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October 2010

The cover story

The ABCs of selling Zzzz RETAIL ROAD TRIP

Homemaker’s revamps Des Moines store to focus on customer experience BE MY GUEST

Developing the mindset of a sales champion SPECIAL REPORT

Better Sleep Council’s ‘Suite 7’ web series to debut in December


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IN THIS ISSUE where to find it

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THE COVER STORY the ABCs of selling Zzzz

The woman coming into your store isn’t just shopping for a mattress— she’s shopping for the rejuvenating night’s sleep that will help her wake up feeling great every day. Check out this refresher on the elements of selling sleep.

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WAKE UP CALL from the editor’s desk

Bedtime can be bliss for the weary body and mind, especially in stressful times like these. That’s an opportunity for savvy retailers.

SNOOZE NEWS stuff you can use

Woman’s Day ‘Guide to Buying Bedding’ advises early mattress replacement; bedbugs sneaking into stores; 10 essential strengths of RSAs; store saves $50,000 a year on electric bill...and more.

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SPECIAL REPORT

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CONSUMER CHECK

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Better Sleep Council

35 39 40

BE MY GUEST by Dr. Jack Singer

Your self-talk is the foundation of your belief system and that’s what determines your sales success.

WHAT’S NEW for stores like yours

Vendors share information on new beds and accessories for mattress retailers

CLOSING WORDS by Gerry Morris What if we start selling mattresses as a source of sustainable, deep-down happiness?

Mattress industry using web series ‘Suite 7’ to broaden the reach of consumer messages.

profiling your customer

American Express survey shows Americans willing to pay more for service excellence, but think businesses don’t really care.

BACK TALK supporting customer dreams

Research shows consumers believe a good mattress will help them sleep better. It’s up to you to make that connection at the point of sale.

www.sleepsavvymagazine.com

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RETAIL ROAD TRIP the selling scene Des Moines shopping destination Homemaker’s Furniture puts sleep shop in the spotlight at its remodeled, 215,000-square-foot store.

SleepSavvy • October 2010

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SleepSavvy The magazine for sleep products professionals

Editor in Chief Nancy Butler 828-299-7420 nbutler@sleepproducts.org Senior Writer Barbara Nelles 336-856-8973 bnelles@sleepproducts.org Contributors Gerry Morris Dr. John Singer Creative Director Stephanie Belcher The Jimmydog Design Group stephanie@jimmydog.com Vice President of Advertising Sales Kerri Bellias 336-945-0265 kbellias@sleepproducts.org Advertising Services Manager Debbie Robbins 336-342-4217 drobbins@sleepproducts.org Circulation Manager Mary Rulli 336-491-0443 mrulli@sleepproducts.org Copy Editor Margaret Talley-Seijn Vol. 9, No. 7 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 336-342-4217. 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: Personnel at ISPA member companies qualify for complimentary subscriptions, subject to restrictions. Nonmembers and all others: $30 U.S., $40 non-U.S. Please send subscription orders and changes to: Sleep Savvy, P.O. Box 4678, Archdale, North Carolina 27263 or fax 336-431-0317. ©2010 by the International Sleep Products Association. No portion of the content may be reprinted without permission from Sleep Savvy. Printed in the U.S.A.

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WAKE UP CALL from the editor

When the going gets tough, get some sleep!

T

his issue devotes a lot of editorial space to sleep and how it ties into selling mattresses. It’s a topic that could not be more timely. Even with the recession ebbing, times are tougher, more uncertain and more contentious than most of us can ever remember. And for people under unusual stress, getting a good night’s sleep is absolutely essential. Research suggests that as we cycle through the five stages of sleep several times during the night, our minds sort through the myriad pieces of information and emotions of the day, consolidate memory and refresh vital brain circuitry. Sleep rebalances essential chemicals and hormones, rebuilds the immune system and restores physiological reserves depleted during active waking hours. In short, sleep gives our minds and bodies the resources they need to face the day ahead, function well and feel good. Think about what can happen when this process gets routinely shortchanged, which is too often the case. We drag through the day, make careless mistakes at work, snap at our kids, forget about Saturday’s soccer game. Put that same person in an extended period of stress and worry— chances are sleep will get even more shortchanged and elusive as our bodies and minds go into overdrive trying to “fix it.” Seen through sleepless eyes, everything gets worse. And the long-term damage can be severe, according to current research: heart disease, hypertension, obesity, diabetes, depression—even a shortened life. Our lives are further complicated by an unprecedented pace of change in so many areas, especially in the

ways we communicate. At the risk of aggravating the avid techies among Sleep Savvy’s readers, it seems that we hardly get a handle on one hot new digital technology before another comes along to relegate it to second place or knock it out of the running. An industry friend struggling with the changes happening in his business recently remarked that managing the changes isn’t the tough part, it’s managing the speed of those changes. The combination has left our heads spinning, as businesspeople and as just plain folks. We’re no longer sure we know whether we’re doing the right things, making the right choices, moving in the right directions or moving as fast as we need to. My mattress is calling I don’t know about you, but for me and for many people I know, sleep is a delicious idea. Under stress, I long for the sanctuary of my bedroom and the escape of nodding off over my latest nighttime reading. As you might imagine, I own a wonderful, cozy, comfortable mattress—and it calls to me. Sleep, glorious sleep. Better than Letterman, better even than a pint of Ben & Jerry’s. Bedtime can be bliss for the weary body and mind. And that, my friends, is where you come in.

nbutler@sleepproducts.org SleepSavvy • October 2010

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SNOOZE NEWS stuff you can use

Woman’s Day online

‘Guide to Buying Bedding’ says replace mattresses after five to seven years The industry-sponsored Better Sleep Council (BSC) was among the resources interviewed for the “Guide to Buying Bedding” featured on WomansDay.com, the website for the popular women’s magazine. The detailed article features tips on both mattress and pillow buying, including this section titled “When to Buy:” “A few signs that you need a new mattress: You’re not sleeping as well as you have in the past, you’re waking up with aches and pains (especially in your lower back and spine) or the mattress looks saggy or lumpy (both are signs of overuse). If you realize that you sleep better in someone’s guest room or at a hotel, that could be a sign, too. Experts recommend changing your mattress every five to seven years, and more frequently as you get older, since after middle age, your body becomes more sensitive to pressure points.” To read the entire article, go to: www.womansday.com/Articles/Shelter/WD-s-Guide-to-Buying-Bedding.html.

It cannot be done...

I

t is unwise to pay too much. But it is worse to pay too little,” according to English author and social critic John Ruskin. “When you pay too much, you lose a little money—that is all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do. The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot. It cannot be done.” Also sometimes attributed to Ruskin’s Common Law of Business Practice is this quote: “There is hardly anything in the world that some men cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price only are this man’s lawful prey.” Ruskin died in 1900. Some things never change.

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A decline in our character results in a decline in quality of work and loss of customers.

— Gladys Edmunds Columnist & consultant

SleepSavvy • October 2010

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SNOOZE NEWS

stuff you can use

BUG BYTES

Bedbugs now sneaking into stores

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he bedbug resurgence has hit epidemic proportions across the U.S. These pests are not just plaguing homeowners and hoteliers, they’re infiltrating retail stores, offices, restaurants and movie theaters. Mattress stores are a bedbug’s dream! The critters can hitchhike into your store on customers’ clothes or gear, or even on a colleague recently returned from travel. The cost to you may be more than an expensive extermination bill; it can mean lawsuits and damage to your store’s reputation. The stigma of a bedbug infestation may spread rapidly online via websites like bedbugregistry.com  and bedbugreports.com.

Bedbugs can be tough to get rid of, but they’re easier to treat when uncovered early. Protect your pocketbook and good name by conducting regular store inspections.

● Select an employee at each store as ‘chief bedbug inspector’ and train them in finding and identifying bedbugs. Conduct weekly or monthly storewide checks. For illustrated information on inspecting for bedbugs, start with the University of Kentucky web page: www.ca.uky.edu/ entomology/entfacts/ef636.asp. ● Consider hiring a pest control company with bedbug expertise to conduct quarterly checks. Experts say the best method of detection is bedbugsniffing dogs. If it’s in your budget, do a quarterly dog inspection. If not, have an initial professional inspection and follow it up with self-checks.

How to manage your store’s online reputation

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our store’s reputation is more precious and more fragile than ever. The rise of the Internet and social media has created what some experts call the “people paparazzi”—the multitudes standing ready to broadcast your every slip-up. Among potential troublemakers are angry consumers, disgruntled employees and malicious competitors, not to mention impersonators who hijack your name online. Retailers can’t escape risk by avoiding the online world, reputation experts say. It won’t stop others from talking about you, boycotting you or launching defamation campaigns. So what’s a retailer to do?

