experience—and safety and cleanliness are very important ones. Once inside the store, women will quickly assess your decor, cleanliness and layout. Keep things tidy and sparkling clean, and find a place out of sight for anything not part of the store environment. (Finished with that cup of coffee? Put the cup out of sight.) If she might have to wait for you to finish with another customer, have a comfortable place for her to sit. Have updated magazines and brochures for her to read, and consider a few books or toys to occupy her children. A furniture store in particular is a place of aspiration for women—they’re looking to buy items that will improve their homes. Offer her a stylish, relaxing and clean environment that will send good vibes about buying your products for her home. You want to make a positive personal impression as well, so take care to always look clean, tidy and professional. Keep your nails clean and trimmed, your hairstyle neat and up-to-date. Women have a way of spotting stains from afar, so think twice about that stained tie. She’ll notice it and think less of your professionalism. Show pride in your appearance and the process of building her trust will be that much easier. These small, simple touches help to create a positive first impression in her mind—an impression that says you understand her values, are concerned about her satisfaction and that she can trust you. And if she feels comfortable in your store, she won’t mind recommending you to family and friends. www.sleepsavvymagazine.com
THE COVER STORY
winning your toughest customer Making her welcome Every woman (and every man, too) can tell you of a person they met who gave them a lousy handshake—too hard, too soft, too clammy or nonexistent. Your greeting is another critical component of that all-important first impression. How you shake hands tells the other person a lot about who you are and how you feel about them and yourself. We women don’t usually get our hands crushed, which is definitely a good thing. But instead, we often get a wimpy little finger squeeze from men. What does that tell me as your customer? That you don’t think I’m important? That I’m fragile? That I don’t deserve your respect? That’s probably not what you really think, but it’s what your handshake is telling me. Let’s get this much straight. As a customer, I want respect and fair consideration. If you’re prepared to give me that, then tell me with your handshake. Take my hand firmly by the palm and give it the kind of moderate squeeze that wouldn’t bruise a banana. Look me in the eye and let me know, wordlessly, that you respect me as a decision-maker. Looking women in the eye is vital. Why is it that when we are with a salesperson, we rarely get the eye contact that makes us feel important, respected and valued? A little eye contact will go
a long way with women customers. It tells a woman that you take interest in what she is saying. Even if you really are listening, looking away tells her that your mind is elsewhere. If she comes to your store with her husband or other male, try to speak more in her direction than in his. Even when you divide your attention evenly, she is likely to think you gave him more attention. He is unlikely to notice either way, but it will make an impression on her. Are you listening? I have a favorite cartoon called The Male Prostitute, which portrays a man leaning on a woman’s car. The caption reads, “Oh, yeah, baby, I’ll listen to you. I’ll listen to you all night long.” I’d love to see this cartoon on the desk of every male salesperson and service rep on the planet, just so they get a frequent reminder of the single most important thing to remember when dealing with women. If anyone who reads this article or completes my company’s WomenCertified training program remembers nothing else, I would want them to remember the importance of listening to her. Listen not
only to find out what she wants, but also for the sake of showing her that you value her time and her needs—that she is the most important customer you have. In my training courses, I offer one very important bit of listening advice: Don’t interrupt. Interrupting one another is a pretty routine thing for most men. It’s almost as if a conversation is just another competition, like a boxing match. Boxers don’t politely wait until their adversary stops punching to take a swing; they just jump in with a few good shots of their own. She may be a tough customer, but talking to a woman is not like a boxing match—in fact, a woman is likely to get annoyed if you interrupt. Women define interruption a little differently than men. Just because she pauses for a moment doesn’t necessarily mean she’s ready for you to jump in. She may be taking a moment to collect her thoughts
She may be a tough customer, but talking to a woman is not like a boxing match— in fact, a woman is likely to get annoyed if you interrupt. Just because she pauses for a moment doesn’t necessarily mean she’s ready for you to jump in. www.sleepsavvymagazine.com
SleepSavvy • April 2010
THE COVER STORY
