Archive | February, 2016

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Prussiani Engineering Launches New “All-In-One” Machine

Posted on 26 February 2016 by cradmin

2016-02-Cut and JetPrussiani Engineering introduced Cut & Jet, the newest “all-in-one” machine. This machine reinvents stone working CNC technology with a 370-degree rotating cutting head that is equipped with an electrospindle and a high-pressure waterjet. Both the electrospindle and waterjet feature automatic tilting. The machine is programmed using CAD/CAM software and allows numerous variations for stone cutting.

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Stonetalk Episode 19: Dave Scott

Posted on 25 February 2016 by cradmin

Listen now to Episode 19 of the StoneTalk Podcast from Moraware. In this episode, host Patrick Foley interviews Dave Scott, the owner of Slabworks of Montana. Patrick and Dave discuss all of the following and more:

  • Understanding and measuring success
  • Succeeding as a fabricator in small markets
  • Finding qualified, reliable employees in small markets
  • How to make your work memorable and why you need to
  • Why countertop fabrication is such a great industry

A full transcript of this episode of StoneTalk can be read at the Moraware website.

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Schlough Receives Migliore Award for Lifetime Achievement at TISE

Posted on 24 February 2016 by cradmin

2016-02-SchloughPark Industries owner Tom Schlough was recently awarded the Marble Institute of America’s 2015 Migliore Award for Lifetime Achievement at TISE 2016. Based in St. Cloud, Minn., Park Industries develops stone processing machinery and equipment. Schlough’s entrepreneurial leadership lead to many industry achievements. The company is responsible for introducing the first diamond-tipped saw for cutting granite slabs in 1979. Park Industries also went on to develop a CNC router for dimensioning, shaping and cutting marble and granite in 1998. In 2003, it also introduced a system to process full dimension stone into thin-stone veneer. Though Schlough has since retired, he and his wife remain involved as principal owners of the company.
During his acceptance speech, he reflected on his leadership in the stone industry and thanked customers. “Customers first—you are the reason we are here. Everybody has good and bad days—and together, we can get through,” he said. “In retrospect, it wasn’t always easy, but if I had known then what I know now, I would have done the same thing. It has been a great ride.”

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Effective Safety Planning Part 5: Training for Employees, Supervisors and Managers

Posted on 23 February 2016 by cradmin

safetytraining_0Last month, we took a break from our six-part series on Effective Safety Planning to bring you news of the MSI+BSI safety initiative for 2016. Now, we continue the series with a followup to December’s article on Hazard Prevention and Control. Once you have established a culture of safety, created a four-point safety plan as recommended by OSHA, identified all workplace hazards and implemented prevention and control measures, it is time to train your supervisors, managers and employees.

Train From the Top Down

In Part One of this series, we talked about how important it was for a business to establish a culture of safety, and one of the essential factors in doing this is to get your entire team onboard. If your supervisors and managers are not interested in safety, how do you expect your employees to be? The same goes for training. Safety training starts at the top and works its way down.

Because so many situations warrant further training, such as new hires, promotions, new equipment and new environments, professional training from a third-party organization can get expensive. You will want to have your supervisors and managers fully trained on all aspects of health and safety so that employee training can be conducted in-house whenever necessary.

OSHA rules are very extensive and specific concerning safety training, and they can be found in the 270-page publication Training Requirements in OSHA Standards. However, you must be aware that even stricter standards may have been imposed by your state legislation or state OSHA.

In Oregon, our state OSHA does a great job of providing training consultations and additional materials and resources for small-to-mid-sized businesses, such as Safe and the Supervisor: An Introduction to Five Important Safety Responsibilities.

Training Overview

Remember, everyone who is on the work floor or at a job site must be thoroughly trained, this includes full-time employees, part-time employees, temps, supervisors, managers, contractors and yourself. Only those who have been properly trained and authorized to perform a job based on that training should be permitted to do it. Otherwise, you open your company to liability should an accident occur.

safety_training-NAHBEven if all employees have been trained, if one of them is observed performing a job poorly or in an unsafe manner, he or she may need additional training. To help you determine whether everyone understands their training, some companies hold emergency drills, but at the very least, supervisors and managers should periodically assess working conditions for new or unrecognized hazards.

