Jeff Giagnocavo co-owns Gardner’s Mattress & More and is passionate about the success of small businesses on Main Street.
As the owner of a brick-and-mortar mattress store, you could say that my business has been “attacked” in recent years. The best online brands you’ve probably heard of spend over $1 billion a year telling their convenience story, from easy online shopping to simple selection from a slimmed-down range.
Most claims about “large mattresses” are on the margins of being correct and accurate. But I’ve always run my business with a different mission in mind: to change your mind about mattress stores. This mission guides everything we do.
While most of my colleagues stick to “low price”, “in stock” and “fast delivery” messages, we have always marched to the beat of our own drum. We help our customers wake up happy and improve their lives by sleeping better.
While my coworkers are just out to just transact with their client — to take them out on one date — I’m more interested in a lifelong commitment to help them wake up happy.
Here’s a simple recipe to shift your business prospects from transactional to transformational.
1. Develop a core message around information your customer wants.
Years ago, we started with an informative mattress buying guide. We had both a digital and a printed version that was easily accessible via our website and free to collect from our store. Today, our buyer’s guide has become a series of three guides, along with a 100-page book full of tips for better sleep.
First, look for a really useful way to meet your customer’s needs: how to navigate this purchase.
2. Develop a process for listening to your customers.
Our customer lounge is a comfortable and inviting place, and this is where we begin our conversation with every customer who comes in. We ask and then listen. This area is a visual cue to our team that everything here starts in one place every time.
Our main goal when we invite a customer to the lounge is to see if our offer meets their needs. More often than not, we’re a fit, but when we’re not, we simply refer the customer to a store that better suits their needs.
3. Understand that you do not share the same knowledge.
Our customers usually buy a mattress once every ten years, and because it comes with a higher price tag than they initially expected, we sometimes have a mountain to climb.
The process of getting on the same page is important because for many this is only the first or second time they buy a new mattress. Our customers come to visit with many questions, tons of research printed off the internet, and are largely in a complete state of confusion and analysis paralysis.
The simple solution for us was to educate. We provide a technology testing room in one part of our store so that our customers can experience every feature. From there, we dig deeper into what they like and quickly eliminate what they don’t like. This simple step often eliminates 80% of what we offer and allows our customers to focus on what they will enjoy at home.
4. Confirm, do not force.
The year is not 1922. We live in an era of innovation between the creation of the metaverse and Web 3.0. So why do so many still rely on high-pressure hardcore sales tactics?
If a customer doesn’t like your product, they shouldn’t invest in it. If the mattress-turned-sleep system we’re presenting isn’t over-the-top impressive, don’t invest in it.
You want your customer to feel connected to their purchase. Aim for an experience not found anywhere else in your market.
5. Create a story to see and be told.
My customers spend a third of their lives on what they buy from me. It’s personal. We do business at their home, literally. Two strangers enter their bedroom to deliver and install their new sleeping system.
It’s important to understand the impact you can have on your customer and the steps you take along the way. Give your customers a story to behold: a final experience and touch with you that ends on a climax.
From protective footwear to uniforms, cardboard on the porch, extreme caution when moving around their house, spare parts on the truck, the last step of the buyer’s journey is crucial and we are always prepared. We are always on time or on time. This makes it easy for our customers to tell a story.
What is the current depth of connection you have with your customers? I chose to dig deep to create a transformative buying experience for my customers, and I hope you can be inspired to dig deeper with yours as well.