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The Traveling Retailer's Tip #21: Sign Up For Your Downgrade

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Frequent travelers, sea cruisers, and cell phone users all look forward to an UPGRADE. After all, who wouldn’t! Nothing beats that feeling of buying a coach ticket, or inside cabin and then getting to ride up front in First Class or stretching out in a Balcony Suite complete with panoramic view.

And check out Apple’s stock price every time a new iPhone comes out. People will queue in line for hours just for the PRIVLEDGE of PAYING for upgrading to the latest and greatest!

Free upgrades are great-and PAID upgrades are a necessity. Think TVs; if your 50” Megavision died tomorrow, I’ll lay hot Vegas odds that you’re not heading to Wally World to get the cheap 32 incher. And once you’ve driven sitting on heated leather reclining seats listening to XM, those same odds tell me you’re not going back to cloth and AM static in your next ride.

Which brings us to FURNITURE and BEDDING. I am not sure how it happened, but for most of this past winter my business travels took me from balmy Columbus, OH to a couple of southern states known for unique aviary species known as SNOW BIRDS. As I traveled from store to store, RSAs and owners told me that many of their shoppers live “up North” and are only “down South” for a few months. By few, they mean 5 out of 12. A common lament they hear is “I don’t want to spend a lot on my new bed, because it is a vacation home”. The result is that those RSAs have to rev up their sales pitch for the RACE to ZERO.

You already know that your shoppers spend more time in bed than any of the activities noted above-Driving, Traveling, and the cultural enhancement of watching TV. Think about it-in April, they will spend 10 out of 30 days SLEEPING! And, if your shopper is sleeping on a great bed at home, or some sleep surface that was a great bed at one point, they will never be happy with a DOWNGRADE on their new mattress. Every dollar they spend on a subpar bed is a dollar wasted.

This even applies to non-Snowbirds. If they have a decent bed now, even if it was a hand-me-down, or as old as a Cleveland Indians World Series Victory Model, trading down to something less will certainly lead to a comfort exchange or; even worse-bad press on Twitter!

Selling is an ART, and it is up to your RSA team to paint that picture of sleep satisfaction for your shoppers. Asking that DISCOVERY QUESTION “What are you sleeping on now (or at home for Snowbird shoppers)?” and “What did you like about it when it was new” can give your RSA team a floodgate of information about your shoppers’ LONG RANGE preferences, not just their shopping day price demands.

It’s never a good practice to jeopardize your shopper’s bank account by selling them something that will disrupt their budget. On the flip-selling them a low priced bed that they will despise every morning until they call you for an exchange becomes a more costly experience in time and money for you, your shopper, and your sales team.


Gordon Hecht is a Growth and Development Manager for National Bedding Company’s America’s Mattress stores, nearly 400 locally owned and operated bedding stores across the country selling Serta-branded and America’s Mattress-branded mattresses. He started his 30+ years experience in the Home Furnishings industry in Las Vegas, NV as a delivery helper and driver.

He has been recognized for outstanding sales and management achievement with several organizations including Ashley Furniture HomeStores, Drexel-Heritage, RB Furniture, Reliable Stores, and Sofa Express. He has served as Store Manager, Multi-unit manager and National Director of Sales. With his first-hand knowledge of our industry’s front line, Gordon has devoted his career to guiding others to exceed their goals.

Joining National Bedding Company in 2014, as part of the Serta Retail Concepts Group With over 400 stores, America’s Mattress stores is one of the fastest growing bedding retailers in the country.

Co-author of the “Better Bedding Selling Tips” featured on Furniture World Online, Gordon has been a frequent contributor to company newsletters, and contributing writer for industry magazines.
Read other articles by Gordon Hecht

Furniture Industry News and in depth magazine articles for the furniture retail, furniture manufacturers, and furniture distributors.
Read other articles by Gordon Hecht