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Consulting and Coaching

Learn Practical, Proven and Integrity-Based
Business Building Strategies and Methods

Workshops and Consulting designed to impact all Three Key Business Development Objectives:
(1) Create "very satisfied" clients, who stay as clients, who buy more and who become "promoters" (responsible for 80-90 percent of referrals);
(2) Provide more services to existing clients; and
(3) Obtain new clients

"Selling" broadly defined to include any touch point (animate or inanimate) that influences
perception of service image.

Developer/Presenter: Fred Firestone, J.D., M.Ed., Principal, Ethical Selling Institute

"Our objective is to be perceived as the best value provider. Your guidance has helped us to make significant inroads in this direction. If I can be a reference for you and your EthicalFactor differentiation system,
it would be my pleasure to do so."

letter from Mark Carlie, Partner, Stone Carlie CPAs


1. Who Should Attend 

Professional service providers (including account/project managers) responsible for delivering on any or all of the Three Key Business Development Objectives (create "very satisfied" clients who become "promoters," provide more products/services to existing clients, obtain new clients) who
are in search of a proven system that relies on leveraging integrity vs. the mastery of manipulative sales techniques. (Accounting, IT, Financial, Law, Consulting, Architecture, Engineering, Construction, Other B-to-B and B-to-C)
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2. Topics Covered in Workshops and Consulting

  • Understanding differentiation: the core and the value-added outer core
  • The cruciality of differentiation in today's economic climate
  • Why providing a better solution to client/customer problems is not the best way to differentiate
  • The Superior Client/Customer Experience model
  • Why "satisfied" is not good enough to convey competitive advantage
  • The commodity anachronism - every product or service can be differentiated
  • The Relative Perceived Quality Evaluation tool
  • How to deterimine the crucial "touch points" which define the service image
  • How to perform a "touch point" audit
  • Review of opportunities study: "How Clients Buy: The Benchmark Report on Marketing and Selling from the Client Perspective" (Rain Today)
  • Understanding why the EthicalFactorSM components of trust (genuineness), credibility (believability) and partnership (client focus and accountability) are the ultimate differentiator regardless of the business
  • EthicalFactorSM practical applications
  • The commodity anachronism
  • Transitioning a "tag line" into a "client commitment" - a clear statement of differentiation                             

Business Development Objective 1: Create "very satisfied" clients, who stay as clients, who buy more and who become "promoters" (responsible for 80-90 percent of referrals)

  • Why being technically proficient is not the primary path towards client/customer retention
  • Difference between "satisfied" and "completely satisfied" clients/customers
  • Methods to ensure the majority of your clients/customers are promoters ... who pay their bills, buy more products and services and refer others
  • How to develop a client/customer commitment that will result in more promoters
  • How to use the informal survey to create promoters
  • Review of crucial client/customer interactions (touch points) that impact perceived value
  • Why setting a standard of "exceeding expectations" is the wrong direction
  • How to become a "trusted advisor"
  • After mistakes are made (and they are made), how to recover in a way that builds more client/customer value than you had before mistakes were made
  • How to apply Ethical Selling Institute's process of "impact listening" as a significant value builder
  • How to maximize the impact of client/customer meetings
  • When and how to ask promoters for referrals and testimonials
  • How to use informal surveys to develop promoters

Business Development Objective 2: Provide more services to existing clients

  • The economics of leveraging existing relationships
  • Why conventional selling strategies and tactics don't work
  • How to use the complimentary consult as a way to provide more services
  • How to use "impact listening" to provide more services
  • How to use third-party statements as an engaging method of directing clients/customers to realize value of your offerings
  • How to use testimonials
  • Applying strategies and tactics of the Ethical Selling Institute to provide more services/products to existing clients

Business Development Objective 3: Obtain new clients

  • Review of core/outer-core differentiation model and how clients buy professional services
  • Why conventional marketing strategies fail to drive business development
  • Understanding the value of in-person impression power
  • Developing tactics that deliver in-person impression power
  • Understanding value of transferred trust
  • How to effectively use your promoter testimonials to develop new business
  • Developing host-beneficiary relationships
  • How to maximize association memberships
  • How to develop strategic alliances
  • Value of executive briefings and complimentary talks
  • How to establish yourself as the "Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval" at executive briefings and talks
  • How to use white papers to establish credibility
  • How to maximize the value of networking events
  • Why the conventional 30-second commercial serves to compromise the EthicalFactorSM
  • How to develop an engaging positioning statement
  • Why the best way to engage prospective clients at a networking event is to say relatively little about oneself
  • How to transition an introduction into an appointment
  • Value of the complementary consultation and how to position it
  • Differentiating the RFP
  • Selling to groups
  • Selling to influencers vs. decision makers
  • Why conventional marketing approaches fail to differentiate and produce face-to-face meetings
  • How "connectivity" marketing efforts can generate more face-to-face opportunities
  • Why it's crucially important to set business development objectives and be held accountable for achieving
  • How to set business development objectives
  • Applying strategies and tactics of the Ethical Selling System to develop new clients

