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850 Shades of White

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From this article’s title, you might think it is about the color selection off mattresses in 2012. Instead it is about one of this season’s most beloved songs, White Christmas. You may already know that Bing Crosby’s recording of that song has sold over 50 million copies and is regarded as the best-selling single of all time. First performed on Christmas Day, 1941, it was recorded in May, 1942 and later featured in the motion picture Holiday Inn that same year.

You may be amazed to learn that White Christmas has been recorded by over 850 other artists! Performers from varied musical genres such as Pat Boone, Bob Marley, and Loretta Lynn have lent their vocal talents and style to making this classic come alive. Perhaps no other song has had more cover versions and each one of the 850 is just a little different.

This past weekend my everlovin’ bride and I flipped on Hulu and watched Holiday Inn. Although it is more of a tradition to watch the 1947 movie “White Christmas” we decided to stream the original. In the movie Bing gives a world class rendition of the song, but Virginia Dale also vocalizes the tune. After Dale’s version played I commented on how different the two singers interpreted the song.

My everlovin’ said something that got me thinking. She said “Music is more than dots and lines on a piece of paper; music is how it’s interpreted and performed.” Along with White Christmas, if you listen to any other song that has been recorded and then covered by any other artists, the versions rarely sound the same, nor are they designed to sound the same.

Elvis Presley, Darius Rucker, and Lady Gaga all had or have different styles and each interpreted White Christmas in a way that appealed to their audience. In 2019 your sales team will be presented with a myriad of new products-and along with that, a list of new component parts each with a feature and benefit. Most of that information will be delivered via printed information, power point slides, or video.

Just as music is more than dots and lines printed on paper, product specs are more than pretty pictures with descriptions. The way your sales team interprets and presents the information to your shoppers can be the difference between having a hit (sale) or a bomb (“we’ll be back). And while Iggy Pop and Andrea Bocelli each have different paying audiences, your sales team will have all kinds of people in your audience. Each performance your sales team gives has to be tailored to audience that is in front of them.

Bing Crosby and the 850 who followed him never sang about how snow has to be shoveled, only sticks when the temperature is freezing, nor how it snarls traffic and congests airports.  He never really talked about the features of snow. Instead he sang about the benefits of snow-glistening tree tops, and sleigh rides. In 2019 make it a practice to present benefits first and features when needed. Play to the audience that stands before you and make those dots and lines come to life. We love Christmas cards and hearing bells, and your shoppers love hearing about energizing and restorative sleep that allows them to perform at peak levels. Things like coils and foam make it happen, but the end results (benefits) are what your shoppers will buy.

In the spirit of the season, may all your days be merry and bright!



Gordon Hecht is a Senior Manager for Serta Simmons Bedding’s Strategic Retail Group comprising over 400 locally owned and operated bedding stores across the country selling Serta Simmons 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, later moving to sales and management.

He has served as with other organizations 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.

He has been recognized for outstanding sales and management achievement with Ashley Furniture HomeStores, Drexel-Heritage, RB Furniture, Reliable Stores, and Sofa Express.

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.


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