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Seller’s role play – Stress Free –



Stress Free Ergonomic Furniture is a technically advanced line of office chairs and desks designed to maximize the comfort of office workers and hence their productivity.  While scientific study has long been applied to the jobs of production workers, only recently have the same analytical techniques been transferred to the office environment.  One surprising finding has been the dramatic effects on productivity of such seemingly mundane factors as lighting, ringing phones, inadequate ventilation, and, most of all, poorly designed desks and chairs that at best are uncomfortable and at worst contribute to bad backs, sore knees, and stiff necks.  One study by the U.S. National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, a research arm of the federal government, found that a well-designed desk and chair added 25 percent to the productivity of data entry clerks, who generally average $46 000 per year in earnings.  In a survey of working conditions, white-collar workers placed having a comfortable chair only second in importance to adequate lighting.  Experts in office design estimate that a properly designed office can add an hour or more a day to worker output.

The Sterling Company has recently introduced a line of chairs and desks, Stress Free Ergonomic furniture, that it markets for those who work with data entry.  The name for the line evolved from the science of ergonomics, which studies the relationships between people and machines.  The word comes from the Greek ergo (work) and nomics (law or management) and includes determining where to locate controls on a dashboard or any other machine, how high to make a desk top, and where a chair’s backrest should be to maximize support.

Lately, there has been much publicity surrounding health problems in the workplace. Thus workers are lobbying employers to make more concrete statements to show their appreciation of the health risks of office jobs. Studies indicate that bad backs are the second leading cause of absenteeism among office workers, and, overall, afflict an estimated 50 to 80 percent of the general population.  Most office chairs were never designed for use over long periods of time, certainly not a full eight-hour day.  Besides contributing to back problems, a chair can restrict blood flow to the legs with an improperly designed cushion, put pressure on hip joints with too soft a seat, and fail to dissipate body heat with the wrong type of material, especially if workers are wearing blended polyester garments.  Consequently, workers are continually getting up and stretching to relieve stiffness, further restricting productivity.

Through intensive analysis with the help of machines that measure blood flow through extremities, muscle contraction, and changes in the angles of body segments, Sterling engineers have designed the Stress Free chair with the following features:

Features Chair *

1.  Adjustable Height Arms

This allows your elbows and forearms to be supported by the arm rests.  By properly aligning the elbow and therefore wrist on the keyboard, many repetitive wrist and hand injuries can be avoided.

2.   Adjustable Seat Height

Most desk chairs will have this one feature at least.  If it does not, consider this chair for very short time durations only.  Once again the relationship of the chair seat height and working surface with monitor are critical to avoid long term injuries.  If a chair is too high or low…neck, wrist and leg ailments are probable

3.   Casters

It’s common sense that a chair should be on casters for easy mobility but did you know that all casters are not created equally?   There are casters for hard surfaces such as wood and tile and different casters made for carpeting…make sure you have casters that are suitable for your flooring.  Generally speaking a hard floor requires a softer caster that creates more drag.  A carpeted floor requires a harder caster for less resistance.  Most desk chairs have standard casters appropriate for carpeted surfaces but quality manufacturers will offer others as options

4.   Sliding Seat

Quite often in mainstream stores you will not find this feature and yet most women specifically benefit from it.  Because women tend to have shorter legs, they end up leaning forward in their seats and when they do, their back goes unsupported.  The sliding seat, shortens the seat depth and thereby offers more support in the lumbar region..

5.  Swivel Tilt

This feature allows for repositioning of the body periodically.  Most injuries occur when long term improper positions are repeated.  The swivel tilt relieves back pressure and allows for more fluid mobility

6.  Lumbar Support

This one’s a no brainer BUT make sure the profile of shape of the back offers support where YOU require it.  Many chairs offer adjustable lumbar supports which is an added benefit especially for chairs with multiple users.

7.  Lightweight

Many people feel like the popular mesh backed chairs could not possibly offer good support, Nothing could be further from the truth. Plus this lightweight material allows for easier mobility.  

