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The following excerpts are taken from a sampling of client testimonials.  Each link is to actual letter.

Firestone Speaker Summary

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).

Amherst-Pelham Regional Schools -Jere Hochman, Superintendent (Facilitation/Differentiation)

I recall a session Mr. Firestone presented to a middle school faculty where I was the principal.  After a dynamic probing of our program, Mr. Firestone proceeded with an analysis of perception versus reality.  As he proceeded, there were many "ah ha" moments which subsequently moved from dialogue to action steps.  His ability to take a complex situation and apply an air of simplicity to the resolution was something to see.  His approach kept everyone focused and provided a reference point for many discussions weeks after his presentation.

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.

Arrow Limousine - Kevin Callinan, Sales & Client Services Manager (Customer Service/WOWEDFactor)

You addressed our chauffeurs, reservationists, dispatchers and shop/detail employees on the topic of: WOWEDFactor - You Are the Difference.  What I can say is that your message was exactly what we had hoped for and that the response has been excellent.  Our intent was to give our employees every tool possible to provide the best customer service possible.  We have witnessed improved sales, compliments reported are way up and there are fewer complaints than ever before.  You totally customized your message to make it our message.  Speaking of the message, it was practical, with on-point examples of how all of our people could have an impact in "de-commoditizing" through providing a Superior Customer Experience.

AT&T - Peggy Chitwood, Services Manager California (Ethical Selling System - Maintenance Contracts) 

I would like to take a moment to thank you for your help with our Post Warranty Maintenance Contract Sales. The seminar was well planned, informative, enthusiastic and enjoyable.  The comments I received from our technicians were nothing short of positive.  And now for the good news, our Post Warranty Maintenance Contract Sales increased by 417% in the month following the seminar.  Thank You!  Your strong and focused counseling has greatly increased my own efforts.

AT&T - Dan Herbst, Area Manager Illinois (Ethical Selling System - Maintenance Contracts)

I wanted to convey to you my thanks and appreciation for the outstanding job you have done in the Illinois area of General Business Systems.  The training program you developed and presented to 130 of my technicians and managers played an important role in our dynamic improvement in selling maintenance contracts to our out of warranty customers.  Although the numbers are proprietary, I can assure you that our improved financial results paid your reasonable fees many times over.  Perhaps what impressed me the most is your desire to follow through and make certain that we have achieved our expected results.

Baylor Healthcare System - Carlos Maese, Director Management Development (Business Motivation)

I want to commend you on a job well done in preparing our employees for Sharing the Future.  Your presentation style was very lively and motivating. In the final analysis, your training services were integral in the success of Sharing the Future.

Bitrode Corporation - Laura Schacht, Sr. Account Manager (Ethical Selling System)

It is a pleasure to write a strong letter of recommendation for the "Pulling Ahead of the Competition Using Ethical Selling" workshop. I found the program full of fantastic information, selling techniques, and self discovery.  Not only did I gain insights on hot to better utilize the unique differentiators of our products, but I learned a completely different paradigm on closing that never compromises my integrity.  I believe this program will help anyone - in any industry - become more effective in sales, to build better relationships, and dramatically improve their business development opportunities.

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.

Businesspersons Between Jobs - Robert Gergen, Program Chair (Ethical Selling System)

We were privileged to have you present to our group of approximately 150 people on the topic of: Selling Your Competitive Advantage - Providing Prospective Employers with a Superior Customer Experience.  What impressed me most was that you opened many or our members' eyes to the fact that the reason an employer might want to hire them may not be the same as why they think the employer should hire them.  Your engaging style assured that the group stayed with you throughout the presentation, and what was particularly insightful was your four-step application of your "Ethical Selling System" approach to interviewing/networking.

Center for Business, Industry and Labor - Bob Serben, Ph.D., Director (Ethical Selling System)

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 (Ethical Selling System - 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 (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.

East Central College - Beth Watts, Human Resources Director (Customer Service/WOWEDFactor) 

We arranged for Mr. Firestone to "kick off" a large Customer Service training program in which most of our employees participated. Fred did an excellent job of presenting his lessons that one must go beyond the expectations of the customers to "wow" them, using example after example of exceptional customer service situations.  Fred has a fast and fun presentation style. Humor was a large part of communicating his point. He involved the audience to a great extent. He was very active in moving around the room, encouraging the involvement of the employees through fun games an through role playing.  The employees were laughing and coming to their own realizations about the do's and don'ts of customer service. In developing our training program, Fred was more than willing to listen to our desires and goals, and developed his presentation to enhance our efforts.  He did everything he was asked to do, and made it fun!