At a bare minimum, everyone in the workplace should know all of the following:

  • Fire and emergency plans
  • Location and proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • The types of chemicals and other foreign substances present
  • The precautions that must be taken when handling or working with dangerous materials

Health & Safety Training Programs

OSHA has recognized that health and safety training is most effective when it is incorporated into a company’s overall training program for general and specific job duties. The content of a program, however, will vary by the specific conditions and characteristics of the environment and the workforce. In addition, the most effective training programs follow these five principles of teaching and learning:

  1. Everyone should understand the purpose of the training.
  2. Information to be taught should be organized to ensure maximum effectiveness for those learning.
  3. Learning is accomplished most easily when skills and knowledge can be practiced and applied immediately.
  4. Feedback should be provided for each individual after practice runs.
  5. Several teaching methods should be incorporated to take into account that the most effective methods of learning are different for everyone.

BG1Once a training program has been developed, it should be evaluated to identify its strengths and weaknesses. This is often best achieved by having a safety professional from outside the company review it. This feedback can be essential in creating additional training programs or changing current training programs to accommodate for changing conditions.

Keep Written Records

When performing safety training, Oregon OSHA recommends the following six-step procedure, which ends with keeping sufficient documentation.

  1. Introduction – All learners are told what they are going to be trained to do and why. The importance of the training not only to the employee’s health but also to the success of company should be emphasized. Explain the consequences of not following safety procedures.
  1. Show and tell – The trainer explains the safety procedures to the trainees and follows up with demonstrations so that they develop familiarity.
  1. Ask and show – The trainee takes what was learned from step 2 and explains the procedure to the trainer. The trainer takes this opportunity to correct mistakes and provide clarification.
  1. Tell and show – The trainee shows the trainer that he or she can perform the safety procedures.
  1. Conclusion – The trainer recognizes the accomplishments of each trainee, re-emphasizing how important the training is, how it fits into overall work processes and makes each individual accountable for their future performance.
  1. Documentation – All training sessions should be formally documented, and all trainees should acknowledge they have been through and understand the training. A great way to do this is to issue certificates of completion that note the training subjects, date and location. It should be signed and dated by the trainee, the trainer and a work supervisor.

Final Thoughts on Hazard Training

You are not alone when it comes to hazard training. If you have questions, OSHA is willing to help. Most businesses can take advantage of free consultations directly from OSHA without fear of reprisal for current non-compliance issues. You can find additional help from insurance providers, corporate headquarters, local safety councils and industry associations, such as ISFA or MIA+BMI.

Be on the lookout for next month’s Health & Safety Watch where we will conclude our series with Effective Safety Planning Part 6: Safety Meetings.

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Winners of 14th Annual Tile of Spain Awards Announced

Posted on 22 February 2016 by cradmin

tosThe 14th Annual Tile of Spain Awards, organized by the Spanish Ceramic Tile Manufacturers Association (ASCER),  recently chose winners that display the best architectural and interior design skills. In the architecture category, the judges awarded the first prize to the multi-purpose pavilion project entitled “Pabellón Docente Polivalente Escola Gavina” by Carmen Martínez Gregori, Carmel Gradolo Martinez and Arturo Sanz Martínez. In the interior design category, the first prize was awarded to a project titled “Blue Wave Cocktail Bar” by Equipo Creativo.

The Tile of Spain Awards also includes a category that acknowledges the best Graduate Project presented by students of schools of architecture that highlight the use of ceramic tile in their projects. The first prize was awarded to the project titled “Transient Refurbishment” by Laura Alonso Blasco of the ETSA School of Architecture in Madrid.

