5 Strategies for Helping Your Team Navigate Price Increases

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Supply shortages are not the biggest issue facing retail sales associates.

Yes, supply chain problems are affecting RSAs.

9-13-2021_ColonialPromotions

But a big issue that leaders are only whispering about is the inner-conflict RSAs face. They’re not confident pushing a $799 mattress that now needs to sell for $999 due to price increases.

In this episode, we discuss 5 strategies you can use to help RSAs adjust to the new reality.

1) Read Jeff Scheuer’s article “How to Explain Price Increases to Mattress Customers
2) Be on the lookout for product innovations.
3) Hold training meetings to discuss these price changes and what to do in the selling process.
4) Help your team understand how to build value in the products you sell.
5) Apply the Scrabble Technique.

Full Transcription

Mark Kinsley

It’s the Dos Marco show and today we’re talking about five techniques and strategies to help your team adjust to a price increases and thrive. The Marcos show begins in 60 seconds.

Mark Quinn

How you doing?

Mark Kinsley


Lookin’ good in that hat, man. I love that fam dot news hat.

Mark Quinn


He liked that. He got that. From our friends.

Mark Kinsley


Thank you, Wes. Thank you, Tim.

Mark Quinn


We, we actually had them made up and we gave them out at the nationwide. And it was really funny actually about this app because I saw this older guy like 75 years old walking around the show floor, and he’s wearing our fan, our fan. So I went over there and I asked him if I could get my picture taken with him and he was like, why do you want to get your picture? Because that’s us. That’s your dad. He’s like, Oh, sure. Someone just gave him the hat.

Mark Kinsley


Did you give Scott Thompson one of these?

Mark Quinn


I can get them all at Colonial.

Mark Kinsley


Did you give Scott Thompson one of these hats?

Mark Quinn


I did you know, I met so yeah, so per conversation before we got on the show. I met Scott Thompson CEO of TempurPedic and I thought that was pretty cool. I had never actually met him before but he’s a freaking gunslinger and he’s getting it done. TSI is doing really well. And so we were shooting a Sherwood video a new company video so I asked him if he would get involved in like come and do a walk in talk interview and talk about Sherwood and why temperpedic butcher wood and all that cool stuff and he was awesome. He was a really nice guy and we had a good time and yeah, I don’t know he’s he’s he’s becoming legendary inside the category.

Mark Kinsley


Yeah Temper Pedic saw some of the analysts projections for their stocks, you know, heading into the fourth quarter and early 2022 and projections are are trending positive. So well done to Scott and the team and to the whole crew at Sherwood Of course Sherwood now a TSI company part of the TSI family and that’s that’s gonna be pretty cool for you.

Mark Quinn


So it No, it’s fantastic. And the TSI team, I was actually in a phone call yesterday with some guys and they’re just really cool, man. But anyway, so Eric degenerates. So I was talking to his good guy on the East Coast anyway. So I was talking to Scott so it was weird in this walk and talk and so I’d asked him all these questions like why did TempurPedic by Sherwood and, you know, why did you leave the culture in place and all these things? So we were getting to the end of the interview, and so I said, at the very end, I just kind of get one more question. Is it true that a good mattress can deliver a better sexual experience? And so of course we’re not going to use that in the video but I just wanted to hit him with it to see what kind of reaction I would get in the moment. You know, would it be fun and he did not skip a beat. He was like, You know, so he answered it. And he was like, I don’t think that’s possible. You know, he was just kind of joking around. But anyway, I thought it was really funny, great sense of humour. He likes to joke around and stuff. So anyway, had a great time with Scott Scott. Thanks again, for being part of that video. Very, very cool. But