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Plug in now! Track what is being said about you, your competition and your industry. You’ve probably already set up some Google Alerts. Add monitoring tools that crawl social media sites only. Create searches on Whos Talkin, Twitter Search, Technorati (for blogs) and especially Boardreader, which crawls where most search engines can’t go—message boards and forums. Try one

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of the many free or paid listening platforms like Trackur that consolidate and simplify monitoring in a single desktop interface. Search engine marketing expert Bill Hartzer reviews many of these at his blog, www.billhartzer.com/ pages/11-best-social-media-monitoring-tools.

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Claim those names Prevent imposters from “squatting” on your identity. Purchase all domain name variations, spellings and misspellings for your store. Buy all domain roots too—.com, .net, .org, .us. Take it a step further by buying unpleasant variations of your online identity such as “retailerxyzsucks” or “ihatestorex.” For social media, check out KnowEm, an application that automatically claims your name in up to 300 social media sites including Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn and Twitter. There are both free and paid versions.

3

Immunize from attack Inoculate your name and reputation by working to dominate the first page of search results with

www.sleepsavvymagazine.com


SNOOZE NEWS

stuff you can use

‘Virgin Mattress’ web series debuts

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he Virgin Mattress, Leggett & Platt’s web video series focusing consumer attention on the benefits of sleeping on innerspring mattresses, debuts this month at www.thevirginmattress.com. The campaign, which was originally slated to launch in May, has been redesigned with a later launch schedule. The Virgin Mattress is a social media campaign that supports Leggett’s recent launch of VertiCoil Edge. The comedic webisodes follow a couple in their quest to fight off an arch nemesis and save the family mattress store from financial ruin. “Humorous customers, sleazy salespeople and crazy bedroom stories make up a tale that will make you think twice about your current mattress,” says Mark Quinn, vice president of marketing for the residential furnishings segment. Until Oct. 11, visitors to Leggett’s Virgin Mattress YouTube channel, www.youtube.com/user/VirginMattress, can register to win a new $1,300 mattress made with VertiCoil Edge innersprings. To participate, visitors must upload a video response to a whimsical The Virgin Mattress Contest

positive content. If your online reputation is already suffering, expect it to take several months or as long as a a year to push negative stuff off your first two pages of search results. Don’t turn to vendors who claim they can fix things by asking sites to remove negative content. It’s in the best interests of complaint sites like Ripoff Report and Epinions to retain attention-getting negative commentary. Create additional websites for your company. Build a separate site for customer service or to talk about your latest charity fundraiser. Tie in a temporary microsite to your latest ad campaign. Create accounts in Facebook, Flickr, YouTube and Blogger. Encourage happy customers to review your store and products at your blog, in Yelp, at Epinions, or even at Google Maps.

4

Respond with care You may want to line up a digital marketing agency or online reputation consultant to conduct an audit of your current reputation, develop a crisis plan and stand at the ready to help you diffuse situations. Deciding if and how to respond to criticism is a sub-

www.sleepsavvymagazine.com

video, sharing why they deserve a new mattress. The Virgin Mattress series goes live Oct. 13 with the announcement of the winner. The program is also being supported through Facebook and Twitter. A free iPhone application will be available for download later this year.

ject of debate. Many consultants use the U.S. Air Force’s “Rules of Engagement for Blogging,” a ground-breaking flow chart, as a jumping off point for creating custom response plans. You can find it at: www.globalnerdy. com/2008/12/30/the-air-forces-rules-of-engagementfor-blogging. Try to figure out who is behind a particular complaint. If it’s a consumer, do what you can to solve the problem. Be human, not robotic or bureaucratic in your responses. But don’t respond to complaints that look like a competitor trying to cause trouble—it will only give the complaint “legs.” Do give your name and title to establish your credibility when responding to complaints, but at all costs avoid mentioning your store name over and over, or even once—it could shoot the complaint higher in search results. To learn more... Check out Outspoken Media’s “The Online Reputation Management Guide” at http://outspokenmedia. com/guides/orm-guide. It offers free step-by-step assistance and a reputation assessment sheet for do-ityourselfers.

SleepSavvy • October 2010

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SNOOZE NEWS

stuff you can use

Sensible selling ideas 10 essential strengths of RSAs Adrian Miller, president of Adrian Miller Sales Training, for mattress stores offers these 10 skills and qualities that retail sales associates

M

attresses now engage a variety of senses—sight, touch, smell. Beautiful ticking appeals to the customer’s eye, especially a woman’s. Luxurious organic cottons and fluffy microfibers practically demand that she touch them. And when she does, she might even release the soothing scent of lavender. But could you also be using her sense of hearing to make your mattresses more appealing? Research by Martin Lindstrom, author of Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy, reveals the emotional effects of various sounds—from a bird’s song to a cell phone vibrating to a cigarette being lit. FYI: People are most interested in and made happiest by the sound of a giggling baby. Think about the sounds customers hear in your stores. Is there music playing? Did you pick what you like to hear or have you researched the effects of different types of music on shoppers? There are many services that specialize in background music for retail stores. You might also consider adding familiar, evocative sounds to elements on your website or to point-of-purchase displays and materials. Snoring probably wouldn’t make an appealing soundtrack, but what about a babbling brook for environmentally friendly products or that giggling baby for juvenile bedding? In forecasting tomorrow’s retail world, Lindstrom writes, “It will have the distinct smell of cantaloupe, lemongrass and tangerine. It won’t be black and white, but in vivid color. It will chirp, waltz, holler, infuse you, and leave you humming. And this assault on your senses will be more effective in winning your mind, your loyalty and your dollars than you ever thought possible.” The senses are powerful tools for engaging the emotions. Make sure your store is engaging the right ones to encourage customers to buy.

8 SleepSavvy • October 2010

must have to facilitate positive engagements with customers: 1. Confident. The confidence to make eye contact and strike up a conversation with strangers is essential. 2. Innately friendly. Customers don’t want to deal with sales associates who have to force themselves to be nice. 3. Flexible. When dealing with customers, things can go wrong. You have to be flexible enough to roll with the punches and think outside the box. 4. Ability to multitask. Sales associates have to juggle customers’ questions and needs, and at the same time attend to other store duties. 5. Patient. Dealing with people means that you have to take the good with the bad. The patience to deal with all types of customers is vital. 6. Articulate. RSAs must have good conversation skills, have the ability to formulate answers and be able to provide information when asked. 7. Respectful. The customer might not always be right, but she is always the customer. Customers must be treated with respect, even in the most challenging situations. 8. Proactive. It’s never a good idea to wait until a customer is stressed or agitated before offering assistance. Being one step ahead to gauge when someone needs help is the best way to minimize a brewing situation. 9. Positive. The ability to smile in the face of a long and possibly chaotic day can make a world of difference to customers. 10. Empathetic. Being able to look at a situation through the eyes of a customer is an extremely valuable skill that can enable you to provide the highest degree of service. Adrian can be contacted through her website at www.adrianmiller.com.

Oooops! We goofed

A

Las Vegas Market report in the September issue of Sleep Savvy incorrectly represented the licensing arrangement for the Ernest Hemingway Fine Bedding line, introduced by North Brunswick, N.J.based Mattress Development Co., parent company of the Eclipse and Eastman House Brands. The licensor of the Ernest Hemingway collection of products is Hemingway, Ltd. through New York-based Fashion Licensing of America Inc. The licensor approached Mattress Development Co. and asked it to produce the line, said Stuart Carlitz, president of the mattress manufacturer and licensing group.

www.sleepsavvymagazine.com


SNOOZE NEWS

stuff you can use

Ashley store’s new lights cut costs

A

STATS

80%

of companies believe that they deliver a superior experience for customers.

8%

of customers say companies actually do deliver a superior experience Source: Bain & Company

shley Furniture HomeStore in Melbourne, FL, has found a way to save a cool $50,000 each year on its electricity bill. All it took was 850 energy-efficient, light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs and 63 new florescent fixtures. “It definitely is an investment,” Chad Stevens, general manager, told Florida Today. But it’s a worthwhile one. “We expect it will pay for itself within a year to 18 months and after that, it’s really free savings.” More and more businesses across the U.S. are exploring ways to reduce energy usage, either through conservation programs or substantial investment in new technologies. As the Ashley store proves, it can be as simple as replacing standard bulbs with LEDs or it can be an entire strategy that begins in the initial design of a new store construction project. “This is the sort of thing we’ll definitely be seeing more of,” Thomas Simchak, a research associate with the Washington, DC- based Alliance to Save Energy, told Florida Today. “As the cost of advanced lighting technologies like LEDs comes down and as availability goes up, more and more people will be looking to these products to save energy.” And money.

