When I first got into this business, I worked for Stearns & Foster, which at the time was owned by Sealy but had its own sales force and product development team. We sold Correct Comfort products with 390 12¾-gauge innersprings. This was a problem because at the time, Sealy (our sister company) and other leading brands were selling mattresses with 660 coils, although the gauge of wire was much thinner. In training meetings with RSAs, we used to say, “stronger wire, less coils is just as good as thinner wire, more coils; it really is six of one, half-dozen of another.” Then the industry moved away from any conversation around spec or coil counts with Nat Bernstein’s Comfort Selling program, which we launched at Sealy. (There may have been other similar training out there or people doing it before we did, but Sealy was THE leader back then so I am pretty confident this led the rest of the producers.) With this approach, we took as much focus off the components as we could and simply sold the comfort of the product above all else. It was easy. It was effective. It worked.
Times have changed. Consumers are not as easy to sell to; they are more educated than ever with the Internet, they are sick and tired of the lack of transparency in our industry, and selling comfort only just won’t get it done in many cases. All of that to say, COIL COUNTS MATTER! Yes, I work for a spring producer, so it won’t surprise you that I am taking this position, but hear me out on my list of seven reasons to focus on the count and construction of the innerspring:
- There are many (notice I didn’t say all) consumers that just want more information about what is inside the bed. YOU may not be the spec type or need to have a breakdown of the construction, but do not make the mistake of assuming those people are not out there. If you live in Clear Lake, Houston, you know exactly what I am talking about!
- If there is a $300 difference from one bed to another, telling them that comfort is the reason for the jump just won’t get it done. The consumer needs you to JUSTIFY the higher price with other reasons in order to believe.
- More coils can in fact mean more comfort and more support. If you take similar constructions and decrease coil count, it is going to have a direct impact on the feel and likely the durability of the mattress.
- With the new micro coils from Spinks/Hickory Springs and Leggett & Platt, this new sleep tech delivers a great story for the RSA to share with the consumer.
- Look at Europe. Coil counts are marketed very successfully and it helps them drive consumer interest.
- Some may say that speaking about coil counts or construction could complicate things at the point of sale, but I strongly disagree with that. In fact, I think it’s just the opposite; it makes things SOOOOO much easier for the consumer to understand. If you SIMPLIFY the experience for the consumer, you will win. Explaining that more coils are better than less coils is pretty much a no-brainer.
- There is a discernible comfort difference in testing an average bed versus one with 50% more coils in it. If you can deliver a selling point that is experiential for the consumer, you will get that sale.
So have I convinced you? If you agree or disagree with me, help us learn more on the subject by completing a quick survey. Sleep Geek would like to understand the industry sentiment on this subject and YOU CAN HELP. I will release the findings in a future blog post, so carve out a few minutes, please. Take the survey now so you can be counted!
Agree 100 % Knowledge will out sale most other methods
I work for a reputable mattress company in Edmonton. I am a person who has cut many coils out of different pocket coil beds to illustrate the differences in coil counts to the average person. I strongly disagree with any BS about coil counts adding anything but a “story” to a bed. Of course it is easier to sell beds based on this, but I challenge anyone worth a hoot in this industry to successfully argue the merits of higher coil counts, (which the published story is vague about coil types) especially given the variables in foam, maintenance of the mattress, and protection. You could narrow this list down to one reason why coil counts matter: 1. It helps the ill informed sell to the ill informed. The only thing that may help the general public about buying beds with a hope for happiness, is to remove your “7 Reasons Coil Counts Matter” from the web and try this again. I pity the customer relying on your info to buy.
We are going to have to disagree on this one Tim. Please tell me what you are basing your opinion on, is there research there to back up what you are saying? Feel free to address each of the 7 if you would like and I will be happy to support my thoughts in more detail. Believe me, I understand the BS approach taken by many in our industry to make a point but I assure you there is more to this post than opinion and smoke.
