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July/August 2011

The cover story

A great greeting is the beginning of a beautiful relationship

RETAIL ROAD TRIP

Celebrity, selection make California’s Sit ‘n Sleep a star BE MY GUEST

Ashley’s Gordon Hecht on how to sell what customers really want STRATEGY MATTERS

Should your business get big or stay small? There are pros and cons to each


plug in... to an American brand with International power.

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IN THIS ISSUE where to find it

Welcome to our store!

18

THE COVER STORY

A great greeting is the beginning of a beautiful relationship

Customers often decide whether or not to do business with a store simply based on how they are—or are not—greeted. Trainer and author Laurie Brown takes a look at what works and what doesn’t.

3 5

WAKE UP CALL from the editor’s desk

Why is the mattress retail business so resistant to change? Maybe you can help Sleep Savvy’s editor answer that question.

SNOOZE NEWS stuff you can use

Better Sleep Council’s ‘Stop Zombieitis!’ campaign spreading to brides and teens; 15 ways to reward RSAs; noted poet writes about mattress shopping; mattress sales rose 4% in 2010, 7.5% gain forecast for 2011...and more.

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STRATEGY MATTERS

33

BE MY GUEST

39

planning your future

Should your business get bigger or stay small? Financial expert J. Tol Broome looks at both sides.

by Gordon Hecht

Ashley’s director of sales for bedding polled RSAs on what they think is important to their customers when buying a mattress.

CONSUMER CHECK profiling your customer

Men are playing an increasing role in shopping for the home, says survey from Jacobs Media.

www.sleepsavvymagazine.com

43 45 52

BACK TALK supporting customer dreams

Taking the pressure off is the key to mattress sales success—in more ways than one.

SHOWCASE products & programs for success

What’s new and interesting from companies that market mattresses, components, accessories and services? Take a tour of our summer showcase heading into the Las Vegas Market!

CLOSING WORDS by Gerry Morris Gerry examines common attitudes consumers bring with them when shopping for mattresses.

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RETAIL ROAD TRIP the selling scene Southern California powerhouse Sit ’n Sleep uses selection and celebrity to become a dominant player, Top 100 retailer and household name.

SleepSavvy • July/August 2011

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the

I Re ALLY WANt

"

my

mattress" contest.

August 29 — November 30, 2011 What is it? It's an online contest where people submit a video, essay or photo showing why they deserve a new Beautyrest® mattress. Ten Winners will receive a Beautyrest EliteTM pillowtop mattress with a retail value of $3,000!

How do you Benefit? In addition to driving positive consumer brand awareness, this promotion offers a wide range of powerful benefits to you: • An incentive for consumers to buy now! Encourage the consumer to buy their Simmons® mattress and then film their entry right there at the store. • Enhanced Search Engine Optimization (SEO) — Gives your store increased visibility and more prominence in online searches. • Social Media — The viral nature of the videos and contest will not only increase traffic to your website, it can also help you initiate conversations and build long-term relationships via social media.

For more information and to learn how customers enter contest, go to www.simmonsdealers.com

© 2011 Simmons Bedding Company. All rights reserved. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. The "I REALLY WANT my Beautyrest® mattress" contest begins 12:00 A.M. ET on August 29, 2011 and ends 11:59:59 P.M. ET on November 30, 2011. Open to legal residents of the 50 U.S., D.C. and Puerto Rico, 18 or older. Sponsored by Simmons Bedding Company. For Official Rules, visit http://contest.simmons.com.


SleepSavvy The magazine for sleep products professionals

Editor in Chief Nancy Butler 828-299-7420 nbutler@sleepproducts.org Associate Editor Barbara Nelles 336-856-8973 bnelles@sleepproducts.org Contributors J. Tol Broome Laurie Brown Gordon Hecht Gerry Morris Cindy Williams Creative Director Stephanie Belcher The Jimmydog Design Group stephanie@jimmydog.com Vice President of Advertising Sales Kerri Bellias 571-482-5444 kbellias@sleepproducts.org Advertising Services Manager Debbie Robbins 571-482-5443 drobbins@sleepproducts.org Circulation Manager Mary Rulli 336-491-0443 mrulli@sleepproducts.org Copy Editor Margaret Talley-Seijn Vol. 10, No. 5 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 703-683-4503. Advertising services: 1613 Country Club Dr., Reidsville, North Carolina 27320. Phone 571-482-5443. Fax 703-683-4503. Please send subscription orders and changes to: Sleep Savvy, P.O. Box 4678, Archdale, North Carolina 27263 or fax 703-683-4503. 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: ISPA member company personnel qualify for complimentary subscriptions, subject to restrictions. Nonmembers and others: $30 U.S., $40 non-U.S. ©2011 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.

www.sleepsavvymagazine.com

WAKE UP CALL from the editor

Why is the mattress retail biz so resistant to change?

“I

mproving the shopping experience” is a top agenda item for retailers—of all kinds—and it has been for a number of years. It’s a focus that has weathered the recession because retailers need to identify ways to keep the doors swinging— and this is one of them. Sleep Savvy and its contributing writers have talked about this important strategic direction in many ways and in virtually every issue. It’s been the topic of many cover stories (including the one in this issue on great greetings). And we’re far from alone in putting such strong emphasis on the customer experience. But when I look around at what’s actually happening in stores that sell mattresses, with some exceptions, I see virtually the same kind of environment, read the same price-fixated ads and hear the same basic selling scripts coming out of RSAs’ mouths that I heard 10 years ago when Sleep Savvy was launched. I continue to speculate on why this is still the case, including, I’m sorry to say, “That’s just the nature of the mattress business and it will never change.” Is it simply because mattress retailers think customer loyalty is irrelevant with a shopper who only turns up once a decade? So “get ‘em in, sell ‘em and get ‘em out” is the most efficient strategy? Doesn’t that discount the importance of what customers tell their family, friends and colleagues, especially in this day of social media? Maybe it’s because a retailer who tries to do things differently is such an anomaly—runs so counter to what the consumer expects of a mattress shopping excursion—that cus-

tomers don’t know what to do with them. I’ve watched a few visionary merchandisers set up “sleep boutiques” with imaginative assortments of products that help people sleep better and store environments with spa-like appeal—but they haven’t thrived. Was it that the focus was blurred, merchandising was too scattered or the salespeople were out of synch—the store was great, but the RSAs belonged in a used-car lot? Those are a few of the things that have run through my mind over the years. But the truth is I just don’t know. I’m not a mattress merchant. In fact, I’m looking at it more through the eyes of a female shopper (albeit a savvy one). So, I’m going to turn the question back to you: Why is there such resistence to change in mattress retailing? Please tell me. I’d really like to know. Perhaps retail guru George Whalin has given us one answer in his April Retail Management newsletter (www.whalinonretail.com): “The inability to make important strategic decisions is one of the reasons why retailers that have been in business for decades get into trouble. They avoid updating their strategy because they either don’t want to deal with the consequences or fear the unknown.” I welcome your emails and calls.

nbutler@sleepproducts.org SleepSavvy • July/August 2011

3


Money Talks. do you? log on and get chatty.

your voice Shout to the Rafters! We’re All Ears

extra credit

Sales tips

Stock up on Brain Juice

Share Your Tricks

ups forum

Entertainment

Live to Tell the Tale

Go Ahead. You Deserve a Break

RSAs from all over the country have registered to play. Join the community and get plugged into the fun. Visit Sleep-Geek.com/s. It’s about more than bringing in some extra cash. More than bragging rights and accolades. It’s about community. About coming together. Stronger industry relationships and better customer connections. Cheesy? Maybe. Essential? Yes. Because who else cares as much as you do about great beds and fluffy pillows? Other RSAs. (And the cash ain’t bad, either.) RSAs from all over the country have registered to play. Join the community and get plugged into fun. Visit Sleep-Geek.com/s.

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SNOOZE NEWS stuff you can use

Better Sleep Council’s ‘Stop Zombieitis!’ campaign spreads to tired brides

Charm is a way of getting the answer

The Better Sleep Council (BSC) is dedicated to eradicating Zombieitis—the widespread epidemic caused by too little sleep—and this summer/fall wedding season, the mattress industry-sponsored program is focusing its educational efforts on reaching “Zombie Brides” through traditional and social media. Brides often get so wrapped up in the wedding planning process that they forget the most important element—a good night’s sleep. As the big day approaches, brides want to be as healthy and fit as possible. Instead, Zombieitis saps their energy, steals their glow and can even sabotage plans to trim a few pounds. “Sleep loss is associated with striking alterations in hormone levels that regulate the appetite,” says Dr. Michael Thorpy, director of the SleepWake Disorders Center at New York’s Montefiore Medical Center. The “Zombie Brides” campaign gives the BSC—and you—the perfect opportunity to remind brides that sleeping on a quality mattress is essential to their health and happiness— both before and after the ceremony. To learn more, visit www.stopthezombies.com and www.sleepsavvymagazine.com.

‘yes’ without asking a clear

question. — Albert Camus

BSC to target teenage zombies this fall

You’ve seen them. Roaming the streets. Hanging out in the malls. Even hiding in your home! They’re teenagers suffering from acute Zombieitis—shuffling, mumbling, distracted. According to the National Sleep Foundation, teens are sleeping about two hours less than they should. They’re spending too many nighttime hours texting, tweeting and otherwise electronically engaged. No wonder it’s so hard for them to get up in the morning! Sleep researcher Dr. Mary Carskadon, director of Chronobiology and Sleep Research at Providence, RI’s Bradley Hospital, found that adolescents’ brains undergo a chemical reshaping process during sleep, requiring them to sleep a bit more than 9 hours. Notably, key connections are happening in the areas of the brain that deal with decision-making skills. As part of its fall “Stop Zombieitis!” program, the Better Sleep Council is conducting a survey of teen sleeping habits and will be sounding the alarm among at-risk teens and their parents. The cure? Nine full hours of sleep on a really supportive, comfortable new mattress! Stay tuned on www.stopthezombies.com and www.sleepsavvymagazine.com.

www.sleepsavvymagazine.com

SleepSavvy • July/August 2011

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SNOOZE NEWS

stuff you can use

CINDY’S INSIGHTS

Listening to the consumer

Smart consumers create their own customer environments

I

’ll admit it, I’m just plain addicted to my iPhone. It’s as much a part of my body as my fingers and if it isn’t in my hand or pocket, I panic. How will I will check in with my Facebook friends or read client emails or find my way to my client’s new office? How will I see what’s on sale at my favorite shoe store? Anxiety overtakes me until I find the iPhone and it is once again safely folded into the palm of my hand. Ahhh—all is right with the world. According to a recent study featured on Techcrunch.com, 5.3 billion mobile devices are in use worldwide, and 21.8% of them are smartphones. The number of smartphone users—let’s call them “smart consumers”—is growing exponentially. These smart consumers access online information several times a day for numerous reasons and tend to have much higher expectations than do non-smartphone users. If a smart consumer walks into your store, you can bet she’s already well informed about your brand, special offers, reputation and pricing. Incidentally, if what smart consumers learn about you online doesn’t match what’s going on at the brick-andmortar level, forget about ever seeing them again. You can also expect them to go online and report what they have just experienced—especially if it was negative. Smart consumers are literally wrapped in information, which redefines what we think of as the “customer environment.” The retailer no longer owns the customer envi-

ronment (if they ever did)—the customer does. And brick-and-mortar is only one of several locations within this environment. Customer environment is now defined as any place in which the customer comes into contact with your brand. This means that an app, a customer review site and any other touchpoint are included in the customer environment. Most retailers in the mattress industry are not prepared to deal with the challenges presented by smart consumers and are frankly overwhelmed by the emerging technologies. But there is no need for fear. Developing and implementing customer environment strategies will allow retailers to attract and sell to this powerful and growing group. In fact, it will allow you to turn cynical smart consumers into evangelists for your brand. Engaging today’s smart consumer requires a lot of frontend work. Opportunity costs. But take heart—it can be done. And it can be a pathway to outperforming the competition. It’s 11:00 a.m. Do you know where your smartphone is? Cindy Williams is vice president of retail strategy for home furnishings at Atlantabased Info Retail, a firm that helps retailers and manufacturers improve customer buying experiences. Contact Cindy through www.inforetail.com or follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/cinwilliams.

