Steve Jobs and Apple managed to get people queuing all night to buy a newly launched product the following day. The highly differentiated lifestyle consumer product created the sales opportunity. At the shops they needed ‘order takers’, not sales people, because their customers had already bought the product in their own minds.

For the vast majority in the B2B market, highly differentiated products are few and far between, commoditisation rife. Which means that the only differentiating factor between the products and services on offer is the quality and skill of the sales professionals.

An ‘A’ rated sales person with a ‘B’ rated product will always beat a
‘B’ rated sales person with an ‘A’ rated product.

The following individual comments were recorded following an iSolon Sales Development Programme held in the UK:
uk sales development programme

“The learning collected from the dialogue between John and Des was fantastic. Could have listened for days!”
“A most enjoyable event. Probably the best training session I’ve attended in the last 10 years!”
“The role playing between John and Des was excellent. This vividly demonstrated the points under discussion, and many were impromptu in response to issues raised by attendees.”
“’Bloody hell’ These guys have seen it all – well almost!”

Over the past 12 years we have helped thousands of sales executives and sales managers from the world’s top companies to transform their clients’ buying experience and win more business.

martin hess

“John, thank you. You surpassed expectations. A quality act!”
Martin Hess
Vice President, Sales UK&I
Hewlett Packard

We offer four types of programme, although individual modules within them can be purchased separately:

  • Product Selling
  • Professional Services Selling
  • Solution Selling
  • Provocation Selling

At three different levels:

  • Account Executive
  • Major Account Manager
  • Sales Manager

For three client contact seniority levels

  • Professional eg Information technology, Compliance
  • Manager eg Department head
  • Board, eg Finance Director, CIO

During every programme, we secure the services of an experienced buyer from our client’s industry, who provides the customer perspective and feedback about the client’s image.

The participants undertake regular sales and negotiation role play exercises which can be recorded for personal debriefing.

Delivery Style

The iSolon style is very informal and highly interactive. We combine theory with individual, team and group exercises which allow the participants to use the tools that have just learned. We want the delegates to really enjoy the programme so we aim for a little light-heartedness as well. But lighter moments are coupled with quiet introspective moments for each participant to carefully reflect on themselves and their image.

The presenter will aim for about 30mins of presentation before asking the delegates to complete an exercise based on the material covered.

Normally we start each morning with a 15 minute quiz about the subjects already covered on the programme.

The following individual comments were recorded following an iSolon Sales Development Programme held in Chicago:

“Fantastic knowledge and experience of Des and John – could listen to you both all week!”
“The presenters oozed experience – this assisted me to understand what was important to the CIO”
“One of the very best courses I have done!! Relevance, real life experiences, warts n all – constructive criticism and coaching”
“Delivered with passion by ‘business’ experienced people”
“I would highly recommend this course. The content is well thought out and completely valid. Fantastic!”

Here is an extract of the most senior sales programme that we offer:

Provocation Sales Senior Masterclass

A combination of web seminars and face-to-face interaction and role play simulations for the most senior sales managers, account managers and senior sales professionals

  • Delivered by two or three senior C-Suite Executives with extensive multi-cultural experience
  • Small Groups
  • Practice with senior executives working in selected industries


The vast majority of multi-national companies have trained their sales professionals to shift from product sales to a combination of product sales and solution sales. Now the world’s most forward thinking companies have accepted the very real challenge to add a significantly higher level of competency – Provocation Sales. Why? The top three compelling reasons are:

  • It forces out real client issues at the most senior level – eg brand recognition, margin and market share challenges and opportunities
  • It starts with a business case and not with an Invitation To Tender [ITT] or Request For Proposal [RFP]
  • It attracts funding outside of departmental budgets

The following individual comments were recorded following an iSolon Sales Development Programme held in Dusseldorf:

“I’ve been on other courses and been urged to read the Financial Times etc, but this helped me understand better why that would be of benefit!”
“Don’t enter into negotiations with your customer until you have been on this course”
“A real insight into the thoughts of ‘C’ level executives”
“The personal experiences of the two instructors going beyond the traditional slide show on training courses was excellent”
“Good learning. Great fun!”
“I finally got a good view on Business Cases”

Programme Summary

There are three separate stages:

  • Premier License – The Business Case
  • Gold License –The Provocations
  • Diamond License – The Face-To-Face Role Play Simulations

An Example of the Agenda

Premier License – The Business Case

Pre-work sent in and assessed, followed by one-to-one webcam coaching

Task 1 – Delegates will invited to complete a 30 question Business Quiz on-line, covering global economics, industry analysis, company activity and interesting initiatives. These questions will be based upon information published by The Financial Times and Wall Street Journal.