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2016 Countertop and Kitchen Trends

Posted on 19 February 2016 by cradmin

Although we are less than two months into 2016, this year’s countertop and kitchen trends have already started to become clear, and the Internet is abuzz with all the latest developments. As in past years, our annual countertop and kitchen trend roundup will include all of the relevant information we have sourced from across the Web combined with what we have been hearing from our audience, industry suppliers, countertop fabricators, other industry professionals and consumers.

Kitchens Going From White to Gray

gray tilesSeveral general kitchen trends will play a role in the specific types, shapes and colors homeowners will be choosing for their new countertops this year, and chief among is a softening of colors. A recent article published by Houzz declares that soft color palettes have taken center stage, knocking out glossy whites and bold primary colors.

In another trend report, Daltile claims that white has officially been ousted by gray not only in the kitchen but also in other rooms of the typical American home, including the bathroom, living room and bedrooms. I must’ve been ahead of the curve because we just had our living room repainted in oyster gray and chose a similar gray to accent the white ceramic tiles of our new backsplash.

However, I am certainly not alone, as the Washington Post reports that 61 percent of renovators painted their own walls gray, beige or white within the last year, with green and yellow trailing at 10 percent and 8 percent, respectively.

“Charcoal, grays and even neutral pastels like pale blue, pale green-gray and tinted whites are the new alternative to the standard white,” said Jane Lockhart, a popular interior designer in Ontario, KitchenAid-Black-StainlessCanada. She also said that new and remodeled kitchens will include light wood tones, such as walnut, white oak and whitewashed wood in place of bolder accents.

In a sharp contrast to white and other lighter colors, all-black kitchens have begun to make an appearance this year, and the color is being contrasted with metallics to create a look of luxury. Decorator’s Wisdom, a DIY decorating blog, reports that Kitchenaid has already gambled on this trend by releasing a new line of kitchen appliances in black stainless steel.

Kitchen Becomes the Heart of Home

This year, the trend to transform the kitchen as a central meeting place and utilitarian common room as expanded beyond belief. With the ability to take in information at will and on the go thanks to smartphones, hanging out in front of the living-room television is largely a thing of the past.

Couples, families, housemates and even single individuals are increasingly forsaking the comfort of the living room and are going straight to the kitchen where freestanding tables are quickly becoming passé. People now want the convenience of upgraded countertops, and with the range of support brackets available for overhangs, it is certainly no wonder. Islands, side counters and nooks are making kitchen tables inefficient, impractical and obsolete.

Countertops: Thin Is In

When it comes to countertops, the word on the street is the thinner the better, and compact sintered surfaces have come in to fill that demand. However, not everyone has the moolah for such extravagance, and granite and quartz remain top competitors. However, before we get to specific surfaces, let’s take a look at colors and styles.

An Angie’s List article on 2016 countertop trends written by Haley Johnston of Moss Building & Design hits the nail on the head when it states that “white marble tops the list of the most popular kitchen countertop colors.” Every brand, no matter the specific material, has come out with a slew of white marble-like designs. Some people with money have sprung for actual marble, but those who know better go for quartz or solid surface, and upscale laminate designs have entered the market and infiltrated the homes of people who could afford much more.

When it comes to style, homeowners have followed the eye-catching, floor-to-surface design that has come to be known as waterfall countertops. This is really just a countertop that extends beyond the horizontal plane to include an integral vertical surface of identical composition and color. Even if consumers decide against waterfall countertops, the trend for 2016 is to choose mitered, yet inconspicuous edging, which is notable for creating a sleek appearance with continuous lines.

A final style guideline for countertops, which has been great news for fabricators, is that they are quickly replacing kitchen tables. Where kitchen tables once stood, countertop islands are being built to match the surrounding countertops. These islands often include overhands and stools, and in addition to kitchen tables, they have largely replaced home-office desks. Home businesses are more popular than ever, and the kitchen has emerged as a central workstation.

Countertop Surfaces for 2016

As far as surfacing materials go, the big winners in 2016 are as expected: quartz and granite. Quartz continues to make the strongest gains, but granite remains the most popular surface after laminate, which once held its position solely on price but has come into its own with the help of modern designers and improved durability.

