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Tangent Knowledge Systems


“For many years, our company and industry was driven by product. Portable trade show exhibits were all about new or improved products being introduced on a regular basis. The customer was intrigued each time a new idea was born. Over the past 10 years, our industry has matured and products no longer drive the buyer’s decision. Relationships and more service offerings are at the forefront for our clients.


The challenge was to get people who have spent years selling on features and benefits to change their sales process to reflect the shift in our industry. Over the past 5 years, we have had many changes in our approach but still find our sales force falling back into old habits. Rick Farrell’s selling methods helped open the eyes of our sales people to fully understand how they could change their old “selling” approach to a “non-selling” posture and by doing so increase the close rate on the relationships they were trying so hard to establish.


Unlike other sales training that reminds you of things you forgot or sales training that gave a new twist to previous ideas, the non-selling posture Rick taught forced people out of their comfort zone enough to truly capture their attention. Everyone understood the value of what Rick was explaining but until he began role-playing, they didn’t realize how significant the mental shift was to their traditional ways. Like most sales people, until they try it and see results, they don’t believe it. Many of our sales people began to report success with the techniques they learned, they got the attention of their peers that were sitting on the fence.


The other aspect of the training that opened eyes was the "business owner" mentality of selling. Most sales people don’t’ realize the amount of time they invest in bad opportunities, let alone the resources of their company. Their investment of time along with the design and engineering required in our business was a big issue. Everyone walked way from Rick’s training with a greater value for the time and resources they invest in opportunities with a low closing percentage.


Without a doubt, Rick’s approach and style to delivering his message was just as important. His professionalism, delivery, and understanding of the mental challenges sales people face when making the shift to a non-selling posture made him real and respected by our sales force. I would highly recommend Rick based on his ability to make the cultural change I was looking for in our company and his ability to get our sales force to buy into this powerful new approach to sales.”

Greg Ward

VP of Sales

Downing Display

Cincinnati, Ohio


“The training with Rick Farrell has really changed the way we sell and market our services. We’ve modified both approaches to reflect a more customer centric strategy instead of our traditional capabilities approach. Our people were very good at solution selling, but tended to focus more on solutions than qualifying them on needs and pains. In both areas, we now identify areas of concern and focus primarily on those areas. We are now presenting our prospects with key questions-“Do you have trouble driving traffic to your events?”. “ Do you find people are having trouble understanding why they should choose you over your competition?”. And so on.


This has made it much easier for our sales people to position our services and has helped us increase our overall sales and sales opportunities. We have found the simple and direct approach to the customer’s fears to be very helpful in our sales strategy and we used our new sales model as a successful standard to hire two new sales people. “

Mark Norby


Live Marketing

Chicago, IL


“Prior to working with Rick Farrell, we always thought of ourselves as “consultative” sellers bringing solutions to our prospective buyers. But too often, the prospect wouldn’t open up and divulge his problems right away. Rather, he would deny having issues. That all changed in the 5 years that we have worked with Rick. We now have a much better understanding of how to expose “pain” and get to the root of the problems quickly, but in a non-confrontational way.


We now are prioritizing, based on prospect's responses. We don’t waste time in situations where we can’t add value or where it is apparent we aren’t going to be considered seriously at this time. I have never been a fan of sales training because so often, the processes force you out of character. But Rick Farrell’s system is almost intuitive. You can make it your own and adapt it to any situation. It’s not a strict step-by-step process. Even if you just use pieces of it you will get better results from your meetings.


My favorite line that I use to remind my sales people is “You differentiate yourself by the quality of your questions.”. Even if you think you know all the answers you have to ask the questions to get your prospect to understand his pain, and you might learn something in the process. Sales for our company is now more than just putting products in front of the customer. Thoughtful, well-placed, and intelligent questions are everything now.


Rick Farrell has a wonderful presentation style. He fits in with our group and makes everyone comfortable. The training is tailored to our needs and uses examples specific to our industry. It’s engaging, enlightening and fun. We do a lot of role-playing and it is done in a way you didn’t feel like it was role-playing. It is real and specific to actual situations we always see and will continue to see. I have on numerous occasions and will continue to recommend his training.”

