Tricks And Tips That Help You Underpay For A Mattress, And The Killer Move That Opens The Door To A Deep Discount And Free Stuff…
We’re all used to the retail routine, whether we walk into a brick and mortar store, or shop online. Obviously, trying to negotiate for a discount at a Wal-Mart is impossible, just is asking for discount on organic apples would be at Whole Foods. You may have a coupon, but that is the extent of your power, pretty much.
I’m Marc Anderson, and I am an expert in the bedding industry, and I’ve designed many sales presentations, built mattress salesperson teams, created strategies to upsell to customers, and basically trained people to get you to buy a mattress, whether online or in a retail store within minutes. Because I’ve done that, not in an evil way, I can also give you the one killer move that gets you deep discounts and flips the salesperson or chat agent you’re dealing with, and the entire buying process- in your favor…without them ever knowing it.
As we all know, haggling for a better price is standard practice when buying a diamond or a car. In fact, if you didn’t haggle for these items, you’d find yourself in an awkward conversation with a sales person who’s expecting a little back and forth. The same applies when mattress shopping.
I’ve created dozens of mattresses and sold them on both my online e-stores, and in my brick and mortar stores. When pricing my own mattresses, we always had a strategy. It wasn’t because I was trying to rip people off, but rather to create a sense of urgency for a customer to buy when my salespeople offering discounts off of the “retail” price, or “list price”. Once you budge off of the retail price when dealing with a warmed up buyer who needs a mattress, you grease the rails for closing the sale.
So the typical mattress sales experience works something like this, and this scenario is pretty typical when shopping brick and mortar or online, even today. A retailer will offer a typical mattress and set the list price at let’s say, $1500. The tag on the bed in the store displays it as the retail price, and may even refer to the retail price as the best possible price.
The same applies online. The first price you see, though, is over inflated by about double. Now, online, some retailers will offer what seems to be a reasonable price, to get you down to business, and because of fierce competition, you may see a typical bed in a box mattress, especially if it is all foam, for around $800 for a queen.
Again, that price is overinflated, by likely by only 25% or so. The retailer knows full well that a savvy buyer is going to expect a large discount off of that price. Wait five seconds and you’ll get a pop-up offering a $200-300 discount, with a timer telling you that you’ve got 43 minutes left. I’m here to tell you , you can still get a deeper discount with freebies thrown in.
In my own stores, we would even showcase the retail price as the “special discounted price” or the current holiday special price, whatever. Again, you have to remember, the mattress industry is so competitive, it’s like a knife fight in a dark alley. So, we had to survive. These days, once a retail store has you inside or a web site knows you’re nosing around, they have to convert your visit to a sale at all costs.
In my retail stores, the sales people were trained to present the features and benefits, and online, the product had a thorough list of bullet points, a pitch and description, a video, and lots of customer reviews who LOVED our model. Picture and graphics on my sites always had an attractive model snuggling with pillows and a thick and sumptuous comforter, always with eyes closed.
The internet version of interacting with a salesperson is a live chat. Don’t EVER pay the price shown on a web site until you have chatted with a sales person, just as you would in a retail store. Remember that the retail price is never, ever the bottom line.
In my stores, customers who didn’t ask for a discount within 10-15 minutes were told by the attending salesperson, “you know, I could probably sell you this model for a lot less”, just as our chat team was trained to respond to any customer online with a similar response if they did not type in a request for a lower price. You have a captive audience, and you want to close the sale fast…and furiously.
The response from the sales person, in person or in a chat, was the same. “The retail price is $1,500, yes, but I think I may have one or two coupons left for the day that will get you another $300 off”, was the first nudge to the customer. If that did not work, we start tossing in “spiffs”. Spiffs are free gifts, plain and simple. Pillows, mattress protectors, a free foundation, free setup and delivery, air purifiers, endless arrays of products.
Resist on the the first offer, I always say. Get quiet, ask a few more questions, let the salesperson know you like the bed and that you really want it, but be clear that you’re still “concerned about the pricing”, and the free stuff will follow, every time.
Buying a mattress requires just little skill on your part. Don’t seem to eager, and keep digging for deeper discounts. On our $1500 mattress example, we could sell that product for $600 and still double our money, every time.
My best advice is to consider that any price you are shown, before coupons or discounts are provided, are twice what you should be paying. Even bigger bed in a box companies online will not let you get away without buying a bed. If you are talking to a rep in a chat, let them know that if they can help you out a bit more, you’ll write a great review. To the mattress retailer, this means that, for a better price, you’ll put some skin in the game.