winning your toughest customer before resuming. That’s why I recommend this simple trick: When you think she is finished talking, silently count to four to give her a chance to resume before jumping in. Whether she was just pausing or not, a few moments of silence will show her that you are a good listener and not a bad interrupter. Try it. It works! Words that speak to her Language is much more women’s territory than men’s. Scientists have suggested that primitive women had the larger role in the development of language. Some studies even report that women say nearly three times more words per day than men. That’s quite easy for me to imagine, because I think I say more in one day than my husband says in a couple of weeks. When selling to a woman, it’s important to communicate with her in a style that reflects her own. For example, try using a few more “emotion” words than you normally would. To reinforce positive points, use words like devoted, delighted, pleased, or committed— or the words concerned, upset, frustrated or angry for negative points. Mirroring her language shows that you appreciate the emotions behind what she’s saying. It’s okay for a male salesperson to say, “I’d really love to get this bedroom suite delivered in time for your weekend guests.” His customer would be thrilled to hear it. Also, when listening to what she has to say (you are listening, aren’t you?), pay attention to the terms she uses. If she refers to her business as her “firm,” then don’t refer to it as her “company.” If she refers to her “children,” then don’t talk about her “kids.” You don’t have to go overboard and completely parrot how she talks; just try to make small adjustments
16 SleepSavvy • April 2010
to help her feel more comfortable and that you “get” her. You’ll be surprised by the results. Be an active listener Women show empathy and attention in conversation by nodding their heads and adding the occasional “Really?” or “Mmm hmm.” Sales and service professionals need to adopt these behaviors to show empathy with customers, especially when that customer is describing challenges or expressing a need for features, benefits or services. Nod occasionally and interject a little verbal interest (without interrupting) to show that you are actively listening. The main purpose of listening is to get a clear understanding of her needs. So, when she’s finished talking (and you’ve counted to four), I recommend that you recap what she said about her needs, as in, “Let me make sure I understand you correctly. You said you’re looking for...” If she just explained how her son is graduating and wants to furnish his apartment, you might repeat back to her some of the facts you gathered— especially if it was a somewhat roundabout story (as we women can be guilty of telling). After paraphrasing bits of her story, ask if you missed anything important. This will show respect, courtesy and attention to her needs. She’s going to remember that you were an exceptional salesperson and tell her friends to go to you as well. After she’s gone We women love to tell our closest friends and family about our positive experiences. But if we have a negative experience, we tell everyone we know. I love to tell my training audiences about an encounter I had with a woman as she walked out of a store and
stopped to tell me about the awful experience she just had. If she was willing to tell a total stranger, you can imagine how many more people she probably told. Women talk about their purchasing experiences far more often than men, so we are the kind of positive referral machines you want to cultivate. From the seller’s standpoint, every sale is important. You should never disappoint a customer ...period. But occasionally you can tell that things haven’t gone well and the customer isn’t going to have good things to say about you. Before you shrug it off, consider who you are disappointing. Is it someone with a lot of credibility or a large network of contacts, like maybe the PTA president? Or maybe she’s the blogger next door? You never know who or how many people she’ll tell about her experience. Women are natural communicators, so keep in mind that she almost certainly will be telling someone about the experience she had at your store—good and bad. Work hard to right wrongs and satisfy complaints. Strive for top-notch service at all times. Go the extra mile to provide a positive experience—or it may turn off a whole network of women from ever walking through your doors. www.sleepsavvymagazine.com
THE COVER STORY
winning your toughest customer And remember: If you can provide the kind of exceptional experience she can’t find anywhere else, you’ll have a powerful referral machine on your side bringing in new business. Please her, please him This stuff we’re talking about isn’t brain surgery,
but it does take some adjustment for many men—and even some women—who sell to women. Reading this article or even getting WomenCertified won’t necessarily change your behavior forever. You have to be conscious every time a woman enters your store that you have to make an effort to give her—as an individual— the customer experience that will make her comfortable buying from you and telling her friends to buy from you. And it’s not just so you can increase sales among women. Studies show that when you meet the needs of women, you exceed the expectations of men. It’s the perfect one-two punch. ●
Delia Passi is the founder and CEO of Medelia, Inc., creator of the Women Certified® program. Medelia provides consulting and training to many major corporations and small businesses seeking to improve their service and increase their sales to women. She is the author of Winning the Toughest Customer, the Essential Guide to Selling to Women (Kaplan 2006). For more information, visit her at www.womencertified.com.