  • Natural Stone – Beyond laminate, granite remains the leader in countertop materials, and with good reason. It looks fantastic, has durability and is more affordable than ever, not to mention unique. However, it is losing market share quickly as quartz takes center stage in the arena. When it comes to natural stone countertops, though, many of us forget that there are alternatives to granite. Soapstone and slate have garnered loyal followings, and some end users are adamant in their promotion and defense against criticism, which has newly emerged this year. While many prefer natural stone, 2016 has brought out the factions.
  • Engineered Stone – Not too many years back, quartz remained relatively unknown to the masses, but its exceptional properties and range of colors and patterns have quickly brought this surfacing into the mainstream. Many fabricators and designers reckon that quartz will take second place only to laminate in the next decade.
  • Concrete – Glass fiber reinforced concrete (GFRC) is also edging its way into the market, but it has not been gaining as much strength as it did only a few years in the past. Likely it is held back by its need for sealant and a slower fabrication process. However, those who do it well have found a solid niche for themselves, and the look of masterfully customized GFRC is incomparable to anything else.
  • Sustainables – Eco-friendly surfacing of all types is quickly gaining ground, but perhaps Butcher Blockmore so with commercial and industrial builders than in the residential sector. The odd aspect about the rise of environmentally friendly surfacing is that it is being driven by consumers while largely seen as impractical or too expensive for these same consumers’ homes. On the other hand, hundreds of communities across the nation have successfully promoted sustainable lifestyles, and the trend to do all that is possible for the perceived health of people and the planet has been taken up by both baby boomers and millennials. (Read more about sustainable and eco-sensitive countertop products here, at our sister website
  • Sintered Compact Surface –Sintered compact surface is, by far, the hottest countertop material available – on an upscale price point. This seems to be the future or next generation of countertop material and new competitors are entering the market to get a share of the spoils.
  • Solid Surface – Still holding onto third place in material popularity, is solid surface material, a close cousin or perhaps parent to the newer quartz surfacing/engineered stone, originally branded by 9203CE_Dusk_Ice_(3)DuPont as Corian. However, fabricators report it is being relegated more to the bathroom, and its real growth seems to be in the commercial sector. Like it’s younger quartz-based relative, in the past, it has been driven by its nearly unlimited designs along with its hygienic properties. However, many predict it will be overtaken in the kitchen by engineered stone, which is growing doubly fast as solid surface. That said, lately, there has been an influx of new companies into the solid surface market and some unique new color options, so perhaps, this will spawn awareness and a return to growth for the product, but that remains to be seen.

Consumer Reports Weighs In

Caesarstone Symphony GreyThis year, Consumer Reports broke out and published an article on the top countertop trends of 2016, and it was very specific. Rather than general trends, this most-respected of consumer-review organizations named names, and the choices were largely based on the new products presented at Design & Construction Week in Las Vegas.

Formica LaminateThe surfaces Consumer Reports is backing as this year’s trends are as follows:

  • Wilsonart Solid Surface – Dusk Ice
  • Formica Laminate – Gray Josef Linen
  • Caesarstone Quartz – Symphony Grey

But for all of the 2016 trends, the real question from most countertop fabricators is how to keep pace with the economic upswing. Both new structures and renovations continue to make a steady comeback, and the ability to read and forecast trends, while inherently risky, often works to increase revenue, no matter how you choose to go about it.

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ETemplate Systems Introduces ELaser Xpress CL

Posted on 18 February 2016 by cradmin

2016-02-ETemplateETemplate Systems recently debuted ELaser Xpress CL, the newest addition to the ETemplate ELaser product line. The 3-D laser digital measuring system is custom designed for kitchen, bath and commercial cabinet layout industries. Featuring the company’s Measure Manager™ software, it allows detailed 3-D measuring of spaces to define the features needed for the design process. Once measurements are taken, the space is then rendered in the desired cabinet layout. XPress CL will output to a number of software programs, including Cabinet Vision™, 2020 Design™, KCD™ or ProKitchen™.


