e at Simmons, and our dealers, are faced with a challenge and an opportunity. We must change the culture of the bedding industry to focus on providing a better quality of life, rather than simply selling a mattress. We have the responsibility of educating the consumer as to the need and impact of a quality, undisturbed sleep. In addition, we must change the way people think about mattresses. A sleep set is not a commodity, and all mattresses are not alike. We must also illustrate how the mattress plays a major role in obtaining a quality, undisturbed sleep.
The only way we can accomplish these objectives is to have an intelligent, sincere and meaningful discussion about the need for sleep and how to get it, rather than "pitching" a product to simply make a sale.
This meaningful discussion is paramount in having the consumer accept and believe the benefits of Simmons' direction and focus on "Better Sleep Through Science."
As any consultant would, we must begin our discussion by asking a series of intelligent open "probes" that will generate a dialogue. The dialogue allows us to share research as well as point out the benefits to be gained through a quality, undisturbed sleep. We want you to ask questions you've never asked before. We want you to create a totally different relationship with your customer. We want you to completely differentiate yourself from the competition. "Better Sleep Through Science" and Simmons will position you truly as a "consultant" and not a salesperson trying to sell a mattress. Your relationship with the "client" will be raised to the next level.
Let's begin with helping consumers understand that they may be sleep deprived, just as more than 60 million other Americans are. We do this by sharing 5 basic questions from Dr. James Maas' Power Sleep quiz cards:
- Do you need an alarm clock to wake up?
- Do you hit the snooze button weekday mornings?
- Do you often fall asleep watching TV or after an evening meal?
- Do you often feel drowsy while driving?
- Do you sleep extra hours on weekends?
Dr. Maas has 14 questions in his sleep quiz. Answering "yes" to only 3 indicates that the consumer could be sleep deprived. Once we create the awareness of the need for sleep, it's critical to generate that meaningful discussion based on the personal needs of the consumer. The key is to ask logical open probes that illustrate your sincere interest in how you can improve the consumer's "quality of life.
First, find out who the sleep set is for and how long they've had their current bedding. This will allow you to focus more
specifically on their needs, and then introduce the research that's been done since they purchased their last sleep set.
The following combination of 11 probes can generate the discussion between a "consultant" and his "client":
- Who is the sleep set for?
- How long have you had your current sleep set?
- How do you feel about the quality of sleep you are currently getting?
- How many hours of sleep do you get regularly?
- How do you feel in the morning?
- Do you sleep soundly through the night?
- Does your partner disturb you when he/she tosses and turns or gets in or out of bed?
- Have you experienced any back problems?
- Are firmness and support important to you?
- Have you ever wondered why you go to sleep with no back pain, but wake up with discomfort?
- What's important to you in a mattress?
The underlined probes are "open," and they help you generate a discussion. The other probes are closed and will allow you to focus on a topic of conversation. They can be answered with a simple yes or no. The responses to these probes will help you to discuss several things:
- The need for quality sleep and its impact on daily performance.
- The sleep set is one of the elements that affect our lives: nutrition, exercise and quality sleep.
- A mattress is not a commodity, but an important investment that can enhance quality of life. Not all mattresses provide these benefits.
- Beautyrest and BackCare are the only sleep sets designed specifically to deal with the reasons for disturbed sleep, namely, transfer of motion from one partner to another and back pain from the lack of proper spinal placement and support from the sleep set.
Remember, discussing how we can help our customers improve their quality of life through an undisturbed sleep is a level above simply selling a mattress. We cannot and should not pitch a product. We must have a meaningful discussion between a "consultant" and his "client."
Ron Wolinski is Manager of Simmons Education. Questions can be sent to Ron care of Furniture World at firstname.lastname@example.org.