BEDDING BIZ BEAT The recovery slowdown caught up with the mattress business in July, when unit sales were essentially flat and dollars were down. But the growth resumed in August. Dollars (wholesale) were up nearly 8% compared to last August and units shipments rose 6.3% among the 20 manufacturers participating in ISPA’s monthly survey.

Mattresses & Foundations in Millions of Dollars Sample of Leading Producers

$379 $321

$350 $318

$336

$372

$369

$389 $381

$387

$417

$329

Percent change +17.8%

Percent change +10.1%

Percent change +10%

Percent change +13%

Percent change -2.2%

March

April

May

June

July

Percent change +7.9%

August

■ 2009 ■ 2010

10 SleepSavvy • October 2010

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3 MONTHS UNTIL 33RD BIRTHDAY 97 ALL-NIGHT ONLINE GAMING SESSIONS 29 DAYS SINCE “LAUNDRY DAY” 31 FOOD STAINS ON SHEETS (9 OF UNKNOWN ORIGIN) 5 BUNGLED ATTEMPTS AT JUNIOR COLLEGE 1 MATTRESS

It’s time.

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SNOOZE NEWS

stuff you can use Foods for sleep? More will hinder than help

Sleep Shorts

Are there foods that can help people sleep better? A story in The Washington Post by Jennifer LaRue Huget (July 29) reported that foods are more likely to hinder our sleep than help it. “Generally it’s hard to find foods that help with sleep,” Michael Grandner, a researcher at the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Sleep and Respiratory Neurobiology, told the Post. “The easier question is what are the things to avoid?” Grandner’s research, which tracked the diets and sleep habits of 459 women, found that it’s fat that tops the list. Women who ate the most fat slept for shorter times and took more naps, a sign that they didn’t get enough sleep at night. Caffeine, alcohol and spicy foods are also high on the list. Caffeine can keep alertness levels high up to 12 hours. Spicy foods invite indigestion. And while a nightcap might help you fall asleep, it disrupts the stages of the sleep cycle. Milk contains a mild benzodiazepine-like substance—the likely source of its legendary soporific effect when taken warm before bed. But Grandner said that milk, herbal tea and other remedies help “not by making you sleepy, but by making you more relaxed.”

Count spindles instead of sheep for a good night’s sleep Are you easily awakened by noises in the night? Research published in the journal Current Biology may explain why some people sleep more soundly than others. Sleep researchers at Harvard Medical School found that light sleepers have less of a protective brain activity called the “sleep spindle,” a brain rhythm that happens during non-dreaming sleep. Those spindles help block out disruptions—and may be there to help your brain do the important work of consolidating memories without interruption. Interestingly, people with insomnia have similar spindle rates as normal sleepers. As we age, however, the spindle rate decreases, making us less tolerant of noise while sleeping.

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Lack of sleep linked to Type 2 diabetes

Research from the Netherlands— published in the June Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism—shows that too little sleep for even one night can cause temporary insulin resistance. “Sleep duration has shortened considerably in western societies in the past decade, and simultaneously, there has been an increase in the prevalence of insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes,” according to Dr. Esther Donga of the Leiden University Medical Center. “The co-occurring rises in shortened sleep and diabetes prevalence may not be a coincidence.” The researchers examined nine healthy adults after a night of eight hours of sleep and again after a night of four hours of sleep. Insulin sensitivity changed for every single participant.

Sleep is one of the recommended remedies for digital brain drain Juggling that relentless stream of e-mails, text messages, online updates and computer searches is gobbling up not only much of our time, but our brain power, too, making us less productive and hindering our social interactions. In a segment on “The Early Show” Aug. 26, CBS News Medical Correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton reported that the average American spends more time using media devices such as TVs, computers, cell phones and iPods than doing anything else—8 1/2 hours a day. Scientists say that this digital overload can actually change how we think and behave. Sometimes the changes are for the better, but more and more researchers say our ability to focus and learn is being undermined by bursts of information, Ashton reported. Some even conclude that our brains can become addicted to the digital stimulation, which has been linked to depression and other problems. Among Dr. Ashton’s remedies: ● Take a daily break from those devices—turn them off and have a conversation or go for a walk. ● Try meditation—a “state of restful alertness” that can rejuvenate a tired brain. ● Get some exercise—staying fit maintains good blood flow to the brain. ● Don’t skimp on sleep—it gives the brain a chance to repair itself.

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The cover story

The ABCs of selling Zzzz

A

s the retailer magazine of the International Sleep Products Association and its Better Sleep Council program, Sleep Savvy’s core mission has always been to enlist retail community support in educating consumers about the “importance of sleep to good health and quality of life, and about the value of the sleep system and sleep environment in pursuit of a good night’s sleep.” As we head into our 10th year, we’ve compiled some of the knowledge we’ve gathered along the way to offer this mattress retailer’s elements of selling sleep.

Awake

Through the consumer communications of the Better Sleep Council and other sleep awareness campaigns, people are waking up to the relationship between a good night’s sleep, feeling good during the day and sleeping on a good mattress. Awareness is on the rise, bringing savvy consumers into the market sooner and with new openness to investing in the best. If you’re still thinking of mattresses as a strictly price-driven sale, it’s time to change your attitude. The woman coming into your store isn’t just shopping for a mattress; she’s shopping for the quality sleep that will help her wake up feeling great. Choosing to sleep on a quality mattress isn’t just about what happens at night, it’s about what happens in the morning. That’s why the Better Sleep Council’s logo, “Start every day with a good night’s sleep,” puts the day first.

Body

How well your body feels and functions is as dependent on a good night’s sleep as it is on good nutrition and regular exercise. But it’s important that your customers also understand the vital role the mattress plays in giving their sleeping bodies ideal comfort and support. Millions of people wake up every morning with aches and pains. What they may not know is that the mattress they sleep on can make the pain worse…or better!

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Research at Oklahoma State University in 2005 showed that back pain is significantly reduced when people switch from an old mattress (five years or older) to a new one. And it’s important to replace sets at least every seven years to accommodate the changes in our bodies as we age.

Conversation

You can do a lot to resolve the confusion that colors so many mattress-shopping experiences by engaging the customer in conversation—and what better topic than sleep? Start by asking simple questions like these: ● How did you sleep last night? ● How long has it been since you’ve had a good night’s sleep? ● Have you slept better elsewhere—at a hotel or in a friend’s guest room? ● On average, how many hours do you sleep at night? ● What position do you sleep in—side, back, stomach? What about your partner? ● Do you have any health problems that might be contributing to poor sleep? ● Are you experiencing aches and pains when you wake up in the morning? And don’t forget to put the emphasis on comfort— it’s one of the power words among today’s stressed-out women and tops the list of factors in their mattress-buying decision. www.sleepsavvymagazine.com


www.sleepsavvymagazine.com

SleepSavvy • October 2010

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THE COVER STORY

the ABCs of selling Zzzz

Deprivation

It’s not a pretty word, but when it comes to sleep, it’s an important one. In our 24/7 society, with so many digital diversions, millions of adults and children—especially teens—are sleep-deprived all of the time. In fact, it’s estimated that the majority of Americans aren’t getting the seven to eight hours of sleep they need. The most restorative sleep stage is deep sleep (sometimes called delta or slow wave sleep). Insufficient deep sleep can rob you of your ability to function at peak levels during the day. In fact, reaction time among the chronically sleep-deprived is as slow as someone charged with DUI—and just as deadly behind the wheel.

Education

Today’s mattress shoppers are more educated than ever, often spending hours online checking out products, prices and stores. They may be more educated than you expect and quick to call you on a claim you can’t back up—so be on your toes. Fortunately, you are in the unique position of being able to complete the customer’s education face to face, to counter misinformation she’s picked up along the way and to make that important connection between your products, healthy sleep and her quality of life.

Fitness

In recent studies at the Stanford Sleep Disorders Clinic and Research Laboratory in California, athletes who were getting a full night’s sleep reported significant improvements in sprinting, hitting accuracy in tennis and quicker turn-times swimming laps. Sleep is an essential part of staying fit—and so is sleeping on a good mattress. A 2008 Better Sleep Council survey showed that those sleeping on a newer mattress were

16 SleepSavvy • October 2010

significantly more likely to engage in physical fitness activities than those sleeping on older beds. How might it change your next sale if you were to present the mattress as an essential piece of fitness equipment? Just as the right pair of athletic shoes supports your body during exercise, a mattress and matching foundation support your body during sleep— a process that is as fundamental to your health as regular exercise.