Bedding is the most-purchased home furnishings product

B

edding was the most-bought furniture item in 2010, purchased by 10.2% of all U.S. households. The 11.5 million bedbuying households spent a combined $11.6 billion at retail, according to the “Consumer Buying Trends” report from Furniture/Today. This year, 10.8% of U.S. households—12.2 million—plan to buy a

6 SleepSavvy • July/August 2011

mattress and foundation. Bedding also had the best buyto-shop ratio in 2010. Only 14% of the 13.3 million households who shopped for bedding last year did not buy. Still, as Furniture/Today points out, mattress retailers lost a potential $1.8 billion in sales from those households who shopped but failed to buy.

The “Consumer Buying Trends” report is available online for $199 and includes detailed demographic information and buying patterns by region, age and income. Go to http://furnituretodaystore. stores.yahoo.net/cbt2011.html. www.sleepsavvymagazine.com


SNOOZE NEWS

stuff you can use

15 ways to reward RSAs (other than money) WANTED: ‘Snooze

T

he AmEx Open Forum site recently listed 51 ways to reward employees without handing them money. Sleep Savvy picked 15 that we especially liked—and that you might not have thought of: 1. Invite their spouse in for a lunch on the company. 2. Give a video game for the employee to give to their child. 3. Make a short video to celebrates the employee’s accomplishments. 4. Send a birthday card to them at their home address. 5. Pay for them to take a fun class, such as cooking or skydiving. 6. Write a note to their family, sharing how important the person’s contribution to the company has been. 7. Buy them tickets to a concert, show, movie or other event. 8. Pick up a book or CD (or gift card from iTunes or Amazon) for them by their favorite author or artist. 9. Pick up the tab for them to have a family portrait taken. 10. Help them with gas prices by giving them a gas card. 11. Create a “day pass” that they can turn in to take any day off, no questions asked. 12. Find out what they are passionate about and give them a gift that relates to it. 13. Have a mobile car wash come to the business and clean their vehicle. 14. Have a staff appreciation day once a month to provide them with a catered lunch or breakfast. 15. Create a relaxation room where the employee can go during the day to read or play a video game on their break.   We especially like the last one and recommend that you furnish it with a great sleep set and encourage your “sleep consultants” to take a refreshing nap—proven to increase productivity.

67%

director’ for major mattress chain

L

ooking for the ultimate laid-back job? Sleepy’s recently advertised for someone to doze off daily at the company and get paid for it. The snooze director—a new position—will be responsible for testing mattresses in Sleepy’s stores, assisting with social media outreach, researching sleep trends and live blogging about his/her experience. Candidates were instructed to submit resumes, comments and videos “demonstrating what makes them a real yawn.”

The ideal candidate, according to the June job posting, should have at least 18 years of sleeping experience—perfect for a recent grad. “Between classes, all-nighters and busy social lives, young adults coming out of college are likely to be on the search for slumber after graduation. That’s exactly what we’re looking for,” said Adam Blank, Sleepy’s COO.”We need someone who’s happy to hit the hay every day for Sleepy’s.”

of consumers say they have downloaded and printed online coupons. Coupons.com tops the list of favorite websites at 38%, followed by Google at 34% and Groupon. com at 22%, according to a survey of 1,000 American adults from research and consulting firm Morpace (www.morpace.com). Women (72%) are more likely than men (59%) to download and print online coupons. Consumers with annual incomes of $50,000+ are more likely (71%) to download and print online coupons than those with lower incomes (61%).

www.sleepsavvymagazine.com

SleepSavvy • July/August 2011

7


SNOOZE NEWS

stuff you can use

Mattress ‘Hell’?

S

hopping for mattresses inspired Billy Collins, Poet Laureate of the United States from 2001 to 2003, to pen a new poem titled simply “Hell.” It appears in Collins’ newest poetry collection, Horoscopes for the Dead.

Hell I have a feeling that it is much worse than shopping for a mattress at a mall, of greater duration without question, and there is no random pitch forking here, no licking flames to fear, only this cavernous store with its maze of bedding. Yet wandering past the jovial kings, the more sensible queens, and the cheerless singles no scarlet sheet will ever cover, I am thinking of a passage from the Inferno which I could fully bring to mind and recite in English or even Italian

Marketers moving to ‘virtual events’

S

ix in 10 marketers (60%) plan to increase spending on virtual events this year and 42% plan to decrease spending on physical conferences and shows, according to a Unisfair survey of 550 marketers on the future of virtual events. Here are two key reasons: ● 64% “can reach a much larger audience for less money.” ● 40% “can get the same or better results for less money.” Other advantages include “less effort (24%)” and no “worry about lost luggage” (27%). Virtual events make sense to marketers for a range of purposes, including training (42%), customer engagement (36%), internal collaboration (34%), lead generation (29%) and networking (8%). What’s the best part about attending a virtual event themselves? The ability to multitask (58%). And they’ve attended from a variety of interesting places, including bed (27%). Two thumbs up from Sleep Savvy.

visible in the pocket of his short sleeve shirt— would stop insisting for a moment that we test this one, then this softer one, which we do by lying down side by side, arms rigid, figures on a tomb, powerless to imagine what it would be like to sleep or love this way under the punishing rows of fluorescent lights, which Dante might have included had he been able to lie on his back between us here today.

JUST FOR LAUGHS

if the salesman who has been following us— a crumpled pack of Newports

“Hell” from HOROSCOPES FOR THE DEAD: POEMS by Billy Collins, copyright © 2011 by Billy Collins. Used by permission of Random House, Inc.

8 SleepSavvy • July/August 2011

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SNOOZE NEWS

stuff you can use

Total mattress industry sales rose 4% in 2010

T

he mattress business reversed several years of sales declines in 2010, posting increases in both unit shipments and wholesale dollar value, according to the Annual Mattress Industry Report of Sales & Trends, published by the International Sleep Products Association (ISPA). U.S. mattress producers shipped 34.8 million mattresses and foundations in 2010, an increase of 6.2% over 2009—the first yearly unit increase since 2005. The wholesale dollar value of mattress shipments registered a 4.1% increase to $5.9 billion in 2010—the first yearly value increase since 2007. Those gains, however, did not translate into increases in average unit prices (AUP), which declined

by 1.9% in 2010 compared to 2009. Specialty products show sharpest gains Sales gains for higherpriced specialty mattresses significantly outpaced gains in the innerspring category last year. The dollar value of non-innerspring mattresses—primarily foam and air— increased 22.7% for 2010, while unit shipments rose 23.9%. The AUP for non-innerspring products decreased by a modest 1.0% for the year. As a result, the market share for the specialty segment increased to 25.2% of total mattress sales dollars, compared to 21.7% in 2009. Specialty products reached an 11.2% market share in units, compared to 9.6% in 2009.

7.5% gain forecast for 2011 ISPA’s most recent Mattress Industry U.S. Market Forecast, issued in May, predicts that mattress and foundation dollars and units will continue to post healthy increases for the balance of 2011 and 2012. ISPA forecasts a 7.5% increase in the value of mattress shipments and a 4.0% rise in units for 2011. For 2012, the value of mattress shipments is forecast to increase 6.0% and the unit total is expected to grow 3.5%. An AUP increase of 3.4% is forecast for this year, followed by an additional 2.4% AUP increase in 2012.

BEDDING BIZ BEAT The bedding business took a big bounce in March, with unit sales up 9.6% and the dollar value (wholesale) soaring by 17.6% compared to March 2010, according to the International Sleep Products Association’s monthly Bedding Barometer. April marked a modest increase compared to the previous April, with unit sales up 1.4% and dollars up 3.8%. For the first four months combined, units rose 2.6% and dollars were up 7.2%.

Mattresses & Foundations in Millions of Wholesale Dollars Sample of Leading Producers

$448 $383

$402

$381

$335

$335 $344

$355 $367

Percent change +6.0%

Percent change +2.9%

Percent change +3.3%

Percent change +4.9%

Percent change +17.6%

Percent change +3.8%

November

December

January

February

March

April

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■ 2009 ■ 2010 ■ 2011

10 SleepSavvy • July/August 2011

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SNOOZE NEWS

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Need a nap? There’s an app for that!

Sleep Shorts

Celebrity Suzanne Somers has a new, non-drug solution for fatigue or sleep deprivation: the Suzanne Somers NAP26 App. The new app—available for iPhone, iPad, Android and Blackberry platforms—is claimed to help restore energy and productivity with an audio sequence that promises the rejuvenation of 3 hours of sleep in just 26 minutes. It’s the former “Three’s Company” star’s first app in her current career as a healthy lifestyle advocate and best-selling author. Somers says that on the lecture circuit almost every audience member complains of sleep deprivation. Many use caffeine to stay awake and sleeping pills to get to sleep. NAP26 offers a healthier alternative using binaural pulses and beats that help the listener drift into a restful sleep without falling into deep sleep, which can cause nappers to wake up groggy. NAP26 is based on NASA research with test pilots, which revealed 26 minutes as the optimal nap time. Want to know more? Visit www.nap26.com.