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3. Background

Fred Firestone, J.D., M.Ed., is a former practicing attorney and is founder and president of the Ethical Selling* Institute, a subsidiary of Sempact, Inc. Since 1988 he has provided training, speaking and consulting services to businesses and organizations on how to pull ahead of their competition by building more of the EthicalFactorSM - (defined as trust, credibility and partnership) into their crucial customer interactions. The objective: provide a Superior Customer Experience which will yield greater market share and/or higher prices/fees.  His clients include Anheuser-Busch, 3M, AT&T, Enterprise Rent-A-Car and the US Postal Service, as well as professional service firms.  He also is a Vistage International Expert Resource Speaker on the topic of Differentiate or AttenuateIntegrity defines our methods and our clients. Client Listing

*Our definition of selling is not the conventional one.  We take a broad look; it encompasses any moment of truth that influences perceptions of service image. Thus, all people who have contact with customers/clients/guests/patients would be involved in "selling."

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4. Sampling of "Professional Services" Client Testimonials (links to actual letters)

American Society of IRS Problem Solvers - Paul Hendrickson, President (Ethical Selling System - Professional Services - Legal, Accounting)

Prior to engaging you and the Ethical Selling Institute, we did a comprehensive nation-wide evaluation of potential "sales training" programs.  Our members pride themselves in their professionalism; they are all about integrity and want nothing to do with anything that would compromise that perception in the minds of their potential clients.  To say they were skeptical about anything to do with "selling," would be an understatement.  I say, unequivocally, that we found in you and the Ethical Selling Institute the partner we were looking for.  Your integrity-based approach resonated with our attorneys and CPAs.  They embraced the Ethical Selling System as a way to convert more prospects into clients by delivering on your EthicalFactor (trust, credibility, partnership). 

Association of Information Technology Professionals - Martha Ludewig, Vice President (Ethical Selling System - Professional Services - IT)

Your concept of ethical selling and differentiation from the competition by building relationships through trust, credibility and partnership hit the mark with the AITP audience.  I found the enthusiastic presentation and delivery of your talk to be entertaining and captivating while in itself demonstrating how to build relationships with those present.  I know that you have previously presented to AITP at the National Conference with positive results, and I would recommend you as a speaker and your method of ethical selling to other individuals and organizations.

Blackwell Sanders Peper Martin - Peter Sloan, Partner (Ethical Selling System - Professional Services - Legal)

Your workshop on the ethical selling system was superb, and it changed the way I approach development in my law practice. Before your seminar, my focus in networking and business development was on all of the things that I can do for the client.  Your workshop helped me make a subtle but all-important shift in focus.  I now converse with potential clients with a focus on what they want, what they fear, what they need, rather than what I do.  This change has made my business development efforts more satisfying and enjoyable.  I recommend you and your system to any professional who wants to move to the next level.

Contech Construction Products - Matt Houser, PE, Sales Engineer (Ethical Selling System - Professional Services - Engineering)

As a Professional Engineer in the Highway Construction and Land Development Industry, I struggled with obtaining a certain level of comfort in my sales efforts.  The gimmicks and tricks I had learned in other sales training programs didn't produce sustainable results and didn't satisfy my desire for maintaining a positive self-image within the engineering profession.  After attending the NoHardSell Ethical Selling Workshop I began to reshape my approach to my sales process and as a result I felt more comfortable.  As a result, business has sharply increased and my professional reputation as a "trusted consultant" has deepened many on my business relationships.  In many aspects I have differentiated myself from competitors because of the skills I learned in the workshop.

Royal Banks - Lisa M. Frick, Vice President
(Ethical Selling System - Banking)

I find this program to be one of the most down to earth concepts that uses the tools I have had all along.  This program is more of a change of focus.  Instead of force feeding clients information in a short, fast, detail driven conversation, I now find myself in conversations with potential clients that parallel conversations that I have had with my long standing clients looking for guidance from their "trusted advisor".  Instead of my primary focus being selling products, I now focus on developing relationships.  After that, everything else just seems to fall into place.  I would be happy to recommend your training to anyone interested in Ethically Selling their products and services.

