Despite what those outside the industry might think, to say RSAs are the backbone of the home furnishings retail would be an understatement.
They are the ones spearheading the sales, talking to and learning about customers. They train and memorize product details, brand names, and SKUs, all while offering service with a smile.
At The FAM, we have mad respect for RSA, so we decided to talk to RSAs and see what sage advice they have as soldiers on the front line.
When Isabella Clark, needed a change of pace, she decided to try something new and interesting: mattress sales.
Starting six months ago as an RSA at Columbus Mattress Whole in Ohio, she says she’s enjoyed learning and growing her knowledge of the industry.
“Working for a mattress store means you have to be willing to learn and you have to be excited about the information being thrown at you,” Clark explains. “The more you look into mattresses the more you realize how intricate they are and how much people truly don’t know about them.”
She says she’s grown to love working at Columbus because it’s a very professional and welcoming place. “I have learned a tremendous amount,” she says. “The owners take very good care of their employees and try to push you to be the best you can be. “
Clark admits that one of her least favorite parts of the job is the constant battle of mattress misconceptions with customers.
“The biggest misconception is that the employees are in it for the money,” she says. “I truly enjoy helping a customer find the perfect mattress for them regardless of money. The customer is in control of their choices. And the average person isn’t fully aware of what mattress would fit them best because they don’t do the prior research.”
To overcome that misconception, she says it’s smart to have a one-on-one with the customer and explain that they have control and that the RSA is there to guide them in the correct direction.
As for what gets her fired up, she says, in a good way, she could talk about the benefits of adjustable bed bases all day.
“They improve circulation, help with back problems, snoring issues, and more,” she says. “In a bad way, I get fired up when my genuine advice is thrown out the window because I must just be in it for the money.”
But in the end, Clark looks to her purpose to keep her going.
“The purpose of what I do is to provide an act of service,” she explains. “I am helping my customers find the perfect mattress fit for them — the balance between support and comfort that fits each individual customer’s needs.”
While Clark feels the mattress industry focuses on the health and wellbeing of its customers and truly puts the customer’s needs and happiness first, she also says we should better advertise where, how, and with what the mattresses are made of, because customers are often worried about these facts.”
That’s why listening to customers is key, according to Clark, as is addressing customer needs and concerns and asking the right questions.
“Ask what their mattress currently feels like, how long they’ve had it, why they’re looking for a new one, if they have any health concerns, and more,” Clark offers.
Getting a message of diversity across is key as well, as Clark says that every mattress is different in some way.
“All foams are different and even the coil counts run differently between mattresses,” she explains. “Some use latex, some use all foam, and some use a combination. Customers have to be willing to try different options to see what works best for you.”
Finally, Clark offers this piece of sage advice for other RSAs in the industry: “Be prepared to learn and put in work. Nothing comes easy, but the reward at the end is great. Mattresses are more intricate and detailed than you think.”