Guide

Instead of thinking of yourself as a mattress salesperson, think of yourself as each customer’s guide to a good night’s sleep. Your job is to accompany her on a quest to find the perfectly matched mattress and foundation for her body, her sleep needs, her comfort level and her lifestyle. It’s a different mindset that can help you take price out of the equation. Consider using the Better Sleep Guide, published by the Better Sleep Council, as part of your customer education on the benefits of investing in the best. You’ll find it in the Retailer Toolkit section at www.sleepsavvymagazine.com.

Health

The results of countless sleep studies are in—loss of sleep profoundly affects your overall health. In a recent University of Chicago study, those who slept five or fewer hours had 4.5 times the normal risk of heart disease. Over time, poor sleep can contribute to a host of serious health problems, including high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes and depression. People who carry a sleep deficit day in and day out make themselves more susceptible to just about every illness, starting with the common cold. Talk to your customers about how critical it is to put a good night’s sleep on their priority list. When

sleep is a priority, it’s easier to make a quality mattress a priority, too.

Insomnia

The term “insomnia” covers a wide range of sleeping difficulties. It can be short-term or chronic, situational, psychological or physiological. But you don’t need to be a doctor to know that problems getting to sleep and staying asleep are growing in our stress-filled society. Mattress customers who complain of persistent insomnia should always be advised to seek professional help. While sleeping on a great mattress is not a cure for insomnia, the right sleep environment can play an important role. It should be quiet, cool (65 F. is optimum), dark and comfortable—and comfort is the job of the right mattress.

Justification

If you’re going to justify the customer’s investment in a top-quality mattress and foundation, it’s the promise of a better night’s sleep that will make the difference—not the product specs. Practice telling your customers that how well they sleep at night determines how good they feel when they wake up and how productive they are during the day. Demonstrate the excellent comfort and support available in your topof-the-line beds. Let them know that investing in a quality sleep set is a smart investment in their well-being. Be sure they know they’re worth it.

Knowledge

Consumer studies from the Better Sleep Council show a “knowledgeable salesperson” is one of the top three factors in the purchase decision. But knowledge doesn’t end with learning about the products on your floor. In fact, shoppers typically www.sleepsavvymagazine.com


THE COVER STORY

the ABCs of selling Zzzz don’t judge a salesperson’s competence—or decide to buy from that RSA—based on how much product knowledge he or she can spout. Knowledge about what matters to the customer is far more important. Taking time to develop a better understanding of how women—your primary customers—shop, process information and make decisions is time well spent. Knowledge about sleep is also an invaluable addition to an RSA’s basic training.

Life

In our busy lives, sleep often gets short shrift—it’s viewed as a waste of precious time. But the fact is that sleeping too little can actually shorten your life. Recent research has shown that people who average less than five hours of sleep a night have a significantly increased mortality rate from all causes. At the end of a 14-year-long study at the University of Pennsylvania, half of the male insomniacs who slept fewer than six hours a night had died compared to 9% of “good sleepers.” Not only is life better after a good night’s sleep, it may also be longer.

Memory

One of the victims of too little sleep is memory. That’s because memory consolidation is one of sleep’s vital functions. The benefits of “sleeping on a problem” or getting a good night’s sleep after studying for the big exam are familiar to most of us—and very real. Although it’s a complex and controversial area of study, evidence is accumulating that there is a direct link between sleep, learning and memory. Research shows that sleep optimizes the retention of newly acquired information. When you don’t get enough sound sleep, information is less accessible www.sleepsavvymagazine.com

and memory may be fuzzy—on top of the impaired ability to concentrate or focus on the task at hand that poor sleep causes.

Natural

Prescriptions for sleep medications and sales of over-the-counter sleep remedies are at an all-time high and still climbing. So is Americans’ interest in finding natural solutions to sleeplessness. In a 2009 Canadian study, cognitive behavioral therapy that included training in improved sleep habits worked as well as training plus a sleeping pill (Ambien). After six months, those on the combined therapy who switched to just good sleep habits slept better than those who also took the pill. Practicing good sleep habits includes such things as sticking to a regular sleep schedule and avoiding stimulants late in the day. For a list of 10 healthy sleep habits from the National Sleep Foundation, visit www.sleepfoundation.org/article/ sleep-topics/healthy-sleep-tips—No. 4 is: Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows.

Obstructive sleep apnea That’s the medical term for the most common sleep disorder—and it’s becoming more so as our population gains weight and ages. Loud snoring is the most frequent symptom (almost everyone with sleep apnea snores, but not all people who snore have sleep apnea). It’s caused by episodes of not breathing (apnea), which can occur as few as five times an hour (mild) to more than 50 times an hour (severe). The sufferer may not be aware of the snoring, but excessive daytime sleepiness and other symptoms of interrupted sleep are sure to be present. Sometimes a change in sleep position helps, and the sleep system,

particularly the choice of pillow, can support that change. But, as with any sleep disorder, professional evaluation and treatment is the best advice. A good mattress should never be presented as a cure for any medical problem. Be sure your customer’s welfare, not your pocket, comes first. The customer will appreciate it!

Pillows

Pretty much every adult sleeps with one or more pillows, so how can they tell if a mattress is right for them without one? Increasingly, pillows are becoming an integral part of the mattress presentation in retail stores. Invite each customer to select a pillow to carry with them through the mattress-testing process. Not only does this practice enhance the mattress sale and contribute to a more satisfied customer, it also opens up a whole new profit opportunity in selling quality pillows. Watch for our November/ December issue cover story on “The Ps & Qs of selling pillows & protectors” for lots of tips on making the most of these two key add-on categories.

Quality

If you’ve done your training and homework, you know how to talk about the quality of the products you carry, but are you also talking to customers about the quality of their lives? Quality of life is your customers’ ultimate goal in every buying choice they make. It’s up to you to help them make that vital connection between the quality mattress they’re lying on (but may cost more than they planned to spend), the quality of sleep they can achieve and the life-enhancing benefits good sleep offers. SleepSavvy • October 2010

17


THE COVER STORY

the ABCs of selling Zzzz

Rejuvenation

It’s a word that really resonates with women. They may associate it with a trip to the spa for a massage or a facial. But there is nothing that rejuvenates body and mind like a good night’s sleep. “That’s why it’s important to turn the bedroom into a sleep sanctuary, create a luxurious spot that you can escape to, with a fabulously comfortable bed as the centerpiece,” says Better Sleep Council Director Karin Mahoney. “We all lead stressful lives, so really take the time to make your bedroom your oasis—a place to retreat, relax and refresh.” Those are words and images you may want to tap into for your store environment.

Stress

Stress is the No. 1 problem in Americans’ busy lives and it’s a potent disrupter of sleep, especially among women. In a 2004 Better Sleep Council study, 26% of women reported trouble falling asleep due to stress, compared to 16% of men— and today’s tough economy is making it much worse. This is an opportunity for retailers with products that promise to help women cope with and alleviate their stress. Acknowledging your customers’ stressful lives scores points in the caring column. And bringing stress into the selling equation can position the right sleep set as an important solution.

Third

Even though you may have heard “You spend a third of your life in bed” too many times, it can still be a compelling message for mattress shoppers who have trouble understanding why a good mattress and foundation cost more than a couple of hundred dollars. “You spend more time in bed than you do in your car. You use your mattress more than any other piece

18 SleepSavvy • October 2010

of furniture in your home. And you rely on it more for your health and well-being.” Messages like these help customers recognize the importance of investing in the highest-quality sleep set their budgets will allow.

Unique

Every mattress customer is unique and deserves to be treated that way, especially since consumers tell us that choosing a mattress gets into very personal territory. Canned presentations too often send the wrong message. The more you invite the customer to tell you about herself— her preferences, her needs, her sleep issues—the more you personalize the experience, the better your chances of closing the sale.

Value

There’s a lot of talk about “value” in the mattress business, but the focus really needs to be on what your customer values. You create value when your products and services promise to contribute to improving customers’ lives—make them healthier, smarter, wittier, better-looking, more enlightened and with better golf swings! If you’ve done a good job of positioning quality sleep as a vital part of feeling good and staying healthy, it will be much easier for customers to see the value in spending the extra dollars. Point out that the cost per day of investing in a great sleep set is much less than their morning mocha latte at Starbucks.

Win-win

When you take time to make the right match between your customer’s unique sleep needs and a quality sleep set that both of you feel good about, everybody wins. It’s a sale that will stay sold and a satisfied customer that will recommend you to her friends.

X’d out

What’s on a female customer’s list of things that should be permanently X’d out of a mattress shopping experience? ● Aggressive salespeople. Nothing turns women off faster than a hard sell—an RSA who does all the talking, won’t take no for an answer and is still trying to close the sale as she drives away. ● Last-minute deals. Magically, the price drops when she decides she wants to think about it—hinting at a certain sleaze factor. ● ‘Just for you, just for today’ offers. She’s probably already seen the coupon with the same deal in the paper or on the store’s website. Busted! ● Being ignored. This may be even worse than the hard sell. Now she definitely won’t be back.

