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


Ethical Selling Institute programs 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
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

Now scheduling sessions in Clayton, MO


1. Who Should Attend 

Executives 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. Join Us and Learn
  • Four easily implementable ways that account/project managers and professionals who don't want to appear "salesy," can leverage their integrity and develop significant business without any push whatsoever
  • Strategies and Methods on how to drive all Three Key Business Development Objectives
  • The EthicalFactorSM differentiation model that allows you to de-commoditize any product or service and why doing so is crucial in today's economy
  • The single greatest untapped opportunity to differentiate your products/service 
  • The dollar impact between having "satisfied" and "very satisfied" customers/clients
  • How to create and leverage "promoters," from whom come 80%-90% of referrals
  • Value of "in-person impression power" and "transferred trust"
  • How to maximize the business value of networking events
  • How to leverage memberships in associations
  • Which "touch points" have the greatest impact
  • Case studies where we've immediately impacted clients' top line (A-B, AT&T)
  • The ESS strategy that had a $250,000 impact for one client
  • Why training, behavior and accountability are crucial to maximizing business development efforts
  • The costs to your business/practice of doing nothing
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 is also a Vistage International Expert Resource Speaker on the topic of Differentiate or Attenuate. 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."

Our approach has absolutely nothing to do with zero-sum selling tactics such as handling objections, getting around gatekeepers and sure-fire closes. Integrity defines our methods and our clients. 

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4. Sampling of Ethical Selling System Client Testimonials (link to actual letters)

American Society of IRS Problem Solvers - Paul Hendrickson, President

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 (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 (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.

Blue Ocean Portfolios - Jim Winkelman, Principal (Financial)

Before your course I more or less operated under the notion that prospective customers would like the features and benefits of our service offerings and, through our persistence, would eventually break down and do business with us.  The themes of your course exposed the fallacy in our approach and showed us the optimum way to approach and deal with customers.  Most recently I attended the Program on Negotiation at The Harvard Law School.  Your program on ethical selling was every bit as valuable as this expensive program I attended in Boston.

Center for Business, Industry and Labor - Bob Serben, Ph.D., Director

I would like to thank you for your introductory workshop on the practical, relationship building value of ethical selling.  We whole heartedly endorse the workshop's central concepts - the importance of relating to clients with great respect, and being seen as trusted advisors - of which, you are a passionate, energetic and articulate advocate.  As important as the workshop was, we greatly appreciated your follow-up conversations with our associates.  In my opinion, these sessions were a distinctive feature of your obvious concern for our associates as they developed their understanding and application of your concepts.  In these efforts, you embodied the workshop's themes of service and partnership.

Central Institute for the Deaf - Robin Feder, Executive Director (Non-Profit)

I attended the Introductory Workshop sponsored by the Ethical Selling Institute.  Your techniques helped the CID-Central Institute for the Deaf refine the approach we use with prospective families and we are very grateful.  We no longer focus our meetings on sending their deaf or hard of hearing child to CID.  Rather, we use questions to engage our prospective families and ask the families to share their experiences with us.  They now tell us their story and we carefully listen so that we can truly understand their concerns.  We are then able to share with them how we might be able to address topics that are on their mind.  This approach, along with other changes in strategies, has helped increase our enrollment by 57% since 2004.

Contech Construction Products - Matt Houser, PE, Sales Engineer (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.

Lighting Service, Inc. - Kevin Horth

During my sales career (22 years) I have been through many varied sales training courses, but none of them have done more to help me refine my sales skills than the program I attended at the Ethical Selling Institute with Mr. Fred Firestone.  Every other training course I have ever taken instructed me to do things I found uncomfortable in some way or another, and all of them asked me to do things that I would perceive as "SALESPEAK" if I were the customer.  ... (The Ethical Selling program) has helped me keep control of the buyer-seller conversations in such a way that it seems very natural and not the least bit pushy or "salesmanese".  ... The training has taught me how to better convey to prospects that I have a desire to become a trusted consultant interested in developing a long-term relationship with them that is win-win.  Simply put, Fred Firestone and his Ethical Selling program are head and shoulders above any other sales training I have ever taken, and I highly recommend and endorse this program. 

Royal Banks - Lisa M. Frick, Vice President

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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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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Sessions to be held at 7710 Carondelet in Clayton, Missouri, first floor conference room


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Case studies and practical applications on how to build business value by delivering more of the EthicalFactor (trust, credibility, partnership)
at crucial client/customer interactions

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