SleepSavvy • April 2010
Weâ€™re dreaming your dreams. When seeking your perfect match, you want to look for someone who is responsive, brings great value to your life and makes your success their top priority. Youâ€™ll find the same qualities when you choose Restonic as your bedding partner. We pride ourselves on being the go-to brand that provides a relationship-based business for our retailers. And the kind of partnerships that can last a lifetime. restonic.com
RETAIL ROAD TRIP the selling scene
Art Van Pure Sleep Art Van Elslander
Michigan powerhouse set to grow bedding market share with new presentation, branding By Nancy Butler Photography courtesy of Art Van
op 100 retailer Art Van Furniture already lays claim to 50% of total mattress sales in its home state of Michigan, but the family-owned company plans to carve out an even larger share of this profitable market with its newest venture, Pure Sleep. A 5,000-square foot, freestanding Pure Sleep store debuted in Canton last summer and it’s been a great success, reports Chairman Art Van Elslander—Mr. Van, as he’s known throughout the company. Another freestanding Pure Sleep opens in Rochester this month. Now, the Pure Sleep concept is being extended to all 32 Art Van stores—the first in-store version opened in Ann Arbor in late February. All of the bedding departments, which range from 1,500 to 3,800 square feet, will be converted by September. The company also plans to open six or seven more freestanding Pure Sleep stores. “We’re very strong on bedding because it meets such an important need,” says the company’s patriarch, who founded the business 50 years ago. “You’re not selling a mattress—you’re enhancing people’s health and their lives. It’s their most important furniture investment.” www.sleepsavvymagazine.com
SleepSavvy • April 2010
RETAIL ROAD TRIP the selling scene
The new Pure Sleep inside the Ann Arbor store.
Art Van’s emphasis on the category has paid off. “Our vendors will tell you that our premium bedding sales far exceed the typical retailer,” says Mr. Van. “Forty percent of our mix is above $1,000 and probably 10% is above $2,500.” Pure Sleep was introduced to the Ann Arbor community at a grand opening “Sleep Expo” on Saturday, February 20. The free event, promoted on Facebook, featured yoga, reflexology, massages and gifts. A doctor from the Michigan Institute for Sleep Medicine was on hand and radio station WQKL broadcast live. About 100 people attended, with women in the majority. From its spa-inspired colors to its unusual array of sleep accessories, Pure Sleep was designed with women in mind. In fact, the Pure Sleep name and concept came from a female member of the Art Van creative team, says Mr. Van. He admits to fighting it at first, but “Now I love it,” he says. The female perspective is taking on a higher profile throughout Art Van Furniture. “We’re putting a lot more emphasis on involving women
20 SleepSavvy • April 2010
and hiring women,” says Mr. Van. “I have five dynamite women that I call my ‘brain trust.’” One woman in particular plays a unique role in the Pure Sleep customer interaction. She’s “Chrissy,” the star of the Sleep to Live diagnostic system that is pivotal to the presentation process. This virtual saleswoman initially interacts with customers through a touch-screen, then serves as the guide to the bodymapping process. While the customer lies down on a specially designed bed with built-in pressure sensors, Chrissy talks to her about sleep and the importance of the right support. The system matches each customer to a specific comfort/support level which is color-coded in the Sleep to Live line. “The system gives us a way of approaching the category more scientifically,” says Mr. Van. “Women love it. It kicks down that ‘I’m just looking’ barrier.” While the diagnostic system has definitely boosted sales of Sleep to Live products, Mr. Van says it is helping
Accessories play an important role in the Pure Sleep line-up.
Art Van RSAs do a stronger job in all of the brands that Pure Sleep carries: Simmons, Sealy, Stearns & Foster, Tempur-Pedic and Natura. The company has a longstanding commitment to “brand neutrality,” he says. Spiffs are not allowed. As Mr. Van tells his vendors, “We need to satisfy the customer, and if we do that, we’ll all benefit.” The Pure experience “As soon as the customer comes in, we let her know right away that we do things a little differently from other retailers,” says Chris Schollenberger, Pure Sleep project manager. Each customer is strongly encouraged to take the time for the diagnostics process. “It’s not essential, and www.sleepsavvymagazine.com
RETAIL ROAD TRIP the selling scene
Customers try out the diagnostics at the Sleep Expo event that opened the first in-store Pure Sleep.
