The salesperson must make a good first impression. Yes, it all truly starts with the greeting. A number of consumers specifically cited the greeting as a very important part of the shopping experience. Too often consumers receive no greeting at all, which starts the shopping experience off on a sour note.
The salesperson must be knowledgeable. This probably comes as no great revelation, but it's a reminder that consumers are looking for answers to their mattress questions, and it underscores the need for retail sales associates to spend the time to learn the ins and outs of the sleep sets on their sales floor. If a salesperson can not answer basic questions about a mattress it is time to go elsewhere. They must be able to explain product differences. This is where trust begins: Why is this $999 bed better than this $799 bed? Most consumers simply don't know. They want sales associates to clear away the mystery of what's inside all those sleep sets.
The salesperson must be friendly. Again, this may not seem to be a great revelation, but there's no doubt that consumers are looking for a friendly face when they walk into a mattress store. And remember, most customers dread the mattress shopping experience. People like to buy from people they like. A smile can go a long way.
The salesperson must give the consumer time and space to shop. This point comes up again and again in the consumer research. Mattress shoppers want some freedom to explore the store. If they are shopping with their spouse, they want a chance to talk about what they are seeing, without having a sales associate hang on their every word. Make sure your salesperson respects boundaries of space and time. A professional sales associate will give the consumer space, but is ready to re-engage with them when needed. Many consumers say they simply do not want to be followed everywhere they go in the store.
The salesperson must be concerned about their customer's needs. Yes, the sleep set is for the customer. Yes, she wants to find the bed that is best for her. No, she doesn't necessarily want the pricey bed that the salesperson seems more interested in pushing. Focusing on meeting the consumer's needs establishes a bond of trust that goes a long way in closing the sale quickly.
The salesperson must keep the atmosphere relaxed. Consumers say over and over again they don't like high-pressure sale tactics. Keep it relaxed. This is a major challenge in the current environment of reduced store traffic. Sales associates may be tempted to do whatever they can to close the sale. This a big mistake, according to consumers.
The salesperson must deliver a positive shopping experience. In other words, a smart retail sales associate must excel at each step of the sales process, from a good greeting, to giving the consumer space, to listening to her concerns, and to helping her find the bed that is best for her.