I may be late in my response and sell few innerspring sets these days but during that time in my life it was easy to explain to a customer that what fails on any mattress is most commonly the upholstery layers (comfort layers). Therefore it is only reasonable to explain that More coils utilizing a thinner gauge (14 gauge) of wire will serve to flex moreso than a set with fewer coils utilizing heavy gauge (12.75 gauge) of wire. The higher the resistance to pressure the more quickly the upholstery layers will wear out causing loss of comfort. This is why I was never a Stearns fan. Simple really.
This is well after your comment, but it is worth noting that you make a claim about coil counts, then you ask someone ELSE to justify their claim. That’s not how evidence-based evaluation of reality works. You want to make a claim? Show YOUR evidence. You only say that reducing coil counts CAN reduce support and comfort, but that of course ignores the idea that coil count is not the ONLY thing that changes among designs. Coil structure, coil material, and interconnecting mechanisms matter.
Could not agree more Bruzote. I stand by my comment that lower coil counts can reduce support depending on the situation. Gauge, helical lacing, number of turns to a coil, coil geometry, how it is tempered, and how it is packed (among other things) can all influence the performance of an innerspring system there is no doubt but to get into that I would need to write a book on it that nobody would read. :-). I appreciate your comments, thanks for sharing.
Hey how about giving me some pointers, what to look for, how long they will last and so on please
Hey there Ken, give this website a try. There is a lot of great information to help you with your mattress shopping. http://bettersleep.org/
My best customers did not understand Coil Count 3 Years ago. After they made a very expensive mistake, they come searching for answers and relief from huge depressions. Steel Springs, and a lot of them reward me with many referrals.
Thanks Charlie and I agree. A bed made with a superior core will typically last longer. Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts.
This is a tough question, good salesmen should be educated in all of the different technologies about coil construction so they can answer their consumers’ questions. Latex and tempur mattresses have no coils, and we all know how important these mattresses are to our industry. So, coil counts have no bearing on the all foam bedding. The front coils on your car can support a couple thousand pounds, but they would not make a very comfortable mattress. Typically, the mattresses with fewer coils are less expensive for a reason; they usually are not covered with the most plush upholstery. As the coil count goes up, the quality of padding improves; both alter the feel of the mattress. I am not aware of any mattress company which offers a good, better, best comparison of their mattresses by simply changing the coil count and leaving the upholstery the same. So, the research seems to be tainted. There are definitely companies out there that dress their mattresses, “to the nines” on inferior coils, and then they sell them as more mattress for less money. Ultimately, the consumers should try to buy the most comfortable mattress they can afford. So, does coil count matter? Sometimes yes and sometimes no!
Well said Bill.
I feel you are making a broader attempt to say coil count can be a factor for some consumers so make sure you are in the know about coil technology. I also see were Tim is coming from. There are many factors when having a conversation about coils. This in itself leads customers to be confused.
Simmons uses the triple braided coil in their Beautyrest black series. When I did a simple PPI test with a basic scale sealy’s new titanium coil actually was stronger. And if my memory is correct there is about a 100 difference in coil count. But many retailers that carry the black series will sell the higher coil count and construction. L&P makes close to 95% of coils manufactured but we all know how the bed is constructed, used, and maintained play a huge factor in lasting comfort and durability. How much weight applied is another huge factor. It is no secret we have an obesity problem in America. Have manufactures adequately addressed this issue for the market? I would argue no.
Listening skills, product knowledge and candid conversations with your customer are the main points to selling any bed. I once had an hour long conversation with a guest about coils and coil count before I sold him a bed, and other customers the comfort is the sole decision.
I would agree that if there are two different price points you are showing a customer, you better have more to say than “well the more expensive bed is more comfortable.” People are different and their taste, preferences and needs are different. This in itself leads to such a wide selection of products it can become a daunting task to a customer shopping. Also with an 8-10 year buying cycle retailers are very sensitive to pricing. I love when a customer will ask “why are beds so expensive these days”. My reply is two fold: 1. Consumers are more demanding when solving their sleep needs so achieving a highers level of comfort is expensive, just like anything else you buy. 2. There are two other products you don’t buy everyday let alone every year, and that is a house and a car. When you buy those items they are always at a higher price point unless you want to sacrifice quality.
