Tag: how to sell

How to sell: office furniture

Chairs

When advising customers about which chair to purchase, it is important for them to remember that they will be using the chair every day, for prolonged periods of time. A good office chair will contribute to better work habits and to overall productivity. For this reason, it is not a good idea to be too frugal when it comes to the office chair.
The four main factors your customers need to consider when buying an office chair are mobility, comfort, adjustability and durability.

Parts of the chair

The backrest supports the back. For it to provide the maximum support to the lumbar region (the curve at the base of the spine), the backrest should be height adjustable and gently curved to match the natural curve of the spine.
For a chair to be considered ergonomic, a backrest should be between 30,5cm and 50cm wide. The tilt mechanism allows the backrest to maintain lumbar support. 

The seat should be wide enough for a person to sit comfortably centred in the chair, with a 2,5cm space on either side, and deep enough to allow 5cm to 10cm of space between the back of the knees and the edge of the chair.
Most office chairs have a seat lift which makes the seat pan adjustable for correct positioning.

Armrests should support the arms to reduce stress from building in the shoulders, neck and the middle of the back. Customers should aim to buy a chair with adjustable armrests so they don’t interfere when the chair is pulled close to the desk or computer, not get in the way of hands and wrists.

The base of the chair should be well made in a five-star configuration to prevent tipping when someone leans back in the chair. Metal and wood bases will last longer than ones constructed out of plastic. Advise customers to select an extra-wide base for extra stability.
Most office chairs have casters. Hard casters are ideal for carpeting, while rubber-coated casters are ideal on a hardwood floor. Clients should ensure that the wheels will be alright on the type of flooring in the office.  

Types of chairs 

High-back (or executive) office chairs extend to the upper back, and can even support the neck and head. This relieves tension in the lower back, preventing long term strain. These chairs include features such as button-tufted back cushions, adjustable comfort controls, headrests, removable or padded arms and dual-wheel casters.
Mid-back office chairs offer support to the mid-to-upper back region and are a logical choice for cross-performance tasks. Some brands of mid-back and high back office chairs feature the pillow back style of built-in lumbar support specifically designed to relieve lower back stress.
Low-back (or task) office chairs are designed to support the lower-to-mid back region and are ideal for a range of applications. They are versatile, available in numerous styles, and can feature tilt tension control and pneumatic seat height adjustment.
There are also special chairs available for customers who are taller or larger than average. They are able to bear more weight and have a greater range of adjustability.

Did you know?
The kneeling office chair originated in Norway in the 1970s to address back problems arising from the body resting in a right-angled position when seated.
This kind of office chair has no back, and when sitting the hips shift forward, aligning the neck, spine and shoulders.


Material


Office chairs come in an array of fabrics, in a range of different colours and patterns.
Clients who want fabric chairs should be advised to buy breathable material of a higher grade. This will be long-lasting and durable, and easier to clean. It is also advisable to get a stain-resistant coating applied to the fabric. Fabric office chairs are a convenient way to blend with the existing décor and furnishings.
Nothing says “executive” like a leather office chair. These chairs look sleek and are comfortable. Leather office chairs can have simple stitched detail to button-tufted styling, tailored leather padding to ribbed back and seat.
Remind clients that leather office chairs do require regular care and maintenance.
Vinyl office chairs can look like leather, but are more economical and easier to care for. They are available in a wide variety of styles and colours, but they are prone to cracking and are not breathable so they can cause the users to sweat. Some manufacturers provide vinyl seating with an anti-bacterial, anti-microbial coating. This makes vinyl chairs ideal for high-traffic areas.
Mesh chairs are ideal for warmer climates or people who sweat a lot. They are breathable and allow for air flow. Some types of these chairs have just a mesh back, while others have both a mesh back and seat. They make sitting for long periods of time more comfortable by allowing your customer’s back to breathe, thus promoting better circulation.

