Training Encounters are learning activities that involve facilitator contact :
- Excellence in Customer Communication: a short course for Technical Sales and Applications Engineers
- Flash Training allows flexible content selection, scheduling and location while preserving many of the benefits of face-to-face encounters.
- Events: Short sessions, often plugging into sales conferences and other company gatherings, to inform, entertain and even launch a training program. The workshop format is often used, either to deal with a specific issue or as part of a larger program.
Our approach is based on a fundamental principle of communication: that a message must be adapted to its audience. We focus on the issues that are the most relevant to a very specific group of people: technical experts, either in customer-facing or manager-leader roles. We structure our material appropriately and present it in the tribal language – always with relevant examples.
Please note that we can either train directly, or we can train your trainers – whatever suits your organisation best.
Our main course, Excellence in Customer Communication uses a structured approach to business communication, providing not only tools for the work, but also language and models that can be customised to suit individual and team needs.
Excellence in Customer Communication is for Customer-Facing Engineers (CFEs), a term that covers a range of job titles, from Application Engineer, through Sales Representative, Developer and even Marketing manager – people who are essential to efficient communication back and forth along complex B2B value-chains.
Trainees may have a range of customer-facing experience, from a few months to tens of years – it doesn’t matter. Experience is necessary to do the job, but it’s not sufficient when selling and supporting ever more complex technology in increasingly dynamic markets. Tools and methods that support individual and team performance are essential!
Excellence in Customer Communication uses ICON9, a system of tools and methods designed for Technical Sales Support. Some are at a foundation level, covering topics such as Encounter Preparation, Getting Meetings Started and Learning Discovery, while others support more advanced work on Guiding Discovery, Presentation, Confrontation and Negotiation. In other words, we equip trainees to both (1) do easy, routine things fast and well and (2) tackle difficult, complex tasks effectively.
The course textbook, Client Encounters of the Technical Kind, together with the ICON9 web pages and other ICON9 collateral support trainees both during the course and as they integrate the learning material into their routines.
ICONDA’s considerable training database includes many alternative exercises and examples, built up from work with companies all over the world. This ranges from direct customer work to lab-based support, it includes service-based and product-based offerings, it covers software, component and custom-designed solutions and it applies to direct- and distribution-based sales. We can therefore make a bridge from the conceptual to the practical level in a way that less specialised training courses cannot.
Training course: Excellence in Customer Communication, for anyone in Technical Sales/Technical Sales Support
Numbers: 2.5 days (usually); 8-16 participants; 50% exercises. Variants: inter-company and intra-company (private). Customisation (intra-company courses): core modules are complemented by options (details available on request); examples and exercises are made company-specific. Facilitation: Andy Betts is the lead facilitator and he may work in collaboration with others (including people from your company). Language: English or French; printed materials are in English. Assessment: Kirkpatrick levels 1 and 2 tests. Location: No restriction. Pricing: A quotation will be made based on requirements.
Flash training consists of 45-minute, remote sessions supported with quality studio material and literature. It can be deployed in several ways:
- As a complement to classroom training, allowing trainees to cover advanced material of particular interest and relevance to them
- As an independent program for technical sales teams, launched at a company conference, for example
- At an individual level, for professionals making a transition between jobs or becoming more exposed to customers in their current role
We cover all the core material from our main training program, Excellence in Customer Communication: everything from the client encounter process – which provides a foundation that we build upon – to advanced topics, such as collaborative problem-solving and negotiation in a technical context.
Workshops are arranged to kick-off training programs, to punctuate them, or simply as the need arises. Their duration is typically one day or less, and they might fit in with some other company event, such as a sales conference. Apart from the duration, a workshop’s distinguishing characteristic is that it focuses on a particular issue. For example, creating presentation material for a new market segment, integrating a new team into a distribution network, even creating a training course!
Seminars can be shorter still, but their important because their goal is usually to stimulate motivation. We have a particularly popular seminar in ICONDA called “Working and Learning Under Pressure”. For some reason, everybody seems to need to know how to do this!
Please contact us to discuss your requirements.
Training Experiences and Testimony
Many of our training experiences are captured in articles, together with testimony from our customers. Here is the latest post …
Helping Engineers Maximise the Positive Impact of their Expertise
It's well known that many professionals have difficulty communicating with people outside their speciality and it's not unusual for start-ups to be frustrated by an indifferent world – "why does nobody appreciate our great idea??"!
Ironically, this problem exists because we're intelligent. If we weren’t preoccupied by the complexity of our subject, then we'd get to the point more easily, our explanations would resonate with others and we'd grow in confidence and skill. As it is, we tie ourselves in knots, nobody understands, and we get nervous about repeating the experience.
The very abilities that constitute our added value inhibit the expression of that value.
10 years ago, I started carving out a niche to address this issue for engineers, particularly Applications Engineers and others involved in customer facing work. Trainings and workshops, events, a book, team leader coaching ... all aimed at making client encounters more enjoyable and productive for technical specialists.
Looking back on failures and successes (they happen in that order :-), it seems to me that: