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    Here's the April 2010 issue of Psyche-Selling TM eNewsletter, and we would like to explore how you can get a better competitive edge in this age of hyper-competition.


    Recently, I was participating in a workshop on "Creating Winning Bids" conducted by Shipley Associates, and while during a group discussion, we stumbled upon this question that we may want our customers to ask, "How to Lure Away Your Competitors' Key Accounts and Make Them Buy from You Instead?".


    While the objective in sales is to get customers to buy, sometimes a little reverse psychology maybe very insightful at times, especially when they are already accustomed to buying from your competitors.


Hence, this month's topics:


  1. How to Lure Away Your Competitors' Key Accounts and Make Them Buy from You Instead; and

  2. How to Generate More Leads that Lead to Sales


  This issue's main article is on  "How to Lure Away Your Competitors' Key Accounts and Make Them Buy from You Instead?", and the focus is on determining the factors on what will make those potential customers interested in buying from you.


    In brief:

  • Despite the usual objections from prospective customers saying that they are happy with the price, service and quality of their current vendor, there are other factors that may favour you as well;

  • While it is a good idea to have a Unique Selling Proposition, you need to develop more in-depth "reasons to buy" if you were to win your competitor's customers over to you;

  • They key to sales success is to balance the need to keep on prospecting for new customers and expanding your market share, while at the same time make your customer value you more than your competitor.  Read on... ...  


    To read the rest of this newsletter, pls. click here (http://www.psycheselling.com/page4.html.


    In the meantime, we are organising a 2-Day workshop on  "Sun Tzu and the Art of Sales Leadership" on 20-21 April (in Chinese) at the Crowne Plaza Shanghai.  Seats are limited.  Let me know if you'd like to have a reservation.  In-house training on other sales topics such as Sun Tzu and the Art of Sales Negotiation in China, Psyche-Selling, Key Accounts Selling, etc. can be arranged upon request.  Pls. e-mail info@directions-consulting.com for the respective training outlines.

How to Lure Away Your Competitors' Key Accounts and Make Them Buy from You Instead


by c.j. Ng


    Let's face it.  If you are in sales, like I am, we would all be very interested to increase our market share.  Even when the market is growing, we sure would like to have a piece of our competitor's business.  However, when we were to approach our competitor, these are the more common responses:

  • "Yes we are interested, but can it be cheaper?"

  • "I already got a better price from your competitor"

  • "What you are offering is good, but I'm quite happy with what I have now" , etc.

     While customers are constantly looking for better deals, they inadvertently lead to price.  At the same time, sales people who are desperate to make the numbers and hit targets will inadvertently agree to the price that they can barely accept.


     But even if you were to offer a very attractive price, your competitor's key accounts may not be willing to pay attention to you just yet.


"Why You Must Buy from Us, Apart from the Price"


     In the attempt to make customers buy, many sales people often give customers a whole list of selling points so that customers see the seller's Unique Selling Propositions (USPs) and other product advantages.  For the uninitiated, here are some examples:

  • "When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight!"  (Federal Express)

  • "Pizza delivered in 30 minutes or it's free."  (Dominos Pizza)

  • "The milk chocolate melts in your mouth, not in your hand"   (M&M's)

     Unfortunately, life isn't as simple.  Whatever products you deliver, your competitors can do so too, and at lower prices  (See our Mar 2010 issue for details).  This is why customers keep on referring back to price, since they could not differentiate between you and your competitors, at least superficially.


     The good news is that customers do NOT just buy from price only.  In our discussions with a number of buyers (or procurement managers), we do find that they usually DON'T buy from the cheapest nor the most expensive quotations, not even in public tenders.  What they do really want is to get the best "value for money" or have better "reasons to buy".


     As we probe deeper, here are some of the factors that make up customers' perception or definition of "value" or "reasons to buy" apart from price, which you can call the 4 "R"s:

  • Reliability.  Whether you, as the seller, can deliver your promises in ALL aspects  ranging from product quality, delivery lead times, maintenance schedules etc.

