Negotiating price for mattresses


Tip 1

There are two things you should bring when going shopping for a mattress; our framework provided below and a notebook. Not only will this help you compare mattresses at different stores but you will also get the salesperson's attention and most importantly, his/her respect.

The mattress salesperson will see that you are doing your research and realize he/she will have to work hard for your business, which means a better deal for you.

Our framework and a notebook will also help you sort out all the statistics of the beds you are interested in. This is called the Buyclass theory of purchasing. This refers to a scheme that divides organizational buying decisions into types based on the complexity and effort required to make them.

There are three decision-making decisions you are doing here, which will most certainly impress the salesperson and help you make the right buy:

1. You are gathering as much information as possible prior to making a decision.

2. You are also considering all possible alternatives seriously.

3. Lastly, you are becoming familiar with the type of purchase you are making.


Tip 2 - How to Comparison Shop for a Mattress

Now we are going to teach you to comparison shop for a mattress, also known as making an Accommodative Purchase decision. This is a process that uses bargaining, coercion, compromise, and the wielding of power to achieve an agreement with the salesperson who most likely has a different preference or priority than you.

So, now that you have your trusty notebook and our framework, you can begin taking down information and statistics on your favorite mattresses now you are ready for some cognitive learning.

As you are taking down some statistics, try out the mattresses you are interested in by lying on them. Make sure you lie on each one for three to five minutes so you get a good feel for it. Also, roll around a bit to see how the mattress responds to your body.

After lying on a bunch of them, pick out your favorite two and write down the statistics for the bed (manufacturer, best price, coil count, coil gauge, ticking, etc.) If the information is not available, ask for the spec sheet.

After you do this, ask the salesperson what the absolute best price is for one of them. Whatever the price is, even if it sounds like a bargain, reply by saying something like "Wow, that's pretty high." Then, do the same thing with your other favorite mattress.

The salesperson will try to convince you to buy one right then, but make sure to leave the store without buying anything!

When you get to the next shop, ask that salesperson for the brand with the same specification of your favorite mattress that was in the other store. It will most certainly be called something else but it is probably the same exact bed.

Once the salesperson shows you the mattress with the same specifications, lie on it and see if it feels similar to the one in the previous store. Then ask the salesperson what the best price is for this specific mattress.

After he/she responds, say something like, "Wow, that's a lot higher than (name the previous store you were in)" your competitors have a lower price on this one, how about another one?? Then ask about your second favorite mattress and do the same exact thing.

By using these tactics, you will compare apples with apples and get the best price from your respective salesperson.

This is called using Compensatory Decision Rules. These are a set of rules that allows information about attributes of competing products to be averaged in some way; good standing on one can potentially offset poor standing on another attribute.

You are doing this by rating your two favorite mattresses and taking down the specifications for each one.

For each mattress you evaluate make note of each of the following categories. This is the key to changing your mattress shopping experience from subjective to objective.

Coil Count:
Best Price:


Tip 3 - Everything is always on sale!

You are going to hear a lot of this, "We actually have a special sale on this particular mattress." And "Unfortunately, the sale ends today." Don't believe it!

Almost every store will have a "special sale" that day to make you think that the sales price is non-negotiable when in fact, it is. Make sure to look at the price they are offering as a starting price and not a sales price.

Remember this important rule:



Tip 4 - Don't be an impulse buyer!

Do NOT buy a mattress your first day shopping. You want to control your urge to purchase right away and consider all your options. You will save more money going from shop to shop taking notes and comparing beds and you will end up with the best mattress for you. Learn and practice this line for the first day, "Thanks, but I'm just looking." Make sure to memorize that line if you typically buy products without any additional information, research or deliberation. Impulse shoppers are an easy target for mattress sales staff. Remember, the salespeople will try to convince you that your favorite bed is on sale for today only. No matter what he/she says, just say, "Thanks, but I'm just looking." If that doesn't work, then bring your partner. If you don't have a partner pretend that you have one and say you need to consult with your partner before you purchase. Even if you only have time to visit two mattress stores you will certainly have made a better purchase decision than a single store purchase.


Tip 5 - Bring a partner

Bringing your spouse/partner or someone who can pretend to be your partner would not only be helpful in buying the best mattress, but you can also use each other for negotiating tactics. For example, you can pretend that you and your partner make autocratic decisions. This is when certain purchasing decisions are made by one of you and the other has no say. You should decide going into the store which one of you has power in making the decision for buying a mattress. This way, you both can strategically work the salesperson at different angles. One can play the semi-good guy role and say things like, "This is comfortable but a little expensive," while the other can play the bad guy role and say things like "We can't afford a mattress, I don't know why we're here," and, "This is way too expensive." Upon hearing this, the salesperson will almost certainly drop the price if he/she thinks the person playing the bad guy can be persuaded.

