SAVE THE DATE: Sleep Summit Oct 8-11, 2024

RSA Rockstars: Jennifer Martinez at Sweet Dreams Mattress & More

Jennifer Martinez, a sales associate at Sweet Dreams Mattress and Furniture, talks about what she loves and doesn't love about the industry.

Despite what those outside the industry might think, to say RSAs are the backbone of the home furnishings retail would be an understatement.

They are the ones spearheading the sales, talking to and learning about customers. They train and memorize product details, brand names, and SKUs, all while offering service with a smile.

At The FAM, we have mad respect for RSA, so we decided to talk to RSAs and see what sage advice they have as soldiers on the front line. 

Jennifer Martinez, an RSA at Sweet Dreams Mattress & More, got into the industry by accident. 

Her husband — who also stumbled upon the industry by accident —  was working for Sweet Dreams at the time and she came in to help with part-time office work. Working at the shop, Owner Keith Moneymaker took notice and wanted to train her on sales as well.  

Jennifer Martinez

“I never saw myself as a salesperson,” Martinez says. “And I dragged my feet on it. But looking back, it makes sense that I would love this position and this industry. I had customer service experience and some experience in the health and wellness field. On top of that, my first big purchase out of college (a million years ago) was a Tempurpedic mattress, so there was definitely a part of me that believed in investing in a good mattress.  

Six years later she is happily still helping guide client’s to their perfect mattress match all while running the operations of the shop. 

“A mattress can make a huge impact on someone’s life,” she says about why she loves the industry. “I get to meet people from all walks of life with different needs so I get to problem solve and apply the knowledge I have. There is always room for growth and improvement which is great because I love to learn.”

What does she not love? Negotiation.  

“On the flip side, I love that I get to learn more about how to be a better negotiator,” she adds.  “My goal is by the end of our time together I have built up enough value in the company and the mattress that we don’t need to haggle. And when we do, I always aim for a win-win.”

One of the keys to loving a job is finding purpose in what you do, and Martinez says her purpose is to help improve lives through better sleep. 

“When someone comes in with an issue and they trust me and I get to show them a few things that might solve their problem and they get it and love it — that gets me fired up. When someone leaves and I think ‘They are going to really love this!’’  Especially when they come back to say how much they love it or how much it has helped them. That is the best!”

And one thing that’s worked exceptionally well for Martinez is listening to the customer. And when you do talk, keep it simple and focused on their needs.

She also says that any help on the training side that producers can offer is extremely helpful — from product knowledge to sales in general. 

“I think TSI has this down with their Snooze training modules, and I was happy to see SSB has something now,” she says. “Online training is a great support to us now, especially since in-person training and visits are much rarer now.”

In her time in sales, she says she’s seen a big shift toward sleep education, which she thinks is something the industry is doing right. 

“I was a yoga teacher for many years and my husband owns and operates a personal training facility,” she explains. “I noticed a lot of discussion happening in the fitness industry this past decade about sleep and people tracking quality sleep and readiness for training/game day etc.  With yoga, it’s a huge topic as well. Getting out of a stress state and into a state where we can respond better.”

While the badge of honor about barely sleeping and working 20-hour days seems to be fading, according to Martinez,  optimizing performance and being more efficient is becoming more and more desirable. 

“I was excited to see the shift happening in the mattress industry as well,” she says. “Coil gauge, coil count, gel foam, etc. are not very exciting, but what is exciting is how can we help people get the most out of their sleep by providing the tools/ sleep system so they can get the most out of their day.”

But Martinex says there are a few things the industry could do better, for example, cutting back the options to reduce confusion.  She also says the constant price increases, especially on the lower-end product, have been brutal. Not everyone can afford a high-end mattress.

“I have also become very aware of the waste that can be caused by our industry,” Martinez explains. “Now that we have Dreams 4 All Foundation, I love that we can be a part of helping with the second and third issues by using old mattresses, sanitizing them, and providing mattresses for those in need”. 

Being Your Best 

Online reviews aren’t typically very helpful in choosing your mattress, which is one thing Martinez says she wishes consumers would understand. Even your closest friend’s mattress choice probably has little to do with what you may need or like. 

“One thing I wish consumers would understand differently about mattresses is aside from durability evaluations, listening to other people’s preferences is likely not the best way to choose a mattress,” she says. “I think mattress reviews are even worse, and often paid for. I cringe when someone brings in their copy of Consumer Reports.”

Martinez also has advice for other RSAs out there.

“You need to have excellent product knowledge, but focus most on how to apply what you have learned to your client’s needs,” she says. “Simplify what you say and be selective with what you say and how you say it. Show that you care. From the performance side: evaluate your sales every few weeks and see what you might be missing. Are you showing clients everything like adjustable bases and accessories? Set goals.”

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