Society for Marketing Professional Services - Carie A. Dunn, Chapter President (Ethical Selling System - Professional Services - Architecture, Engineering, Construction)

Please accept this letter as a follow up to the presentation you made for the St. Louis Chapter.  Your topic, Differentiate or Diminish: Practical Value Added Strategies in the Challenging Economy, was particularly well received.  The following points you made really hit home with our members (marketers in the AEC [architecture, engineering & construction] industry):
  • How delivering your "EthicalFactorSM" (components of which are Trust, Credibility and Partnership) at crucial interactions is a vehicle to drive all three key business development objectives: (1) Retain existing clients and create promoters; (2) Provide more products/services to existing clients; as well as (3) obtain new clients.
  • The difference between "Satisfied" and "Completely Satisfied" clients and the financial impact of having the latter.
Your presentation was fast-paced and engaging. Your overall rating as a speaker ranked 4.62 on five-point scale.  The following are some comments received from members:

  • "The presenter information was VERY informative"
  • "Speaker was very dynamic"

Stone Carlie & Company - Mark Carlie, Member (EthicalFactor Differentiation System - Professional Services - Accounting)

I want to take this opportunity to comment on the consulting services you've provided to Stone Carlie and their resulting impact.  Give the results, this letter is a pleasure to write.  We engaged your services beginning in 2006 as a Marketing Strategist, with the designated goal of transitioning our tag line, "Going Beyond the Numbers," into our differentiator.  We believed, as you do, that our competitive advantage opportunities had much more to do with our ability to deliver your "EthicalFactor" components (trust, credibility and partnership) at crucial client interactions, than merely with our ability to deliver excellent compliance work.  The following are some highlights of your involvement:

  • Developed a Client Commitment delivery plan with our different departments.
  • Conceptualized and facilitated opportunities for us to deliver "in-person impression power," which resulted in clients and prospects perceiving the value of our Client Commitment.  While the specific dollars resulting from these "in-person impression power" opportunities is proprietary, suffice it to say it significantly impacted all three of our marketing objectives to: keep what we have; secure more services from existing clients and secure new client relationships.
  • Worked with me personally in transitioning a marketing niche into a business unit.

In sum, I see you as a trusted resource.  Our objective is to be perceived as the best value provider.  Your guidance has helped us to make significant inroads in this direction.  If I can be a reference for you and your EthicalFactor differentiation system, it would be my pleasure to do so.

Stone Carlie & Company - Richard Kraner, Member (Ethical Selling System - Professional Services - Accounting)

As a CPA, I was cautious of anything that had an aire of salesmanship.  However, I found that the concept focuses more on listening than selling, more on asking probing questions than selling, and more about assessing a prospect's need for your product or services than selling.  What a novel approach!  The use of a disciplined and methodical approach to meeting and speaking with potential clients has broad application for the sale of all products and services.  Your insights have dramatically changed my approach to meeting with potential clients and there is no question that I feel better prepared, more in tune with a prospect's needs and better able to quickly determine whether the services I provide would be considered to be of value to the prospect.  Thank you for providing your approach, guidance and counseling and assisting me in personalizing this approach to the services I provide.

Touche Ross - Michael F. LaPorta, Managing Partner (Ethical Selling System - Professional Services - Accounting)

I am writing to comment on the recent marketing programs you did for Touche Ross.  Your work included two focus groups, one with both our Audit and Tax management, and a seminar, "Client-Centered Marketing - Your Competitive Edge," for our entire office.  I was very satisfied with what transpired.  You conveyed useful information in a creative and entertaining format, that succeeded in provoking thought regarding our relationship to our clients and our products.  In addition, the fact that you thoroughly focused on our specific agenda and developed your programs consistently, lent to their credibility.

Vistage International - Allen Hauge, Group Chair (Differentiation/Ethical Selling System - CEO Group)

My members found the information on sales and customer service tactics that help not only land new customers, but enhance and retain the revenues form current ones very useful.  They especially appreciated the introduction of the concepts of The Ethical Factor (trust, credibility, partnership) and the Core/Outer Core differentiation model to determine where The Ethical Factor's use may be most effective.  I received a number of very positive comments from members after the meeting.

  • "Very high energy speaker - I like the Socratic Method and find it to be easier to learn that way vs. lecture."
  • "Really liked the content.  I am a big supporter of ethical based business practices. You did a great job of connecting ethics to the selling process."
  • "High energy - great sense of humor, made me feel comfortable.  Content excellent ... culture of engagement important to and intrinsic motivation of employees."
  • "Presentation is actionable.  High energy and passion come through.  Back half of presentation is excellent because it gives a 'how to' blueprint."
  • "Presentation style was refreshing and engaging.  WOWed Factor was great."

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6. How to Participate?  We offer workshops, consulting and coaching, all services customized based on need.  Contact us to receive our 44-question Business Development Questionnaire and see if you qualify for a complimentary review.

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