some resist, but most want to try it,” Schollenberger says. After the diagnostics, the RSA asks questions about the customer’s sleep habits and preferences, along with a few designed to determine if she or her partner have any medical issues that impact their sleep. Next, based on the diagnotic anal-
ysis, the customer is paired with the right pillow for proper spinal alignment. The pillow—with a pillow guard to keep it fresh—accompanies them through the presentation. Schollenberger explains that the presentation lays out a “three-part solution,” including the right mattress and foundation for proper
support and comfort, the correct pillow and a mattress protector to provide a clean and healthy sleeping environment. The RSA’s goal is to show no more than three mattresses. While Art Van offers a broad range of price points $199 to $3,599 queen, the average sale is around $1,100. Pure Sleep has a very high rate of add-on sales—probably closing more than 70% of its mattress customers on pillows, Schollenberger says. It’s a category they’ll be expanding, he adds. The multibrand pillow selection ranges from $39.99 to $189.99. Three mattress protectors retail for $39.99 to $99.99. Pure Sleep also shows a variety of relaxation-related items such as body lotions, scented candles, sleep masks and robes. Sleep accessories such as nightlights, sound machines and specialty alarm clocks are also available. “The sleep accessories program is a work in progress,” Schollenberger
Mastering the art of special events
rt Van Furniture has a reputation for great success at traffic-building special events—perhaps none more successful than the “Pajama Party” it hosted on Sunday, January 31. More than 700 women showed up to enjoy the “girl’s night out,” taking the 70,000-square-foot Grand Rapids store by storm. The party was set to start at 7:00 p.m., but by 6:30, so many were already in line—in the cold, in their PJs—the doors were opened early. “We were prepared for maybe 400 and were overwhelmed,” says Art Van Elslander, chairman. “We had valet parking, served wine, did pedicures, manicures and massages—all of the vendors did it free for the publicity.” The local ABC-TV affiliate co-sponsored. The Pajama Party wasn’t bedding specific, Mr. Van says. “But we did a lot of sleep diagnostics demonstrations.” Party-goers had their pictures taken, got a gift bag full of goodies and a map to guide them around the store. Five stations—Rustic, Contemporary, Bedding, Traditional and Casual—helped customers “find their look.” Each theme was paired with food, drink and pampering, with salon specialists on hand.
Music was provided by a local band, with demonstrations by experts in ballroom dancing, yoga and Zumba. A local chef served up cooking demonstrations. Women lined up for free spray-on tans and paraffin hand treatments. If your card was stamped at all five areas, you were entered into a drawing for big giveaways provided by the sponsors and vendors. Among the prizes were gift certificates at local businesses, dance lessons, a Wii system and a Stearns & Foster queen set. Since you had to be there when the winners were announced, everyone stayed until the end. Everybody had a great time, says Mr. Van, confirming that the event generated sales and won new customers for the store.
SleepSavvy • April 2010
RETAIL ROAD TRIP the selling scene
reports, adding that some underperforming items will be eliminated and new ones added. “We’re not there yet, but it offers significant opportunity.” Pure Sleep branding “Art Van Pure Sleep” is now the company’s brand for its bedding business across the board, confirms Mr. Van. “We’d be foolish not to retain the Art Van name because it already has a strong reputation in bedding,” he says. “After all, we put half of Michiganians to bed every night.” The new brand will star in the company’s heavy advertising program, which features as many as three bedding messages going out at one time. “We’re always talking to different audiences—the $399 customer, the premium customer and the super-
22 SleepSavvy • April 2010
The freestanding Pure Sleep store in Canton.
premium customer,” he says. “When any of those consumers decides to buy, you need to be there with your messages.” Art Van is heavy in print media, especially midweek, and heavy on radio and TV on the weekends. The company has had a strong online presence (www.artvan.com) for a number of years, recently supplement-
ing those efforts with active outreach programs on Facebook and Twitter. Rounding out the strong bedding program is Art Van’s Total Satisfaction Guarantee, assuring Michiganians next-day delivery, a 30-night comfort trial and recycling of their old bedding using shredding machinery built especially for Art Van Furniture. ●
Last year, hundreds of our retailers helped raise $500,000 to fight pancreatic cancer. Every dollar raised in 2009 went to advance research, support patients and create hope for anyone affected by pancreatic cancer. To make this year’s campaign bigger and better, we need your help! Contact your Tempur-Pedic sales representative to find out how you can get involved with this worthy cause.
Pre-order the 2010 cream colored limited edition My Tempur-Pedic Teddy Bear® now thru April 15 (will ship in October). Our 2009 brown bear is still available while supplies last! Net proceeds from the sale of both editions will benefit the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.*
© 2010 Tempur-Pedic Management, Inc., All Rights Reserved. *$20 per unit.