* from

Features – Desk

In their research Sterling engineers have found that desks also have great impact on the productivity of those working with data entry. Computers on normal desks force users to adjust their posture to the machine, rather than the other way around.  This is especially true for people with glasses – bifocals in particular – who read out of only a part of their glasses and must tilt their heads to read the screen.  To avoid glare, workers often lean forward, backward, or sideways, wreaking havoc on backs, wrists, arms, and necks.  Furthermore, eyestrain is likely if there is too much distance between the worker and the screen.

Stress Free desks have been designed for maximum flexibility.  The desk top is split: one-half for the screen and the other half for the keyboard.  Each half moves independently of the other and can be tilted either forward or back.  Movement is effected with cranks located under the desk; some models even have electric controls that move the desk up or down at the touch of a button.

STRESS FREE FURNITURE – Pricing and Productivity

Stress Free chairs begin at $300, and the highest priced chair is just over $500.  This makes them approximately $100 to $150 more expensive than comparable conventional chairs.

Stress Free desks begin at about $800 and can run as high as $2000.  This makes them approximately one-and-a-half to twice as expensive as more conventional desks.  Of course, Sterling  believes that productivity gains will more than compensate for the extra cost, and these savings should be present for a long time, since both desks and chairs are built to last a long time, at least 20 years as an absolute minimum.

Sterling believes that the potential for its new line of office furniture is immense.  In Sweden and certain other countries, use of ergonomic desks and chairs is already required by law for workers who sit at computer terminals. 

You believe a review of each employee’s workstation and job tasks would be an important first step. You have calculated that this workstation analyst, working at $40.00/hr could review a single workstation and interview a worker within one half hour. Should a single worker miss work for just one day, at a minimum salary of $10/hr, the employer would have to pay many times more for that one-day period. Typically injuries through poor ergonomics have a very long term recovery and often require surgery. The subsequent legal cost and damage awards for employers who failed to provide healthcare protection could amount to millions of dollars per worker.




You have identified the Imperial General Insurance Company as a prime prospect for Stress Free ergonomic chairs.  Because of its rapid growth in the area of casualty insurance, primarily home and auto, the Imperial General Insurance Company has updated its applications and claims processing.  100 data entry clerks sit before computer monitors, inputting data.  Through one of your friends, who sells photocopiers, you have learned that the controller at Imperial General Insurance, has expressed some dissatisfaction with the updated computerization process. The new program did not increase productivity as expected.  In fact, you understand that they plan to hire even more clerks, because of both unrealized gains in productivity and expected increase in additional business

Seller’s Company: Stress Free Ergonomic Furniture.

Seller’s Industry: Retail Trade Sector

Seller’s Products: Chairs and Desks

Buyers Company: Imperial General Insurance Company

Buyers Primary business:

Define the Meeting Outcome.  What is a reasonable outcome from your first meeting? If the meeting goes well what is your logical next step? (I.e. Sale, product trial, another meeting?)  

2 marks

Know your product – 10 marks – these can be researched!

List at least five features and benefits of your product you believe would be relevant to the buyer  








Plan your questions:  Good questions will uncover further information about your prospective buyers’ current situation. 15 marks

List ten questions you could ask to identify buyer needs.  Indicate what type of question they are problem/ survey, pain/ probing or pleasure/ need satisfaction. (Include at least 2 of each) 

Think of the order they should be asked  What questions are relevant to bring out the problem and know how your product solves that problem. Are you asking applicable and quality questions?


Question – in the form of a spoken sentence

Type of Question











Presentation of Solutions 3 marks

What types of proof could you bring to the meeting to add credibility?  Any other materials you would bring?

How will you involve the buyer during the demonstration of product?  

CONCERNS – 10 marks

Buyers will usually have concerns about a sale and a salesperson can anticipate that certain concerns may arise during the sales call. Give at least 5 possible questions or concerns by prospective buyer and how could you respond to them. (how would you handle them, techniques from text on handling concerns) 

Concern asked by prospect – in a form of a spoken sentence

Response – in the form of a sentence

Type of concern – from text






CLOSING – 10 Marks 

Give at least two clues (verbal and non-verbal) you could look for to attempt a trial close or a close:1 mark

Give an example of at least two trial closes. 1- mark



Give examples of 4 types of closes that you could say indicate what type of close it is (except trial close). Based on Textbook -Selling Today.  8 marks

Close – in the form of a spoken sentence

Type of close – from Text





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