Another effective method is what is called using the synoptic ideal. This calls for the two people shopping to take a common view and act as joint decision makers. Using this principle, you can carefully weigh alternatives, assign one another well-defined roles, and calmly make mutually beneficial consumer decisions. For example, both of you could use the same tactics discussed before and kind of double-team the salesperson. Let's say you really like a bed in the store you are in, but the store's competitor had a similar bed which was not as comfortable but was at a cheaper price. Well, if you both make strong points about the specifications and prices that were in the competitor's store, the salesperson will most likely match the price and perhaps lower it a little more.

Having your partner or friend shop with you is a good tactic to help in negotiating price. This approach usually thwarts any impulse purchases as well.


Tip 7 - When going alone...

If you must go alone, pretend that you do have a boyfriend, girlfriend, husband or wife. After using the other negotiating methods we discussed, tell the salesperson you're interested in buying the bed but you first have to consult with your partner. This is a very powerful way to negotiate a price because the salesperson will not want you to leave his/her store without buying a bed, especially since your partner seems to have the potential to overrule your decision. Therefore, the salesperson might even lower the price some more!


Tip 7 - Defend yourself from these tactics

The salespeople you encounter in mattress stores may follow you around and ask you questions. As polite as possible, answer their questions as they are only trying to do their jobs but be careful of their clever sales tactics.

One tactic is the foot-in-the door technique. This is based on the observation that a consumer is more likely to comply with a request if he/she has first agreed to comply with a smaller request. For example, a salesperson may ask you what type of bed you like and then offer for you to lie on one that you described. If you are still researching, politely respond by saying, "I'm just looking, thanks." Otherwise, if you do test a bed out in front him/her, he/she will be more likely to try to sell one that day and keep you from doing your research and who knows, he/she may succeed! Remember, if you are still researching - then you are not ready to purchase!

Another tactic is frequency marketing. This is a marketing technique that reinforces regular purchasers by rewarding them with values that increase as the amount purchased increases. For example, a salesperson may try to convince you to buy a bed by throwing in some free stuff like delivery or offer you a discount price if you decide to buy two or more mattresses (in case you are shopping for the whole family all at once). Some of these deals may be good but make sure to do your research and find out what you would get on each one before committing to the buy more - pay less offer.

A salesperson might also use fear appeal as a tactic, which is highly effective for them. You can recognize this tactic during negotiations when the salesperson attempts to change attitudes or behavior through the use of threats or by the highlighting of negative consequences. For example, the salesperson might recognize that you are working him/her and say something like "Are you going to buy it for this price or not because I have several other buyers coming in later today that are willing to pay more than you." He/she is rarely telling the truth because if he/she is, then why is he/she taking time to talk to you! So, at this point say fine, walk away and keep looking or go to another store. If you still don't find a bed, then go back to the store and see if your mattress is still available. If it is, the salesperson will almost certainly lower the price. Remember this is your purchase and you should be in control of this decision. Know what you want and get what you want.


Tip 8 - Accommodative Purchase Decision

This is the process of using bargaining, coercion, compromise, and the wielding of power to achieve an agreement with the salesperson. Your best bargaining statement is, "Wow, that's pretty high." This is one of the most important statements you can make, so it's worth mentioning again. After you show interest in a bed, ask for the price and then say "Wow, that's pretty high." As long as a few dollars seems to be the only obstacle coming between you and that particular mattress that day, the salesperson should lower the purchase price.


Tip 9 - Financing your bed

We advise to pay for everything up front but ultimately that is something you must decide on your own. However, never talk about financing a bed, until you have agreed on a cash price. The financing can wait until later. The reason for this is because the salesperson can use this as an advantage. If you tell him/her you can't afford it now, he/she will try offering various financing plans that will sound great and distract you from the task at hand, which is saving money while purchasing your mattress! Remember, first get the price down to a number you are comfortable with, then you can discuss how you want to pay for it.


Tip 10 - Other expenses? Balance theory

Be wary of the other expenses you may be charged for and the balance theory of the salesperson. This is when the salesperson considers relations among elements a person might perceive as belonging together, and people's tendency to change relations among elements in order to make them consistent or "balanced." For example, overcharging for delivery to make up for the low price of the mattress that was just agreed upon. Talk to the salesperson right away and find out the store's policy for delivery, setup and take away expense to avoid this situation. Otherwise, it may interfere with the negotiation of the mattress price. After you beat him/her up on price for your favorite mattress, he/she may try to make it up with those expenses by overcharging in other areas. Remember you are an educated consumer who will not be taken advantage of.