TING SUEPFIGPHOTRAGANINCSETR TH
CONSUMER CHECK profiling your customer
Four distinct types of consumers emerging from the recession Women are the most committed to frugal behaviors, study shows
merican consumers have internalized the recession experience and are emerging changed in fundamental ways, according to a recent study, “Marketing to the Post-Recession Consumers,” by the marketing strategy and research firm Decitica. “This research decisively shows that marketers need a fresh lens through which to view consumers in the post-recession world,” said Dr. Val Srinivas, principal. “It is undeniable that this recession has shaken the bedrock of American consumerism. Many have accepted this radical change as the ‘new normal’ and not just a cyclical phenomenon.” Decitica’s study identified four consumer segments emerging from the recession:
24 SleepSavvy • April 2010
Steadfast Frugalists are seriously committed to selfrestraint and enthusiastically engaging in disciplined consumption. They make up about 20% of American consumers, representing all income and age groups, but 6 in 10 are women. Eighty percent of this group says the new behaviors will likely stay with them for a long time. “Marketers will find this group to be the most challenging, as they are the least brand loyal and most likely to discount marketing messages,” noted Srinivas.
Involuntary Penny Pinchers have been severely affected by the recession and forced to embrace thrift as never before. They represent about 29% of the
population and are mainly made up of households with less than $50,000 in income. Again, 6 in 10 are women. Their behaviors don’t differ widely from those of the Frugalists, but they differ in their aversion to putting effort into money-saving strategies. Also, the recession has taken a heavy emotional toll on this group— they admit to being more scared (77%), stressed (81%) and worried (87%) about the future than other groups.
Pragmatic Spenders are the most attractive group for marketers because of their higher spending power, according to Srinivas. “While it is true that they have also curbed their spending, they are the most capable, www.sleepsavvymagazine.com
Percent of Americans who find frugal activities “satisfying” Involuntary Steadfast Penny Total Frugalists Pinchers
Pragmatic Apathetic Spenders Materialists
Buying on sale or using coupons
Buying store labels
Shopping at discount stores
Surfing the Internet for coupons and discounts
Comparing prices before purchase
both psychologically and financially, to willfully resurrect their past spending patterns.” This group represents about 29% of consumers, and 6 in 10 are men. Income has blunted the effects of the recession on this segment—just 28% said the recession has changed what and how they will buy in the future, compared to 55% of the Frugalists.
Apathetic Materialists seem least changed by the recession. They have not embraced the new frugality and don’t enjoy being frugal. They represent 22% of American consumers and 55% of them are men. They are also young— 72% are under 40. Only 8% admit to being very focused on price compared to 30% of Pragmatists and 52% of Penny Pinchers.
Women on the frontlines “Women are at the forefront of fighting the recession battle,” Srinivas told Sleep Savvy. “They are taking a longer time to make decisions and doing more research. They are also much more practical and not as influenced by gimmicks. I don’t think that will change.” Women are enjoying being more frugal, Srinivas said. “They get satisfaction from it—the pleasure of bargain hunting.” Savvy marketers will discover the right language to reach them, including the right aspirational messages, he said. “It’s a tough
time for marketers. You have to be very creative—still appeal to the emotions but not in an obvious way. You have to stretch your imagination—think opportunistically, not negatively.” Companies selling home furnishings have a built-in opportunity that other categories may not enjoy, Srinivas added. “In times of stress, we like comfort. And we’re spending more time at home.” ● For more highlights from the study, visit the website at www.decitica.com. For information on ordering a copy of the report, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Percent who are highly confident in their ability to practice restraint Resisting the temptation to spend now and worry later
Sticking to budget
SleepSavvy • April 2010
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BE MY GUEST
by Sunny Kobe Cook
There is always an upside to a downturn
here are increasing signs that a recovery is in the making, but it still feels like a recession to the millions of unemployed and to the businesses whose sales are nowhere near what they used to be. To be positive, some focus on “surviving the recession.” But why just survive when you can thrive? Even in the worst economic conditions, some businesses grow. For example, as consumers postpone purchases of non-essential goods, those that repair everything from shoes to cars are benefitting. Sales of wines and spirits are up. Firms that assist with outplacement services are enjoying a boom. The same is true for companies that provide Internet meeting services, webinars and other services that allow business to meet and train without incurring travel costs. Law firms specializing in bankruptcy are also thriving. Some of this is clearly the result of being in the right business at the right time. But what about the rest of the business community—what about your business? Believe it or not, tough times are actually good for your business. This is when you gain market share. www.sleepsavvymagazine.com
