1- Hello Donnie, can you tell us a bit about yourself
Sure. I was raised in a little small town called Martinsburg, WV. It is located in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia. I am one of 5 children and lived in the same house until I moved to Florida in 2003. I am married and have 2 children, both boys.
2- What are your focus areas and why?
I currently write about my experiences as a mattress salesperson, store manager, and ultimately district manager for Sleepy’s. The Mattress Professionals. I have found that customers are extremely frustrated when purchasing a mattress and the experience ranks only slightly above having to buy a new car in terms of enjoyment. They were frustrated before they entered my store to purchase, so I found a unique opportunity to share what I know with them from a behind the scenes viewpoint.
3- How Donnie see and describes his book?
My book is for the “average Jane”. Women are the primary decision-makers in the mattress world and she can use my insights to ensure a fair deal is being given to her while on the sales floor. I specifically wrote a chapter on negotiation that does not involve “hardball” tactics so that the average person can still get a good deal on their new mattress.
4- Where do you think you are making an impact?
Hopefully on the consumer that is tired of commission salespeople in mattress stores. I lived that life for more than 5 years and I can tell you that people are tired of being badgered and beat up to make a purchase. The average person wants to be educated and informed, not mentally beaten down into submission.
5- What are some things that most people don’t know about your job?
Most people don’t realise that salespeople are often in the stores for hours and hours without anyone coming in to make a purchase. This is one of the reasons that salespeople tend to be super aggressive when they finally have the chance to sell something, they are bored stiff!
Secondly, consumers also tend to think that mattress salespeople get credit for sales when they bring back a business card. This is not true in most cases.
Thirdly, consumers have to be in control of their sale. If they allow the salesperson to dictate the sale they will spend more than they want to. The salespeople are trained to do this. You must educate yourself prior to mattress shopping.
6- The business world is very changing, where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
Writing. I simply love it. I never thought in a million years that I could publish a book and people would be interested in what I have to say. Not only are people interested, but they are engaging as well. I have found nothing but support from my family and friends, including all the new ones I am making now.
I have a plan to do a series of books. I am working on a new one as we speak today.
In time I hope to establish myself as a brand that people can trust for practical, money saving advice in all aspects of life. I had to write about something I knew extremely well to prove that I had valuable information to share. Someday, I hope this includes a podcast or radio show for those reading and listening!
7- What were some of the biggest challenges you encountered while writing the book?
Time and brevity.
I work a 40 hour per week job. I also have a family and pretty active social life as well. Finding the time to write is harder than you think it will be. You have to excuse yourself to leave and go home to work on something that no one will see for months or even years from now. That was hard.
Brevity of the material was fairly hard as well. There is so much more that could have been written about mattresses, but I wanted to keep it as brief as possible for the reader. I didn’t think a 400-page book on mattresses was practical to anyone, myself included. I wanted to produce an easy to read, step-by-step guide that helps you along your journey of mattress shopping. I hope I accomplished this with Mattress Buying 101.
8- What are you most excited about at the moment?
I am most excited about the future of business in general. I believe that next generation of business will be completely mobile, lean on inventory, and respond quickly to their customer base. Working from home should become the new normal as technology continues to make strides with secure servers that can be accessed remotely. People are becoming less likely to leave home and go shopping, so this should be a boon to companies that specialise in HD graphics paired with website design.
The challenge will be making sales in an environment where comparison shopping is a couple mouse clicks away. I think certain business models will continue to thrive in a retail store environment, though. Mattress sales are one that will survive in a retail environment, as should car sales and furniture. People still want to see and touch certain goods prior to purchase. Pricing will still be key in this new environment, however, as the customer is not willing to pay more just because you have it in the store to see.
9- What can you tell to young salespeople who want to start a new adventure?
Go for it right now! Don’t wait!
Figure out a way to start chasing your dreams while keeping your feet on the ground. Keep your job and build from the ground up. Remember, 90% of start-ups fail, so you have to expect failure along your road to greatness. The first idea may not work out, but don’t let that stop you from creating and trying to be better tomorrow than you are today.
Also, break your big goals into achievable steps and reward yourself when you accomplish the little things along the way. I rewarded myself with a movie or ice cream when I finished writing a section of my book. If your goal is more customers, than celebrate the 1st, 10th, 20th, etc. You have to keep yourself motivated to keep going. Little treats and rewards can help keep you in a positive state of mind.
Surround yourself with greatness. I didn’t write the book by myself. I wrote all the words, but the book was pushed along with help from great people! I had friends and family encouraging me to finish it so they could read it. Great people motivate you to be better than you thought you were!
10- The last Word or final thoughts?
Anyone that stands in your way while you are chasing your dreams needs to get the hell out of the way. Get these type of people out of your life as fast as possible. There will be enough struggles along the road to greatness without these bloodsuckers telling you it’s “okay to fail”, and “that’s just how life goes”, etc.
You are awesome in some way!
You are contributing to this world!
You are making a difference in someone’s life!