Things customers should keep in mind when choosing an office chair 

  • Check for ergonomic features, such as controls for adjusting the backrest and chair height; 
  • Check the manufacturer’s product description for the chair’s maximum weight capacity;  
  • Keep the type of padding in mind – the chair should be comfortable to sit in all day;  
  • When purchasing an executive office chair, consider buying the matching side or guest chair at the same time;
  • Keep in mind adjustment controls – pneumatic office chairs are easier to use; and 
  • Chairs for reception area should swivel and rotate easily to allow the person using the chair easy access to the different parts of their workspace without strain or overreaching.
     

Desks

Many workers spend upwards of eight hours a day at their desks – and the wrong one can make them very miserable. The right desk improves productivity, creating a comfortable and ergonomic working environment. When your customers are looking to replace desks for themselves or their employees, ask them to consider these important points which will help them choose the best desk for their needs.

Use 

The first thing to ask your customer is what they will use their desk for. If the answer is mostly computer work, advise them to select a desk or workstation specifically designed for computer use. The desk should offer a space or compartment for the tower of a desktop PC, as well as built-in wiring holes or channels for electrical connections to keep cords off the floor and out of the way.
If the client’s job is paperwork-focused, they should choose a desk or workstation that has a large surface to accommodate spreadsheets, books or piles of paperwork.  Workers who have to do a lot of paperwork usually require a wide range of stationery on hand, such as staplers, pens and highlighters. Ensure that a desk for this activity has ample drawer space for storage of these items.
Those customers whose jobs consist of roughly equal quantities of computer time and paperwork should consider an “L”-shaped set-up to allow for both work and meeting space. “U”-shaped desks provide even more space, but these can be very expensive. 

Work style 

Ask your customer to consider the work style of the person that will be using the desk. People who are messy and who spread their work out all around them will need a larger desk. Those who use a laptop and not much else will not need a big desk.
Ask your customers to consider ergonomics and space. A compact computer desk or mobile computer cart might be ideal for someone who doesn’t need a lot of space.
The desk your customer chooses should provide clearance for their legs. The standard desk is approximately 76cm from the floor. This is ideal for the average user.
When your client sits behind the desk, there should be just over a metre of space for their feet. Likewise, just under a metre should be available in between the desk and another piece of office furniture, and in front of the desk if the customer receives visitors there.
For computer-users, keyboards need to be placed at a comfortable height. Keyboards placed on traditional desks may be at too high a height and may result in significant discomfort or muscle strain for the user. Computer desks should either be equipped with a keyboard platform, or legs that can be adjusted. Be sure that any keyboard platform is large enough to hold a mouse.
Your customers should also consider reach when purchasing a desk. Any desktop equipment should be easily accessible, and there should be sufficient space so as not to overload the desktop.
If the desk has a sharp edge, consider placing a wrist pad along the edge to help prevent unnecessary pressure and pinching on the inner surface of the wrists. 

Material 

Desks can be made out of a number of different materials, and your customer will need to choose based on the way they will use their desk.
Laminate is one of the most popular choices because it is both durable and good-looking. A plastic finish that is applied to a wood core, laminate is affordable, durable and can withstand more knocks, bumps and scratches than pure wood or veneer. It also comes in a wide array of colours and wood grains. Recommend a desk with a thick, high pressure laminate for long-lasting quality.
Metal or steel is the most durable choice. Although not the most professional in appearance, these kinds of desks are reasonably priced and good for long-term, heavy use or for high- traffic areas. Your customer should be able to tell the quality by the weight of the desk.
Wood or veneer is the elegant choice, usually chosen by executives. Veneer is a thin surface layer of wood glued to a more inferior base. Wood and veneer desks generally look more attractive than other types of desk, but they are typically more expensive and considerably more delicate. They are easily scuffed or damaged and are not suited to heavy use. 

Build 

When your customers are looking for quality, tell them to ensure that they look at the construction of the drawers.
Metal suspension rollers show a sturdy suspension. Drawers should open and close easily while bearing weight.
Drawers should slide out to their full length, so that they are easy to access and pack.
High-quality wood drawers are assembled with an interlocking, which is stronger than drawers put together with just staples or glue. With a steel or metal desk, a good tip is to look at the drawers when they’re closed. If there is a gap where the drawer meets the desk, the desk is not set right.
Advise your customers to examine the corners and edges of a desk – there should be no fraying. Desks should also come with a warranty, which is a good indication of the quality, durability and life expectancy of the piece.  Warranties can range anywhere from a year to a lifetime, depending on the price-point and quality of the desk.