Doing more with less A Wharton School of Business study showed tight economic times are actually beneficial for the big picture because they force businesses to be more innovative and efficient. The marginal players fall off the grid. The businesses that survive over the long haul share several key traits: They are lean, focused and deliver an exceptional customer experience. There are several ways you can capitalize on this tightening of the marketplace to ensure your business not only survives, but is poised for explosive growth once the recover is fully underway. One way is to continue to advertise. This may seem counterintuitive—advertising is expensive and you no longer have a lot of money. However, cutting advertising is exactly what your competitors will be doing. Remember that share of mind will always equal share of market. Now more than ever, you cannot afford to be absent from the marketplace. Another way, of course, is to cut expenses. If your staff is young, they likely have never lived in a time when frugality was essential—they may not even know how to be frugal. You’ll have to be a leader in this area. No one should just “reorder” anything! Get competitive price quotes on everything. Check out sources you have never used before. Vendors you thought were too big to care about you may now want your business and may be in a position to offer more for less. As a mattress retail entrepreneur who SleepSavvy • April 2010
BE MY GUEST
by Sunny Kobe Cook started with only $5,000 and no commercial loans, I understand how to do more with less. Trust me, you can cut expenses. Even if you already have, there is always more to cut. But it’s important to be smart about your cuts. The experience is crucial Keep in mind that when consumers part with their dollars during tight economic times, they expect a lot in return. The customer experience is crucial. While it’s important to cut expenses, you can’t afford to sacrifice service or quality. Instead, look for ways to “wow” your customer that don’t cost you money. Don’t be afraid to do things other mattress retailers aren’t—now more than ever, you need to stand out. For example, can you utilize new technology to keep in touch with customers or offer better service without increasing costs? Cutting staff to the point that service suffers isn’t going to help. But perhaps you can make do with several part-time employees, add an intern or let people job-share. All of those allow you to maintain your service standards while still cutting costs. In times like these, you’re asking your team to do more with less. You’re probably depending on independent contractors for a host of services and leaning on your suppliers to help you remain competitive. This requires you to develop new skills for motivating people without using money, even those not directly on your payroll. The good news is that the basic things that motivate people are the same regardless of economic conditions. And none of them are about money. Recognition, a sense of
28 SleepSavvy • April 2010
Don’t be afraid to do things other mattress retailers aren’t— now more than ever, you need to stand out. belonging and a sense of contribution always rank higher than money. Even in tough times, people want to help their neighbors, because it strengthens their sense of making a contribution and belonging. How has the economy impacted your community? Is there a way you can get involved to make a positive difference? Can your store serve as a drop-off point for coats or pajamas for area foster kids? What about blankets for the homeless? Anything related to comfort, warmth or sleep will add to the depth of your brand. If you can facilitate donation drives, you can make a difference in the community while distinguishing yourself from your competitors. People who have never shopped at your store will come in to donate an item. If your staff makes them feel welcome and appreciated, you will likely see them again when
they are ready to make a purchase. They will also share the positive experience with their friends and through social networking. Every time you have a chance to interact with your customer in a nonselling environment, you have an opportunity to earn a customer for life. So get involved with your community and let customers see you as more than just a retailer who wants their money. Make giving back an integral part of your business. A new business model Once you get comfortable in your new business model—innovative, efficient, customer-focused, community-oriented—you can maintain it as business returns and increases.The changes you make now, however scary or uncomfortable, will put you in the best possible position to take advantage of the growth and profitability potential for the future. With a little creativity and a positive approach to the current situation, you can position your business to not only survive, but thrive. ●
Sunny Kobe Cook is the founder of Sleep Country USA, a successful chain of retail mattress stores in the Pacific Northwest. She has been recognized by Inc. magazine as Northwest Woman Entrepreneur of the Year and her company was consistently voted “Best Place to Work.” In 2000, Sunny sold her business and retired to speak, write and consult. She is the author of Common Things Uncommon Ways and you can reach her through her website, www.SunnyKobeCook.com.
for stores like yours Luxury hybrid latex mattress
Luxury pillow system and mattress pads
E.S. Kluft & Co. has a new line of luxury latex mattresses covered with a textured organic cotton knit ticking. The Aireloom Certified Organic Cotton Hybrid Latex Bed is a combination of Latex International’s Talalay latex and durable Dunlop latex for a pressure-relieving construction that conforms to body contours and offers increased lumbar support. Each of the six new models features wool outer tufts, a new high-stretch knit cover fabric and a distinct border design. Also available is the Aireloom Certified Organic Cotton Hybrid Individually Wrapped Coil Bed. Suggested retails for both in queen are $1,599 to $3,999. Call E.S. Kluft at 909-373-4211 or visit the websites at www.kluftmattress.com or www.aireloom.com.