You

You have the ultimate power to make or break the sale. No matter what else a store does right, consumers say that a bad salesperson will send them running for the door. And a good salesperson—one who shows real concern about the customer’s sleep, health and wellbeing—will close the sale and bring them back. But remember that when you’re talking to the customer, it’s not about you. It’s about her. A savvy shopper can always sense when an RSA’s mind is on his commission instead of her best interests.

Zzzz

Good Zzzz is what your customers will get when you’ve helped them make the mattress choice that’s right for them. And you’ll sleep better, too. For a special report on the exciting new Better Sleep Council program, turn to page 22. www.sleepsavvymagazine.com


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SPECIAL REPORT the better sleep council

All-star cast assembled for ‘Suite 7’ web video series Industry using branded entertainment to broaden the reach of its mattress messages

S

upported by an awardwinning new PR agency, the mattress industry-sponsored Better Sleep Council (BSC) is moving its consumer-targeted messages into the powerful world of branded entertainment and social media. “Suite 7,” a web video series produced for the BSC by New York-based CJP Communications, debuts its seven-episode first season in December with an all-star cast. Among the recognizable faces, voices and names starring in “Suite 7” are: ● Shannen Doherty (Beverly Hills 90210) ● Craig Bierko (Damages, Cinderella Man) ● Josh Malina (The West Wing) ● Illeana Douglas (Easy to Assemble, Entourage) ● Milo Ventimiglia (Heroes, Gilmore Girls) ● More stars to be announced. Among the writers, directors and actors are two Tony winners, one Emmy winner and three Emmy nominees, two Golden Globe nominees, two Streamy winners and four Streamy nominees, and two Webby winners. (The Streamy Awards honor excellence in original web television programming; the Webby Awards recognize excellence on the Internet, including websites, interactive advertising, online film and video, and mobile web.) Check into ‘Suite 7’ this December Episode 1 of “Suite 7” premieres in December, going live on MyLifetime.com and all of its platforms—Hulu, YouTube and Verizon VCast. A new five- to-eight- minute episode is expected to air each week. MyLifetime.com boasts estimated traffic of 4.2 million visitors per month. According to CJP, it’s an ideal platform for the BSC’s messages about the important connection be-

22 SleepSavvy • October 2010

tween wellness, sleep and a good mattress. Two-thirds (67%) of the site’s visitors are women. The setting for the comedic drama series is a suite in a New York City hotel. In each episode, a new couple—newlyweds, a divorcing couple, siblings, best friends— check into “Suite 7” and unpack their “emotional baggage.” The bed is at the center of the room and the mattress is the catalyst for every conflict resolution. Thematically, “Suite 7” will focus on renewal, necessary changes and overall life improvement. The “mattress as hero” message will be threaded through in creative ways. CJP will be working with key distribution partners on the buildup to the launch, using social media and traditional media outreach to pique interest and create excitement starting in November. Lifetime will promote “Suite 7” on its TV network, directing viewers to the web series. “This relationship between ‘Suite 7’ and Lifetime marks the first time a major network will distribute and promote an original web series it didn’t produce or own,” according to BSC Director Karin Mahoney. “Lifetime is basing this solely on the quality of the ‘Suite 7’ concept, attached talent and CJP’s terrific track record.” Episode 1 will also debut in December on the Better Sleep Council consumer website, www.bettersleep.org, the Sleep Savvy website, www.sleepsavvymagazine.com, and the International Sleep Products Association (ISPA) website, www.sleepproducts.org. ‘Social media makes sense’ Industry executives serving on the Better Sleep Council—which is ISPA’s consumer education arm— selected CJP as the program’s agency this summer and are extremely excited about the new direction. “The Better Sleep Council is leveraging the dramatic growth in social media to deliver our positive messages of the benefits of a good night’s sleep more efficiently www.sleepsavvymagazine.com


and effectively,” says BSC Chairman Jimmy Orders of Park Place Corp. “The world is changing faster and faster—and BSC will be part of that change. ‘Suite 7’ will reach a much broader spectrum of people than we’ve ever been able to reach before. It’s the most exciting program the Better Sleep Council has ever launched.” “Based on the Better Sleep Council’s strategy and budget, using social media makes tremendous sense,” says BSC Vice Chairman Mark Quinn, who has produced web videos with his company, Leggett & Platt. “Entertaining the audience while delivering a message has proven to be more effective than traditional delivery methods. Our industry has an incredible story to tell and this is a great way to tell it.” Orders and Quinn are members of a BSC subcommittee overseeing the creative development, scripting and production, according to Mahoney. Select Comfort’s Pete Bils, Natura World’s Julia Rosien and Carpenter’s Dan Schecter are also on the subcommittee. “Their oversight ensures that ‘Suite 7’ represents our interests and the industry in the most positive way,” Mahoney says. ‘The Seven-Year Ditch’ Complementing the “Suite 7” web series is a new mattress replacement message approved by the Better Sleep Council: “The Seven-Year Ditch”—for maximum comfort and performance, change your mattress every seven years. The seven-year replacement message is a refinement of the BSC’s current recommendation that mattresses be evaluated for replacement every five to seven years. That timeframe is based on research done in 2005 at Oklahoma State University comparing participants’ sleep on their old mattresses—which were at least five years old (mean of 9.7 years)—to their sleep on a new bed. When sleeping on a new mattress, study participants reported significant reductions in lower back discomfort (55%) and spine stiffness (51%) together with significant improvements in sleep quality (62%) and sleep comfort (71%).

Check the Sleep Savvy website for updates and store tie-in ideas Starting this month, www.sleepsavvymagazine.com will post the latest information on the “Suite 7” web series, together with ideas for tying into the episodes locally, sample press releases and “Suite 7”-related artwork—all in the site’s Retailer Toolkit section. Watch for Episode 1 in December and plan on checking in regularly to see what’s going on in “Suite 7.”

www.sleepsavvymagazine.com

Web series: How and why they work

W

eb videos are the hottest thing online right now—and online is where your customers are,” says Eric Blinderman, senior consultant for CJP Communications. “They are a powerful means to carry through and effectively deliver your messages.” Web videos are entertaining, short-form episodes developed specifically for online viewing and designed to engage consumers, keeping their attention long enough to market a product, service or message. Hosted on specific sites, they are also repackaged across digital platforms like mobile and videoon-demand channels. Consider these compelling web video facts: ● Americans watch approximately 100 million online videos per week ● Web video outstrips all other social media ● 72% of U.S. web users watch online videos ● The average U.S. Internet user watches 186 videos per month ● 183 million Americans watched 33.9 billion online videos in May 2010 alone ● Branded-content web videos provide a 20% improvement in message recall ● Web series messaging provides an 82% brand awareness boost vs. advertising industry norms.

CJP: Pioneer producer of web videos CJP Communications has quickly become one of the industry’s leading producers of web videos for clients and partners. Among its accolades: ● Ad Age named the IKEA-sponsored web comedy “Easy to Assemble” as the “Most Watched Branded Web Series Ever.” To watch an IKEA episode, go to www.youtube.com/watch?v=wMIjC16-Dwg (Episode 6, “Personal Shopper”). ● In 2010, two CJP web series were nominated for Best Branded Entertainment Web Series at the 2nd Annual Streamy Awards. ● Influential Fast Company magazine called two CJP web series “best branded shows on the web.” The “Suite 7” series will be CJP’s biggest project for the Better Sleep Council, but the agency will work with the BSC on other projects, including its annual “May is Better Sleep Month” campaign, using a mix of social media and more traditional PR elements.

SleepSavvy • Ocober 2010

23


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RETAIL ROAD TRIP the selling scene

Homemaker’s Furniture

Suzy Emmack and Mark Mitchell

Des Moines furniture destination places customer experience at the forefront By Barbara Nelles Photography by John Gaps

www.sleepsavvymagazine.com

“Phenomenal!” is the unexpected response from Suzy Emmack, director of advertising and marketing for Homemaker’s Furniture, when asked about the store’s performance during the recession. But looking around the bright, attractively remodeled store with its enormous selection of merchandise, you can understand why Homemaker’s is the top furniture shopping destination in the Des Moines metro area and beyond. The store’s 50-foot glass entry floods the expansive, two-story showroom with daylight. Defined walkways with up-lighting create a natural traffic flow that keeps shoppers from getting lost in room displays. Dozens of handy instant-credit kiosks and 80 checkout stations dot the showroom floor—previously, all purchases and

credit applications were handled at a central checkout. By design, the mattress department was an important part of the remodeling project and has contributed significantly to the business uptick— bedding’s dollar volume and average ticket are both up. No longer hidden in a back corner on the first floor, the eye-catching mattress gallery occupies center stage on the second floor, spreading out before shoppers as they step off the escalator. “Throughout the store, every enhancement was thoughtfully considered as to how it would improve and expedite the customer shopping experience,” Emmack explains, “because let’s face it, shopping for furniture in a store of this size can be a daunting prospect.” SleepSavvy • October 2010

25


RETAIL ROAD TRIP the selling scene

A cafe serving free refreshments is a highlight of the Homemaker’s shopping experience.

