Walk into just about any mattress store and the experience is so similar it’s hard to distinguish one mattress retail store from another. Whoever the RSA who is up next swarms upon the prospect with one of these canned greetings:
Welcome, how can I help you?
Are you here for the sale?
What size, what firmness, what brand are you looking for?
The issue with opening questions such as these is the assumption the prospect is ready to do business with you now.
You’re trying to get to third base and they are just rounding first.
Truth is the prospect doesn’t, in most cases, even know what they are looking for.
The average lifecycle of a mattress customer is 10 years, and a lot has changed in the last 10 years when it comes to mattress-buying. The prospect has no point of reference.
So where to begin?
Walk into our store and the experience is entirely different. We have found the best solution is to take the position of being a consumer advocate, and becoming a trusted resource for information about their purchase, regardless of whether they are ready to buy today, tomorrow, or next month.
You saw it start with our educational buyer’s guides and we continue the information-first approach when a prospect visits our store. The initial conversations should be focused on whether you are a fit for the prospect and if they are a fit for you and it all starts with two simple words – “tell me.”
Here is the exact way we greet prospects:
“Hello, I’m Jeff, welcome to Gardner’s Mattress & More. Tell me, why you are shopping for a mattress?”
The statement of “tell me” implies an answer to be told. The human brain cannot process the request without even the most basic answer, and I have yet to have anyone respond to the “tell me” greeting with “I’m just looking.”
Every answer they give you can go right back to the “tell me” statement, opening up a unique dialog.
They tell you their mattress is 15 years old, they feel fine, but they think it is just time for a new one.
You can say, “Tell me more about what liked about your mattress when you first got it, or now don’t like. And if you can think of it, tell me what it was like when you slept elsewhere like at a hotel and how was that, good or bad?”
The key here is they tell you about their problems, challenges, and desires. Having your prospect tell you about themselves, their issues, how poor they sleep and how just much pain they have in the morning is powerful. It is emotional and connection is now formed with you.
They have shared information unique to them and you have listened (just by asking first you set yourself in a positive light).
You didn’t do what everyone else does and qualify them. You did not put them on the spot and give them a reason to act defensively.
The “tell me” statement is also powerful because it reduces prospect stress.
When people are talking about themselves they are empowered. They have the answers because they are telling their story, and when they have the right answers they are more comfortable.
Their stress is reduced and the buying process is not the typical adversarial one found in other mattress stores.
The end result of the tell me script should always be them telling you about their situation, concerns, and sleep issues.
You are simply gathering information so you can begin your presentation with the proper sleep solution.