Here are some comments made by Vander Zanden clients.
Want more? Call us. We can give you names and phone numbers of clients who would be happy to give you candid appraisals of our work and results.
"If I'm going to put myself through this painful process, I want to do it with somebody who has a great sense of humor and doesn't expect profound feats of perfection. Peter and Sarah gave me that."
Creative director, national ad agency
"What I learned blew me away. I'd been laboring for 15 years under the misimpression that I had to communicate everything in a finely crafted, carefully designed way in order to get the sale. What they taught me was that it had very little to do with the words, and everything to do with who I was and what I brought to the sales relationship, and that's made all the difference."
Sales manager, national ad agency
"They [Vander Zanden Inc.] couldn't entirely solve my problems because it would have required changing the entire culture of my company. What I did get, though, was a powerfully, practical way to regard the issues, and that's all the power any of us really has."
CEO, international ad agency
"Our people earn anywhere from $20K per year to $200K per year, but when the average decision that gets made at the end of a presentation is a half million and it compresses the time to decision even for one hour, the firm's investment is already repaid."
Human resources executive, international architecture firm
"The decision to invest in VZI presentation training was simple. The way we look at it is it's not what you pay these people and whether they're worth the training dollars. It's what kind of money was on the table when we blew a presentation."
President, design studio
"I most appreciated that you didn't try to make me into someone I'm not. I know that some of my weaknesses can't really be changed — they're in my DNA. But by helping me play up my strengths, together we created a great sleight of hand."
Accountant, major North American insurance company
"They pay me $350K to show the firm well to a number of constituencies and to speak with leadership about our latest, hottest commodity. At first I thought spending 10-20% of my salary on coaching was a little pricey, but then I've reaped the rewards and it's paid back already and I haven't even finished half of the coaching."
Executive vice president, fortune 50 financial services company
"You're not the big show-stopping, motivational speaker we thought you would be. But what you said rang true for me, and I thought you were speaking only to me. And I found out everyone at my table felt the same way."
Audience member, national financial industry sales convention where Sarah Vander Zanden spoke
"O.k., I haven't bought new glasses yet. BUT I'm going to….AND…I have put many of your suggested tactics and techniques to use in my last two phone conferences. The two days I spent learning from you will not be forgotten. I feel better equipped than I ever have to deal with group situations."
Controller, regional electric company
"Where else are you going to go for advice on how to be. I didn't even know what the word 'comportment' meant."
Group director, government Agency
"Outstanding, personal, practical information and direction. Sarah is fantastic. No pretense, all performance."
COO, global health care company
"What made the difference in this process for me is that never once did I feel that I was judged. At every turn you gave me options and the impacts they would have and I was able to choose. Over time, I saw the patterns of the choices that I made that would suit me best and fulfill my goals. Some people can't be told, they have to be led by the hand. That was me."
Scientist/manager, international fortune 50 pharmaceutical company
"Sarah didn't know one iota about heart transplants. But she taught me that there's an easier way to explain it and get my objectives met with a lot of other people who don't know one iota about it either."
Cardiac surgeon, major Minnesota hospital
“All five individuals you worked with reported that you added tremendous amount of value to our major presentation preparation process. You are off to a great start with this group! I can see that the work you’ve done already is a great precursor to us adding this step to our standard procedures in preparing for large presentations.
Marketing manager, global medical product company
"Sarah is excellent at this. She's able to grasp a subject matter and turn a weak point into a powerful presentation message. I've taken away many tools that I use daily, so it was a good use of my time."
Vice president, Large manufacturer
"They don't mince words. They found the gentle but brutally honest way for me to face the truth about myself, both positive and negative."
Executive vice president, manufacturing company
"It's good to get a woman's perspective when the woman happens to be a well-rounded family member caring for parents and children and a business to run and travels a lot and knows how hard it is to keep this all together. Sarah gets it. I'm so fractured and distracted. You helped me understand that it's o.k. to be fractured and distracted and to allow yourself time to come upon some significant self-realization and choose the path to move forward, especially at a time when you get to renew all your choices."
Human resources executive, newly promoted to a high visibility position
Global manufacturing and distribution firm
"The setting is far more conducive to training than at the office. No work distractions, concentrated time to focus! Lovely offices and conference room."
Executive, national consulting firm
"Once she addressed my old man glasses, old man gestures, and old man wardrobe, I wasn't sure I had the courage to carry on. But my wife loved her, so I'm still here."
Partner, Minneapolis consulting firm
"There were only a few of us who could show up for Sarah's speech when I'm sure she expected 200. But she didn't hold back one ounce of energy, commitment, or enthusiasm. You're a true professional."
Audience member, professional women's association, when snowstorm threatened to cancel entire event
"My coaching process helped me enormously. I'm a smart, enlightened person but I was so stressed out and overwhelmed. Even though I had all the pieces staring me in the face about techniques to soften my 'edgy' personality, I could have never put them together in such a creative and practical way. Pure and simple, I loved this process and I loved working with them."
Human resources executive, international publishing firm
"Sarah is very knowledgeable and has the unique ability to keep a very ego-centric group of participants focused."
Sales manager, international retail firm
"Now that I'm CEO, I'm watching people posture around me. Sarah sat me down and gave me some tough advice that I had no choice but to take. It helps to have somebody independent as a mentor, advisor, coach and friend."
CEO, North American retail company
"We started my communication coaching with my motivation. When they said, 'only your mother knows how wonderful you are,' I knew I had some work to do." So we began step by step, month by month, until I collected a bit of a following."
Executive vice president, fortune 100 retailer
"I'm surrounded by a bunch of 'yes' people who don't want to tick me off. I can't believe you had the courage to come in here and tell me how to comb my hair, sit up straight, act interested, pull my pants over my pot belly and suck in my gut, while in the same breath tell me my strategy doesn't hang together. I like you Sarah Vander Zanden."
CEO, fortune 100 global technology company
"I like that they've been through all the executive suites — from financial to manufacturing, from marketing to communication — sitting with the chief counsel, helping to run annual meetings and teaching stand up delivery skills. Anyone who has that kind of breadth can teach even this old dog new tricks."
Managing partner, global technology consulting firm
"At first they didn't get it about us. They thought that we gave a rip about how effectively we communicate when we didn't. By the end of our seminar, however, we were motivated to give a rip long enough to get our objectives met in a much shorter amount of time, with a more consistent hit rate, with more important audiences. They're definitely worth their salt."
Group of software engineers, fortune 20 technology company