Founded in 1974 by Carl and Ina Merschman, Homemaker’s was sold to Berkshire Hathaway’s Nebraska Furniture Mart in 2000. Management remains in family hands, with the founders’ sons David, Alan and Roger at the helm. The multi-phase expansion and remodeling effort was completed in August 2009. The enlarged 10-acre campus places the store among the 10 largest furniture showrooms in the U.S., with 215,000 square feet of showroom space and a 170,000 square-foot warehouse. “We were open during every single phase of our two-year renovation process,” Emmack says. “It demanded a lot from employees, but everybody pitched in and worked many extra hours because we all took ownership in the project.” Visitors to the massive store can shop till they drop—into a comfortable seat at the cafe near the escalators. It serves free refreshments and a chance to decompress before heading upstairs to the second floor’s 48,000-square-foot bedding and bed-

26 SleepSavvy • October 2010

room gallery. “It may sound trite,” says Emmack, “but customers truly enjoy the cafe and the free cookies, coffee and lemonade. The fact that we still do this sets us apart.” The Sleep Shop serves as the nucleus of the second floor. It occupies center stage and is ringed by bedroom furniture galleries showcasing infant through master bedroom. Department decor includes shoulder-high privacy dividers, lifestyle photography, playful graphics and sayings such as “Rest in cozy bliss.” Manufacturers’ POP is limited to foot protectors and bolsters. “We kept the color palette more restful than in the rest of the store,” Emmack says. “There are aerial architectural design elements that soften the area to create a more peaceful feel, and the walkways change from tile to plush carpet.” Instant gratification “We are focused on making it easy to buy from us,” says Mark Mitchell, Homemaker’s bedding buyer. “On any given weekend, all 30 sales associ-

ates in bedding and bedroom are on the floor.” “People who need to get in, buy a bed and get out of our store quickly can do it,” Emmack adds. There are 24 registers on the second floor, with four at a podium in the center of the bedding department. “If done correctly, qualifying a customer is not a long process,” Mitchell says. “In some cases, it can be as short as just five minutes to find the right model.” The store stocks all beds on the floor, making it likely that shoppers will sleep on their new mattress the day of purchase. “When it comes to credit applications, nothing could be faster,” Mitchell says, pointing to the decentralized credit kiosks. “Customers don’t have to go downstairs to fill out an application for financing. They simply scan their driver’s license and fill in a few blanks at a credit kiosk. Within moments, a slip of paper prints out telling the customer how much credit they’ve been approved for.” www.sleepsavvymagazine.com


RETAIL ROAD TRIP the selling scene

The spacious Sleep Shop, flanked by bedroom galleries, is the centerpiece of the second floor.

A significant number of Iowa’s Corn Belt-dwellers own trucks, vans and trailers, making in-store pickup a popular option. About half of mattress shoppers tote their new mattresses home themselves. Outside, at product pickup, there’s never a wait. The store renovation included an expansion of its pickup area from eight spots to 27. Shoppers get help loading and tying down their cargo, and the entire area is kept spotlessly clean. “Customers pull up to a speaker box, tell the operator their order number and are assigned to a pick-up lane under the canopy,” Emmack explains. “It’s fast and easy. Once they pull in, a sensor begins timing their wait and the information is shown on scoreboards inside the warehouse.” Warehouse employees are graded on how rapidly they take care of customers and send them on their way. Warehouse managers have monthly goals for wait times, and the store encourages competitiveness among warehouse employees for the shortest wait times. www.sleepsavvymagazine.com

The Homemaker’s customer service department operates on a similar system—every call must be answered quickly, by a real human, not a message system. “We are a timestarved society,” Emmack says. “Nobody wants to wait. You can easily make a large purchase, pack it up and be on your way home. This is another example of how we put the customer experience first.” Engaging the RSAs “Our sales associates are a dedicated and engaged group,” Mitchell says. Each is trained to work both the bedding and bedroom departments. New hires go through a three-week initiation that covers store technology, the sales process and mattress education. With 17 years in furniture retailing— much of it in the trenches—Mitchell says he understands what RSAs need

Decentralized credit and checkout kiosks (above) make shopping easy and fast. Digital signage (right) alerts shoppers to special services and promotions. SleepSavvy • October 2010

27


RETAIL ROAD TRIP the selling scene

to be successful. One of his first initiatives as bedding buyer, a position he assumed in May, was to solicit input from the sales staff when merchandising the floor. “I asked them to voice their opinions about collections we were contemplating—‘Can you sell this mattress?’ Their thinking was very much in line with what we were planning, but it gave our staff a sense of ownership because they helped make the selections,” he says. The tactic paid off. One line that had been performing sluggishly immediately tripled in sales. The more than 80 models on the mattress floor are arranged by brand. Within the brands—which include Sealy and Stearns & Foster, Simmons, Tempur-Pedic, Southerland and the private-label Omaha Bedding

28 SleepSavvy • October 2010

Berkshire Collection—the selection is broad and deep. Lots of sleep accessories are coming soon, Mitchell adds. A full line of pillows and bed linens will occupy a large central display in the mattress department. Prices in queen open at $199 and top out at $4,500. Best-sellers fall within a broad range from $399 to $999, but the range has been ticking steadily upward over the past three years due to success at the high end with Tempur-Pedic and Stearns & Foster. “We don’t ask the customer if they like a soft or firm mattress because many older folks seem to think a hard mattress is what they need. But obviously if they’re a side sleeper, it’s going to put a lot of pressure on hips and shoulders and cause tossing and

turning,” Mitchell says. “Instead, we ask, ‘Are you a back, side or stomach sleeper?’ The reason is that the customer is not the expert, we are. We can tell them why a specific bed is better for a side sleeper, for example.” Shoppers who are purchasing a bed for a guest room are always asked how they are sleeping, whether they have aches and pains and how old their mattress is, Mitchell says. “We always encourage the shopper to treat themselves to a new mattress and use their old one for the guest room.” A new spotlight on sleep “In a 30-second TV spot for a store of our size, how much real estate can you give the bedding department? Not much,” Emmack says. “So, this year, we launched a TV and print campaign devoted solely to mattresses.

www.sleepsavvymagazine.com


RETAIL ROAD TRIP the selling scene

“We really expanded our mattress offerings with our renovation and people didn’t know about it yet. We wanted our bedding to be top-of-mind for shoppers. It’s positioned as a sleep shop staffed by sleep experts who really know how to take care of you and who understand how to help you enhance your sleep.” Special promotions within the mattress department are wrapped into storewide events for efficiency and maximum impact. Homemaker’s is known for its freefood Friday nights, kids’ carnivals and other crowd-pleasing events. For its 36th anniversary this year, shoppers received 36% off the Simmons’ Anniversary Collection as well as other brands. The promotion

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included 36 months of interest-free financing on applicable purchases. In August, to honor the one-year anniversary of the store’s grand reopening, there were plenty of giveaways, coupons and discounts, as well as a drawing for a $25,000 shopping spree and a host of other prizes, including a queen mattress set.

Once a quarter, a direct mail campaign invites shoppers into the store to scan a special barcode at its credit kiosks. Everyone is a winner, with 5% to 40% off a purchase or a product as a prize. Throughout the store, large flat-screen monitors— there are three in bedding and bedroom—broadcast a variety of video loops and TV commercials. Shoppers learn about current store promotions and are encouraged to sign up for an e-newsletter. Homemaker’s is now moving into the world of social media marketing and recently started using Twitter and Facebook. “We have great plans and visions,” says Emmack, “but we’re walking before we’re running.” ●

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SleepSavvy • October 2010

29


March 16-18, 2011 Renaissance Vinoy® Resort & Golf Club

St. Petersburg, Florida, USA

The All-Industry Event for Mattress Manufacturers, Retailers, and Suppliers

Retailer Registration is just $269*!

KEYNOTE

‘Blue Ocean’ – Navigating your

way to undiscovered markets

Business strategist Dr. Roch Parayre, Fellow at the Wharton School and Senior Partner with Decision Strategies International, will tell you how you can help your business flourish by uncovering “blue oceans”, the untapped innovative market spaces ready for growth.