Mark Kinsley


Anyway, well, thanks to the, to the ideas that have been flowing our way also, for how to deal with these price increases with your retail team. And here’s the distinction that we want to draw today as we talk about the selling process. Because when a consumer comes into the marketplace, they generally have no idea how much a mattress should cost. But we’ve been hearing from people that their teams, their retail sales associates, are having a hard time figuring out if I’ve got a 599 mattress that’s now costing 799. They mentally know, they have to cross that hurdle, and they’re having a hard time jumping it without tripping. So how do you get your team to a place where 599 is now 799 799 is now 999. They’re the ones that are facing these internal hiccups, whereas the consumer doesn’t really know what the price Of that mattress should be. So we have five ideas for you to implement. And the first one is read Jeff shires article on Fan News, I’ve got my education shirt on right now Jeff wrote a piece that’s been one of our most popular articles, you can listen to it, as well, because on fam dot news, every article has a complimentary audio story. But the title of the article and we’ll link to this in the show notes is how to explain price increases to mattress customers. And Jeff does a great job outlining how you can explain price increases to the average person and making make it meaningful. And when you do that, you’re showing that you have knowledge and expertise about your category. And you’re not just blowing smoke, you’re actually giving them substantive details about what’s happening in our industry. And you’re going to be that source of information. And that’s going to help with their confidence in shopping with you. But definitely read or listen to this article how to explain price increases to customers, by Jeff Shire, the educator himself, and it’s up on fam dot news right now. That’s number one.

Mark Quinn


You know, Mark, a question for you. Do you think? And I think that there is some of that that’s required because consumers come in the ones that are in the know, right? And they’re probably aware, I mean, everything is more expensive. So I’m sure that a normal question would be, hey, so what’s happening in the mattress industry as you’re going shopping from address, but do you think that the price increases are more of an issue for the consumer? Or do you think the price increases might be a bigger challenge for the people in the category like the retail sales?

Mark Kinsley


So that I think is the real issue is that retail sales associate and people in the category, I think consumers across the board are going to buy milk and bread and they’re paying six 8% more, they know the price of goods has gone up. And whenever you buy a mattress so infrequently, it’s not you know, a consumable, you’re not buying it every day, you don’t know how much it’s supposed to cost. And if you have a problem, and look, we we talk about this all the time sleep is owned by problems, problems, own sleep, so they have a problem they’re trying to solve, whether it’s a bad mattress and their back hurts, or they’re refreshing their bedroom, they’re coming in and they want to solve that problem. They’re not coming in thinking, yeah, I, I’m pretty sure this mattress should cost $200 less than what it costs. So I think it’s for people in the category and look, we know there are labour issues as well. So maybe use this is kind of a little land Yep, idea. But maybe use your new talent as a way to drag your existing talent along because that new retail sales associate that’s coming in and selling with you, they don’t know how much these items are supposed to cost anyway. So when they train on this, they’re going to have fresh eyes, and they’re not going to have all that baggage of the previous price hanging over their head when they talk to a consumer when they come in.

Mark Quinn


Absolutely true. And I think that helping the consumer in their journey is always going to pay out in a big way for them. You know, another one Kinsey number two, a way to deal with a price increase is product development, right. And so a lot of times manufacturers have to pass along the price increase, they might be able to redesign the bed, they might be able to put a new fabric on top of new tech that has a lower cost, they may be able to cut cost on a you know instead of doing a metal corner guard and the box spraying a plastic corner guard on the boxspring. So it’s really some cost engineering that always kind of happens at this time because the manufacturer doesn’t want to pass on an increase and they don’t want to take that same bed same profile and increase the price. Because it can dampen sales. So anyway, product developments always a good clever way to do that.

Mark Kinsley


Yeah, I hadn’t really thought about it from that angle for the purpose of this show. But you’re right. I mean, there’s Value Engineering that can happen to existing models. So if you’re working with a manufacturer, for example, and you like the guts of that bed, you like the feel, and your people like selling it, you know, just to re skinning of that sometimes can help, because your people aren’t going to look at that bed in the same way. And if you add some sort of feature to the cover, for example, now you’ve got a cooling story, or maybe you have, you know, copper infused latex, copper infused memory foam for the anti inflammatory properties of copper, like just some one small thing, sometimes to that existing mattress to give it more story can help and look, product development. And new product hasn’t been a major part of the conversation in the industry lately, because people just want to get the goods, Hey, get I’m a retailer, do you have something in stock, I can sell? Great, that’s what I want. I think that’s going to start to evolve a little bit. We’re heading up toward espa Expo in March. And for people in the manufacturing and supply side, this is a Super Bowl for us, right? It’s a big deal, because that’s where all of the components suppliers and people that serve on the supply side manufacturers go to look at product innovation and product development. And so as retailers and retail sales associates and retail managers think about, hey, how can I get my people to understand these price increases, sometimes the easiest way to do is change out that slot, and re slot it with a new product that has a little bit more story or looks different. So people aren’t stuck in that old pattern in the old way of thinking. Because right here, that’s our 299 spot, and we’ve been selling that, you know, vertical oil unit for the past 10 years, and I’m not going to change it out you’re gonna have to, you’re gonna have to shuffle it up. And I think product development product innovation is going to start to snowball in a positive way. We’ve already talked to Ryan trainer and Mary Helen from espa. They said the expos filling up, we’re going to be there. And and I think we’re going to see, hopefully, companies that have had the time. Because Because we all got the gift of time at certain points along this path. And maybe that time was given because you’re not travelling as much. And your product development, your innovation team wasn’t travelling as much had a chance to put your heads together. So I’m really excited to see what happens on the innovation side of things. And that’s a that’s number two on our list and take us into number three.