European societies are way more conformist than Americans are. Coils are a more in depth conversation to have and simplifying it to “more is better”, is naive. I will leave with this: It is important to know about coils and coil counts along with the specs of the beds you sell. However every interaction is different and the better your listening skills are the better you know what features, benefits and advantages are important to the customer you are talking to.
Very good reaction to my blog and I believe that you captured the intent of my message. Thanks for reading it and for your comments. It does depend on your audience as to how you approach that but to ignore it is not wise in my opinion!
I too, successfully sold during the “comfort factor only” era. But coil count has always been a part of the conversation with clients. As implied in points 2 3 and 7, comfort is in part a product of coil count/type/quality. It’s common sense. Point is, and has always been, know your product thoroughly. My client doesn’t need to know everything about their mattress, but I know the features that make the difference. My confidence in my knowledge makes her/him confident in their purchase.
Educating the customer on a mattress is significant to the sales process. As stated in the article, many customers don’t want to hear the specs, but for those who do, educating them is key! A mattress is a large purchase that will be a part of the customer’s life for years. I agree with the statement in the article saying that telling a customer that comfort is the reason a bed is $300 higher most likely isn’t going to cut it. What goes into the make and build of the bed that makes it worth more? If these are the details the customer is looking for, then explaining these specs to the customer and helping them understand is important.
I agree with you Amanda. For that certain customer that needs more of a reason to believe, getting into some of the details can be very important. I appreciate your comments and for reading!
In 1987 (approx) Simmons won a Clio Award (for Television Advertisements) for the “Bowling Ball Commercial” (Bowling Ball dropping on a raw Beautyrest Coil unit). The point of the commercial was mostly aimed at showing “what” the coils did (or more importantly what they “did NOT” do….(yes this was a long time ago)
Of course, no body really ever slept on a “raw” coil unit….but the TV spot was pretty well a successful one….and I credit Marv Beneteau for the genius of the idea….Marv was a good friend and a real asset to the Simmons Company in those days…..fwiw…
[Marvin Beneteau – Owner, The Retail Marketing Group
Greater Atlanta Area]
Enjoyed this discussion!!! Thanks…
Now those were the days Mr. Porter! They were very effective and will forever live in the mattress ad hall of fame. Thanks for reading sir!!!! Merry Christmas.
So, who can tell me what should I look for in a mattress for a person weighting 300 lbs +?
Just look for a bed that isn’t going to show a body impression Lidia. All foam beds like Tempur-Pedic are probably good for that. We have our own brand called Spink and Edgar that have as many as 9,000 coils in them so having that much steel in the bed would be a good thing as it won’t show impressions either. Hope that helps!
Your survey did not work, could not access it. OK so coils matter. Which ones are best, steel or titanium, and what is the best coil mattress out there? We bought a pillow top mattress 1.5 yrs ago. The ruts or gully’s in it are terrible, now they are called, body impressions. Other than gel or foam, there is not a mattress without a euro or pillow top to buy. The mattress manufacturers have us trapped. We are seniors and my husband has to have back surgery soon. I was doing research to find a new mattress that would support his back, without the ruts in the mattress top.
Sorry I am just now responding Shirley. Not sure what kind of bed you have but the brand is important. I am partners in a company called Spink and Edgar and you can look at our beds at spinkandedgarusa.com. We make beds with 3,000-9,000 coils and DO NOT USE foam, they are all natural. Foam is typically the culprit when it comes to a bed forming a body impression. I hope this helps and if you want to discuss it in person call my mobile at 630-788-7138 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.Prayers for your husband and his surgery.
So if a queen mattress has 900 coils that is 15 gauge and another queen mattress has 1000 coils at 16 gauge. which one will feel better? in terms of support
I totally depends on what the comfort layers are inside the bed and your definition of comfort. Don’t want to be vague but that is really the bottom line. If you are looking at any bed with 900 or more coils you are going to have the support you need which is important!