New Strategies for Reshaping Your Business At the Conference you’ll also learn: l

l

l

l

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How making changes in the way you interact with your customers will improve your bottom line How to leverage social and digital media to get your messages out to the masses The latest in responsible used mattress recycling, new pilot programs, including retailer involvement and emerging trends New information manufacturers and retailers need to know about Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act implementation And much more!

Exhibits includEd! Network

& Build Relationships

Connect with customers, colleagues, and business partners at relaxed social events.

Don’t miss the annual ISPA Golf Tournament! One Spouse/Guest registration is FREE (receptions only) with each full Conference Registration. *Early bird registration by February 4, 2011

To register and for conference and hotel details, visit www.sleepsavvymagazine.com and click on the ISPA Industry Conference logo


CONSUMER CHECK profiling your customer

American Express survey

Americans say they’ll pay more for excellent service

A

majority of Americans (61%) say that quality customer service is more important to them in today’s economic environment. They’re also willing to spend an average of 9% more when they think a company provides excellent service. But more than one in five (21%) think businesses take customers for granted or just don’t care very much. These were the findings in the American Express Global Customer Service Barometer, a survey of 1,000 consumers, conducted in the U.S. and 11 other countries to explore attitudes and preferences toward customer service. “Customers want and expect superior service,” says Jim Bush, executive vice president, World Service. “Especially in this tight economic environment, consumers are focused on getting good value for their money. Many consumers say companies haven’t done enough to improve their approach to service in this economy, and yet it’s clear they’re willing to spend more with those that deliver excellent service, suggesting substantial growth opportunities for businesses that get customer service right. It’s important to see customer service as an investment, not a cost.” Many businesses are missing out on this opportunity, the survey confirms. More than a third of Americans (37%) believe that companies have increased their focus on providing quality service. But 27% feel businesses have not changed www.sleepsavvymagazine.com

company after a good service experience, compared to the 59% who are very likely to say bad things about a company after a poor one. Good service experiences also carry more weight than bad ones when Americans make future spending decisions. Consumers are far more likely to give a company repeat business after a good service experience (81%) than they are to avoid doing business with a company again after a poor experience (52%). But make no mistake: A negative service experience is an important factor for most Americans—81% have decided never to do business with a company again because of poor customer service in the past. their attitude toward customer service and 28% think that companies are now paying less attention to good service. Not surprisingly, nine in 10 consumers consider the level of customer service important when deciding to do business with a company. But only one in four believe companies value their business and will go the extra mile to keep it. Spreading the good word When customers experience good service, they spread the word willingly and widely, according to the survey. In fact, contrary to conventional wisdom, customers are more inclined to talk about a positive experience than complain about a negative one. Three-quarters (75%) are very likely to offers kudos to a

Two strikes and you’re out When asked how many poor experiences they allow, 50% responded that it takes two poor service experiences before they stop doing business with a company, and another quarter vowed to stop after just one. Consumers are far more forgiving if a company has earned their trust over time. Almost nine in 10 consumers (86%) are willing to give a company a second chance after a bad experience if they’ve experienced great customer service with that company in the past. But even if a customer remains loyal, getting it wrong comes at a cost. Half of Americans (52%) expect something in return after a poor service experience—something beyond merely resolving the SleepSavvy • October 2010

31


CONSUMER CHECK

profiling your customer problem, such as an account credit, apology, discount, free product or reward points. A discount averaging 22% was considered sufficient motivation to keep doing business with that company. When dealing with a problem, American consumers prefer phone conversations with real people, followed by face-to-face meetings. Looking for the negatives online Nearly half (48%) of consumers check out online postings or blogs to get others’ opinions about a company’s customer service reputation. But when consumers go online, they’re more likely to give credence to negative reviews than positive ones—57% vs. 48%. “The Internet has made service

quality more transparent than ever before,” Bush says. “In the online space, positive recommendations are important, but people often give more weight to the negative. “Because consumers can broadcast their views so widely online, each and every service interaction a company has with its customers becomes even more crucial. Developing relationships with customers, listening to them, anticipating their needs, and resolving any issues quickly and courteously can help make the difference.” Exceptional service pays off The American Express report points out that companies with exceptional reputations for great customer service share the common understanding that investing in service truly pays off.

Aaron Magness, senior director of brand marketing and business development for Zappos.com, comments: “By focusing on our company culture, we’ve been fortunate to hire great people where providing great service is in their DNA. We always have been and continue to grow through word of mouth. If you treat the customer how they should be treated and form personal connections with them, they’ll want to tell others about it.” According to Simon Cooper, president of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, “While customers appreciate the plush surroundings of our five-star hotels, we know that luxurious touches don’t matter to guests unless the service surpasses the setting. Trends may change, but a focus on service excellence is timeless.” ●

GET SMART. GET SAVVY! ➤O  ur circulation reaches more sleep products retailers ➤ Our features, tips and ideas make retailers smarter ➤ Our advertising rates represent excellent value ➤ Our retailer readers rave about Sleep Savvy

The smart place to advertise For information and a copy of our new 2011 Media Kit, contact Kerri Bellias, sales director, at (336)945-0265 or email kbellias@sleepproducts.org

32 SleepSavvy • October 2010

www.sleepsavvymagazine.com


BACK TALK

supporting customer dreams

Help your customers make that mattress connection

Over the years, consumer attitude research conducted for the Better Sleep Council has continued to show that, when prompted, the overwhelming majority of consumers agree that: ● “A good mattress will help me sleep better” (90%) ● “Sleeping on a poor quality mattress is bad for your health” (81%) ● “In the long run, sleeping on a bad mattress will cause serious back problems” (86%). There couldn’t be any better news for the retail mattress community! It means that the majority of your customers are more than capable of understanding the important role that a mattress plays in their sleep and their health. But it also tells you that consumers may not make the connection on their own. “When prompted” means that, in the studies, consumers were given this series of statements and asked to indicate their level of agreement or disagreement with each one. So, while the agreement is strong, it’s up to you to prompt your customers to make that connection at the all-important point of sale. You’ve got the power Research also confirms that the retail sales associate is the single most influential factor in a customer’s mattress-buying decision—the one in the best position to help mattress shoppers make the healthy choice, not the price-driven one. Your mattress vendors are your partners in providing your customers with the optimal choice of comfort and support for the healthiest sleep, bodies and lives. Together, we can help make that mattress connection and turn it into healthier profits for your store.

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Back Talk sponsor Restonic and Sleep Savvy want to hear from those of you on the mattress sales floor. Let us know what you think about the information we’re presenting and what you need to know to help you sell more and better beds. Talk to us at talkback@restonic.com.

SleepSavvy • October 2010

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BE MY GUEST by Dr. Jack Singer

Why is it that some salespeople with the most talent are often not among the most successful? How can some salespeople with less natural talent reach much more sales success than their more talented colleagues? Are there specific mental skills that can lead anyone toward championship levels of sales performance? What separates the mindset of a champion from that of the alsorans? Traditional sales training programs often ignore the biggest obstacles to success. They focus on specific sales and closing techniques. But the biggest obstacles are not sales talent, motivation or knowledge of techniques and products. The biggest obstacles, like those overcome by champion athletes, are the internal, mental and emotional barriers that sales professionals face on a daily basis. The mindset of a champion has three powerful components. Put them into action today and your sales performance will skyrocket.

1

Take charge of your internal dialogue. Your self-talk is the foundation of your belief system, and your belief system determines your attitudes about success or lack of it in your sales career. Inner thoughts either set you up for success or failure. So often, people unconsciously think self-limiting thoughts that prevent them from being successful— it’s a form of unintended self-sabotage. Examples: “The economy will make this a tough sell” or “I’ll be lucky if I make half www.sleepsavvymagazine.com

the sales I made last year.” These kinds of thoughts are like eating junk food when you’ve decided that a healthy lifestyle is just too difficult to maintain. They set you up for failure. Your thoughts determine your beliefs and your beliefs develop your attitudes, which determine your behaviors and actions. Negative, pessimistic thoughts will ultimately lead to procrastination and poor sales outcomes. They actually convince your mind that you will fail. Action plan: Keep a written journal of negative thoughts that enter your mind regarding your sales performance and notice the patterns. Then, use rational thinking to counterpunch each negative thought with a healthy, positive thought. Example: Change “This economy will drive customers away” to “I don’t have to be successful with every customer. I am a sharp, creative person and I’ll find new ways to close customers, despite the economy. I’ll keep my eyes open for new opportunities, which I really believe will present themselves.”