Mark Quinn


Number three training training training right in so Kinsley, when I first got out of college, I travelled every seven weeks to a different city. And we did training sessions with all kinds of companies for anyone that sold anything caskets, forklifts, car is insurance. And we would go in and I would first meet with their sales manager and say, you know, what, what’s the biggest issue inside your industry today? And what are the objections that your sales guys are facing? I can’t tell you how often price was one of the biggest concerns and even though that’s true for so many different industries, I think it’s also one of the easiest to overcome. And I heard a guy one time say that whenever I hear a price objection, I never let it bother me or rattle me, like the weaker salespeople always have the tougher time dealing with prices and objection. The Veterans, this is one of the things he said, Mrs. Smith, the price is the price for a very good reason. Would you like to know why? Right. And the other part of it was connecting quality to the price. So never ever talk about price, we have something cheaper, we have something less expensive. It’s always a quality conversations, we have that bed, if you want something for a little bit less quality, I have that for you also, and it’s over here, right? So there is a direct correlation between price and quality. And so but on the training side as it relates to this issue, the other part of it is, you know, when someone is telling you that it’s too expensive, what they’re really saying to you is that they don’t perceive the value to be greater than the price that you’re asking. Right? And so now I think more than ever, sales managers out there are going to have to refocus people and say, guys, yes, the price has gone up. But the good news is, I guess it’s good news is it’s it’s relative across the market, because every store in our market is getting the same increase, right? So I’ve talked to retailers and they’re kind of worried about, oh my gosh, I’m gonna get this price increase. I’m not going to be competitive. I’m like, don’t worry about being competitive, because everybody is getting the same increase in certain times in my career. Maybe a price increase went out and it didn’t necessarily get applied to everyone, but I can assure everyone listen To this, that everyone’s getting the increases right now. So anyway they get it requires time focus and attention from the sales manager to acknowledge that price could be an issue. They understand that the increases have been coming fast and furious. And then how to help their team really overcome that in the selling. Yeah, so

Mark Kinsley


I think to put a bow on number three, absent of value, people make decisions on price. So how are you building value and everything you have. And you just pointed out some really great correlations between price and quality and making sure that your people are adept at anchoring the consumer and the idea that price and quality hold hands, and you can explain your step up stories. And you can build value in those step up stories, and you’ve merchandise your floor in such a way that it’s easy to see that step and those tears. And so how are you building value in everything that you do? How are you building value in the intangibles of what it means to shop in a store? When I say intangible it is tangible. I mean, we have financing, we have the sleep ecosystem that we offer the adjustable basis and everything that you want for that great sleep experience, we have delivery, we have takeaway, we have a guarantee, we have people here you can talk to. So all of those things that you need to be built building value in, if you don’t build value in them, don’t expect the consumer to know and I think this is why people like Dr. V, with Miss Kelly’s are so big on making sure you have a process and you follow it every time. Because if you’re good as a salesperson, you can kind of predict some things and then you start skipping over the process. But this is the only time somebody shopping for a mattress in a long time. Don’t deny them the opportunity to see the value in what you do and build value in everything you do. Otherwise, you’re gonna make decisions on price.

