Let’s sell more mattresses, sales training guru advises

Let’s get right down to business this week.

That snappy, welcoming start to my column comes to you courtesy of sales training guru Lynne Jensen-Nelson. She was the featured speaker at our recent Bedding Conference, where her Therapedic-sponsored talk received excellent scores. Retailers, in particular, liked her presentation.

That’s not surprising because Jensen-Nelson packed her talk with actionable insights that can help retail sales associates sell more mattresses.

One of her key points was that language affects consumers’ perceptions, and when big ticket items like mattresses are up for grabs, fostering favorable perceptions is critical to sales success.

Jensen-Nelson urged salespeople to make “partnership language” part of their presentations. She talked about the power of adding “let’s” to the salesperson’s vocabulary. ‘Let’s look into that” is a nice way to engage with a customer, she said.

Collaborative language is one of the keys to the success enjoyed by top salespeople, Jensen-Nelson said. That language helps them connect with customers, and connections lead to sales.

Jensen-Nelson provided a handy primer on how to replace negative words with positive words.

Rather than saying “I don’t know,” she said, a salesperson should say “Let’s look into that” or “Let’s do some research on that.”

Rather than saying “That’s too bad,” she continued, a salesperson should say: “I’m sorry to hear that. What can we do?”

Rather than saying “We can’t do that,” a salesperson should say: “Here’s what we can do.”

And rather than referring to a “problem,” a good salesperson will use terms like “issue” or “challenge,” she said.

Jensen-Nelson is not a fan of salespeople saying “no problem” when the customer thanks them for their help. “The answer to ‘thank you’ is ‘you’re welcome,’” she said.

It is problematic to talk about “problems” or even “no problem” on the sales floor, according to Jensen-Nelson. That should be a problem-free zone.

She also talked about the power of binary choice, choosing between two items. While classic merchandising strategy calls for an offering of “good,” “better” and “best” items, that much choice can make it hard for some consumers to choose, leading them to shut down the sales process, Jensen-Nelson said. So the smart RSA will, when all options have been presented and considered, aim to keep the choice focused on just two items.

Let’s take her advice to heart and sell more mattresses.

– David Perry

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