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August 31, 2011

A Sit-down with John Buelow

Interviews

Jeff Cochran

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We had a chance to sit down with our CLO, John Buelow, to discuss new developments in SNI’s training delivery methods. Additionally, John gave us an inside look at the customization process for SNI programs.

What are you currently working on?

There are three main things are going on right now. First, I have been repurposing all of our negotiations content to e-Learning and virtual platforms. We are trying to meet the needs of organizations with smaller budgets by offering alternatives to the traditional, more expensive classroom-based training. Second, I have been developing content along with Mark Jankowski to develop our influencing course. We are doing research and field observation in the areas of pharmaceuticals and medical devices to give them the psychology behind the negotiation such as: Why do the things that we teach really work in the field? And thirdly, I am in charge of customizing and producing material and delivering programs for a wide variety of our clients. So, our traditional customized negotiations programs are all part of my responsibility to deliver.

How do you go about customizing a program?

Typically, we engage with a client very early in the sales process to let them know that we do not sell a standard program. We are immersed in their business so that when we teach negotiations, we teach it in a language and a format that uses examples that are very familiar to the audience. This allows us to accelerate the learning curve. Once we explain to our client that this is our process, typically I will interview critical stakeholders on the executive team, and then I interview job performers. In many cases, we become embedded in the organization. We observe them and take all of that information that we see and we make recommendations on how the content needs to be customized in order to have maximum impact. By the time we complete an engagement we often know our clients’ businesses so well that we find ourselves providing consulting/advice way beyond the scope of our programs – an indication of a true partnership.

Are you seeing any changing trends with the companies you are working with?

Certainly in the pharmaceutical business the ever increasing rules and regulations are producing new challenges in our field. Also, everyone is much more budget conscious than they were 5 years ago due in large part to the global economy. In addition, I have noticed audiences are much more engaged. Whether it is sales people or negotiators, people are looking for an edge to help them maintain their margins and to close more deals.

 How do you feel about e-learning or virtual platforms, especially in light of the success you’ve had delivering the programs in the classroom?

We believe that the skills we teach in our negotiation programs can be greatly enhanced with the study of strategic questioning tactics, the psychology of influence, and by offering a wide range of reinforcement options to maximize the transfer of learning to the job. That’s one of the main reasons why we are embarking to the e-learning and virtual learning paths. We are trying to teach the foundational skills in the classroom and then offer a variety of delivering channels for our reinforcement and advance skills.

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