Going gambling? Get some sleep! If you’re among the thousands traveling to Vegas to attend the summer furniture market—and planning to spend a little time in the casinos while there—you may be interested in a recent study reported by TIME. It appears that sleep deprivation encourages gamblers to be overly focused on “positive outcomes,” which may explain why they don’t necessarily make the best decisions. “Late-night gamblers are fighting more than just the unfavorable odds—they are fighting a sleep-deprived brain’s tendency to implicitly seek gains while discounting the impact of potential losses,” said Vinod Venkatraman, lead author and graduate student in psychology and neuroscience at Duke University. In the study, brain scans showed that lack of sleep increased activity in parts of the brain that deal with positive outcomes but reduced activity in regions that handle negative results. A recent study conducted at the University of

12 SleepSavvy • July/August 2011

Massachusetts sheds some additional light on gamblers’ need for sleep. Researchers taught two groups of college students a gambling game, then brought them back 12 hours later to play it. Of the group that got a full night’s sleep, 80% figured out the trick to winning the game, compared to 40% of those who didn’t sleep.

The school bully isn’t bad, just sleepy School bullies and disruptive kids are twice as likely to show signs of sleep problems, according to new research from the University of Michigan. The study, published in the journal Sleep Medicine, collected data from parents of 341 elementary school kids on each child’s sleep habits and asked both parents and teachers to assess behavioral concerns. About a third were identified as having problems with disruptive behavior or bullying, and these kids were twice as likely to show symptoms of sleep-disordered breathing. Dr. Louise O’Brien, assistant professor of sleep medicine, said the study doesn’t prove sleep problems cause bullying. But other research has also found an association between behavioral problems and sleep apnea. If sleep is disrupted, she said, “emotional regulation and decisionmaking capabilities are impaired.”

Your neurons may be nodding off A new study in rats funded by the National Institutes of Health suggests neurons in our tired brains may be taking catnaps even when we’re awake. The more sleep-deprived the rats got, the more neurons in the thinking part of their brains switched off, seemingly at random. At the same time, an EEG (a measure of brain electrical activity) confirmed that the animals were awake, as did their active behavior. “Such tired neurons in an awake brain may be responsible for the attention lapses, poor judgment, mistake-proneness and irritability that we experience when we haven’t had enough sleep, yet don’t feel particularly sleepy,” said Giulio Tononi, MD, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where the study was conducted.

www.sleepsavvymagazine.com


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STRATEGY MATTERS planning your future

Should you go

BIG or stay small?

By J. Tol Broome Jr.

I

t seems to be the way we’re wired: If we own a 42-inch flat-screen TV, we want a 47-inch one. Why order the 8-ounce steak when the restaurant offers one that weighs in at 10 ounces? The 20-foot boat should be traded in for a 24-footer at the first opportunity. A business with $1 million in annual sales must hit $1.1 million next year. After all, bigger is always better…isn’t it? The entrepreneurial spirit behind most small businesses leads owners to want to grow their ventures. But getting larger and larger isn’t always the best strategy. Just ask management guru and author Charles Handy. “Americans think big. This has helped make them the most powerful nation on Earth, but bigger is not always better, either for our bodies or, I suggest, for our organizations,” Handy said in a 2008 interview on American Public Radio’s www.sleepsavvymagazine.com

“Marketplace” business news program. “Why does almost every business that I know seek to grow in size, year after year, in fact, as if there were no limit?” Handy continued. “Humans are most comfortable in clusters of 10 to 12—family-sized groups. Put them in armies of hundreds and thousands and they cease to be individuals…just numbers in jobs. Humanity too easily yields place to bureaucracy.” Does Handy have a point? It depends on what you want your business to be. To figure out the best strategy for your business, consider the advantages of both getting larger and staying smaller.

can make $150,000 in profit on sales of $1 million, if margins stay the same. It should be noted that growth comes with a downside when times get tough. As a company grows, so do fixed expenses, making it more difficult to adjust when an economic downturn or recession hits. ● Economies of scale. A bigger company is generally better able to leverage fixed expenses. For instance, professionals such as attorneys and accountants don’t charge you double just because you have two stores instead of one. Economies of scale also can help you negotiate better deals from vendors. The more you buy, the more likely you are to get a better per-unit price. The result is that economies of scale often will improve your relative bottom line as you grow. Returning to the example of a business that earns $75,000 on $500,000: An enhanced profit margin due to better efficiency could result in $200,000 in profit on sales of $1 million.

Why BIGGER may be better ● Greater profit potential. From an absolute dollar perspective, the bigger a business becomes, the greater the profit potential. If your business generates a net profit of $75,000 on annual sales of $500,000, then conceivably you SleepSavvy • July/August 2011

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STRATEGY MATTERS planning your future

● Management depth. Most small businesses are very reliant on the owner to work long hours to make the operation run smoothly and this can lead to high burnout rates. As a business grows, an owner is able to hire additional people to take on more of the burden. Not only can this reduce the stress, it can bring in new ideas to improve merchandising, marketing or operations. ● Success breeds success. Management guru Peter Drucker said that the purpose of any business is to create a customer. As a business grows, it creates more customers, which leads to even more customers. Expanding your business by adding stores, increasing advertising or expanding lines brings in more customers, who will hopefully tell more potential customers. This increases revenues—and profits— without much effort on your part. One danger of keeping a business small is that it can stagnate, which can lead to a shrinking customer base and eventually failure. ● More attractive when it’s time to sell. It’s generally true that the bigger the business, the higher the potential sales price. There are two reasons for this. First, most businesses sell based on a multiple of cash flow. A bigger business is likely to have higher cash flow. For example, a business with an annual cash flow of $100,000 would sell for $400,000 at a 4x multiple while a business with a $200,000 annual cash flow would sell for $800,000 at the same multiple. Second, bigger businesses often bring even larger multiples because of other advantages I’ve already discussed (economies of scale, management depth, etc.). So if the business with a $200,000 annual cash flow could attract a multiple of 5x, the sale price could jump to $1 million.

16 SleepSavvy • July/August 2011

The upside of staying SMALL ● Easier to manage. While a small business is often highly dependent on the owner for critical tasks, many owners prefer it this way. They know what it takes to select the right products, generate sales, provide good customer service and do the myriad other tasks required to keep the doors open. And they like doing it all. Small companies have fewer employees, which typically means fewer personnel-related headaches. For instance, a business with 10 employees might go a year or more without any turnover. A venture with 100plus employees is likely to be in constant hiring mode. ● Less leverage. A small business generally can be run with less or even no leverage compared to a larger venture. Less leverage makes a business more nimble and better able to weather disruptions in cash flow. The leverage issue often moves front and center when a business owner considers expanding and needs to borrow money to do so. While borrowing money is a traditional, practical way of expanding, some small business owners don’t want to take on the stress of accumulating debt. ● Less risk. I cited as an advantage of being a big business that larger companies generally make higher profits, but larger businesses also take on more risk. If you run a stable small business that generates an adequate profit to provide for your family and employees on a consistent basis, you might not want to risk the

extra expense and debt that it can take to expand your locations or add employees. ● Tighter expense control. As a business grows, it becomes more challenging to maintain control over expenses. Tasks must be delegated to employees, who may not share the owner’s mentality about spending company money. This can result in wasteful spending on everything from office supplies to inventory. If you keep your business small, you’re more likely to keep tabs on every dollar that goes out the door. ● Easier to cross-train. A smaller business with fewer employees often enjoys more employee loyalty—some workers are likely to be family members. This loyalty and commitment allows you to more easily cross-train employees to be competent at multiple tasks. A business with 100 or more employees will have fewer opportunities to cross-train, which can result in idle time and inefficiency. So, while bigger might be better when it comes to TVs and boats, the optimal size for your business is a matter of preference. Weigh these considerations to determine the best growth—or no-growth— strategy for your company. ●

J. Tol Broome Jr. has spent nearly 30 years working in commercial lending at various financial institutions and is currently an executive vice president and manager of the Specialized Lending Group at BB&T. This story originally appeared in BedTimes, Sleep Savvy’s sister publication for manufacturers, June 2011 issue. www.sleepsavvymagazine.com


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The cover story

A great greeting is the beginning of a beautiful relationship 18 SleepSavvy • July/August 2011

www.sleepsavvymagazine.com


By Laurie Brown

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ichael and Lily were in the market for a mattress. Michael’s back had been hurting him and they thought a new mattress might help. They did research online and found a few stores they wanted to visit. As the couple entered the first store on their list, the first thing they noticed was that two sales associates were idly leaning against the counter. They were chatting and laughing at each other’s jokes, while loud rock-androll blasted over the speakers. Michael and Lily slowly walked around and looked at a few mattresses. The salespeople never even acknowledged the couple. They walked out, never to return. Michael and Lily drove to the next store on the list. When they walked in, they were immediately greeted by a salesperson. “Wow! This is great,” they thought. Pushing them through the stacks of mattresses, the sales associate promptly started pressuring them to buy one of the most expensive mattresses in the store. The associate hadn’t asked any questions about their needs. They felt bombarded. Michael said, “Actually, we’re just looking. Thanks for your time.” They rushed out of the store as quickly as they could.

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SleepSavvy • July/August 2011

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THE COVER STORY great greetings

Michael was frustrated and ready to give up, but Lily coaxed him into trying one more store. When they walked in, they immediately noticed a difference. One of the sales associates walked right up, warmly greeted them and, noticing the Steelers hat Michael was wearing, asked, “Did you watch the game Sunday? Wasn’t that last play amazing?” Michael and Lily agreed that they had never seen a play like that before. For a few minutes, they chatted casually about the Steelers. At this point, the couple felt comfortable talking with the sales associate—almost like they were talking to an old friend. Michael mentioned that the

last time he’d gone to a game he almost left early because his back was hurting so badly. The associate asked a few questions about Michael’s back issues and if they suspected that their current mattress might be contributing to the problem. The couple felt pretty sure that it did. Then the associate checked to see if he could ask a few more questions that would help in directing them to the mattress that would be best for them. Naturally, they were happy to share more information, thrilled by the experience and ended up buying a mattress that very day. Michael’s and Lily’s experiences are not isolated events. Customers regularly decide whether or not to do business with a company simply by how they are—or are not— greeted. If you think that huge selection or low, low prices will always earn you your customer’s business, you are wrong. For the most part, customers hate shopping for mattresses. They

may feel defensive and quickly become overwhelmed by so many choices. There is a huge selection of brands, styles and places to buy them. And the choice is not just the furniture store down the street or the mattress shop in the next town. Big box stores like Costco and Walmart are competing for mattress customers, too. And with businesses happy to ship, mattress shoppers can buy in any store, in any town and from any business on the web. What that means to you is that you need to make sure that, from the moment customers call your store or enter your building, they feel welcome. Your greeting has a powerful impact on setting the tone of your customers’ experience and their ultimate decision whether to buy. Greeting your customer is more complicated than just saying “Hi” and “How can I help you?” Let’s look at some best practices for welcoming your customer—both in person and on the phone.