Give your back a break

Standing desks are not new – Thomas Jefferson invented a six-legged “tall desk” that had an adjustable slanted top.
As we’ve all been told, sitting for hours at a time can wreak havoc on a person’s back, especially for individuals with existing back problems.
Consider giving your back a break by using a stand-up desk, where you quite literally “stand up” while working. Many users claim this work method also makes them feel more alert and productive on-the-job. Desk stools are also available to be used in conjunction with these desks.
Today’s desk is no longer the simple table with drawers of years gone by. Take advantage of the myriad of desk choices out there; many now available at relatively reasonable prices at office supply superstores. Give some thought to the considerations listed above when selecting your next work desk. It will serve as a valuable tool in establishing a comfortable, ergonomic and productive workspace.
Source: Business Knowhow


Desks at home 

Advise your clients to consider a computer desk for home work spaces. They keep things neatly organised and can hide a lot of clutter. “L”-shaped desks are often a good solution if the work desk needs to share space in another room like a bedroom or family room.
 

How to sell: Paper perfect 

A simple guide to selling your customers the best paper for the job 

Paper comes in a vast array of colours, shapes and sizes, and it is very much a part of our everyday lives. To help your customers choose the best product for their purposes, you will need to understand what it is they want to do with it.

How paper is made

Paper is generally made from the fibres of wood, typically from pine trees. Trees are felled and delivered to a pulp mill in the form of logs, wood chips, waste paper or even paper pulp from other mills.

Making pulp
At the mill the logs are stripped of their bark. They are then either ground to fibres for mechanical wood pulp or processed to chips for chemical pulp. Recycled pulp is made using waste paper.
To grind wood into fibres, it is mixed with water and milled.
During a chemical pulping process, lignin, the natural “glue” that holds the wood fibres together, is dissolved. This frees up wood fibres. The resultant pulp is either sulphate or sulphite pulp, and the fibres are clean and undamaged. Paper made from chemical pulp is often called “wood-free” or “fine” paper.
Newspapers, cardboard boxes and magazines are de-inked as part of the recycled pulping process. This type of pulp is turned into things such as fluting (the middle layer of corrugated cardboard).

Whitening the pulp 
As a natural product, wood pulp is brown. It must therefore be bleached in order to make white paper. This is done with chlorine or chlorine compounds, as well as with oxygen or hydrogen peroxide. Chlorine-based processes have a larger environmental impact, and so chlorine free processes are used. 

Refining the pulp  
In order to give the pulp the exact properties for a particular type of paper, the bleach pulp has to be refined. This is done by passing the pulp through a system of rotating and stationary blades. This enhances the way the fibres mesh together, increasing their bonding properties and making them stronger papers.

The furnish
The mix, or furnish, consists of a blend of pulp. This blend is generally made up of differing proportions of hardwood and softwood, depending on the “recipe” for a particular type of paper.
At this stage, various chemicals are added depending on the particular specifications of the paper to be made. Chalk or clay may be added to enhance brightness and smoothness; dyes are added for shade control; optical brighteners are added for whiteness; and sizing agents are added to make the paper repel moisture.
All the components are dissolved in water and mixed with the pulps. Water is the most important component at this stage, and it takes approximately 100l of water to make 1kg of paper. This is then ready for conversion on the paper machine into a continuous sheet of paper.

The paper machine
This machine has three major components – the base sheet forming section, the press section and the drying section – and its primary function is to create a uniform web of paper.
The furnish is agitated to prevent the fibres from clumping. The furnish is rapidly de-watered, the fibres begin to bond and a mat is formed. From here, the furnish moves to the press section where it squeezed between a series of pressure rollers. From there, the paper moves to a drying section.
At this point the paper may have other elements, such as a surface coating with starch, added to it.
The paper is then wound into a large reel.

