April Meeting 2019


  1. MSI – Guest Speaker: Jared Wessel, Hogan Lovells
    1. Lawyer, specializing in Trade Law Matters
    2. Where We Are
      1. May is the big month, case will either rise or fall
      2. In order for Cambria to secure duties
        1. Establish injury at ITC
        2. If they are so injured they would need to go back 90 days and activate retroactive tariffs 
      3. ITC Hearing is set for May 9th
        1. May 2nd – pre-hearing brief
      4. After May 16th commission will have everything they need, on June 11th  they will make the decision
      5. Whoever gets 3 votes will win
      6. Crushed Glass – discussion if crushed glass will be included or excluded. Cambria is trying to get crushed glass added back into the case. May 14th will make decision and announced May 15th. Department of Commerce is pushing back against this.
    3. What it ITC Looking at
      1. Is Cambria suffering from the Chinese product being imported
      2. Cambria have said that Fabricators are guys with saws in garages, MSI is trying to prove this is false. Fabricators should be heard and listened to, they use the Chinese products to serve a particular market separate from Cambria.
      3. Industry is slab producers and also fabricators – commission needs to listen to them as well. Critical issue in the case.
      4. To have better chance at winning, we need fabricators full participation.
    4. Retroactive Tariffs
      1. $300 million due, goes back 90 days on imports
      2. Cambria’s attempt to run out independent fabricators and suppliers
    5. If Cambria wins here, it is highly likely they will go after other countries. Advice: this is the time to fight Cambria. If you would like to help in this case, please provide Jared with your contact information so he can get further details from you. Also, make sure you reach out to your Congressman so they can tell the ITC that they need to hear your
    6. 301 Case
      1. Ongoing trade dispute between US and Europeans on aircraft dispute 
      2. In this case, on preliminary list of products – quartz products from European Union, so quartz from Spain is subject to being hit by this. 
    1. How many fabricators have agreed to reach out?
      1. Teens to high twenties
        1. People can help in confidential manner
    2. How will this effect CTS vs. Slabs?
      1. Everything is in right now. Quartz Surface Products fabricated or not fabricated. This includes CTS. Hit by the same tariffs that the slabs are hit by.
      2. All or nothing
    3. Has it been thought about that Cambria has fully automated fabrication themselves?
      1. We think that this is Cambria going to war against independent fabs and distributors. If they can choke off supply, then it directs fabricators to Cambria.
    4. If Cambria does when, when does the 90 days start?
      1. It was 90 days before preliminary determinations last summer (2018). If you pay now and Cambria loses, you will get your money back.
    5. How do they select people for retroactive tariffs?
      1. Everyone that brought in product during those 90 days, you should get hit. Custom agents could be handling different depending on what port the material was brought in.
    6. What is the 90-day window?
      1. 90 days from when preliminary tariff came out. Cambria even asked for this to go back 90 days before this preliminary hearing.
    7. Are other countries being brought in?
      1. Not yet, but there are rumors.
    8. If this is going to affect EU imports. How is the relationship between Marty Davis and Cosentino going to play?
      1. People who are politically connected could have more influence on Airbus case. Not really an issue on this case against Chinese quartz.
    9. From Developer standpoint – if Quartz gets out of line, they will switch to laminate, it’s not a big deal to them.
    10. 50% from China is CTS, 85% is Slabs
    11. How expensive is it for Cambria to go after other countries?
      1. Cambria is fully funding this case, the government is not putting money into this. It is not hard to replicate these cases, next case could be 20% less and so on.
    12. Could there be a case just on fabricated countertops?
      1. Yes, this could happen.


  • Customers
    • Purchase incentives / SPIFFS
      • Remnant Program, Vanity Program “Buy kitchen and get discount on vanity.”
      • Old inventory with specific price mark
      • Giving % of sale on material marked down to non-profit
      • 6 Granites/6 Quartz always at set SQFT price
      • Success using Facebook Marketplace (locally)
      • Use of stonetrash.com – can dump material and set your own price
    • Promotion
    • Special Buys
      • “Color of the Month” – Let designers pick a color and offer special buy for that product (while supplies last)
  • Employees

Majority of the group has sales team member, all but two work on Salary and Commission. The others are just solely salaried.

    • Commission structures
    • Incentives


What are characteristics of your desired salesperson


  • Communication
  • Professional
  • Detailed oriented, adaptable, and self-starter
  • Concern for detail
  • Time management
  • Initiative
  • Construction background

Top 3: Communicator, mathematical, detail oriented

Job Description: A confident self-starter with a construction background and developed communication skills

Metrics: Overall template price per sq/ft, actual cost and opportunity cost. Completed on time

Sales Person must answer customers top 3 questions:

  1. What do I get?
  2. How much?
  3. When will I get it?

Lead Generation:

What are some of things that generate traffic or get people to move?