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MSI Offers New Colors of Q Premium Natural Quartz Countertops

Posted on 17 February 2016 by cradmin

Q quartz-300x260Inspired by home interior trends from around the world, MS International’s  Q™ Premium Natural Quartz countertops now come in 11 new unique colors. The most crucial design decision – color – sets the mood, style and personality in any space. Whether a clean and modern or subtle and classic style is required, the company offers more than 45 colors to help  set the mood, style and personality of a project. The new design colors include Antico Cloud, Pacific Salt, Chantilly Taupe, Sandy Cove, Babylon Gray, Desert Bloom, Stellar Gray, Calacatta Vicenza, Perla White, Peppercorn White and Stellar White.


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Tenax Transparent Flowing Stone Glue Repairs, Bonds, Fills Countertops

Posted on 16 February 2016 by cradmin

TenaxTenax has reportedly produced one of the lightest and most transparent polyester glues – Tenax Transparent Flowing Glue. It is a liquid polyester adhesive that is used to repair, rebuild, bond, and fill stone countertops. According to the company, because it is so light in color it tints easily to match any type of stone countertops, and the liquid consistency of the glue makes it easy to stir and spread, even while adding color and hardener. The glue bonds strong and cures fast into a shiny, polishable surface that will stand strong and stay just as durable as the stone no matter what is spilled on it, reports the company. It takes approximately 25 to 30 minutes to cure and become tacky free, and it takes about 60 to 80 minutes to become ready to be used in real life applications. Once hardened, the glue dries shiny and polishes just like  stone. The glue is also suitable for rodding granite, marble and other types of stone. Although this product cures at 77  degrees F and lower temperatures, it is not suitable for temperatures below 32 degrees F. It is recommended for interior use only.

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Credibility: 5 Ways to Make People Believe You

Posted on 12 February 2016 by cradmin

By Roger Dawson

The absolute cornerstone of your ability to persuade – what it all rests upon – is the level of credibility you have with the other person. When you speak, do they believe you? Unless they do, there is no possibility that you can get them to do what you want them to do.

People will listen to you, but they won’t act – until they believe you. Let me stress that one more time. People won’t act unless they believe you. So, if you’re a salesperson trying to get an order, you should always be thinking, “Do they believe me?” Because if you haven’t built enough credibility they won’t place the order.

If you’re a manager and you’re trying to get your people to accept a new program, you should always be thinking, “Do they believe me?” Because if you haven’t built enough credibility, they’ll give lip service to your program, but they won’t enthusiastically support it.

If you’re a parent, does your son believe you when you say, “Don’t do it son. I tried it once and lived to regret it.” Or does he feel you’re trying to manipulate him and are being less than truthful?

Fortunately, you can build credibility with a few simple techniques. In my book, Secrets of Power Persuasion, I teach 15 tips to raise your level of credibility with other people. Here are the first five tips:

CREDIBILITY TIP 1: Never assume they believe you.

Power Persuaders have three “never assumes” that are always uppermost in their thoughts:

  1. Never assume poverty – that they can’t afford what you’re selling.
  2. Never assume they understand you.
  3. Never assume they believe you.

The last “never assume” is the most important one. Never assume they believe you.

Let’s face it. We get downright offended if someone questions our credibility. We hate it when a bartender cards us or when a bank teller asks us for identification. So, when we’re persuading people, we don’t like to admit that the other person is sitting there thinking “prove it to me.”

If you’re a salesperson, you can present a glorious list of benefits that will descend upon the buyer when they have the common sense to make an investment. But it doesn’t mean a thing until you’ve built the credibility needed to make them believe it.

You may be a manager whose persuasion challenge is to talk a key employee out of quitting. You can talk until you’re blue in the face about the wonderful future that awaits them just around the corner if they stay with your company. But it won’t mean a thing until you’ve convinced them you’re sincere and that you really do have the power to make it happen.