Calendering
Calendering is a finishing process used on paper. Sheets of paper are placed between metallic plates and passed through spring loaded rollers in a calendering machine. This is to smooth the paper out and enhance the gloss. The paper passes through up to 16 rolls which apply pressure and temperature to the coated paper surface. These rolls have different surfaces. Steel rolls and elastic rolls achieve the various glazing and surface treatments. This process is also used to achieve different textures.

Finishing  
At this point the paper is cut to the size required by the customer. The jumbo reels are transported to a finishing department, where they are dispatched for delivery as is or processed into specific paper sheet sizes on a sheeter. 

Characteristics of paper 

Texture
Paper is available in a range of textures, from very smooth to quite rough.
Smoothness is an important characteristic, especially if your customers are using paper to print on. The smoother the paper is, the sharper the printed image. Certain types of paper are optimised for different functions. For example, laser printer paper is optimised for use in laser printers. It improves printer performance, especially for colour and complex graphics. Inkjet printer paper ensures images print cleanly without bleeding.
Rough papers have greater texture, providing an interesting element to an art project or painting. Watercolour paper and handmade papers are very rough. 

Weight
The weight of the paper is also important. The higher the weight, the greater the thickness of the individual sheets of paper.  Weight, or grammage, is measured in grams per square metre (gsm). Most paper for use in printers ranges from 80gsm to 160gsm. Tracing paper is very thin (40gsm) while card stock is between 200gsm and 250gsm.
 

Performance
Paper performance is usually determined by how well the paper is suited for the task at hand. As with most things, the more expensive a paper is, the more likely it will be to be good quality.
With regards to cut sheet paper, printing sharpness is important. How clear will the print be? Will the ink smudge or blur? Sharpness is provided via a combination of paper finishes and weight.
Cut sheet paper with consistent, reliable performance helps reduce printer wear and tear. Paper dust (a result of using poor quality paper) can harm printers in the long run. 

Appearance 
The appearance of paper is also important. Papers with a low opacity will allow light to shine through. In general, that means ink will show through too. Multi-purpose paper is fairly translucent, while thinker papers tend to have a higher opacity. Thicker paper will be resistant to ink bleeding through.
Another aspect of appearance is whiteness. When it comes to cut sheet paper for a printer, whiter is better. The white the paper being printed on, the better colour and black and white copies will look.
Coloured papers should not leech colour.

Sustainability
Some types of paper come with a Forest Stewardship Council logo (FSC). This means that the timber used to produce the pulp was grown in a responsible manner and has been certified as such.  

Types of paper 

When selling paper to your customers, make sure to ascertain their needs. There are many different types of paper, and they are used for different applications. To determine which paper will be most suitable for your customer, ask them what they plan to do with it.

Continuous form paper
Continuous form paper is usually perforated at regular intervals and is joined together like an accordion. It is typically used by impact (dot matrix) printers.  It can be single ply or multi-ply, with carbon paper between the layers. The highest grade of continuous paper is similar to typing paper, with a fine perforation. The most common sizes are 241mm x 279mm and 381mm x 279mm.
Continuous form paper is commonly used by businesses that are required to give customers copies of invoices, such as mechanics and couriers.

Cut sheet paper
The standard, white paper that your customers buy in a ream and use in their inkjet and laser printers is called cut sheet paper. It ranges in size from A5 (148mm x 210mm) up to A0 (841mm x 1 189mm) in speciality printers. Variations are offered in thickness, smoothness or a combination thereof. Paper is often supplied by printer manufacturers to ensure the best colour reproductions.  Be sure to ask your customers what type of printer they use to ensure you sell them the correct paper.

Photograph paper
Customers who want to print their own photographs will require special photographic paper, which is coated with specially developed chemicals for a glossy finish. The chemicals also ensure there is no bleeding or smearing of ink. The paper itself can be thin sheets of plain paper or thick, multi-layered paper. Different types of photo paper have different thicknesses and textures. Some photo papers have the grain and weight of watercolour paper or art canvas. 