  • Responsiveness.  Not just service responsiveness, but also sales team's responsiveness to the customers' needs and concerns.  This also includes sales people who are stationed on-site at the customers' plants, offices or facilities to help customers solve problems when using your products

  • Resourcefulness.  Can you take the initiative to generate creative ideas to help your customers do more with less resources?  Can you get the buy-in from your own company to support your customers' objectives?

  • Relationship.  Apart from cultivating guanxi with some key decision makers, seek to build relationship with everyone that has an influence over whether this customer should or should not buy from you.  These people include the gatekeepers, fault-finders, end users, and just about anyone who will be affected by the products you provide, or who has some contributions with regards to how your products can be used (or not be used) in their company.


"What IF I Don't Buy from You?"


     The reason that your prospective customer is not buying from you yet, is that they haven't seen the negative consequences of NOT buying from you yet.  In their minds, they are subconsciously asking "What IF I don't buy from you?"  And if your sales team doesn't have a good response to that question, you won't get the deal.


     Supposed your company is a leading provider of an industrial equipment that is "mission critical" to a certain part of your customer's operating process.  The situation that you are facing can be prioritised as follow:


  1. Relationship.  The customer's procurement manager has a strong relationship with your competitor, who is the incumbent vendor.  The competitor also sells at 15% below your price.  However, it seems that your competitor has not cultivated any relationship with other influencers, especially the end users and head of engineering/ production.

  2. Reliability.  While your competitor's equipment provides Reliable performance in day-to-day operations, but its safety may be compromised if there's an accident, such as a fire.  Since the customer is not so much concerned about the possibilities of "accidents", they view your competitor's product as being Reliable.

  3. Responsiveness.  Your competitor is Responsive when it comes to maintenance and repairs, but their sales people only drops by when they are taking sales orders.  They are rarely on-site to provide assistance and insights if the end-users encounter problems and difficulties.

  4. Resourcefulness.  While many players in your customer's industry are taking steps to upgrade their plants and equipment to achieve higher levels of safety, your customer has yet to do so since they deem the upgrading too expensive.  Your competitor has yet to give a good response to this issue.


     Most sales people following on this customer would have lost the sale, since the competitor has a strong relationship with the procurement manager, sells at a lower price and is perceived to be reliable.  What you can do is to re-prioritise your approach to:

  1. Resourcefulness.  Since the main obstacle for the customer to upgrade their equipment is cost, perhaps what your sales team can do is to work out a way for the customer to implement their upgrading in gradual steps, so that their upgrading costs can be spread over time.

  2. Responsiveness.  Your sales engineers can visit the customer's end users on-site to help end-users solve daily usage problems, even though they are operating on your competitor's equipment.  Such problems and your suggested solutions can then be documented and be presented to their head of engineering/ production, and explore if you can help them eliminate some of the recurring problems.

  3. Reliability.  Your sales team's Responsiveness is going to enhance the trust between you and your customer, such that they will be more convinced that they need better Reliability in case of accidents and emergencies.  Your Resourcefulness will also convince them that it may not cost as much initially if they want to upgrade part of their production system first.

  4. Relationship.  By leveraging your Resourcefulness, Responsiveness and Reliability, even if the customer's procurement manager has a strong Relationship with the incumbent competitor, the voices in the customer's organisation will switch to your favour.  By developing Relationships with the end users and other key influencers, you can even influence how the scope of their next public tender can be written in your favour.


     So to answer the customer's question of "What if I don't buy from you", you can confidently state that they will incur more losses and subject themselves to more danger IF they stick to their current vendor.  It may be in their best interest to start working with you and your team.


"What if I Want All You can Offer, and Still Demand a Lower Price as well?"


     At this point, some sales people will say that there will be customers who will demand that we deliver the results through better Resourcefulness, Responsiveness, Reliability and Relationship, and yet still want us to sell at the same price as those who don't.


