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4 Strategic Lines of Questioning for High-Performance Mattress Salespeople

Good salespeople are always prepared to answer customer questions, but the most successful RSAs are the ones who ask great questions.

Good salespeople are always prepared to answer customer questions, but the most successful RSAs are the ones who ask great questions.

Of course, it’s all about asking the right questions, which was the topic of a mattress industry Facebook thread started by Steve Houk.

The answers we found were so great we wanted to share them and take a closer look at why they’re such good questions to ask.

1. Ask permission first

Charles Denton, a retired, 45-year mattress industry veteran who held roles are TempurPedic, Serta, and Spring Air, to name a few, offered this script:

Welcome to Denton’s Mattress.

My name is Charles and yours is….?

John, I want to make this easiest purchase you have ever made to benefit YOU!

In order for me to help you, may I ask you a few questions? (Asking their permission is always a key!)

This is a perfect first question because when you personalize the sales process, consumers feel like they’re getting the attention and help they need rather than simply being sold on a mattress. 

Tell the customer your intention. You’re trying to help them get the best sleep of their life, but you’re also there to guide them on the journey. Don’t count out the value of explaining your intent before jumping into the sale. 

Salespeople who don’t personalize this part of the shopper’s journey are often lost to those who make the purchase about the consumer’s needs and not the sale.

Arthur Watkins Jr., inventor and founder of The Fill Station Pillow Kiosk, adds that asking the customer their name is important for breaking the ice. Using a guest’s name throughout the presentation can help them feel like you’ve “known them forever.”

2. How did you sleep last night? 

Michele Williams, owner of Direct Ship Mattresses, and Randy Thompson, co-owner of Van Wert’s bedrooms, weighed in with similar questions, including, “Tell me about your current sleep situation. How do you feel when you wake?” and “Tell me how you feel in the morning, relaxed or stiff & sore?”

This is another great way to get personal with your customer, but it also helps you think about the right mattress for them. Depending on their needs, you use this question as a good starting point as you have them test a few beds. And be sure to explain to them why you’re showing this particular bed, including features and benefits and how it will help them specifically.

3. The anti- “what brings you in today?”

Chris Taheny, senior vice president of sales at DreamFit, said, “What are some of the life changes you expect to see after your purchase? How did you find out about us?

He explains that the first question is more revealing about your business than “so what brings you in today?” But it also helps the customer open up to you and gives you a better idea of the daily stresses—both physical and mental—they may go through and how you can help.

Asking a customer how they found out about you gives you insight into why they decided to choose your store. Did they get referred by a friend? Did they see an ad online? Were they just driving by? 

It’s your chance to potentially turn a drive-by shopper into a loyal customer. Regardless of how they found out about you, be sure to give them outstanding customer service so they’ll return in the future.

4. Likes and dislikes about their current sleep system.

Responding to another reply that ​​said to ask what they are currently sleeping on and what they like or dislike about what they have today, Cory Warshawsky, director of membership, Home Furnishings Association said this question helps salespeople avoid landmines.

“Customers might hate their pillow top mattress and if the first bed you introduce them to has a pillow top, you’re already creating barriers that keep the guest from purchasing,” Warshawsky said. “Great qualifying and avoiding assumptions helps with this altogether, but I’ve watched salespeople step all over their own toes more times than I can count.” 

This question can also help you narrow down the options—because people don’t like to have too many choices. Once you get more information about them and about what they like and dislike about their current setup, you can provide helpful guidance on a few choice options that fit their needs. 

The order you ask these questions in is up to you. But when used together, these questions allow you to get to know on a personal level, figure out their wants and needs, explain how you’re going to help them, and provide them with the best sleep they can get. 

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