Thermal paper 
Thermal paper is a fine paper coated with a chemical that changes colour when exposed to heat. The paper, which comes in rolls, has a protective top-coating to prevent fading. Despite this, the paper is light sensitive and fades easily. This type of paper will usually be used by customers who print receipts, such as those with tills and credit card machines.

Security paper
Security paper is a type of paper that incorporates features that help to authenticate a document as original. This is done through the use of watermarks or invisible fibres.
This type of paper is used for identification documents such as passports; certificates; and government documents.

Paper for arts and crafts
In general, the paper used for arts and crafts is different from other papers in that it is brightly coloured or patterned, and has different texture.
Tissue paper – this is a type of very thin paper with a smooth surface.  It is available in a range of bright colours and is best suited to wrapping, packing or craft projects.
Tissue paper for crafts is usually sold in sheets. It is inexpensive but does tear easily.
Tracing paper – this is a very thin type of paper (around 40gsm) that is transparent enough to see through it onto the paper below. It is used in arts and crafts to trace and transfer patterns and images.
Crepe paper – this is another type of thin paper but it has a crinkled (creped) surface. This makes it slightly stronger than tissue paper and it can be stretched. Crepe paper is not colour-fast and will bleed if wet. It is used for craft projects and gift wrapping or table decorating.
Origami paper – this is a thin type of paper that is made with folding in mind. It is sold in squares and is often patterned on one side and plain on the other, although it can be found in solid colours or plain white. It is used for origami, scrap booking and card making. Origami paper is relatively expensive.
Construction paper – also known as sugar paper, this is a light- to medium-weight multipurpose paper with a slightly rough surface. It is available in a wide range of colours and is used in arts and crafts projects like papier mache, decoupage, printing, picture making and scrapbooking. It is especially popular with children as it is brightly coloured and relatively cheap.
Brown paper – this strong paper is ideal for wrapping, covering schoolbooks and making papier mache. It can be bought in sheets or rolls.
Parchment – also known as vellum, this is a thin but tough paper which a translucent quality. Parchment is ideal for crafts such as card making, stamping and embossing. It can be plain or patterned and is made from vegetable pulp that has been treated with sulfuric acid.
Watercolour paper – this is a type of very thick paper with a rough, textured surface. It is usually white and is used by artists who work in watercolour paints. Watercolour paper needs to be primed before use. Wet the sheet of paper and stretch it. Allow to dry before using.
Card stock – also known as pasteboard, this type of paper is thicker and more durable than normal paper, but thinner and more flexible than cardboard. It is available in a range of colours and finishes and is ideal for making cards and using in craft projects.
Paperboard – this is a thick type of paper that is available in a range of colours and finishes. Paperboard is always thicker than standard paper, and starts at 225gsm. It is ideal for book covers and school projects. Although it is a heavy duty paper, it is easy to cut.
Cardboard – this is considered to be any paper with a weight greater than 130gsm. Corrugated cardboard is a type of card with two or more layers of paper with a fluted layer in between. Corrugated card is usually brown, but it is found in other colours. This type of paper is ideal for craft projects because it is stiff and holds its shape. 

Debunking paper myths

The paper industry often gets a bad rap from environmentalists and consumers alike, but all is not as it seems.
Did you know that:
* The paper industry is one of the most eco-responsible industries and contributes to reforestation.
* One person consumes 212kg of paper per year, on average. This is the equivalent of 500 kWH of energy consumption – but a computer consumes 800 kWH.
* Sending 10 e-mails a day for one year results in the same carbon emission as driving 1 000km by car.
* Paper can be recycled up to seven times without losing any of its original quality.
* A page displayed on a screen for three minutes consumes more energy that the printed equivalent.
* An electronic invoice sent via e-mail releases 242g of CO2 – the equivalent of the production and dispatch of 15 paper invoices.
Visit www.antalis.co.za  for more information.
Source: Antalis

Acknowledgement: Sappi, Antalis

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