Mark Quinn


You know, it’s funny, you bring up Dr. V, he’s kind of like our Yoda, isn’t he, like we’re reading Mark and I are reading a book building a story brand. And Tom Murray turned me on to a Chief Marketing Officer for TempurPedic. We’re gonna have him on the show very soon. But you and I become big enthusiast for this book. And in the book, he talks about being a guide. And so he talks about Star Wars in there, but you read a doctor via one of the other reasons that his approach works is because he’s so passionate about the category mark, right. So when people come into his department, when they come into shop for a mattress, they learn very quickly, they’re not there to buy a mattress, they’re there to buy a piece of furniture for their home, that’s going to change their life. And when you frame the purchase in that context, then price is definitely less relevant than for someone who’s just coming in to do or to make a grudge purchase on something they didn’t want to buy in the first place. And they do a terrific job of framing that differently. So thank you Master Yoda, Dr. V for bringing some light to that again. And once again, inspiring Mark and I on the show, but Kinsley number four, or we talked about getting

Mark Kinsley


well, we mixed up our order here a little bit. But number four is really being intentional with your training. So it’s a very simple thing here. But we talked about building value in everything you do. But be intentional when, again, if you have a 599 mattress that now cost 799 you need to be intentional about getting your team together, and ensuring that you’re all singing from the same hymnal because you can’t just assume but by saying at one time that hey, this is now more expensive, you need to sell it, that they’re going to understand why it’s more expensive, how to sell it differently. If prices on your floor haven’t increased at the same percentage, then the mixture is off, the flow is off. So be intentional about getting together with your team. And just having that meeting and training is not something that happens one time training something that’s ongoing. So make sure that you have this as part of your agenda, explaining price increases, helping them know how to handle objections, helping them understand what’s happening on your floor. And then keep doing that keep training on that it’s very important.

Mark Quinn
Yeah, no, that’s a great point Mark. And you know, repetition is motherhood learning.

Mark Kinsley

Thank you. A lot. So this one is about everything. You said it to me many times

Mark Quinn


Well, it’s because I repeated you all the time and there’s things that you always bring up for me and I remember them thinking is because there’s some clever adage is there but anyway, it is another learning so when you maybe haven’t done training by skew and you show step up stories, maybe does some of that training back off. When you talk about how to you know not hit them with a, you know, like an ad on sale at the very end. you incorporate that at that at the beginning. So it’s not a surprise to them or whatever. So dust off some of those old things that you’ve been doing and Incorporated. By the way, a real quick fun training thing to do. If you’re out there, listening to this in your sales manager, take a $20 bill and a $1 bill and give the $1 bill or the $20 bill to the retail salesperson, bring up someone in your inner department. And then you have the $1 bill and say, I want to sell you this $1 bill to the sales associate. And so it’s a great $1 bill, it’s very crisp, it looks like it was printed in 2017. So it’s fairly new. And all it’s going to cost you is the $20 bill you have in your hand. And then you ask the salesperson that has a $20 bill, you say would you be willing to trade me for those 20 I read, I’ll give you the one you give me the 20 they’re like hell no, I’m not giving you my 20 for a one, okay, then you reverse that, right? You give them the one, you take the 20, you do the same thing, you build value in the note itself. And you say it’s printed recently, blah, blah, blah. And all this $20 bill is gonna cost you is $1 would you be willing to pay for it? And they go hell yes. Give me that. So you give them the 20 have them sit down, they example cost you 20 bucks, you could do it with a five, I suppose. But anyway, the whole point of it is selling is really that simple mark, it just is it is if they don’t see the value, if it’s not that clear that there’s a $19 advantage to making that trade, then they’re never gonna buy. So it’s training and building value. We’re mixing three and four all together. So it’s good stuff, but you have one of my favourites. So let’s tease this one out.