So, to sum it up…here’s your tactical game with a mattress salesperson, whether brick and mortar or online:
Don’t be over enthusiastic initially. Seem quasi-interested, and in a brick and mortar store, let the sales person know that you’re just “nosing around”. In a chat, ask a random question first, “how long does it take to get a bed delivered? I’m just kind of nosing around right now”…
Walk around, look at several models. Get on them and show interest. Online, leave a pause in your response time on the chat. I'd say two minutes. Your chat agent will have a set time limit on the next question, “Can I help you select a mattress today?”
Let the retail sales person or the chat agent offer you a better price. If they don’t, within 8-10 minutes, then move in for the kill. “I really like the Excelsior bed you have, but I really can’t afford it. Can you give me a better deal?”
If the response is, “no, that is our best price”, immediately indicate your disappointment. “Oh well, I understand..just thought I would ask”. This response introduces empathy and sympathy into the sales conversation. At this point the sales person or chat agent knows you are emotionally affected by taking the mattress away from you.
Here is the killer move that opens the door to a deep discount. Tell the retail store salesperson, “Ok, thanks, I actually saw a mattress online I like. I might just go home and look at it again”. Or, if you are chatting with an agent online,”Ok, thanks, I actually saw a mattress at a retail store I like. I think I’m going to drive over and check it out. These two responses are like gold. If you are going to get a discount, this is where they will open up.
If a sales person or online chat agent receives a rejection response, they are responsible for getting the deal closed. They may or may not be making a commission, but a quota is hanging over their head, for sure. If they comeback with a counter offer, don’t get eager. Tell them “I don’t know”. The cue here is that the sales person or chat agent is getting warmer, but not quite hot.
Odds are, you will get a deeper discount at this point. If offered a discount, remember to be initially skeptical, but respond with something like this..”I’ll tell you what, if you can toss in two pillows, free delivery, and a mattress protector, we are done”. The sales agent is likely going to offer one, maybe two spiffs to toss in. If you follow this technique, to the letter, I guarantee you that you will be rewarded. You just learned the proper haggling technique for mattress shopping. Good luck, and go try it out!!
more tips and pointers to get the killer deal on any mattress you want
We’ve already discussed the mechanics of the mattress industry, and how it is carefully designed so that softer customers will pay top price, and hardball negotiators will get the best deal. But as you know now from reading my killer move technique above, you can turn the tables on any sales person or chat agent easily, and they won’t even know it.
Don’t forget to check out our Trusted Dealer page, too. We’ve carefully vetted and researched the best brands, and hand picked a curated list of mattresses that are worth the money, offering excellent trail periods and warranties, receive great reviews from genuine customers, and we’ve virtually eliminated the need to haggle with this list, though, we do suggest to employ your new moves no matter where you shop!
know your product beforehand- do the research and get the deal you want.
Of course, it almost goes without saying that knowing your prey and everything about it makes you more successful in the hunt. Surprisingly, a lot of mattress sales people and online chat agents know very little about the products they sell. They may know general descriptions and follow a script, they likely don’t know the grade or density of the polyurethane foam or pocketed coil tensile strength or gauge used in their most popular brand.
Sales people are busy selling, much as doctors are busy practicing medicine, and often fall behind keeping with the details and latest information about the services or products they provide, simply because they don’t have the time.
If you’re shopping for a mattress, come up with a few detailed tidbits about the mattress you’re looking for, and ask a sales person to provide some enhanced information. Odds are, they are going to kick up your question to a supervisor, who is also, much more inclined and able to give you a discount when you employ our killer move technique.
Check online, either while in a retail store setting, or before getting on a chat with an online agent, to see if there are any coupons. Check out Groupon, Retail Me Not, and other services to see if any coupon codes exist. You may not find any, but this is to your advantage. “I checked online, and couldn’t find any coupon codes…do you have any?” is a line that cuts through the sales process and makes it clear that you are looking for a discount and will not pay the full on retail price.
Also, check out other brands that sell a similar model for substantially less (regardless of whether or not the cheaper model is inferior or not) and ask “Why is your Excelsior model so much more expensive than the Ambassador model I saw on Amazon?”
Always keep the sales person on the defensive. The more you know and the more research you do, the more you are on the offensive, and being an eager customer ready to buy, but knowing the market more than the salesperson, is an incredible asset.