Don’t be offended by people’s natural unwillingness to believe you. Remember that we live in a world where a thousand advertising messages are screaming at us every day. We can’t possibly believe everything we hear. To take everything at face value in today’s world would be a shortcut to disaster. So, Power Persuaders learn instinctively to build credibility into their presentations. Never assume they believe you.

CREDIBILITY TIP 2: Only tell them as much as they’ll believe.

I was visiting my son John when he was a student at Menlo College in Atherton, Calif. He’d just completed a final, and another student asked him how he did on it. “I think I may have aced it,” John told him.

“All right!” the other boy said, and gave him a high five.

A few moments later, another boy came by and asked John how he did on the test. “It was tough,” John said, “But I hope to get a B.”

“What’s going on here,” I asked John. “You told the first boy that you got an A and the second that you got a B.”

“The first guy was the best student on campus, he’d believe I got an A. The second guy would never believe it. Haven’t you learned that you should never tell anyone more than you think they’ll believe?”

Now that’s smart! I don’t think a thousand psychologists with an unlimited research budget could come up with a greater truth than that. Even if you’re telling the truth, if the other person begins to doubt it, your chance of persuading them is falling like a rock.

Many years ago, I was the merchandise manager for a large department store. We were heavily promotional, which means that our business went up dramatically when we advertised a sale, and business died when we didn’t. So, we’d run a big Sunday-Monday-Tuesday sale, and then come back with a Thursday-Friday-Saturday sale.

The problem was how could we run the biggest sale of the year twice a week, year round. Soon, we’d lost all credibility with our customers. The salespeople would try to close a sale by saying, “Get it now while it’s on sale” only to have the customer respond, “Yes, but you’ll have another sale next week.” You’ll recall that Sears ran into the same problem, and eventually made the switch to year-round low pricing.

There’s a law of diminishing returns that’s directly tied to diminishing credibility. Of course, you have to be excited and enthusiastic in making your case, but the moment your claims pass the point of credibility, your chance of persuading them drops off abruptly.

The principle of never tell them more than you think they’ll believe may sound folksy and cute. But it’s supported by a great deal of sound research.

For example, for decades, psychologists have conducted studies to determine the effectiveness of fear as a persuasion tool. To their surprise, early studies indicated that people were just as persuaded by mild threats as they were by powerful threats. Curious, they continued to conduct studies that nearly always produced the same conclusion. Finally, they realized that fear is a powerful persuader only up to the point where people feel genuinely threatened by it. The moment they begin to doubt that the threat is as great as it is being made out to be, the power of fear as a persuader diminishes.

So, a fundamental rule for building credibility is never tell them more than you think they’ll believe. You may genuinely have a product or service that will far exceed their expectations. However, if you can’t make them believe it, you’re better off to temper your claims.

CREDIBILITY TIP 3: Tell the truth, even if it hurts.

Some brilliant advertising people have taken advantage of this. Remember the old Volkswagen sedan, the round top one that didn’t change design for 20 years or so? It was one of the ugliest cars ever made. Nor did it have any extra features about which an advertising person could brag. Only in later years did it even have a gas gauge. You could get so many miles per gallon of gas that you simply drove it until it ran out. Then you switched to a small reserve tank, which was more than enough to get you to the next gas station.

When the Doyle Dane Bernbach (DDB) advertising agency won this account, they must have groaned. What could you say about the car? It only had two features. It was cheap to run and it was reliable – but everybody already knew that. What more could they say about it? Then they hit upon a brilliant flash of inspiration. They decided to tell the truth!

I can imagine every advertising person in America coming off their chairs and saying, “You’re going to what!!??”

They ran a whole series of ads that said, “This car is ugly, it looks like a bug – a beetle. This car is slow – you’ll be lucky if you ever get a ticket.” The results were phenomenal. People loved the campaign, and sales shot up.

The truth, simple pristine truth, is an astounding force. DDB went on to use the same principle with Avis Rent a Car. In a world where everyone was scrambling for some excuse to say they were the biggest and the best, the new Avis campaign proudly shouted, “We’re number two!” And followed it up with the sub-line, “So we try harder.”