Protect-A-Bed has expanded its Healthy Sleep Zone Solutions line-up with two new products. The Luxury Pillow System includes both pillow and protective cover. The pillow features a microfiber filling and a zipper closure that allows users to adjust the amount of filling to achieve the right balance of height and firmness or softness for individual comfort. The protector features a Tencel surface and Protect-A-Bed’s Miracle Membrane for breathability and dust mite protection, plus the patentpending Breathe-AVent, a flap-covered vent that allows the pillow to breathe. The protector is hypoallergenic, antibacterial and waterproof. Also recently introduced are two new versions of the QuiltGuard Mattress Pad. Available in cotton or terry covers, it’s a fitted-sheet style, quilted, waterproof mattress protector that offers a dust mite barrier, allergy protection and features the Miracle Membrane. Visit www.protectabed.com or call the company for information at 866-297-8836.
Foundation and frame in one Felix Manufacturing is entering the retail marketplace with the introduction of mattress bases called Forever Foundations, which are designed to replace the foundation/box springs and metal bed frame. The all-steel construction only needs four corner legs—no center supports are necessary, according to the manufacturer. Forever Foundations can be used with any mattress, come in all sizes, are available with different heights of steel glides and ship via UPS. The Forever Store More, with a suggested retail of $329 in queen, allows the user to slide storage under the clear-span frame. The Forever Storage model, at $699 queen, is a lift-top version that provides 13 ½ inches of storage space under the entire mattress. Fashion covers are available as an option. Call Mike Echevarria at 615-579-0671, email him at email@example.com or visit the website at www.foreverfoundations.com.
Head-elevating adjustable frame insert Mantua Manufacturing has a new adjustable frame insert that elevates the head of the mattress and foundation, taking the place of foam wedges, extra pillows, bricks or blocks. A design based on doctor recommendations, the Beds Up insert safely and securely elevates the head of the mattress and box spring two, four or six inches, providing nighttime relief from ailments such as acid reflux/heartburn, hiatal hernia, asthma, vertigo, ulcers and emphysema. Beds Up fits into most complete beds or Hollywood frames, adjusts to fit twin, full or queen—two inserts are used for king size beds. According to Mantua, it also provides the correct support for the mattress and box spring, including
Information for What’s New is provided by the vendors. It is neither verified nor endorsed by the publisher. www.sleepsavvymagazine.com
SleepSavvy • April 2010
for stores like yours a center leg for full and queen. It allows the headboard to sit parallel to the wall and will not put stress on headboard and footboard connections. Call Mantua Mfg. at 800-333-8333 or visit the website at www.bedframes.com.