I had the same feeling many times when I visited a mattress shop (brick and mortar) or visited a mattress selling website – many times they were lacking transparency about how they produce/what is used to produce the mattress and mostly using the “comfort” as a sales point, as well as in some of the stored I felt like a victim put in front of bunch of predators to be eaten alive. As you stated in the article Mark, clients are getting more educated and they expect people who sell them stuff to be transparent and honest about their products, yet some of them forget that all the bs they are telling us can be now quickly debunked with a use of the mobile phone. I personally hope the industry will evolve into something more than just capitalizing on people who are in need of new mattress and will buy pretty much anything and I can already see this is starting to happen which will for sure benefit all current and future customers.
Thanks for reading this Silvia and for your comments. Authenticity is the only way for good companies to make their way to greatness.
interesting topic, my wife and i were out looking at mattresses tonight and the salesman tried using that exact comfort sales approach with us. we are interested in 2 beds, #1 sealy full size with 791 response cased coils, pillow top plush, actually this mattress felt very nice, and supportive.on sale for $439. bed #2 Simmons Harrington Pillow top full size with 465 Silver Recharge Coils, and a lot of fluff layers in the pillow top. feel was a bit on the spongy side, a bit softer then we like. also the simmons mattress was $739. both appeared to be equally covered and constructed. when i asked the salesman about the coil count difference he used the old double talk about comfort and tried to tell us that the coil count was about equal?really my math is not that bad, 791compared to 465? this encounter was not about comfort, but rather money$$$ sales commission on a higher priced item. we will be going back tomorrow for the $439 sealy as it did have a better feel.
This one is hard to navigate, especially now that there are so many micro coils in the market and when I wrote this post, that was not even part of the equation as those products were not really in the market. Glad you found a bed that you believe is a good value! Hope you are sleeping great; thanks for reading Mike!
This convinced me that more coils is a good sales pitch, but the only real difference I can see in the entire article is that more springs will feel ‘different’. As a mechanical engineer with metallurgy knowledge, assuming the springs are designed to have the same maximum stress (well below the yield strength) both spring systems will have the same durability. I would guess Q is correct; the foam is more likely to wear out than the springs.
Thanks for reading Ray. More coils definitely feels different and we know this from extensive testing. Especially when you are talking about the micro-coils being used today. Micro-coils only lose about 4% firmness vs. some foam at 47-50% over a ten-year cycle. You can feel anything over 10% so coils win. 🙂
Mark, so if i understood your point correctly, more coils does not affect durability of the mattress, it mostly affects the comfort? (if we disregard foam)
That was not my point, sorry if that is how it came across. Coils are very important for both comfort and for durability, especially now with the innovative things companies are doing with micro coils. Coils are so good today that foam is much less important and don’t last as long as a coil will. Hope that helps Davor!
Glad I came across this site. I have been shopping for a new mattress for about a week now. I have it narrowed down to a Stearns and Foster Luxury Plush pillowtop, and a Sleepy’s pillowtop. Both have an extra set of coils right underneath the pillow top but the S&F has 2044 coils vs the Sleepy’s with 880. The sales person at mattress firm told me that the Sleepy’s brand is great quality and less expensive because they do not spend the $$ on advertising etc., which gives them the ability to keep prices lower. The difference in price is dramatic, Queen S&F 2500.00, King Sleepy’s 1300.00. I will definitely spend more money on better quality, but want to make sure I am not being taken for a ride here. Opinions would be appreciated. 🙂
Hey there Nicole. Stearns and Foster and Sleepy’s both make great beds. In full disclosure, I am friends with the company that makes the Sleepy’s product and they also build my Spink and Edgar products. I think it really comes down to your comfort preference because both beds have enough coils to support your body that is for sure. If you want something really special, however, check out spinkandedgarusa.com and prepare to be amazed. 🙂 It is true that Stearns and Foster is part of a very large company that does have a lot of overhead so you do pay for some of that when you purchase their mattresses. Sleepy’s producer operates at a much lower cost to produce. Hope that helps!
Sorta informed me their Perfect Sleeper coils are 880 density. So, I’m assuming it has 880 coils. I hope I am making a good decision should I purchase. I appreciate everyone’s input.
That is plenty of coils to support your body Mary Anne! Just make sure that it is the right comfort level for you and all should be good. 🙂