It had an interesting effect on the employees of Avis and the number one company, Hertz. A survey showed that the Avis employees really were trying harder, but the Hertz people were taking it easy on Avis. Even they were sympathetic to Avis’s underdog positioning.

These two campaigns revolutionized American advertising. They were startling in their impact. Everybody was running around Madison Avenue saying, “Why don’t we try a DDB ad?” Meaning, “Why don’t we try telling the truth?” Nobody had ever pointed out the disadvantages of the product before. Nobody had ever paid millions to let the public know that the competition was more successful.

Telling the truth, even when it hurts, is an astounding force.

CREDIBILITY TIP 4: Point out the disadvantages.

Many years ago, Benson & Hedges came out with a campaign for their new, long cigarettes that bluntly stated, “Oh, the disadvantages!” Mary Wells at the ad agency showed scenes of people smoking in elevators, getting their cigarette caught in the door and other tongue-in-cheek situations where a long cigarette would be a disadvantage.

These advertising people had touched on a very important key to persuasion. If you point out the disadvantages, it makes everything else you say much more believable. Research has shown that there are four sound reasons for also presenting the other side of the argument:

  1. It makes the other side believe that you are objective.
  2. It flatters the listener that you believe them intelligent enough to be aware of the disadvantages and still be persuaded in favor of your proposal.
  3. It forces you to anticipate objections and rehearse counter arguments.
  4. It gives credibility to everything else you say.

Remember the retail chain that had structured its line of appliances so the salesperson could sell down off the most expensive one? They’d really structured the profit margins so they made more profit on the middle of the line than they did on the high end. Not only were they making more money that way, they were building a powerful plus. The salespeople gained so much credibility doing it that when they recommended the service contract – one of their most profitable items – they met with very little resistance.

CREDIBILITY TIP 5: Use Precise Numbers.

People believe precise numbers more than they believe rounded numbers. The Ivory Soap people figured this out decades ago when they started claiming “Ivory Soap is 99.44 percent pure.” Obviously, we wouldn’t challenge them if they told us that Ivory Soap was 100 percent pure, but the precise figure is subliminally more believable.

We assume that somebody had gone to a lot of work to figure out that the soap wasn’t 99.43 percent pure, or 99.45 percent pure. Why bother to say that Taster’s Choice decaffeinated coffee is 99.7 percent caffeine free? They could probably get away with simply saying caffeine free. The reason is that we believe specific numbers far more than we believe rounded numbers.

We can use the believability of the odd figure syndrome as a persuasion technique. Let’s say you’re buying a piece of property. They’re asking $220,000. If you offer $200,000, it doesn’t sound as firm a figure as if you say this: “We’ve done a thorough research on the property, and after running all the numbers, we feel that a fair price would be $198,700.”

Studies have shown that when you take that approach, the seller will respond with a counter offer that is, on average, $4,722 less than if you start at $200,000. No, I have no idea what the real number is, but it sure sounds more believable, doesn’t it?

I once bought 100 acres of land in the State of Washington. They were asking $185,000 for the land, and I asked the real estate agent to make an offer at $115,050. She said, “Roger, what’s this $50? Where did that come from?”

“Marge,” I told her. “I’ve just been buying land for so long now that I have a formula that I use. I punched in the numbers, and that’s what came out.” In fact, I knew that I was less likely to get a counter offer from a specific number like that. Marge did a terrific job of presenting the offer, and the seller accepted it.

So, to build credibility, use precise numbers. Strangely enough, you’re better off to claim that your new word processing machine will increase the productivity of their secretary by 87 percent than to claim it will double his or her productivity.

About the Author

Roger Dawson, CSP, CPAE is one of North America’s top negotiating experts and a leading sales and management speaker. He is the author of Secrets of Power Negotiating, which is one of the biggest selling audiocassette programs ever published. His latest book, Secrets of Power Persuasion for Salespeople, is now in bookstores.

Copyright© 2002, Roger Dawson. All rights reserved. For information, contact FrogPond at [email protected].

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