2

Unleash the power of your mind. Your subconscious mind takes orders from you without judging success or failure. You always have the choice of what you feed your subconscious. You must believe in yourself and in the value of the products you are selling. Eliminate “imposter fears,” which are beliefs that you really are not good at what you do or your products are really not as valuable to SleepSavvy • October 2010

35


BE MY GUEST

by Dr. Jack Singer customers as you say they are. So often, salespeople focus on their failures and what they did not achieve. Instead, you need to focus on what you have achieved. You can actually program your mind to believe in your strengths and your ultimate success—just as athletes do. Always remember that your product knowledge, your customer service skills and your sincere concern that the customer is satisfied and better off having purchased your products will overcome any deficiencies you see in yourself. Action plan: Practice presenting a positive attitude toward everyone you meet, not just customers. Constantly pat yourself on the back with positive self-talk such as, “I provide a valuable product to my customers” and “I help people achieve a better quality of life.” Learn from any results you were not pleased with and move on. Focus on the good results. Keep a “Success Journal”—

record times you were on a roll and situations where you were really proud of what you accomplished. Each day put at least one success in your journal. Review the list of successes regularly, especially when you are having a tough day.

3

Fill your mind with optimistic expectations. Research conducted over 30 years with more than a million participants has determined that there is one powerful predictor of sales achievement—optimistic expectations. Ability and motivation are not always enough to guarantee consistent results. Expectations of success or failure are self-fulfilling prophecies that often determine the outcomes, regardless of ability and motivation. The research also shows that people who develop “learned optimism” live longer and healthier lives—major benefits that go far beyond your career. The key is to believe that you will succeed, despite the challenges, obstacles and setbacks that are inevitable in sales. Continue to believe you will succeed, even in the face of resistance, rejection or outright hostility. How you react to setbacks and explain them to yourself are crucial determinants of how successful you will be. Training yourself to look at setbacks as temporary challenges—and minimizing those setbacks with the knowledge that you can overcome them—predicts ultimate success.

Training yourself to look at setbacks as temporary challenges predicts ultimate success.

Action plan: Developing optimistic expectations can be learned. Even if you are a chronic pessimist, or your parents or your

36 SleepSavvy • October 2010

spouse are pessimistic thinkers, you can absolutely learn ways to overcome the negative beliefs that underlie your pessimistic attitudes and affect the presentation style you use with customers. Revisit the action plan in No. 1 on the previous page—the best way to develop an optimistic presentation style is to understand your own negative thinking patterns and practice changing them. You may also want to get cognitive training from a professional psychologist or attend training seminars directed at teaching you learned optimism. Taking these steps will do wonders for your career—and your life. ● Dr. Jack Singer is a professional speaker, trainer and psychologist who has worked with Fortune 1000 companies, associations, CEOs, sales forces and athletes for 34 years. “Dr. Jack” is a frequent guest on CNN, MSNBC and FOX, as well as radio talk shows across the U.S. and Canada. He is the author of The Teacher’s Ultimate Stress Mastery Guide and several audio series, some specifically for athletes and others for anyone wanting to raise their self-confidence, self-esteem and optimism. To learn more about Dr. Jack, visit www.drjacksinger.com, email him at drjack@funspeaker.com or call him at 800-497-9880. www.sleepsavvymagazine.com


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WHAT’S NEW

for stores like yours Foam-encased coil line California-based Diamond Mattress recently debuted the Generations Collection, a tri-zoned foam-encased design featuring a 744-individually wrapped coil system, viscomemory foam and plush, highdensity, plantbased eco-flex foam. The line is available in a luxury firm or a luxury plush at $999 retail for a queen set, or a pillow-top queen set at $1,399 retail.   Contact Shaun Pennington, general manager, by phone at 310-638-0363, ext. 7249, or by email at shaun@diamondmattress.com.

Temperature-controlled mattresses Chili Technology has introduced a new line of ChiliBeds, incorporating the temperature-control features of its popular ChiliPad into the new TempXL memory foam mattresses. The line features three models: 8-inch Horizon, 10-inch Cirrus and 12-inch Dorado. With an operating range of 46o to 118oF, each sleep partner can control his or her own sleep temperature with the press of a button. Retail prices range from $1,999 to $3,499. Contact David Dowdy, director of sales, by email at david.dowdy@chilitechnology.com or call him at 704-235-6831, ext. 107.

Organic fleece throw California-based Gotcha Covered has a new organic fleece throw in its Pure Collection. Made of 100%

certified organic cotton imported from Canada— grown without chemicals, synthetic fertilizers or pesticides—the 56”x 48” throw is finished with a self-bound hem. It’s machine washable and lightweight for year-round use. The suggested retail is $60. Contact Gotcha Covered by phone at 888-546-8242 or email gotcha@gotcovers.com.

Heat-managed pet beds Outlast Technologies, a leader in heat management technologies for bedding products, has unveiled a line of beds for pets in partnership with Snoozer Pet Products (www.snoozerpetproducts.com). The Premium Pet Sleep System and the Super-Comfort Pet Pad Travel System are designed to maximize pet comfort by managing support, heat, moisture and odors. Lined with Outlast fabric for temperature regulation, the beds feature convoluted foam and washable microsuede covers. The bed retails from $109.95 to $229.95; the travel pad retails from $14.95 to $129.95. Contact Brian O’Donnell at 800-635-9755, ext. 112, or Destiny Page, ext. 116. ●

What’s new with you? What’s New welcomes submissions of information on new products and services for mattress retailers. Email a brief description, photo and contact information to Nancy Butler, editor, at nbutler@sleepproducts.org.

Information for What’s New is provided by the vendors. It is neither verified nor endorsed by the publisher. www.sleepsavvymagazine.com

SleepSavvy • October 2010

39


CLOSING WORDS by Gerry Morris

Your customers can buy happiness

W

ho wants to be happy? That’s easy. Everyone! In fact, almost every decision we make and action we take has the ultimate goal of making us happy. It may not seem that way when we have to do something difficult, tedious or monotonous, or when we buy something we need but don’t really want. But if you peel back the layers of the onion to examine the motives behind your actions and choices, it will lead you to the same conclusion. After all is said and done, we are motivated by the hope that we will find ourselves in the desired state of happiness. Our ultimate goal is to feel good and have a sense of peace, contentment and well-being. In our conscious effort to find happiness, we typically develop a “dream list” of things we want to buy and activities we want to engage in. Unfortunately, when we buy or do the things on our list, they don’t always live up to our expectations or the newness quickly wears off and we continue the process of chasing those elusive feelings. What does this have to do with selling mattresses? There is no shortage of consumer products that promote happiness as their appeal. But, in reality, a comfortable, high-quality mattress may be the single best product anyone can buy for their happiness. Ironically, the dreams we should be chasing to deliver real happiness are the dreams we experience in REM sleep. The deep restorative sleep that can be achieved on a quality mattress offers a direct path to a sustainable state of happiness that can be the

40 SleepSavvy • October 2010

foundation for quality of life. While mattresses can’t guarantee happiness, starting off every day more rested and refreshed gives us a better opportunity than the alternative— and certainly more than most of the products consumers think will bring happiness. What if we sell happiness? Over the years, our selling focus has evolved from basic cost justification, specifications and features/benefits to selling comfort, selling sleep and the current approach of selling the benefits of sleep—increased productivity, better health, improved relationships, etc. But what if we take our approach to the next and ultimate level of selling mattresses as the best source of sustainable, deep-down happiness? Not only will our sales increase, we will become happier by making others happy. Most psychologists and philosophers agree that having a purpose in life is not only the best motivation for success, but also the greatest source of reward and happiness. Selling the happiness that mattresses can bring people proves the old adage—it truly is better to give than receive.

As former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt advised, “Since you get more joy out of giving joy to others, you should put a good deal of thought into the happiness that you are able to give.” So how do you sell happiness? First, understand that most of your customers have not made the connection between happiness and sleeping on the right mattress. But you can— and should. Instead of making a sales presentation to customers, have a meaningful conversation with people and explain how mattresses really do facilitate their happiness. The best way to do that is to speak from personal experience. I can’t stress this enough. Everyone who is selling mattresses should be sleeping on a comfortable, top-quality mattress less than five years old. Only then can you understand and share how deep, restorative sleep can give people that fundamental sense of well-being they are searching for. Being able to express how your own quality of life and happiness has improved from sleeping well on a great mattress is the best selling tool of all. ● Gerry Morris is an author, consultant, training coach and a member of the National Speakers Association. With more than 20 years of experience in the mattress industry, Gerry has helped manufacturers, retailers and RSAs around the world increase their sales. To find out what Gerry can do for your company or just to talk, call 903-4562015, email gmorris@innerspring.net or visit www.innerspring.net. www.sleepsavvymagazine.com


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Sleep Savvy Oct 10  

October 2010 issue of Sleep Savvy magazine

Sleep Savvy Oct 10  

October 2010 issue of Sleep Savvy magazine