Great greetings on the telephone

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roperly greeting your customer on the phone is as important, if not more important, than how you greet a customer in person. Often, the customer’s first experience with your business is on the phone. Here are the elements of a successful phone greeting: ✓ Tone of voice. Your voice needs to sound warm and positive. The best way to achieve this voice quality is to smile. Smiling changes the way your voice sounds. People can actually sense the warmth that accompanies a smile. ✓ Single focus. Whether your customer is standing in front of you or on the other end of the phone, you need to do only one thing at a time. Customers can tell if you are preoccupied with something else. No solitaire, no Facebook or reading emails when answering the phone. Your undivided attention and focus is the only way to win a customer.

20 SleepSavvy • July/August 2011

✓ The words you use. If you call Twila Stanford at Get-A-Mattress in Arroyo Grande, CA, you will hear, “How did you sleep last night?” This engaging and relevant greeting breaks the ice and starts the rapportbuilding. Stanford has heard interesting replies like, “I slept really good. How did you sleep?” Sometimes, when customers are caught off guard, they will laugh. No matter what the response, people remember Stanford and her unique greeting. ✓ The basics. Even if you choose to answer your phone in a more conventional way, it still should have three specific components: ● A salutation—It may be as simple as “Hello”, “Good afternoon”, “Hola!” or “Welcome to....” ● Your business name—Using your store name in the greeting lets the customer know they’ve reached the right place.

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THE COVER STORY great greetings

Greet customers immediately Customers need to be acknowledged the moment they step into your store. That means every customer, no matter what you are doing, needs to be noticed and every customer needs to feel like a welcome guest. Don’t confuse offering an immediate greeting with being pushy. Dereck Grindstaff at the Sleep Center in Ocala, FL, offers this advice, “When they come in, I don’t want to shark-tank them.” Although Grindstaff always greets customers immediately, he then backs off to give them time to get comfortable. That might sound coun-

ter-intuitive, but in a high-pressure market, it’s important to welcome them but also to give your customers time to settle in. Bunny Riley at Sleep Outfitters in Columbus, OH, agrees: “I make sure I greet my customer within 10 to 30 seconds, but I don’t want them to feel that I am attacking them. So, I will start off with something non-business.” Even if you are with another customer, find a way to acknowledge each new customer upon arrival. Of course, it’s not always possible to greet a customer and give them your full attention—you might be talking to another customer or in the middle of a phone conversation. But, at those times, it’s critical that you at least acknowledge people who enter your place of business. With a simple gesture—a wave, a smile or a nod of the head—or by saying, “I’ll be with you in a moment,” you can make the difference in whether your customer feels valued or ignored. Letting a customer know that you

●Y  our name—Giving the customer your name indicates that you are taking responsibility for the call. These three elements used together give the customer a good impression of your business from the very start.

If a machine answers It’s my opinion that a human being—one that is warm, polite and helpful—is always better than an answering machine. However, even a machine can be successful if used correctly. Don’t make your customers search for a method to talk to a living, breathing person. It can be extremely frustrating trying to get in touch with a human being when you have an automated phone system. Sometimes it can seem downright impossible. Consider reducing the number of prompts in your system.

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are going to get back to them is important. You might need to ask your current customer for permission to leave her for a few minutes. Karina Mallado at a Mattress Firm in Houston suggests “giving your current client a task—no more than 3 minutes.” That way you are not wasting their time. You might say, “Try out these three mattresses and I will be right back.” That frees you to give the new customer a time frame for when you will be able to help him or her. First impressions last You only have a few minutes to make sure that your greeting is effective. It’s been said that it takes five seconds for someone to form an impression of you. However, in their article “First Impressions,” published in the July 2006 issue of Psychological Science, Princeton psychologists Janine Willis and Alexander Todorov reported their research findings, which indicated that it only takes a tenth of a second of looking at a stranger’s face

One set of prompts is the limit for most people’s patience and goodwill. If you absolutely, positively must have more than one set of prompts, be sure to offer your customers the option of speaking to an operator in the first and subsequent series of prompts. Make sure the voice on the recording is warm and inviting. If the recording says, “We are really looking forward to speaking with you” or “Thank you so much for calling,” it will help take away the impersonal feeling customers get from most recorded messages.

SleepSavvy • July/August 2011

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THE COVER STORY great greetings

to form an impression. Moreover, longer exposures do not significantly alter that impression. If someone can make an unalterable decision about you in just a tenth of a second, you can see why greeting your customer not only quickly but appropriately is so essential. David Wolfe at the Sit ’n Sleep in Culver City, CA, agrees: “The first impression is everything. You have a short time to build that trust. You want to make them feel welcome and treat them as a friend.”

Doreen Carson at Blackberry Creek Mattress in Boone, NC, says, “Our greetings are not canned or scripted. We start with a smile and by saying, ‘good morning’ or ‘good afternoon.’ Since each customer is different, we listen to what they have to say, or if they are looking a little uncomfortable, we ask what brings them to our store today. Sometimes, we joke around with them to help them loosen up a bit. Or because we are in a resort area, we might comment on our beautiful mountain weather to break the ice a little.”

Every customer is unique Although it is important to have consistency in how you greet your customers, you should treat each one as a unique individual.

Give them undivided attention When greeting a customer, it’s important to give your customer your undivided attention. That means you shouldn’t be reading

your email, texting or looking around the store to see if there is a more promising “up.” As Carson says, “Our goal is to make our customers feel welcome. They are the most important person at that moment and have our undivided attention. We consider every customer an opportunity to create a long-term relationship. In fact, this is often what happens. Sometimes customers become friends, as well as friends becoming customers. We consider it a tremendous privilege when a customer returns to our store for an

We can’t promise it will balance a glass of wine but we guarantee you’ll get a great night’s sleep.

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22 SleepSavvy • July/August 2011

6/16/11 9:40 AM

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THE COVER STORY great greetings

additional purchase and perhaps just pops in to say hello or ask for our recommendations for area attractions or restaurants.” Building rapport is essential Building rapport is a skill that is an essential element of greeting. David Julian Xanatos, of Full Spectrum Communications in Wilbraham, MA, explains: “When people are in rapport, there tends to be a similarity

of body posture and movements, ways of expression, voice tone and tempo. Watch two people who are obviously having a great conversation and you’ll see these things in action. When one shifts position slightly, the other will respond with a similar shift. If one leans forward, soon after, so will the other. There’s a pace at which one will take a sip of a drink, then the other, etc.” “Good salespeople are like chameleons,” says Sit ’n Sleep’s Wolfe.

When people are in rapport, there tends to be a similarity of body posture and movements, ways of expression, voice tone and tempo.

He is absolutely correct. Building rapport is truly the art of minimizing the differences between you and your customer. People are always more comfortable working with someone they perceive to be like them. As Wolfe says, “You need to adjust to the customer.” Some people have been taught to “mirror” the customer. But people have radar for insincerity. Instead of mirroring, think of it as matching. If the customer doesn’t like eye contact, don’t give them eye contact. If the customer is energetic, match his energy. Talk slower to a slow talker. Stand farther away from someone whose body language signals she prefers space. Rather than being phony, it’s more like adjusting the dials on your personal preferences.

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SleepSavvy • July/August 2011

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THE COVER STORY great greetings

Welcome to our store!

24 SleepSavvy • July/August 2011

Prevent ‘Just Looking’ Doug Fleener, of the Retail Contrarian in Lexington, MA, suggests that you “avoid using those tired generic questions customers are programmed to answer with ‘just looking.’ As simple as this sounds, we’re just as programmed as our customers are.” Fleener suggests that these, in particular, not be used: ● How are you today? ● Can I help you? ● What brings you in today? ● Can I answer any questions? When you ask these questions, they beg the listener to respond with “Thanks, but I’m just looking.” On the other hand, if you engage your customer in conversation about something other than buying a mattress, such as the weather, an upcom-

ing event or anything else that can relax them, you will have a good start at building a relationship. Fleener adds, “Once you’ve established that connection, you’re far beyond ‘Just looking.’” Instead of asking rote questions that get you rote responses, treat each customer as a unique individual who has unique needs, desires and styles. Intentions are key to success All effective greetings—whether in person or on the phone—have one common success factor: the intention of the greeter. Sleep Center’s Grindstaff says that his intention has to be “to get them to the right mattress, not increase my paycheck.” That motivates him to really listen to the customer and help them get

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THE COVER STORY great greetings

what they truly need, instead of what will make him the most profit in the short-term. If you remember that you want a customer for life— and you want all of your customers’ friends and family members as customers for life—then it’s easier to let go of a bigger single paycheck in return for a continuous stream of referrals and loyal customers. Blackberry Creek’s Conrad says, “If we build a relationship with every potential customer—whether or not they make a purchase at that time—they will return. When customers come back and say, ‘We went to the store down the road, but we like you all better’—hooray! That’s one more customer relationship and an opportunity to build a friendship.”

Always keep in mind that the way you greet your customer has a huge impact on everything that follows. Your greeting has the power to make your customer feel like a valued and welcomed guest whose

needs you are uniquely capable of addressing. If you succeed in making them feel that way, you have a good shot at a long, happy and prosperous relationship that lasts through the years. ●

Laurie Brown is the author of the Greet Your Customer Manual and the Teleprompter Manual. She is a speaker and trainer who helps individuals and companies improve their customer service, sales and presentation skills. In her more than two decades of experience, she has worked with culturally diverse audiences at all corporate levels and her international clientele has ranged from Fortune 500 companies to small family-owned businesses across four continents. Laurie is proud to come from a family of mattress makers. Her grandfather, father and uncle owned and operated Morris Bedding Co. in Detroit from the 1940s to the 1960s. For more information, contact her at: lauriebrown@thedifference.net or visit her website at www.thedifference.net.

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SleepSavvy • July/August 2011

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You’ve already made an impression on her.

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RETAIL ROAD TRIP the selling scene

Sit ‘n Sleep Celebrity and selection make Southern California mattress retailer a star By Barbara Nelles Photography by Jeff Clark

F

Sit ’n Sleep principals Nelson Bercier (left) and Larry Miller.

www.sleepsavvymagazine.com

rom Laguna Hills all the way to Oxnard, wherever the freeway takes you in the greater Los Angeles area, you’re not far from a Sit ’n Sleep store. The big retailer is a dominant player in the Southland’s competitive market. So dominant that it’s a household name, thanks to a heavy ad spend, a long history in the area, 26 “superstore” showrooms and the celebrity of one of its principals, Larry Miller. Affable, outgoing and approachable, Miller is the retailer’s public face. He headlines the store’s abundant TV commercials, does voiceover for its plentiful radio ads and is recognized wherever he goes. Because he concludes every commercial with the same catchphrase—“Sit ’n Sleep will beat anyone’s advertised price or your mattress is freeeeee!”—when Angelenos spot Miller on the street, they’re prone to yelling, “It’s freeeee!” or “You’re killing me, Larry!”— another of the chain’s ad slogans. Busloads of schoolchildren have been known to cheer at the sight of him. Miller’s high recognition factor isn’t just fun, it’s also very lucrative. With an average ticket far above the national average and new stores opening at a steady pace, despite the recession, Sit ’n Sleep has found a winning formula in a tough market. SleepSavvy • July/August 2011

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RETAIL ROAD TRIP the selling scene

Checkout is centrally located on the sales floor.