Mark Kinsley


And it’s called the Scrabble Technique and talk about mixing it together. This is my strategy. Sometimes in Scrabble, whenever I’ve got all my tiles, and I get stuck, and I can’t make a word, I will put them facedown in front of me on the table, I will mix them together, I’ll put the tiles back on the tray and a new and random order. And suddenly, I see things differently. I forced myself to see things differently. And I’m able to make words it works for me very consistently. And so if people are seeing your sales floor in the same way over and over and over again, what if you used the Scrabble tile mix up technique and just changed around your floor? I know for people that run multiple stores, this could be highly impractical. But think about the principle involved here. The principle is how do we force ourselves to see our business differently. Maybe it’s some sort of physical change that you’re making in your environment in your retail store, maybe you are taking one store and you’re truly shuffling those Scrabble tiles around and putting them back and just seeing how your team might react to that as an experiment. Maybe you do it in a warehouse in a space where you can put together a showroom floor that’s different. But think about how you can for absolutely force your team. Like you’re getting hit across the face with an oar and you’re falling out of the boat and you’re in the water like you’re you got it like sometimes really hit people hard and unexpectedly to get the brain out of these paradigms because we get stuck in these ruts. And when you do that sometimes shuffling those Scrabble tiles is a good way just to force yourself to see things differently.

Mark Quinn


What’s wrong with you? Why are you have to inspire violence you’re talking about hitting people in the face with a or for a boat? Who does not mean

Mark Kinsley


we do that? We do that? I you’re not You and I are now going to couldn t said

Mark Quinn


hello? Can Jesus like hit him in the pillow hit him in the face? You’re gonna leave a mark.

Mark Kinsley


Have you ever gotten hit with him?

Mark Quinn


Not ever. And by the way, who the hell plays Scrabble? Anyway, I’d like to know that

Mark Kinsley
when it was called COVID shutdowns It was called lock in how did you not play Scrabble?

Mark Quinn


Dude, let me just tell you there’s a lot of like we need to update your board game live.

Mark Kinsley


I even got my lazy back. I got Susan dedicated to Scrabble now, we do use it in our kitchen for like salt and olive oil and like little plants and stuff like that. But then I scraped that thing up, bring it over to over to the dining room table and the Scrabble board turns and it’s very convenient. I love Scrabble.

Mark Quinn


God that is I can’t believe you’re admitting it number one. Number two, I have never one time played Scrabble you never have. So I think you I honestly don’t know what it might be because I can’t spell so maybe it’s not my best game.

Mark Kinsley


I wasn’t gonna say that you teed me up, but that God for alexis.

Mark Quinn

I don’t need you. Nevermind. So Kinsley back to your Scrabble thing, though. I don’t want to leave that point it but I did want to make fun of you. So the Scrabble technique, if you think about it, you can arrange a floor a lot of different ways, right? You can arrange a floor by brand. You can arrange a floor, my comfort level. I’ve seen that done. We have all the plushes In the teletypes in a space, you can arrange the floor and by price point. So there’s a lot of different ways to do it. And you may be hell bent on the way you do it. But man, I really like what you’re saying just mix it up a little bit, you never know what you might see, you never know what you might discover, you never know if doing that might like literally take the focus off of price a little bit just by the way that you arrange it and the experience the consumer goes through. So I think it’s great. I think it’s in Yeah, to your point. I mean, you got 10 stores, you know, just try a store. But you know, the other part of that is get your retail sales people to throw in some ideas around that and maybe make them part of the process and have a little bit of fun with that.

Mark Kinsley


I like that I think my camera went off for people that are watching. But that’s okay, you can take us out. We know we wrapped up the show, too. And we made it all the way and I think we should roll out on this. I’m not even really going to do much of a setup. But we we had a moment this past summer where I gave you a gift. And I just wanted to send a shout out and a thank you to Jose Lopez, an amazing person who’s worked in the mattress industry a long time and he’s no longer in the industry. But this is our moment we share this past summer and it was so much fun. And hey, be sure to subscribe on fam dot news, become a member you get the audiobook for free. You also get our 2021 mattress buyers research, which has been a hot hot topic on the site. So dig in and find out what you don’t know. And subscribe on iTunes. And be sure to subscribe on your podcast apps and leave us a review because like you said, when we’re gonna have Tom Murray, who is the CMO of TempurPedic, and you don’t want to miss that interview.

Mark Quinn


Now you know and guys tell someone about the show, not just subscribe, don’t just say this review, please share it with someone because there’s some really good stuff. And Mark and I were talking just the other day. This is an idea place. It’s an Idea Factory. It’s not just our ideas. We’re taking the ideas that we hear from all of you. And we’re in a unique position to be that campfire the income around and so please share it with someone else that may benefit them and Mr. Lopez and your son both. Were very grateful what you did was very cool and we love it and thank you and can’t wait so check it out right here.

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