Tables top 3:

  1. Digital marketing
  2. Showroom
  3. Mailers



Top Objectives:

  • Achieve sales goals


How will Success be Tracked:

    • Daily sales dashboards
    • Weekly sales dashboards
    • Monthly sales reports (goal / actual)


Mission Critical Skills for Success: 

*These are the top skills required for the job and what we should focus on during the interview process

  • Independent / self-starter / motivated / grit
  • Likable (ability to build trust) – customers want to do business with them
  • Strong communication skills
    • External – set proper expectations, follow up
    • Internal – set project and team up for success
  • Competitive
    • Closer that likes to win / exceed goals
    • Prospecting


Rhythm & Communication Cadence: How are they managed…

  • Daily sales huddle with sales manager each morning – review prior day and current day strategy / plan
  • Weekly sales training session with entire sales team to go deep into certain skills (value proposition, prospecting, product knowledge, getting referrals, closing, presenting, etc …)
  • Monthly 1-2-1 standing meeting with Sales Manager on performance review and development

Visual Dashboards: How will then know if they are successful and hitting the mark …

  • Daily sales report distributed each day
    • New sales sold / new sales billed
  • Weekly sales report
  • Monthly sales report
    • Commission paid based on monthly results


Job Specific:

  • The primary job responsibility is to successfully manage the customer experience and maximize all sales opportunities in accordance with the company vision statement and in compliance with company policy and procedures including projects, customer education, establishing appropriate expectations, scheduling, answering questions, responding to issues, team player, problem solving and other details with customers.
  • Successful employees are self-motivated, have great attitudes, customer service oriented, and have excellent communication, time management and organizational skills.

*We don’t have to use this specific format. However, my recommendation is to keep it simple on whatever one we use.

Installation Manager

Director of Field Operations usually covers the Installation Manager position.

Field Services Manager – reports to VP of Operations

  • KPI’s
    • Call Backs/Go Backs – list a measurable goal, either by % of sales or specific amount
    • Issue Resolution
    • Employee Safety and Employee Happiness
      • How do you measure? A “walk-around” method, acknowledge everyone’s birthday, budget for lunches,  etc.
    • VOC
    • Productivity Management

Open Mic Call From February 2019

Rockheads Forum Call

Wednesday, February 27th, 2019

Welcome New Members

    1. Emerald Coast Fabrication
    2. Paxton Countertops
    3. Keystone Granitewerks
    4. Precision Stoneworks

Current Topics

      1. Tariffs on cut-to-size – Brian Lynch
        1. How is everyone dealing with import tariffs on cut-to-size, what solutions have you found?
          1. Geoffrey Gran from TCF – Has not affected him, however when the news came out initially a lot of GC’s contacted him to get updates
          2. Chris from Stoneworks – Effected greatly. Real hurdles on the new bidding because developers do not want to accept the price increase. Not bidding glass quartz either. Switched to cut to size granite, bidding it now with 25% tariff already in place.
          3. Nick Began – Glass quartz is already imported, already almost 100 containers – including MSI. Hired Adrienne Blogmiller, tariff law expert, her comments were to stay away from any glass quartz with more than 50% in content. Can fight it if it is 60% above in quartz content.
            1. How do you submit a MSDS Sheets for each color? As long as the material has been approved through a third party
            2. Paul Menninger-Capitol Granite– Coming from the chemical industry in previous career, allows companies to have a range 40%-70%.
          4. Fred Christian-Hallmark – keep in mind court costs vs. tariff cost
          5. Geoffrey – Has anyone tested this material? It is a new product with no testing done as far as he knows.
            1. Nick – Have to go to independent 3rdparty testing that believes is international, also did own testing in house.
            2. Are there any test results from this company? Yes – SGS is the service, performs close to the MSI’s Q Quartz.
          6. Jon Kaplan – does anyone know what is delayed in regard to the tariff?
            1. The 15% is pending depending on upcoming meetings with President and China.
          7. What more would you like to hear on this topic?
            1. Hear from reliable source/authority on what the latest and greatest is without sugar coating.
            2. Have a representative from MSI present to discuss what has been done on their end.

Slabsmith – Frank Muraca

    1. If you are using Slabsmith to create a layout and seam information for your customers are you charging for it and if so how much can you get away with? We have done a fair amount at no additional cost and it is a value-adder and we would like to charge for it. just curious what others in the group are doing.
      1. Geoffrey-TCF – sells it for $250.00, posed as a convenience to the customer because it saves time. Don’t do it for builders, but will do it for commercial jobs, Box Stores (depends on store, but done with a custom sku. Make sure you are educating the store on what you are doing if you go this route), and residential.
      2. Matt from Colonial – was not successful in charging for Slabsmith at the higher level when brought up to Meredith. Work with stores one on one for this. $250 out of Big Box stores and $200 out of the showroom.
        1. Asking for this to be a SKU is the biggest challenge because not everyone can do it. This is why you request for a custom SKU.
      3. Does anyone do other up charges for Big Box? Geoffrey does do this, has around 15 items.
        1. Chip minimizer, plumbing – depends on what the customers’ needs are and also your capabilities. Customers want simplicity and ease of purchase so please keep this in mind.
      4. Karen Roe-NSM Motif – $250 for the layout and also sell Invisiblock and Granite Gold
      5. Jon Kaplan – Granite Gold being tested in some markets for program in the big box stores.
      6. Geoffrey Gran, TCF. Granite Gold test market.  TCF is working and doing well.