Enterprise Rent-A-Car -Shannon D. Moore, VP Corporate Training / Corporate Meetings & Travel (Facilitation/Business Motivation)

It gives me great pleasure to write this letter.  For the past eight years you have facilitate our new managers' leadership workshop - approximately 200 two-day sessions.  The thrust of the program is that in order to be maximally effective as managers, it's crucially important they engage their employees.  Your ability to make a significant impact on our new managers is the result of three factors: (1) your visceral understanding of engagement; (2) your passion, enthusiasm and commitment; and (3) your ability to regularly and consistently "engage" the groups for sixteen hours straight (no let up!).  Allow me to elaborate ... You get engagement.  I've reviewed your defining article on WOWEDFactor: A Key to Business Differentiaton and your WOWEDFactor Programs.  The direction is spot on in terms of setting up, in your words, a "culture of engagement.

Enterprise Rent-A-Car - Marla K. Rhutasel, Admin and Standards Manager (Facilitation/Business Motivation)

Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International -Tanya Thompson, President Elect (Differentiation - Pullingahead of the Competition)

Mr. Firestone's presentation was titled "Pulling Ahead of the Competition" and addressed the issues of effective communication to prospective clients, packaging your offerings, and how to make your package more valuable to your customers.  Many of the attendees commented on how Fred's style of presentation kept them interested.  Additionally, the message was timely and relevant to professionals in the hospitality industry.

Lighting Service, Inc. - Kevin Horth (Ethical Selling System)

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. 

Longrow Holdings - Jim Winkelman, Principal (Ethical Selling System)

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.

Mailing and Fulfillment Service Association - Kevin McPhillips, Conference Chair (Differentiation - Pullingahead of the Competition) 

We were very grateful that you were able to join us and provide such a splendid Keynote.  "PullingAhead of the Competition: Developing and Selling Your Competitive Advantage" was very timely in our current economic environment.  On behalf of my colleagues, I would like to thank you for your very thought provoking presentation.  The formal (as well as informal) feedback from the group gave you very high marks.  I am appreciative of your energies and efforts on our behalf.  All too often we come away from conferences with "fluff" as opposed to tangible and valuable concepts and tools.  You gave us real value.

Maritz Performance Improvement Company - Mary Carini, Senior Training Manager (Business Motivation)

Enclosed in a copy of a thank you from Mike Payton, our Baymont client.  In his memo he gives us high praise for the Baymont Guest Ovations train-the-trainer session that you helped facilitate.  You deserve much of the credit for the positive comments that we have received on this project.

Missouri Eagle (Anheuser-Busch Distributor) - Mike Shilharvey, Director of Sales (Ethical Selling System)

I have been looking for a better way to communicate the value added that our products and services bring to our customers without being heavy-handed.  At the same time I want to build their trust and confidence when dealing with our sales team.  Your system was right on target with helping achieve these goals.  I would highly recommend the "NoHardSell System" to any and all who would like to pull ahead of the competition and take their sales team to another level.

National Association of Health Underwriters - Kim Paniucki, Education Chairperson (Differentiation - Pullingahead of the Competition)

Your presentation on "How to Pull Ahead of the Competition Using the Ethical Factor" was a big hit.  Several of our members have commented that they have successfully implemented what they learned from you and have experienced a noticeable difference in their prospects' reactions.

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

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"

St.Charles, Missouri Chamber of Commerce - Scott Tate, President/CEO (Customer Service/WOWEDFactor)

Each year, our chamber recognizes front-line employees of local businesses for their outstanding customer service skill and going above and beyond what is expected.  Your presentation on the WOWEDFactor was perfect. Your presentation was a great reminder to our members of what they need to do to WOW their customers and get them to return. 

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.

3M - Tim Kenney, Merchandise Manager (Business Motivation)

Should you wish to use this letter as an endorsement, I'm pleased to offer it as such.  I'm pleased to tell others how we brought you in to be an educational/motivational speaker for a series of retailer meetings we held, coast-to-coast, to promote Scotchgard Stain Release for nylon carpet.  Your quick grasp of the product, your sincere and expressed enthusiasm, your professional delivery and manner of presentation, all were factors in making the meetings the success that they were.

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.

United States Postal Service - Geraldine Smotherson, Training Manager (Total Quality)

This is in acknowledgement of your presentation of the seminar "You Make the Differerence".  I found you to be an enthusiastic and energetic presenter and your unique approach to stimulate classroom participation is commendable.  Your demeanor is strictly professional and your structured presentation will prove to be an asset to any organization seeking enlightenment in the area of quality management.

United States Postal Service - Grace Corbin, EEO Complaints Processing Manager (Total Quality)

Thank you for presenting four "The Total Quality Process" workshops to postal employees throughout the St. Louis Division.  The Division General Manager/Postmaster, Directors and other employees commented that all employees should attend your workshop.  The contents reinforced that "quality" equates to survival of the organization and employees exited your sessions with renewed ideas to ensure that customers received more than expected.  Because of your enthusiastic presentation and impressive feedback from employees, we have inserted your name for future workshops.  I will certainly recommend you to other organizations.

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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