Martin Simpson

Vice President of Sales & Marketing

Daubert Cromwell

Alsip, IL


“We did sales training five years ago with another firm and it was a lot of big concepts and strategies but no tactics to implement and execute. We were given a lot of booklets but they sat on our shelves because it was difficult to translate the theories into real world scenarios for our business. Big concepts, but no words to implement it felt like, “best of luck in the implementation”.


With Rick Farrell’s help, we have monthly reinforcement that is interactive and real world. We are now gettting continuous reinforcement and valuable feedback on live deals we are working on.


Five years ago, we had no systematic sales process. We had a shotgun approach that wasted a lot of time with folks who would gladly see us six or seven times and they weren’t serious buyers. We now have a roadmap for our sales team to consistently follow that allows us to better forecast our results and efforts. When we bring on new reps they are now brought up to speed on our company wide sales process. Our hit rate has greatly increased and the time we waste with poor prospects has gone down tremendously.”

Karl Androes


Reading in Motion

Chicago, IL


“We were first exposed to Tangent Knowledge Systems at a conference last year in Chicago. I was very impressed with their non-selling posture message. We subsequently hired them to do a presentation to our best customers. Since then, we brought in Rick to do training with our staff of 22 sales people.  It was amazing to see the change in attitude that took place. Our people started to change their sales process by asking a lot more questions and we saw a real change in results.  Rick Farrell’s content and delivery hit home with all our people.”

Jeff Ellman



Chicago, IL


“Now the hard work. We are working very hard to fully integrate the Tangent sales process. We are excited about being able to better forecast our sales and have a more realistic timetable as to when we can expect business. This certainly helps us with our internal resources.


What has surprised our sales people the most is that some thought they were following an effective systematic sales process and now they know they weren’t. We see this as a long term process that continually will need to be tweaked. We are a 6 out of a 10 now.


Specifically, we do fewer demos and we aren’t being used by our prospects as a quantitative tool.  The Tangent process has changed the way we view things. We now know we have choices as who to pursue and who not to.”

Brett Taylor


Micro Four

Amarillo, TX


“The training was a very positive experience. We now have a much better idea as to where we stand with prospects. We are now better at asking questions and not presuming so much. Although I don’t do a lot of selling anymore, I am now getting clients to open up a lot more and much sooner.


The training with Tangent reminded me of an interesting article I read in National Geographic about interaction between animals. Animals that exhibit an overexcited behavior aren’t respected and are less likely to be accepted into the pack. We have learned to be less enthusiastic early on and try to be more objective and balanced in our sales approach. The Tangent process works at putting our customers at ease to share more relevant information with our sales people.”

Reggie Amos


Square Mile Studio

San Jose, CA


“I had met Rick Farrell first in 2006 at an EDPA meeting where he did a presentation in San Francisco and later that year at the annual EDPA meeting in San Diego. Each time, I was very impressed with his knowledge about our industry and the problems that beset salespeople every day. We brought in Tangent Knowledge Systems to train our people in 2007 to get them better at qualifying opportunities and getting them to take on an “owner’s mentality”. We feel confident we now have a systematic sales process that we can use to effectively assess all our deals and a process our sales manager can use to manage our pipeline. We have chosen to reinforce the training with teleconferencing deal review meetings and are confident the message can be sustained.”

Dick Wheeler


Professional Exhibits & Graphics

Sunnyvale, CA


We have worked with Rick for over 5 years at Screen. The first thing we learned, the hard way, was our value proposition was valueless. We quickly learned that selling our value add was leading us in the exact opposite direction we intended. We also learned to spend our time more efficiently and have better dialogue with our customers to understand their problems. The results of the training have been evident in increased sales and the increased success of each call we've made.


While most training is canned, his training is focused on our needs and very relevant to our industry. His approach is very straightforward. He is able to connect with my sales staff and he continues to keep our attention and bring new ideas over the several years that we have worked with him.

Robert Prah
Vice President of Sales
Screen USA
Rolling Meadows, IL


It's been a month since your training session with our recruiters, and the feedback has been extremely positive. They really got a lot out of it. Very thought-provoking, challenging and interesting.


Your approach to selling was very refreshing and well received. Nobody wants to feel like they are "being sold" and this is why your method is so appealing.


You were passionate, yet open to ideas expressed. You were interactive, yet directed in the content. You were thoughtful, yet spontaneous. You did a great job and we look forward to working with you on other training issues.


Carl R. Roberts
Southwestern Business Resources
Nashville, TN