Giving back to the community

T

hrough a long history of imaginative special events and charitable involvement, Sit ’n Sleep is always working to leave its mark on the community. Larry Miller and Nelson Bercier, principals, were the 2006 Honorees of the Home Furnishings Association chapter from the City of Hope, helping to raise more than a million dollars to help fight cancer and assist the families of cancer patients. The employees of Sit ’n Sleep participate annually in the Lee National Denim Day event in October, raising both money and awareness for breast cancer. The Sit ’n Sleep-Phil Miller Foundation awards scholarships annually to graduating high school seniors in communities where the chain has stores. For several years, Sit ’n Sleep employees, vendors and advertising partners have volunteered during the MDA Labor Day telethon, contributing hundreds of thousands of dollars towards the fight against muscular dystrophy. Recently, the retailer received a big “Thank You” from the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Greater Los Angeles for donating mattresses to children whose wish was simply to sleep on comfortable new beds. “We’re not just selling rectangles,” Miller says. “We’re substantial, contributing members of our community and have been honored for our work by several charities. We’re very proud of that. “But it’s not about publicizing all that we do. We believe to be successful long term, you must get involved and become part of the fabric of your community.”

28 SleepSavvy • July/August 2011

“My face and voice give a human face to this business—that’s important,” Miller says. “And people know me personally. I’m no longer on the sales floor, but that’s where I started. Many of our customers are on their third and fourth beds from us.” Miller founded Sit ’n Sleep with his father 30 years ago. The business did about $200,000 in sales its first year, with Miller doing the deliveries in a pickup truck after hours. Today he owns and manages it with business partner and the company’s other principal, Nelson Bercier. Corporate offices and a 240,000square-foot distribution center are in Gardena, CA. In 2010, the company racked up $83 million in sales, according to the Furniture/Today “Top 100 U.S. Furniture Stores.” Sit ’n Sleep is growing faster than ever, Miller says, and plans include expanding to 40 stores within three years, “With advertising, we hit ’em hard every day on TV, radio, the Internet, in blogs,” Miller says. “Our goal is to be top of mind whenever anybody wants a mattress. And all of the things we do, we do in the very best possible way. Merchandising and presentation, customer service, staff training—the whole idea is to build the best mattress-buying experience for consumers.” In the past few years, the store’s marketing and advertising campaigns have taken an educational turn, with Miller talking about the benefits of a good night’s sleep and other sleep/health issues or cutting open filthy, old mattresses to reveal what’s inside. He’s appeared in frequent educational segments on a network news affiliate as an expert on sleep, health and mattresses. “We have worked to be a better education resource to consumers,” Miller says. “Yes, we offer value and special pricing, but through www.sleepsavvymagazine.com


RETAIL ROAD TRIP the selling scene

The floor of the Torrance, CA, store gives an idea of the huge selection. A Body Diagnostic system, developed by Kingsdown, helps take the guesswork out of finding the right match.

our advertising and PR efforts we are also addressing sleep health,” Miller says. (To see samples of the company’s ads and its educational information, check out their website at www.sitnsleep.com.) Setting the stage Sit ’n Sleep “superstores” span 9,000 to 14,000 square feet and each typically shows at least 125 beds. Brands carried include E.S. Kluft/Aireloom, Kingsdown/Sleep to Live, Sealy/Stearns & Foster, Serta, Sherwood Bedding, Simmons and Tempur-Pedic. Queen prices open at $299 and go above the $15,000 mark. The stores were recently remodeled in a two-tone neutral color palette and substantially de-cluttered. Most of the vendor POP is gone, replaced by a spare look with lifestyle posters and accessories. The floor is organized mainly by brand and merchandised with a selection of wood and metal bed frames, as well as nightstands. A significant portion of each Sit ’n Sleep floor is devoted to showcasing premium bedding. “While we have all been affected www.sleepsavvymagazine.com

by the downturn, we have had great success moving premium and super-premium bedding,” Miller says. “We offer a large selection of the best quality goods at prices that are very competitive, and we try to take away every reason the customer might say no.” “In the last three years, TempurPedic has really taken a large market-share stance with us,” Bercier says. “They’ve really grown that category and created a want. It’s opened the door for more latex sales and more memory-foam sales in general.” Motion-base sales are way up— quadruple what they were just two years ago. The retailer offers 25 adjustable bed SKUs, mostly from Leggett & Platt and Tempur-Pedic. And the store has created TV ads devoted to adjustable bed promotion targeting a younger demographic. “It’s a high ticket item and people assume it’s a hospital bed, so you have to know how to present it,” Bercier says. Sit ’n Sleep has also maintained a high average ticket through the Great Recession by selling more and better accessories. Its attach-

ment rate for mattress protectors alone is 70%. “We tell consumers, ‘If you’re going to invest $1,000 in a mattress, shouldn’t you spend $130 to keep it clean and fresh?’” Miller says. Shoppers are also reminded that a stained bed cannot be returned for a comfort exchange. Sit ’n Sleep offers a 60-day comfort exchange, but is careful to “train, train, train RSAs that the exchange policy is not to be used as a selling tool—it’s peace of mind for the customer,” says Bercier, who directs all sales and merchandising functions. “When an associate says ‘If you don’t like it, you can come back and reselect,’ it means they haven’t done their job right.” SleepSavvy • July/August 2011

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RETAIL ROAD TRIP the selling scene

Bercier (left) and Miller outside the Torrance store.

Consultative selling “Because of our advertising and our long history in the area, many folks come in and are already familiar with and comfortable in our store,” Bercier says. But the enormous selection means that visitors need expert assistance to have a productive shopping experience. “Our superstores allow us to floor a lot more beds than other stores,” Bercier says. “It’s important to offer the full gamut in whatever brands you carry. Our basic approach to sales is to first sell our company, then sell our store, then worry about selling product.” A typical RSA opening line: “Is this your first visit to our store?” “The sales process moves through exploring the consumer’s needs,” Miller adds. “We talk about finding your comfort level, show you the best

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30 SleepSavvy • July/August 2011

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RETAIL ROAD TRIP the selling scene

that’s available in that comfort, then work our way to the model where comfort and price all match what you’re looking for.” Helping customers zero in on the right bed became easier about six years ago when the company invested in a Body Diagnostic system for each of its stores. The technology—developed by Kingsdown’s Sleep to Live Institute, but used for all products on the Sit ’n Sleep floor—uses proprietary software and a test bed with sensors that factor in weight, aches and pains, sleep habits and other data to assist customers with mattress selection. “The technology sets us apart from other retailers,” says Miller, “and it takes the guesswork out of fitting consumers for the right bed.” The Sit ’n Sleep sales force is com-

posed of “sleep consultants” who undergo an intensive, three-week initial training period—two weeks in the store and one week with vendors. The process includes a thorough grounding in “sleep health” and stints at special “mentor stores” where the store managers are adept at training new recruits. There is ongoing RSA training for line changes and one-year sales manager and assistant sales manager training programs. “To get hired, first you must be a nice person,” Bercier says. “We can teach you how to sell a mattress, but not how to be a nice person. The interview process is rigorous, there’s a written test and you’re probably interviewed three times.” “The sales associate is ‘the tipping point’ for this business,” Bercier says.

At Sit ’n Sleep, RSAs are a diverse mix of men and women, of all ages and ethnicities. “We treat our people well, compensate them well and try to create a fun atmosphere.” (You can “meet” some of them online at www.sitnsleep.com). Turnover is very low, averaging about 2% a year. “At least 80% have been with us for more than five years—many have 15-plus years with us,” Bercier says. “We know our staff well and are friends with them.” “We are really strong on operating with integrity and creating a positive culture,” he says. “And we strive to develop and maintain it uniformly across all stores and in the warehouse, because we are in for the long haul and we want people to stay a long time.” ●

make more sales by making your beds.

If you’re only selling your customers mattresses, headboards and bed rails, you’re leaving a lot of money on the sales floor. That’s where Hickory at Home’s Final Touch comes in — by opening up a top-of-bed retail store within your store. Choose from three different footprints — 300, 150, or 75 sq. ft — fully stocked with top-of-bed accessories like sheets, pillows, down comforters and mattress pads beautifully designed to help you make more sales by helping your customers finish making their beds. To see how Hickory at Home’s Final Touch fits into your plans to wake up your sales, call 1-800-438-5341 Ext 4562.

www.hickoryathome.com (828) 328.2201 ext. 4562 • (800) 438.5341 ext. 4562 © 2010 Hickory Springs Mfg. Co.

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SleepSavvy • July/August 2011

31


get ready the bedding landscape is changing Once-dominant innerspring designs are giving up floor space to specialty sleep products. Technology is changing the way people shop. Today it’s more important than ever to look at what you sell and how you sell it in order to succeed. The the old formulas for retail success no longer apply. Are you on it?