     Well, if that is your only customer, or one of your few key customers, then perhaps they know that they are paying your bills.  Hence, they will squeeze you real hard if they know you need them much more than they need you.

     However, if you have a good prospecting process that allows you to generate enough leads, you can stand firm and insist on your prices.  Chances  are that if a customer is haggling with you over price, that usually means that they are interested in buying from you.  If you stood firm and refuse to give in, you have a 50/50 chance of still winning the deal.


     If you have a number of high quality leads in your sales pipeline, that will be a risk that may be worthwhile to take.  The ones that are willing to give you a try will be more than worth your effort.


     Need help in luring your customers away from your competitor and buy from you instead?  Simply e-mail info@directions-consulting.com or call +86-136 7190 2505 or Skype: cydj001 and arrange to buy me a mocha.  All information shall be kept in confidence.


Power Breakfast Hour: 21 May 2010

How to Lure Away Your Competitors' Key Accounts and Make Them Buy from You Instead


     Join International Sales Leadership and Performance Coach c.j. Ng in this Power Breakfast Hour in Shanghai where he will be sharing with you how you can lure away your competitors' key accounts and make them buy from you instead:

  • How to overcome customer objections such as "I'm quite happy with my current vendor"

  • How do you respond when customers ask you "What if i don't buy from you?";

  • How to make sure you have enough leads in your sales pipeline so that you can gain greater bargaining power with your prospective customers


VENUE:  To be Confirmed


DATE: Friday, 21 May 2010


TIME: 08:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. 




     To make this a more conducive discussion, we are expecting a small group of about 15 people only. The room can only take in 18, so please register early to avoid disappointments. Please e-mail your registrations to sales@directions-consulting.com  To allow more participation from more companies, ONLY 2 registrants per company are invited.


     Pls. check out our web sites www.directions-consulting.com and www.psycheselling.com/page4.html for more inspiration.

Need a Keynote Speaker for your Regional Sales Conference?


     Whether you are holding a conference for your regional staff, resellers or even customers, we have the right speaker who can help you deliver the spirit of your conference, and effect positive changes to meet your goals.


   The topics our speakers can speak on include:

  • Why Some Sales People Succeed While Others Fail?;

  • How to Inspire and Motivate Your Team, and Win Big;

  • From Better Service to Greater Profits;

  • Sun Tzu and the Art of Sales Leadership;

  • The End of Guanxi as We Know It!; and many more!

     Simply e-mail your requests to info@directions-consulting.com or call +86-21-62190021 for enquiries.  Sample video and audio recordings available upon requests.


Practical Tips for Sales Teams:

How to Generate More Leads that Lead to Sales


By c.j. Ng


If you are in sales, chances are you will need to generate leads and find some new customers.  Even if your job is to solely focus on existing key accounts, it will still be a good idea if you have a couple of new customers once in a while to make up for the attrition of old ones.


However, most sales organisations rely on 1 or 2 methods to generate leads, when they probably can get better results if they were to synergise a few methods to generate a lot more QUALIFIED leads.  Here's how you can do so:

  • Cold call.  Cold calling (usually calling the entire phone directory) is probably the most common of all ways to generate leads.  However, the problem with cold calling is that it takes a lot of time, and hence the Return on Investment on the time and resources spent is actually quite poor.  Cold calling though, will be more helpful if you use it as an invitation to an event, rather than trying to secure a 1-to-1 appointment with a stranger.

  • Direct Mail.  Whether you are mailing brochures or doing mass e-mailing, you can reach out to many people in a short span of time.  The downside again is most of the recipients tend to throw your information into the trash can, or delete your e-mail the moment they got it.  However, studies show that if you can combine a direct mail campaign with a phone call, you are likely to get a lot better responses.

  • Trade shows, exhibitions and conventions.  These are great events to meet a lot of potential customers, resellers and partners.  However, trade shows and exhibitions are expensive events, and there's no guarantee of the quality of the attendees.  There are exhibitors who collected a lot of leads of which none of them lead to any sale. 