Task 2 – Delegates will be invited to undertake a detailed examination of their own Company’s Annual Report, providing answers to 20 Questions concerning the performance of the Company

Task 3 – Delegates will be asked to email a business case model or template used internally within one of their clients to the programme tutors
When all three tasks have been completed, a 30minute personal webcam coaching session will be convened to discuss the pre-work.

richard evans

“iSolon’s experience of working at high level in organisations was of considerable benefit to us. Their staff are experts and their programmes are very interactive. We enjoyed their company and will work with them again.”
Richard Evans
Sales Director, EMEA
Telcordia Technologies Inc

3 hour web seminar in small groups [max 6 persons]

There will be three 55 minute sessions

Session 1 will define the purpose and use of a business case, the 5 key differences between a proposal and an internal client business case, state the key attraction factors and explain the 7 critical success factors. The delegates will be teamed in pairs to discuss the tutorial, identifying areas for further study.

5 minute break

Session 2 will explain the 13 Golden Rules of Business Cases. A short video of senior executives giving their views of the business cases they have read. The delegates will be teamed in pairs to discuss the tutorial, identifying areas for further study.

10 minute break

Session 3 will explain how the business case should be presented and the challenges the delegates can expect from their client, including the ‘6 Killer Questions’. The delegates will be teamed in pairs to discuss the tutorial, identifying areas for further study.

Post seminar work sent in and assessed followed by personal webcam coaching.

Task 1 – Delegates will be invited to comment upon and critique an example business case – stating why they would either reject it or approve it.

Task 2 – Delegates will be invited to translate one of their existing or current proposals into their client’s internal business case in conjunction with a senior client contact before sending it to the tutors for assessment.

Task 3 – Delegates will be invited to present the business case from Task 2 on a webcam session to the tutors and invited guests [eg one of their Company’s senior managers]

When all three tasks have been completed, a 30minute personal webcam coaching session will be convened to discuss the pre-work.


The following individual comments were recorded following an iSolon Sales Development Programme held in Singapore:

“One of the best trainings I have attended to better prepare me to work with senior executives.”
“This course helped me to better structure my customer presentations with strategic messages”
“To have a real CIO in the room makes it very practical”
“This course was very content rich with clear explanations and plenty of ‘war stories’”
“Experienced trainers from the real world”
“Having a real CIO brought enormous value as we could experiment with everything we learned!”

Here is an extract of our foundation level programme:

Essential Sales Skills

A series of individual discrete workshops that build upon each other and lead to improved customer negotiations and order closing. The objectives are:

  1. To develop customer interaction and communication skills
  2. To develop personal impact and influencing skills
  3. To develop internal sales process management skills

sandi beaumont

“Sincere thanks for the work you did with my team last week. Without exception, all the team thoroughly enjoyed the sessions. Your approach was spot on and the sessions proved to be successful. You questioned their motives and challenged them to consider their style and baggage. There was a very serious intent to this but you delivered this in a fun and interesting way.”
Sandi Beaumont
General Manager

An example of the Agenda:


Task 1: Participants will be sent login details by email so that they can complete the Myers Briggs Type Indicator personal profile on line. The individual reports will be distributed first thing on Day 1 and the continuums explained.

Task 2: Participants will be sent a copy of the book ‘Resistance Is Useless’ by Geoff Burch to read, digest and then record their three greatest take-outs for discussion on the programme.

Task 3: In order to obtain both objective and subjective data on each of the participants, we recommend that an informal 360 degree feedback model is completed. A simple scoring method, 1-10, of specific sales competencies [shown in Annex A] should be completed before the programme and brought along for discussion with colleagues and the course tutors.

The Programme:

Day 1

  • Welcome & Introductions
  • Myers Briggs Type Indicator Reports
  • Building Empathy & Trust
  • The Two-Minute Message Exercise
  • The Six Key Attraction Factors
  • Loading The Six Key Attraction Factors

Day 2

  • Getting An Appointment & Practice
  • The Four Essential Properties of Your Proposition
  • The Ten Customer Turn-Ons and Turn-Offs
  • The Sales Funnel
  • Loading The Sales Funnel

Day 3

  • Prospecting
  • How To Handle The Six Most Awkward Customer Questions
  • Closing
  • Planning & Prioritising Your Diary
  • The Two-Minute Message Exercise