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BE MY GUEST by Gordon Hecht

My sport of choice is shopping for mattresses For some people, it’s fishing or bowling; for others, skiing or jogging. But for me, nothing beats the thrill of crossing the store entrance, surveying the displays and, most of all, meeting the sales team. I do this for the chance to pick up one nugget of information or new technique to build business for my team at Ashley. On a recent trip to a large East Coast city, I learned a lot about the bedding business. I arrived for a dinner engagement about 15 minutes early. Right next to the restaurant was a full-line furniture retailer that’s well-known in the area. Not wanting to waste that quarter-hour, I ventured into the store for a short shop. I was greeted within a minute by a professionally dressed woman, who asked how she could help. I surprised her when I offered her a challenge: “I only have a few minutes to shop and I need a new mattress. Can you show me the bed that you think is the best value in the store? And I don’t mean the cheapest—show me the one that is the best buy for the money.” She seemed flustered, probably because she’s not used to shoppers being so open about needing help. However, she recovered and led me to the bedding gallery in the back of the store. She pointed at three white queen mattress sets and announced, “These are our best buys”—and offered no more. I pressed for more information: “These look nice. What can you tell me about them?” www.sleepsavvymagazine.com

My salesperson responded, “This one is $599, the middle one is $799 and the last one is (you guessed it!) $999.” I still wanted to play the game, so I said, “That seems fair. What’s the difference between them?” She looked at me like I just landed from Mars and told me, “Two hundred dollars.” The disappointing part of the story is that it could have happened in any one of a thousand different stores. In many full-line furniture stores, bedding remains relegated to the back of the store, the back of the printed circular and the back of the mind among the front-line sales staff. Sales presentations seem to be based more on price and warranty than comfort and support. I needed to find out why. Talking to the RSAs My business partner, Denny Bradford, and I travel the U.S. and Canada training retail sales associates on the art and science of selling bedding. Last year, we traveled to 300 locations, visiting some stores two or more times. Over the course of our travels, we polled RSAs to find out what they felt is important to their customers in purchasing mattress SleepSavvy • July/August 2011

33


BE MY GUEST

by Gordon Hecht

Shoppers’ top 8 features for getting a great night’s sleep 1. Comfort 2. Support 3. Durability 4. Motion isolation

sets. We framed our questions to be directed toward “comfort selling”—selling a great night’s sleep, rather than the physical product. In total, we were able to interview more than 500 RSAs. First we asked, “What is the No. 1 benefit your shopper wants to derive from the purchase of a new mattress?” We compared it to purchasing a new car—the No. 1 benefit the car buyer has to gain is the ability to travel from point A to point B. Everything else is about ego and comfort. Almost all of the RSAs said that the shopper wants to get a great night’s sleep. Next we asked them, “What features does the mattress have to provide to promote that great night of sleep?” With few exceptions, “comfort” came up as the first answer—the shopper needs to be comfortable in order to get the rest they need. The next answer was “support”—proper support of the shopper’s body, spine and joints will add to restorative sleep.

34 SleepSavvy • July/August 2011

5. Appearance 6. Availability 7. Price/value 8. Warranty

“Durability” was number three— shoppers expect the mattress to be comfortable for many years (often longer than is practical). Very few RSAs mentioned number four by the name we use, “motion isolation,” but referred to it as “not rolling together” or “not disturbing the sleep partner’s rest when getting out of bed.” The next four features move away from the comfort story but, according to frontline RSAs, are important to the shopper and warrant consideration. “Appearance” was the fifth most mentioned attribute. Although consumers will cover their mattresses with protectors, sheets, blankets and comforters, they still want an appealing look to their new sleep set. “Availability” ranked sixth on the list of most important features—they want it now. Interestingly, RSAs said that the lower the price of the mattress, the faster the customer wants it; the

higher the price of the mattress, the longer a customer would wait. They agreed that buyers of $299 queen sets want to take it with them today, while buyers of sets priced at $2,500 and up would wait three weeks or more for delivery. “Price” turned out to be next to last on our list of important factors in getting a new mattress for a great night’s sleep. RSAs told us that price is relative—for some shoppers, $699 for a queen is too much; for others, $1,999 is a bargain. Shoppers may believe that a higher-priced bed will give them better rest, they are just not convinced it’s worth spending the difference. The last feature mentioned was “warranty.” Length of warranty is not important to the shopper as a way to get a great night’s sleep—until the RSA makes it a decision factor. Our polling base of 500 RSAs told us that they do not believe that a long warranty is automatically an indication of higher quality, but they tend to use warranty as a selling feature. Just like the salesperson in my competitive shopping excursion, too many RSAs use price and warranty as their main selling points, disregarding the comfort story. And the reason is simple: Price and warranty are quantitative—we can put a number on them. In a quantitative world, the difference between a $599 mattress and a $799 mattress is $200! A 10-year warranty is twice as long as a 5-year warranty. Make bedding exciting We learned one more thing about RSAs who work in full-line furniture stores. For the most part, they told us that they would rather sell furniture than bedding. Furniture store RSAs said that there are too many specification www.sleepsavvymagazine.com


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• The six-motor Brookstone massager built seamlessly experience that can only be described as “incredible”. • The internal massager is there when you need it. When you don’t need it, you don’t see it and you don’t feel it.

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BE MY GUEST

by Gordon Hecht numbers to remember, they felt they could not be creative and that the beds look boring—a sea of white. In many cases, they believe shoppers would rather buy mattresses at a specialty store and they're willing to cede the sale to those specialty stores without attempting a demonstration of their own models. The challenge to furniture store owners and sales managers is to make bedding as exciting to show and sell as sofas and dining rooms. The answer isn’t higher spiffs and more contests. Part of the solution is to move away from specs like coil counts and foam density—keep that information for shoppers who request it. The answer is to move toward giving shoppers

Las Vegas World Market August 1 - 5, 2011 Building C - 1350 Specialty Sleep Association High Point Furniture Market October 22 - 27, 2011 Pavilions on Main Space M-335

their number-one, most important benefit: a great night’s sleep. Your mattress vendors’ reps should be able to train your team on how their products help to reach that goal. Invite them to visit your store and focus the meeting on sleep quality. RSAs aren’t doctors, but they need to be able to identify common sleep difficulties and demonstrate how the proper bed can help solve them. Sales managers can lead that charge by developing a list of discovery questions for the shopper that can identify the specific sleep set best suited for that customer. Your sales team can become more comfortable selling a great night’s sleep. And you will be more comfortable with the results. ●

Gordon Hecht is director of sales-Ashley Sleep for Ashley Furniture, traveling the East, Midwest and Canada training RSAs on selling bedding and working with store owners to maximize sales. He is a 38-year veteran of the furniture business, having started in 1973 as a delivery helper. After college, he joined a chain of Drexel-Heritage Showrooms in sales and pursued a successful career in sales and management in the western U.S. with both midsize and large retailers. Before joining Ashley, he was director of training for a 70-store chain in the Midwest. You can contact Gordon by email at ghecht@ashleyfurniture.com.

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y day it’s tucked away. By night you’ll sleep just right. The Studio space-saving cabinet bed features roomy storage drawers, a stationary, easy to reach top-surface and a raised sleeping platform. Closed it’s 22-inches deep and easily opens into a full-length bed. The 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

dealers & distributors wanted east coast - southeast - midwest open

36 SleepSavvy • July/August 2011

US Patent No. 7,574,758 B2 Canadian Patent No. 2,577,377 Arason Enterprises, Inc. • 410-703-4412 • www.fu-chest.com

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CONSUMER CHECK profiling your customer

Men are powerful household shoppers, too

W

omen are still the top shoppers in American households, but new surveys leave no doubt that men participate in the decision-making for both big-ticket and smaller items. In fact, six in 10 men play a key role in the big-ticket item buying process, according to Jacobs Media in its recently released “Marketing to Men,” a report on a web-based survey of 13,300 radio listeners. And men who live alone—three in 10— are the “big dogs” who make all purchasing calls, Jacobs points out. Men also buy products online, they take the time to research buying decisions and enjoy negotiating the price to get the best deal more than women. But men are more likely than women to buy something regardless of price, according to the Jacobs report. “Marketing to Men” reveals that the role of men in the retail marketplace is changing. And, more often than not, women are supporting the change. The findings are corroborated by a recent Nielsen Co. study spanning 2004 through 2010, which shows that the number of shopping trips by men has increased appreciably. According to Nielsen, men are spending more time doing grocery shopping, but are also more engaged in shopping for a wide range of merchandise, including furniture and home accessories. The big research company attributes the change in part to the rising number of unemployed men. A greater percentage of men than women

www.sleepsavvymagazine.com

are now unemployed, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The increased proportion of men on the unemployment rolls means that they’re more likely than ever to take “a more active role in household duties,” according to Nielsen. Changing realities Two-thirds of men (67%) and more than half (55%) of the women in the Jacobs survey agreed that “today’s male is more involved in the shopping/buying decisions than when I was growing up.” Nearly six in 10 women believe they are the best shoppers in their family, but 46% of the men disagreed with the idea that women are better at shopping than men. And one-third of female respondents (32%) agreed with them. The survey also showed that women agree that men should have major input in decisions about buy-

ing big-ticket items. In fact, when it comes to major expenditures—such as buying or leasing a car, buying or renting a home or apartment, or purchasing major appliances or electronics—59% of men said it’s their call or that they have a key role in the decision, compared to 56% of women. Importantly, more than threequarters (77%) of married women said that the recommendation of their spouse is “very important” when it comes to buying expensive items for the family. Men engage in more pre-shopping research than women. Overall, nearly six in 10 men (57%) said they totally or mostly use research and planning for their purchasing, while just four in 10 women (42%) gave that response. Shopping leverage Three out of 10 men (31%) participating in the Jacobs survey are single and more than 80% of them make the sole or key big-ticket decisions in their households. This proved especially true for alternative radio fans where more than four in 10 are single. “This segment of the male population is a hidden opportunity for marketers,” the report said. “They profile equal to or better than women in their decision-making power and are a significant opportunity for growth.” From a real estate standpoint, men are more likely to be home or condo owners. More than seven in 10 (71%) are in this role, compared SleepSavvy • July/August 2011

39


CONSUMER CHECK

profiling your customer with two-thirds of the women in survey. Classic rock and sports radio fans are most likely to own their residence. Men are more likely to own smartphones, which contribute to shopping effectiveness, according to Jacobs. More than four in 10 men (44%) carry high-tech phones, compared to 38% of the women. Three in 10 men use mapping to locate products or stores. Nearly one-quarter (24%) use these devices before a shopping trip to get product and price information. More than one-fifth (22%) use smartphones while in stores. Overlooked by advertisers There’s a sense that businesses and advertisers just “don’t get it” when it comes to the impact men have on purchasing decisions and their shop-

40 SleepSavvy •

July/August 2011

ping power, according to Jacobs. Four in 10 men (42%) and onequarter (24%) of women agreed on that point. Nearly half the men (47%) and nearly two-thirds (64%) of the women disagreed or disagreed strongly with the traditional roles in which men serve as breadwinners while women run the household. “In the 21st century, men are emerging as an incredibly valuable

component in the marketing mix,” Paul Jacobs, media vice president/ general manager, said in an interview with Fast Company magazine. “They make purchases on their own and have significant input in the decision-making process in the majority of households. And single men are a bonus. Advertisers ignore men at their own peril, opening up opportunities for competitive products and brands.” ●

About the survey Jacobs Media, a Southfield, Mich.-based research and consulting firm, conducted the online survey in January 2011 among 13,300 radio listeners from more than 40 rock, classic rock, alternative and sports talk stations around the U.S. The sample was 63% male and 37% female and included consumers younger than 18 and older than 65. One-third have a four-year college degree or more. No single station contributed more than 5% of the responses. For additional information on the survey, visit www.jacobsmedia.com.

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BACK TALK

supporting customer dreams

For the best night’s sleep, take the pressure off

N

ow that the mattress shopper has arrived at your store, she already knows she needs a new bed. But what does she need to know in order to make the best decision? Hint: It’s not the price. She needs you to take the time to guide her through the maze of choices until, like Goldilocks, she finds just the right fit for relaxing, rejuvenating sleep night after night. If you pressure her to make this important decision too quickly, you’re at high risk for a dissatisfied customer—unhappy with the experience, the product and you. In these days of social media, when dissatisfactions get widely shared, both you and your customer will be best served if you take the pressure off.

Addressing the ‘pressure points’ Taking the pressure off is also what your mattress customers are looking for in a new bed, even if they don’t know it. The average person tosses and turns some 80 to 100 times a night. Why? When pressure is applied to the body where it contacts the mattress, circulation is restricted. Even mild pressure on the blood vessels in your skin can cause cell damage after an hour or two. So the brain signals a position change to avoid injury. When that happens too often, sleep is disturbed—vital repair and maintenance is insufficient. Quality mattresses are designed to conform to the body’s contours and distribute the weight evenly. The lordotic curves of the neck and lower back are supported while the convexities of the head, mid back, tailbone, and the arms and legs are cradled in comfort. When the right mattress match is made, pressure points are reduced, proper alignment achieved and blood circulation flows with little interruption.

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SleepSavvy • July/August 2011

43


ERGOMOTION YOUR MATTRESS!

805.979.9400

info@ergomotion.us

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S howcase In each issue distributed at the Las Vegas Market, Sleep Savvy offers our advertisers an opportunity to contribute information and photos showcasing their products and services, with an emphasis on what’s new, exciting or successful. Showcase appears in Sleep Savvy’s January/ February and July/August issues. Here are the contributors featured in this section:

America’s Mattress Arason Ergomotion Fabrictech InnoMax Latex International Leggett & Platt Leggett & Platt CPG Mega/Brand Source

Precision Fabrics Protect-A-Bed Restonic Simmons Spring Air Tempur-Pedic Therapedic Vivon XSENSOR

Therapedic International will be debuting a new “green,” eco-friendly line named EcoTouch. The unique property of EcoTouch is its layers. The cores are made from highdensity soy foam and topped with five-pound, soy-based visco foam. The inner cores are molded and feature unique, ergonomically designed extrusions. The top layer of foam is visco and features unique surface modifications designed to improved firmness and increase comfort. The foam is also certified to be 100% breathable—the open-cell construction makes it fully air-permeable. This quality will allow the foam to sleep cooler and be much more comfortable than the leading brand’s visco mattresses. Therapedic has a guaranteed exclusive with the manufacturer for this product. Four models will be shown in Las Vegas. Visit us at the Las Vegas Market, showroom B-822. Therapedic International • 103 College Rd. East Princeton, NJ 08540 • Phone: 609-720-0700 www.therapedic.com

Comfort Core™ by Leggett & Platt is the industry leader in fabric-encased coils. With Comfort Core, consumers benefit from minimized motion disturbance; immediate softness followed by responsive, firm support; and unbelievable conformability to the unique contours of the sleeper’s body. Using proprietary technology, coils are wrapped in highquality, high-density fabric specially designed to reduce friction and noise. The result is pampering comfort that leads to the most undisturbed and restorative sleep. And each high-tensile coil is stress-relieved for lasting resiliency, allowing Comfort Core coils to hold their designed shape and feel even after years of use. Comfort Core includes the following coil types: Body Print™, Body Print™ Advanced, Bolsa™, Hi-Low™, Joey™ and Softech™. For more information, visit www.BeddingComponents. com/ComfortCore or contact your Leggett & Platt representative.

Restonic is taking our seven-time Consumer Best Buy winner to the next level by introducing the ComfortCare® Select. The New ComfortCare Select features 800 individually wrapped coil construction to enhance the consumer sleeping experience. Our exclusive Marvelous Middle technology is combined with specialty density foams and zoned support to help prevent partner disturbance. The luxurious cover is a circular knit with an infusion of Lurex, silver and platinum. Restonic is expanding its ComfortCare collection to feature a line focused at the $699 to $1,199 price points. In addition, the new lush cover application will have a coordinated look to support our rebranded ComfortCare image.

Visit the Leggett & Platt showroom in Las Vegas, B-1326.

Visit us in Las Vegas Market showroom B-0926.

Leggett & Platt P.O. Box 757 Carthage, MO 64836 Phone: 417-358-8131 www.beddingcomponents.com

Restonic 737 Main St. Buffalo, NY 14203 Phone: 800-898-6075 www.restonic.com

This information was provided to Sleep Savvy by the advertisers

SleepSavvy • July/August 2011

45


S howcase Arason is introducing the low-profile CredenZzZ cabinet bed. Only 39 inches high! Our best-selling, promotionally priced Studio style in the popular cappuccino finish with faux nickel hardware is pictured. Both cabinets open into full-length beds, feature roomy storage drawers and a raised sleeping platform. No need to move the cabinet or remove items from the top to sleep.  Visit us in las Vegas at the Specialty Sleep Association showroom, C-1350 Arason Enterprises Inc. • P.O. Box 3274 Annapolis, MD 21403 • Phone: 410-703-4412 www.fu-chest.com

Ergomotion is an OEM supplier of adjustable foundations to the mattress industry. The company produces its products under the Ergomotion name and under private labels for its main clients in the United States and 28 other countries. The Ergomotion product is recognizable by its quality and innovative design. Ergomotion your mattresses.

Visit us at the Las Vegas Market in showroom C-1415.

Ergomotion Inc. 19 E. Ortega • Santa Barbara, CA 93101 Phone: 888-550-3746 www.ergomotion.us

46 SleepSavvy • July/August 2011

Tempur-Pedic is introducing three collections for one perfect night’s sleep. Developed with our original TEMPUR® material, the TEMPUR®Contour Collection will appeal to customers looking for a firm, supportive feel in their mattress. When combined with the pillowy soft feel of the TEMPUR-Cloud® Collection and medium feel of the TEMPUR-HD® Collection, customers can find the Tempur-Pedic mattress that’s perfect for them. Each of our three collections offers a unique combination of comfort and support designed to help your customers experience deeper, more restful sleep.  For more information about the TEMPUR-Contour Collection or other Tempur-Pedic products, contact a Tempur-Pedic sales representative today.  See us in our Las Vegas Market showroom, C-1512. Tempur-Pedic 1713 Jaggie Fox Way Lexington, KY 40511 Phone: 800-878-8889 www.tempurpedic.com

With Rejuvenite Pillows for the Body, you can provide your customers with a customized feel while increasing your average ticket. There’s nothing quite like the pressure-relieving feel of Talalay latex when it’s brought to the surface. It’s a unique, almost magical, floating sensation that delivers total relaxation. Now available with Celsion™ latex, these toppers also offer improved temperature regulation to keep your customers cool and comfortable while helping to reduce return rates. The product also features a luxurious removable cover and is backed by a 5-year warranty.  For more information, contact Lindsey Tomao by phone at 800-latexUS or email ltomao@LatexIntl.com. Visit Latex International in Las Vegas Market showroom B-945. Latex International 510 River Rd. Shelton, CT 06484 Phone: 800-528-3987 www.latexintl.com

This information was provided to Sleep Savvy by the advertisers


S howcase Now that bed bugs have become a national epidemic, Pristine® Barrier Bedding has developed fabrics used for mattress encasements and pillow covers that have been proven to block bed bug bites. Pristine’s one-of-a-kind, non-laminated fabrics allow air and moisture vapor to pass through while also creating a barrier to bed bugs and irritating allergens. Don’t let bed bugs bite your bottom line! To learn more about how Pristine® Barrier Bedding Fabrics can protect your bottom line, simply contact Traci Broughton, Pristine product manager at 888-733-5759 or email traci.broughton@precisionfabrics.com.   Precision Fabrics Group 301 N. Elm St. Greensboro, NC  27401 Phone: 336-510-8059 www.pristinefabrics.com

XSENSOR offers pressure imaging solutions to help mattress retailers and manufacturers find the ideal mattress for consumers. Unbiased • Measures any mattress. • Instantly builds trust between the RSA and customers. • Gives customers the confidence that they’ve found the perfect mattress. Shows pressure points • Quick. • Measures real body pressures. • Customers understand the importance of finding a pressure-relieving mattress. • Educates customers about proper mattress support. Clinically accepted • Same technology is used to help prevent pressure wounds. Visit us at the Vegas Market in the Specialty Sleep Association showroom, C-1350. XSENSOR Technology Corp. • 111-319 2 Avenue SW Calgary, AB T2P0C5 Phone: 866-927-5222 (North America) 800-5913-4444 (International) • www.xsensor.com

Simmons’ new Beautyrest® NXG® mattress line offers consumers a bestof-both-worlds combination of advanced technologies. It gives customers supportive sleep through the contouring comfort and pressure relief of NXG Memory Foam enhanced by the motion separation and individualized back support of NEW Beautyrest Smart Response Pocketed Coil Technology. The 900 density line, designed with a striking new aesthetic, has eight models and a suggested retail price range of $1,799 to $3,499. Visit Simmons in Las Vegas, showroom A-525. Simmons Bedding Co. 1 Concourse Pkwy. NE Suite 800 Atlanta, GA 30328 Phone: 770-512-7700 www.simmons.com

Fabrictech International is showcasing PureCare™ Celliant® and Antibacterial Silver mattress and pillow protectors, enhancing Fabrictech’s proprietary OmniGuard Ultra fabric with special applications that provide the cleanest and healthiest sleep environment possible. In clinical testing, Celliant® has been proven to increase oxygen levels in the body, which is widely recognized to aid in pain reduction, recovery and comfort. All Fabrictech PureCare™ Celliant mattress and pillow protectors are certified to be allergenand dust mite-proof, and offer five-sided moisture and stain protection. Fabrictech’s PureCare™ Antibacterial Silver protectors are created with silver ions that locate and deactivate bacteria, creating the finest bacteria-free, allergenfree, dust mite-free, fungi-free, odor-free and moisture-proof protectors available. For information, contact Sean Bergman at 973-571-0170. Visit Fabrictech in Las Vegas showroom C-1532. Fabrictech International 218 Little Falls Rd., Suite 2 Cedar Grove, NJ 07009 Phone: 973-571-0170. www.fabrictech.com

This information was provided to Sleep Savvy by the advertisers

SleepSavvy • July/August 2011

47


© 2011 World Market Center LLC. All rights reserved.