  • Create your own event or roadshow.  Rather than participating in trade shows, exhibitions and conventions, some companies find it cheaper to organise their own events or roadshows instead.  To do so, you will need a strong organising team to put together the event, AND to get qualified prospects to attend the event.

  • Advertise.  If you have the financial muscle, advertising in the right media will give you exposure to the right target audience.  However, there are less leads generated from advertising as compared to cold calling or direct mailing on a dollar-to-dollar comparison.  The good thing though, is that advertising can generate better brand positioning, and make prospects more willing to respond to your cold calls and direct mails.


So how do we synergise all the above?


Depending on your budget and how much control you have over your sales and marketing initiatives, there are different lead generation combinations for different sales teams.


If your main lead generation methodology is to make cold calls, just like what the financial planning and executive recruitment industries are doing, what you can do is to compliment this with a little direct mailing and events organising.


My personal financial planner in Singapore sends out periodical newsletters by e-mail, informing her current and future customers of the latest insights on what could affect your financial wealth.  In case you are wondering if she has lots of time to do the writing, she actually didn't do the writing at all.  All she did was to copy-and-paste or attach the financial articles written by the experts, and send them out.  And people responded to her mailings!


In addition, because she sends out high-quality articles, she's been perceived as an "expert" too.  Even though she didn't write them, she knows where to find them.  That somehow gave her prospective customers more confidence in her, and are more willing to meet up with her.  On top of that, she gets lots of referrals since her prospective customers know they can benefit from receiving her e-mails.


It is also well-known that executive recruiters need to search for candidates via cold-calling.  Now, there are many executive recruitment firms that have diversified into executive coaching, career development training and other workshops targeted at their targeted candidates. 


If you have already spent a bomb to participate in a tradeshow or convention, you may want to advertise further to tell more prospects that they can find you at which Booth at the event.  For the really "hot" prospects, you can even host a dinner after hours and firm up the relationship.


In a nutshell, while we can see the pros and cons of different approaches to generate leads, the key thing is NOT to rely on just one of them.  If these approaches were to work in tandem, you can expect your number of qualified leads grow exponentially. And if you have the right skills and attitude, expect your sales to increase drastically as well.


If you would like to re-strategise your lead generation approaches, e-mail info@directions-consulting.com or call +86-136 7190 2505 or Skype: cydj001 and arrange to buy me a mocha.  All information shall be kept in confidence.

About PsycheSelling.com


Sales... ...the lifeblood of a company, a matter of "life and death", survival or extinction.  Indeed, something that needs to be studied, applied and re-modified consistently.


Yet today,

  • many companies still don't have a coherent approach as to how they can generate more sales and achieve better margins;

  • many sales people are still lying to their customers so that they can meet their targets at the end of the month;

  • many customers are still waiting ethical and professional sales people to help them find out their real needs, and provide solutions that work


Psyche-Selling TM is set up so that companies and sales people can make healthy profits and STILL provide genuine solutions to customers.


Psyche-Selling TM would like to create an environment where customers can trust sales people to give them what they want, and NOT be pushed with all kinds of products and services.  In return, customers will become loyal fans of these ethical and professional sales people, and repay them many fold for the long-term.


Psyche-Selling TM will not rest, until the above is achieved.  Not just in China. Not just in Asia.  But everywhere where buying and selling takes place.


Psyche-Selling TM is a wholly-owned brand of Directions Management Consulting Pte Ltd that specialises in the field of improving sales performance by enhancing the performance of the entire sales team.  Apart from the regular "selling skills training", Psyche-Selling TM conducts pre- and post-training analysis, interviews, monitoring and reviews, working closely with managers and even senior management, to deliver real improvements in sales leadership and performance.


Hence, Psyche-Selling TM would like to be known as the preferred choice of outstanding and remarkable clients, and pride ourselves as such.  We will also be continuing to assist our clients achieve greater heights in 2009 and beyond.


Enquiries and suggestions, pls. e-mail info@psycheselling.com or visit www.psycheselling.com