Saw jet vs. CNC saw – Marco/Atlas Marble

    1. I have two sawjets and I’m in the market to upgrade my saw systems . I know about my fixed cost on owning saw jets . Could anyone tell me if they have replaced their Saw jets for CNC saws and besides operating expenses decreasing did the changeover to CNC saws VS. Saw jets decrease S/F production significantly?
      1. Fred Christian-from Hallmark –
      2. Paul Menninger – What would be the compelling event to go to CNC Saw vs. CNC Waterjet?
      3. Matt Scarsella from Tile & Stone – use CNC Saw without a sawjet and has manipulate and production is second to none. Have automatic loader and conveyer belt. Don’t use saw jet and cut 35-40 slabs a day on one saw.
        1. Buying decision – wanted to increase productivity. Added benefit of having saw that loads itself. Could not have done the same thing with a saw jet, it would cut the conveyer belt. Savings is in reducing cycle times. Just cutting blanks and marking where the seams are.
      4. Brian from Cutting Edge – removing waterjet will increase production time.


Plumbing Services

    1. Geoffrey – has 2 full-time plumbers on staff. Make $100K a year on both plumbers. Get to control the process. Find someone who is experienced.
      1. Do you have to be a licensed plumber?


  1. Every state is different, but in IL yes they must be licensed.
  1. Is there a break-even point?
    1. Charge, for HD, $350 for a basic reconnection.
  2. Anthony McGilvery-Valley Countertop IndustriesHired retired plumber for about a month to come train their installers how to do reconnection – their state does not require licensing.



    1. Coverings
      1. Hosting Yearly Roundtable Discussions in Orlando at Grove Resort and Spa
      2. Meeting Evening of the 9ths and entire day of the 10th
      3. Rate of the hotel – Hotels.com $159 for single room. All condominiums on the property so there are flexible pricing options.
      4. Please be sure to register on the website.
    2. Best Idea Contest
      1. Please send them via the website or directly so they can be entered into the presentation.
      2. Grand Prize is being given by Sapienstone for all-expense paid trip to Italy (flights, hotel and meals) to visit the factory as well as enjoy time experiencing country and culture.


For the entire recording, please click on this link and fast forward to minute 10:00

Open Mic Call from 1-9-2019

In case you missed the call on Jan 9th, 2019 and you want to hear back what it was all about, great discussion!


Topics you’ll hear discussion around:

  • Best way to recruit employees
  • Employee drug policies and developments
  • Implementing EOS – what’s the best way to implement


Click on this link for the full recording: Call recording and start at the 13:00 minute mark.

TISE 2018 Best Idea Contest

Best Idea Contest Winners.


Click links below to view.


TCFmidwest Winner

Signature Interior Expressions Winner

2018 NSMotif Best Idea 2 Winner

2018 Weaver Stone Co Best Idea

2018 Weaver Stone Co Best Idea 3

2018 Weaver Stone Co Best Idea 2

2018 Summit Stoneworks Best Idea

2018 Stoneworld TN Best Idea

2018 Premier Surfaces Best Idea

2018 NSMotif Best Idea 1

2018 Johnson Granite Best Idea

2018 Granite & Marble Works Best Idea

2018 Granite & Marble Works Best Idea 2

2018 Distinctive Surfaces Best Idea

2018 Colonial Marble & Granite Best Idea

2018 Cutting Edge Countertops Best Idea

2018 Capital Granite Best Idea

2018 Atlas Marble & Granite Best Idea

Optimization – Carolina Custom Surfaces

Rockheads Forum Introduction

We will be moving into a forum structure that will help facilitate more constructive dialogue. With a growing member base it can be challenging to communicate our ideas effectively in such a large group. If we break down into smaller groups then more meaningful dialogue will evolve naturally. Information on this new structure can be found on the powerpoint that is linked above.

The Customer Service Revolution

Dave Murray from The DiJulius Group gave us a spectacular lecture on customer service and how putting an emphasis on the customer experience can only yield net gains for your business. In case you missed the lecture we have attached their workbook, linked in the title.

December Call

Speaker – Ruhlin Group – John Ruhlin
We are excited to offer you a new, perspective on Marketing strategies from one of the industries most talented speakers. Our featured speaker for the month of December will be John Ruhlin , author of “Giftology”. John will speak with us on marketing strategies that focus on building experiences and gift giving. He founded the Ruhlin Group in 2000 following a meteoric rise as the top Cutco salesperson. At this event you will learn how to use John’s “Proven Process” that has been disseminated to some of the top executives in the United States with overwhelming success. We are proud to have him speak to the ROCKHEADS!

November Call

Speaker – Dijulius Group – John Dijulius


Want to build better relationships with your clients? Or simply have an opportunity to network with new potential clients? This is your chance to be part of KBIS! The Rockheads have secured a special event for our members to invite their clients and host them during the show. Join NOW and take advantage of this VIP opportunity!
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