First of all, could you tell me what you personally expect from a consultation?

Ralf Schmid: A consultant must be completely reliable, offer premium quality and provide feedback on my managerial performance, the established goals and the chosen strategies. I regard the consultant as an intermediary between management and employees Ė with the aim of ensuring that all are acting together for the benefit of the company. In sales seminar in particular a consultant must also be an exceptional motivator.

What changes were you planning to make in your company at that time? And what approach did the kfu consultants take?

Ralf Schmid: The task at Freudenberg Simrit was not an alteration project. Rather I had identified the need for professional sales seminars, which was to help us to improve the collaborations with our clients.

kfu chose an exceptional route. And Mr Friedmann even took part in a field sales force conference. He had three hours in which to present the kfu approach and for workshops. I then asked which eight individuals would be interested in taking part in a sales seminar session in order to test the KFY method. All 35 field sales staff wanted to be involved! In my opinion it couldnít have gone any better! It is ultimately about experienced changes.

Mr Friedmann made really excellent use of the three hours and my staff could clearly see the need to change their mindset and that they could learn a great deal with and from the kfu consultants. I didnít need to do any more convincing. The clear appreciation that effective seminar would help us was pivotal in our subsequent success.

What effects did you notice following the kfu consultation?

Ralf Schmid: There were significant positive effects: a notable increase in motivation, improved confidence, more intensive preparation for sales negotiations, better outcomes, Ö.

In short: The kfu seminar sessions offer an exceptional return on investment!

What do you regard as the particular strengths of the kfu consultants?

Ralf Schmid: kfu consultants donít just offer standard sales training. They also take into account the needs and perceptions of the participants and provide feedback. This is very important if change management is an objective.

Regarding the particular strengths of the kfu consultants, I have personally met Dr Knips and Mr Friedmann so far. Each has his own particular strengths as a consultant. Peter Friedmann was undoubtedly the correct choice for the sales seminar sessions as he enjoys a reputation in our company as a professional and expert in the field. As an engineer and former gasket purchasing manager he has an in-depth knowledge of our products and can draw on the necessary background knowledge. This meant Mr Friedmann was exactly the right man for us and he was accepted from the outset. Engineers donít take kindly to being trained by psychologists or lawyers, you know! However, everyone at our company agrees that there is no better trainer than Peter Friedmann!

Do you also have any criticisms? Sometimes you only realise later that something should have been done better or differently.

Ralf Schmid: So far I have absolutely no criticisms. Perhaps just one observation: the preparation for the seminar is quite time consuming. In order to gather information for the customer use argumentation we had to carry out seminar workshops in advance with chosen employees. It is really time intensive but definitely worthwhile!

And to round things off, a glimpse of the future: are there other projects with kfu in the pipeline?

Ralf Schmid: Yes, definitely! The sales staff are already getting impatient and asking when the next seminar with kfu will be. SIMRIT will further expand its collaboration with kfu and will arrange seminar for East European as well as German employees in future in order to roll out the kfu concept over a broad front.

Within SIMRIT and beyond our borders word has got around about kfuís excellent work. And Freudenberg Dichtungs- und Schwingungstechnik is also already aware just how efficient and successful kfu sales seminars is.

Many thanks for finding the time for this interview!