Las Vegas Market August 1-5, 2011 UNCOVER EVERYTHING THAT’S NEW AND UNEXPECTED IN THE WORLD OF HOME FURNISHINGS, MATTRESSES AND BEDDING, ALL IN ONE INSPIRING VENUE. www.lasvegasmarket.com FURNITURE/MATTRESSES/ACCESSORIES/FLOOR COVERINGS/TEXTILES/LIGHTING/GIFT


S howcase InnoMax breaks new ground with innovative design and amazing price points that allow you to capture the growing consumer demand to return to the phenomenal comfort of HydroDynamic support and premium quality ecofriendly materials. This one-of-a-kind design must be experienced to be believed! A visit to the InnoMax Las Vegas showroom will wow you with an AllIn-One H2O display center to add huge dollars to your bottom line, plus discover new motion-activated Memory-Cell® & Latex support, domestic promotional Memory Cell, Digital air, “Drop Ship It Now” availability, hard-to-find made in the U.S.A. linens and Hi-Tech add-on sales opportunities with profitable, 7 Zone massage systems. Don’t miss the power of one source! Visit InnoMax at the Las Vegas Market in the Specialty Sleep Association showroom, C-1350. InnoMax 530 W. Elk Pl. • Denver, CO 80216 Phone: 800-466-6629 • www.innomax.com

Do good, sleep better with this limited edition Ronald McDonald House Charities europillowtop mattress, featuring organic cotton, soft silk and wool fibers, and long-lasting titanium coils. The new Sealy ProBack technology combined with Smart Latex provides the comfort and support your customers deserve every night! With the purchase of every RMHC mattress, Sealy and BrandSource will make a donation to Ronald McDonald House Charities Canada. Program exclusive to BrandSource Canada retailers. For information, contact Gerry Wong, director-bedding, by phone at 800-361-5928 Ext. 225 or email gwong@megagroup.ca. BrandSource/Mega Group 1070 Lionel-Daunais, Ste. 200 Boucherville, QC J4B 8R6 Phone: 800-361-5928 www.megagroup.ca

The remarkable thing about Vivon Prestige™, powered by Brookstone® massage is that all the moving parts are built INSIDE the mattress itself. The massage feels like a professional masseur is helping you relax and fall asleep, unlike other massage systems that merely shake the bed. You’ve got to feel it to believe it! For the first time, a full-body massage that includes the shoulders, hips and legs is available in five different styles operated by a wireless remote control. Auto-shut-off after 15 minutes means you can simply drift off to a deep sleep. The Vivon Prestige comes in three different models in all the popular sizes to serve every consumer need and price point. Visit Vivon’s showroom at the Las Vegas Market, C-1538. Vivon Life 30799 Wiegman Rd. Hayward, CA 94544 Phone: 877-361-7263 www.vivon.com With so many consumers concerned about the presence of mold, mildew, and stain- and odor-causing bacteria, stores can’t stock enough antimicrobial products. But many of the existing products are made with chemicals, which makes some consumers wary. Leggett & Platt’s Consumer Products Group, sensitive to both issues, introduces the SilverShell™ Mattress Protector, made with the latest antimicrobial technology that utilizes pure elemental silver, which safely and effectively inhibits the growth of stainand odor-causing bacteria, mold and mildew. Independent lab tests proved that the SilverShell™ Mattress Protector performed exceptionally, even after 60 washes—the rough equivalent of five years of regular washing. That’s the kind of assurance that will help consumers sleep soundly. Visit the Leggett & Platt Las Vegas showroom, B-1326. Leggett & Platt Consumer Products Group 12352 E. Whittier Blvd. Whittier, CA 90602 Phone: 800-876-2641 www.LPCPG.com

This information was provided to Sleep Savvy by the advertisers

SleepSavvy • July/August 2011 2011

49


S howcase Protect-A-Bed’s Luxury Sleep Story is a revolutionary development in fabric science that results in a cleaner, drier and smoother sleeping surface. Designed specifically for sensitive skin, the Luxury Sleep Story is the world’s first sheet set that features built-in protection against moisture and allergens. The sheet set, which includes one Tencel® knitted, waterproof fitted sheet and one woven Tencel flat sheet, has many sustainable aspects. By incorporating Tencel, which is 100% organic and chemical-free, the Luxury Sleep Story effectively wicks moisture away from the surface. Only wood from tree farms that practice sustainability is used in Tencel production, and Tencel has received numerous awards for its environmentally friendly manufacturing process. This unique product also helps protect against allergens such as bacteria, human skin cells, pollen, pet and dust dander.

Spring Air’s successful Back Supporter Perfect Balance Collection has been enhanced to include new models and feels. Designed exclusively to relieve pressure on the body, the Perfect Balance 700 Series offers a five-zone, pocketed Conforma™ Coil design that formerly had offered plush feels only. Based on retailer requests, firmer models at the upper end of the line have now been added, which should retail from $699 to $1,199 queen-size. Perfect Balance models in the 500 Series, which have a three-zone LFK design, were already available in firm-plush options and will continue to range from $599 to $999 at retail. The entire Perfect Balance Collection is foam-encased, includes latex and memory foam toppers and layers of Conforma convoluted foam. All models use Spring Air’s patented sustainable wood foundation and carry a full 10-year warranty.

See us at the Las Vegas Market, showroom B-0925.

Visit us in our Las Vegas Market showroom, B-1126.

Protect-A-Bed 3600 Woodhead Dr. Northbrook, IL 60062 Phone: 866-297-8836 www.protectabed.com

Spring Air International 70 Everett Ave, Suite 507 Chelsea, MA 02150 Phone: 617-884-2300 www.springair.com

Are you a high-profile salesperson with strong business acumen? Are you currently running a sleep shop for someone else but know you could do it on your own? You can own your own business with the fastest-growing sleep shop chain in the industry! America’s Mattress® is looking for potential candidates to open and run their own sleep shops in select markets nationwide. Our minimum market requirements for one-store operations could provide an aggressive operator up to $1 million in sales revenue, providing $50-$75k in owner’s salary. We provide a complete turnkey operation that includes: • Serta partnership support • Operations set-up • Real estate selection/negotiation • Complete retail support • Advertising campaigns and creative • National network membership and buying support of over 360 locations • Up to $50,000 in capital to get started. Call 888-774-4448 or email kmackey@serta.com TODAY! Visit us in Serta’s Las Vegas showroom, A-710. America’s Mattress 2600 Forbes Ave. Hoffman Estates, IL 60192 Phone: 888-774-4448 www.Americasmattress.com/business_opportunities

50 SleepSavvy •July/August 2011

GET SMART. GET SAVVY! ➤ Our magazine reaches

more mattress retailers than any other publication ➤ Our features, tips and ideas are designed to make retailers smarter ➤ Our retailer readers rave about Sleep Savvy

The smart read for retailers The smart place to advertise To subscribe, go to www.sleepsavvymagazine.com—subscriptions are FREE for U.S. retailers. For advertising information and a copy of our 2011 Media Kit, contact Kerri Bellias, sales director, at 571-482-5444 or email kbellias@sleepproducts.org

This information was provided to Sleep Savvy by the advertisers


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For information, contact Kerri Bellias, sales director kbellias@sleepproducts.org • 571-482-5444


CLOSING WORDS by Gerry Morris

The key is understanding the consumer’s mindset (part 1)

S

uccessful selling begins with understanding the consumer’s mindset, attitudes and motivations—not only about mattresses, but also about the process of shopping for and buying them. While there are exceptions, most shoppers share some of the same attitudes. There’s no point in judging these as good or bad; they are simply a reality that RSAs must understand, accept and overcome. Here is a list of common attitudes, each followed by a suggestion on how to turn wary shoppers into satisfied customers. Most consumers: 1. Don’t like to buy mattresses. It’s just human nature. People take the things they depend on most for granted and only think about them when they break or wear out. They prefer buying things they want over things they need. Having to replace a mattress often delays being able to buy the things on their wish list. Change perspective. Your personal testimony on the positive effects of sleeping on a quality mattress may be the single best selling tool of all. Tell your customer, “Every month, we spend the equivalent of 10 full days on our mattresses! I love how I feel every day after sleeping so well on my mattress.” (It’s mandatory that every RSA sleep on a top-quality mattress.) 2. Don’t like to shop for mattresses. Consumers find the process of shopping to be confusing and frustrating. Most people would much prefer spending their downtime doing something they enjoy. So, their attitude is, “Let’s get this over with.” Exceed expectations. Create an atmosphere that puts shoppers at ease. Use a friendly, conversational

52 SleepSavvy • July/August 2011

approach rather than scripted selling steps. Take time to connect and gather important information. Ask “How do you feel about buying a new mattress?”—this often helps shoppers lower their guard. 3. Are on a mission to find that elusive ‘best value.’Any higher ideals consumers may initially have about buying a mattress are usually dashed by the ubiquitous retailer messages pushing low prices, sales, discounts, financing and giveaways as the main reasons to buy. Differentiate. Never use the “guaranteed best price” pitch—every store says the same thing. Try this: “You came to the right place because we’re different here. Our mission is to help people improve their lives by sleeping well. I know how to help find just the right mattress for you.” 4. Don’t connect mattresses with sleep. Few consumers really understand the vital role a quality mattress plays in providing restorative sleep and the resulting improvements in quality of life. Make the connection. Learn the real benefits of deep sleep and take a few moments to inform and educate customers on the positive impact a quality mattress can have on every aspect of their lives. 5. Are wary of mattress sales associates. Unfortunately, mattress RSAs are often lumped in with used car salesmen. This negative dynamic happens when shoppers are seeking true value and RSAs try to demonstrate value based solely on price. Instill trust. Most people decide to buy from someone they trust and believe is genuinely concerned for their well-being. Trust comes from

competence, confidence and caring. Commit to ongoing training, cultivate confidence and show that you care. 6. Don’t really care how mattresses are made. Consumers ask questions to find some justification for spending their hard-earned money. But explaining why those special layers of upholstery cost hundreds of extra dollars is difficult for consumers to accept. Every store and every brand has its own spin on why its materials are superior. Switch focus. It’s not the product that’s important—it’s what the product does for people’s quality of life that matters. Instead of asking, “How does this mattress feel?” ask, “How do you feel on this mattress?” People may not like shopping for or buying mattresses, but everyone wants to feel good, stay healthy and be happy. ●

Part 2 coming in September. Gerry Morris is an author, consultant, training coach and member of the National Speakers Association. With more than 20 years of experience in the mattress industry, Gerry has helped manufacturers, retailers and RSAs around the world increase their sales. To find out what Gerry can do for your company or just to talk, call him at 903-456-2015, email gmorris@innerspring.net or visit www.innerspring.net. www.sleepsavvymagazine.com


Unconventional: Wisdom Technology Innovation Success

FXI.com

©2011 FXI All rights reserved.

FXI doesn’t follow trends. We create technology that fosters the next wave of products. We’ve been creating solutions for market segments including transportation, electronics, building products, and of course, bedding and furniture for decades. No one has our history and expertise. Nor do they possess our passion to break the mold to engineer new technology. We are FXI. We’re far from conventional.


Profile for International Sleep Products Association

SleepSavvy Jul Aug 2011  

The magazine for sleep products professionals

SleepSavvy Jul Aug 2011  

The magazine for sleep products professionals