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Eavesdropping In The Bedding Department

Furniture World Magazine


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If the mattress and box spring specifications (coils, foam, etc.) could speak,  what might they say about the customers and your salespeople?

 One day an assortment of mattress and box spring specifications (specs) were conversing among themselves in a sleep shop. The lone salesperson assigned to manage this store was outside tying a queen sleep set atop an SUV.

The first to get the conversation rolling was Magic Foam (MAF).

“Did you get a load of that guy who just bought one of us? He must have weighed 400 pounds! He just about squeezed every bit of air out of my space-age foam.”

“Quit your complaining, MAF,” replied Offset Coil (OSC). You guys are supposed to handle all that weight. If magic foam can’t do that for a few moments, how you gonna manage a hunk like that when he gets you home?”

“Yeah,” broke in Coiled Box Spring (CBS), “You think you had it bad. We box springs support behemoths like that as well as mattresses on our backs. Good thing we coiled box springs are like those misnomers they refer to as Semi-Flex Coils (SFC).”

“You’re referring, I take it, to those pretenders, those fakes, those pseudo box springs?” added Six Gauge Border Wire (Six GBW)?

“The very non-berry,” asserted CBS. They’re no more box springs than fire hydrants are fire trucks.”

“Yeah, MAF,” added CBS, “You’re lucky Bubba’s the salesperson in this store. He never gets his customers to stay on the mattresses longer than 30 seconds.And then he wonders why he makes so few sales.”

“Ditto,” agreed Mattress Ticking (MT). I’m surprised he made the one sale he did make today. He’ll be calling all the other stores for weeks bragging about how he sold this one.”

“You’re referring to “Mr. Lost Another One,” said Wonder Wool (WW). “Hey, don’t complain too loud about Bubba,” replied MT. We’ve got it good here.

“Long as that salesperson’s here, we ain’t going nowhere else soon.”

“I’m still not happy with that salesperson. He’s a stain on our industry,” insisted MT.

“You mean you’re ticked off, MT, if you’ll excuse the pun,” added OC.

“Funny, funny,” MT replied with a sneer. But as long as we’re into punning, isn’t it a bit ironic that Bubba was a Spec 3 in the army?”

“Nice try, MT, but no cigar!” shot back OC. “Seems you don’t know that the military word spec stands for specialist and not for specification.”

“The sad thing about Bubba,” interjected CBS, “is that Bubba knows more about specs than the engineers who designed us.”

“No offense, CBS,” exclaimed MT, “but Bubba talks a lot of BS!”

“But the guy does know his specs,” repeated CBS.

“Then,” shouted MT, “let him become an engineer! The guy has no business being a salesman. The customers that shop in this store aren’t looking for someone to show them how to build a mattress. They simply want someone to help them find a mattress they can enjoy sleeping on.”

“Someone ought to tell Bubba,”added MAF, “that salespeople can never know too much about their product, but they can certainly talk too much about it.”

“Makes a lot of sense,” said MT.

Just then the front door of the store opened. It was Bubba returning into the store.

“Quiet, fellows,” whispered OC. “Time for us to retreat into that golden silence.”

“Wish Bubba would learn to observe that golden silence,” said MF. When’s that guy going to learn that salespeople have never been known to listen themselves out of a sale.”

“You just touched upon the key nerve of selling, fellows. It’s not selling. It’s Side-by-Side Buying,” added CBS.

“That’s The Paradox of Side-by Side Buying,” whispered MT.

“Spoken like a genius,” replied CBS.


Trainer, educator and group leader Dr. Peter A. Marino has written extensively on sales training techniques and their furniture retailing applications. He has deep experience with furniture retailers as a top salesman, sales manager, corporate trainer and consultant. Dr. Marino has undergraduate degrees in English and philosophy and a Ph. D. in ancient Greek and Latin and their related literatures. His books include “The Golden Rules of Selling Bedding”, “Stop Losing Those Bedding Sales” and “It’s Buying, Silly!” available through the FURNITURE WORLD. online store. Questions can be sent to Peter at pmarino@furninfo.com.

Furniture World is the oldest, continuously published trade publication in the United States. It is published for the benefit of furniture retail executives. Print circulation of 20,000 is directed primarily to furniture retailers in the US and Canada.  In 1970, the magazine established and endowed the Bernice Bienenstock Furniture Library (www.furniturelibrary.com) in High Point, NC, now a public foundation containing more than 5,000 books on furniture and design dating from 1620. For more information contact editor@furninfo.com.