Luxury latex and limited edition lines Handcrafted bedding specialist Shifman Mattresses is unveiling its new Limited Edition Mattress Collection and its alternative bedding solution, the Pure Comfort Latex Mattress Collection, at the High Point Market this month. The Pure Comfort Latex (shown here) uses a variety of environmentally
he at t t s u See Marke int -22 h Po pril 16 ns g i H A o avili 35 P C M3 IHF
friendly materials, including 7½ inches to 9½ inches of pure latex foam and sustainable forest lumber in the all-coil box spring. It’s available in three levels of firmness, with a suggested retail of $2,199 to $3,999 for a queen. The Limited Edition is a two-sided deluxe model in plush or firm featuring a luxury tack-and-jump quilt pattern, with a suggested retail price point of $1,499 in queen. Call Bill Hammer, president, at 973-589-2400 or toll-free at 888-744-3626, or visit the website at www.shifmanmattresses.com. ●
What’s new with you? What’s New welcomes submissions of information on new products and services for mattress retailers. Email a brief description, photo and contact information to Nancy Butler, editor, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Attract New Buyers with the ZzZ-Chest Cabinet Bed • Free standing • Hundreds less than wall beds • No installation required • Low minimum order • East & West Coast & Canadian distribution
y day it’s an accent piece,TV stand or whatever customers desire. By night it’s an extra bed. This free-standing, space-saving furniture features roomy storage drawers, a stationary, easily reached top-surface and a raised sleeping platform. Closed it’s a compact 22-inches deep and easily opens into a full-length bed. Hundreds less than wall beds. No installation required. ZzZ-Chest is perfect for: • Home Offices • Small space living such as apartments and efficiencies • Resort property where extra beds are needed • “Down-sized” living Available in fours styles including the new promotionally priced Studio line. US Patent No. 7,574,758 B2
distributors wanted east coast - southeast - midwest open
30 SleepSavvy • April 2010
Arason Enterprises, Inc. • 410-703-4412 • www.fu-chest.com
e g n a h c e h t e experienc The third phase of a major renovation will culminate this market when we open our doors to buyers to reveal a completely renovated complex, upgraded services and amenities, and an unrivaled selection of furniture, lighting, wall art, rugs, textiles and exquisite decorative accessories. FOR MORE DETAILS: MARKETSQUAREANDSUITES.COM
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CLOSING WORDS by Gerry Morris
The dynamics of diversity
ne of the wonderful aspects of retail mattress sales is meeting and interacting with the myriad of people we call consumers. There is an element of surprise that makes our job both interesting and challenging. You never know who may come through the door or what their needs, experiences or expectations may be. Most of us spend the majority of our lives interacting with and relating to people in our peer group. It’s normal to associate with people that like the same things and share the same values we do. Unfortunately, by confining ourselves to our comfort zones, we limit our ability to experience and enjoy life to its fullest. As the old adage says, “Variety is the spice of life.” On the sales floor, we may be limiting our customers’ ability to fully experience and enjoy life by failing to make sure they get the quality of sleep they could, or would, if we were better equipped to be of service to them. The reality is that we are all different. Diversity is a matter of degree. It can be as obvious as age, gender and economic differences; as dramatic and varied as ethnic, religious or cultural backgrounds; or as simple and subtle as personal preferences. The question is: How prepared are we to adjust and adapt to such a diverse group of individuals? Traditionally, most sales training has focused on three areas: Product knowledge, features and benefits, and selling skills. To achieve greater levels of success, the new frontier for training must deal with the dynamics of diversity and should include developing relational selling skills to broaden perspective.
32 SleepSavvy • April 2010
A new pair of glasses Perspective is simply the lens through which we see the world, and it is colored by our experiences and attitudes. Thankfully, we have the ability to change our perspective by actively seeking new information and experiences. Like eyeglasses, we can take off the pair that may be distorting our vision and put on a new pair that enhances it. Instead of not seeing the forest for the trees, we can clearly see the forest and the trees from a multitude of vantage points. While we may still have our preferences, we can now better understand, appreciate and relate to people whose perspectives and preferences differ from our own. Here are five ways to broaden your perspective: 1. Be objective. Understand that there is a difference between reality and our judgments on reality. Many things—including food, fashion, weather and mattresses—simply exist as they are. They are neither good nor bad. We place our own judgments on them and those judgments vary from one individual to another without
anyone being right or wrong. The point is that we must not let our judgments influence our sales. 2. Seek new experiences. Experience different cultures, try new genres of restaurants, go to ethnic festivals, interact and develop new relationships outside your peer group. 3. Read and learn. Seek out information about different cultures, religions, nations and even the opposite sex. Wikipedia.org is a great resource. 4. Listen more than you talk. Have conversations with your customers rather than leading them through a sales presentation. Develop a list of open-ended questions that will help you better discover, understand and satisfy your customers’ needs. 5. Find common ground. Regardless of our differences, there is one thing everyone desires: To be happy and feel good. There is no better product to buy or sell than a mattress to help satisfy that desire. In closing, I’ll share a favorite quote from Buddhist spiritual leader the Dalai Lama: “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” ● Gerry Morris is an author, consultant, training coach and a member of the National Speakers Association. With more than 20 years of experience in the mattress industry, Gerry has helped manufacturers, retailers and RSAs in countries around the world increase their sales. To find out what Gerry can do for your company or to just talk, call him at 903-456-2015, email email@example.com or visit www.innerspring.net. www.sleepsavvymagazine.com
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