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    Here's the December 2009 issue of Psyche-Selling TM eNewsletter, the final issue for the year. 


    2009 has been a very interesting year, if not a very tough one, for most people.  As the saying goes, what didn't kill you will just make you stronger.  Hence for this last and final issue of 2009, I'll be focusing on an area that has been a major challenge for most sales departments - Creativity.


    In fact, when I started researching for this newsletter, I thought that it will be quite difficult for me to highlight any creative sales strategies.  However to my pleasant surprise, there some success cases on how creativity can be implemented in sales strategies and create great results.


Hence, this month's topics:

  1. Give a Jolt of Creativity to Your Sales Strategy; and

  2. What to Do When Customers Say “I Need More Time to Think It Over”

  This issue's main article is on  "Give a Jolt of Creativity to Your Sales Strategy", and it features some real cases of how creativity was applied to boost sales and profits for these sales teams.


    In brief:

  • While customers would like sales people to understand and think from the customers' point-of-view, merely saying so is not good enough. The Flint Group shows you how to show them that you care in creative ways;

  • While building good relationships may be very important to generate sales, Häfele shows you how to reach out to "non-traditional" influencers to drastically improve sales results;

  • While it is important to sell at higher prices, some customers are genuinely constrained by their budgets and simply could not meet your price. Sofitel Shanghai Sheshan Oriental shows you how you can still win such as customer without reducing your price. Read on... ...  

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


    Merry Christmas, and have a Great Year Ahead!

Give a Jolt of Creativity to Your Sales Strategy


by c.j. Ng


    Many years ago, I was selling eCommerce solutions.  Unfortunately, that was when the Dot.Com bubble burst.  Many eCommerce solution providers were either closing down, or were slashing their prices just to get some sales.  Even for the smallest solution, the sales cycle could take 6 months or more.


     Instead of downright slashing prices like everybody else, I found the reason that many of our customers were postponing or cancelling their purchases is due to the fact that they didn't have the confidence to generate any form of positive return on their eCommerce investments.  So rather than selling eCommerce IT solutions, I re-packaged our offerings and “changed the game”, so to speak.  Rather than following through with a customer for 6 months to get the sale, we provide comprehensive training to educate customers how to profit from eCommerce or eBusiness, which they can make a buying decision within days.  After the initial training, when customers know what they need to do to make profits through eBusiness, they tell us what solutions they need, and we simply fulfill their needs.  It was an instant hit.


     That was in year 2000.  Since then , I haven't seen quite many innovative or creative ideas used in selling.  And given today's increased competitive pressures and customers' demands, many companies sorely need a jolt of creativity for their sales strategies.


     The good news is that we have found 3 recent cases of how creativity in selling can be achieved in simpler ways.


Why Price is NOT the Real Objection


     One of our clients, the Flint Group (Asia), is a leader in the flexography industry.  What they do is to provide flexible printing plates for printers to print over curvature or uneven surfaces.  Being the leader in their field and providing high quality products, their selling price will be anything but cheap.


     For a while, the Flint Group believed that if they can prove to their customers (who are largely printing firms, and are largely very conservative) that the quality of their products will result in high quality prints, which means that there will be fewer rejects due to unsightly dots or other printing errors that one will encounter using poorer quality printing plates.  It was assumed that if the printers have got lesser print quality-related rejects, they will in turn save costs and serve their customers better.


     However, while many of their prospective customers are convinced of the performance of these high quality plates, they still argued that the price is too high and are unwilling to buy.


     Feeling perplexed, the Flint Group’s Regional Business Manager (Asia), Mr. Roy Schoettle, then decided to take steps to understand their prospects a little better.  After some in-depth communication, they found that:

  • These customers are serving the low-end printing market, and as a result even if they were to provide higher quality prints their end-customers are not going to pay any higher prices;

  • The low-end printing market is very competitive and margins are very low;

  • While many printers are looking for ways to upgrade to better market segments, they lack both the technical abilities and even the right selling skills to serve the mid and high-end of the printing markets. 

     So the Flint Group decided to address this “price objection” issue right at its core.  The management in China set up ways to “hand-hold” their printer customers to:

  • Upgrade their technical skills so that they can handle more sophisticated equipment to print higher quality jobs; and

  • Upgrade their selling skills so that they know how to pitch to the mid and high end of the markets. (The Flint Group even gave leads to their customers to give them a good head-start!) 

     Of course the Flint Group does not provide such assistance to all their prospective customers.  Usually, they select those customers who are willing to help themselves in the first place.


It’s small wonder why the Flint Group is the market leader in their field, and despite the consistent price objections in their industry.  The lessons we can learn here are:

  • Take the time to understand your customers’ business models and issues;

  • Don’t just provide lip service. Help your customers solve their problems, and they will help solve yours 

Building the Right Relationship


     Häfele is one of the global market leaders in providing architectural hardware and furniture fittings such as hinges, locks, handles etc.


     One of Häfele’s customers in Shanghai is a high-end furniture manufacturer that places huge orders of furniture fittings with Häfele’s competitors.  With Häfele though, they are only giving very small orders.


     As it turns out, the customer’s Purchasing Manager was a classmate of one of their key competitors’ sales representative.  With such a close relationship or Guanxi between the two of them, it’s small wonder that Häfele could not make it big with this customer.


     Having realized that this customer places a lot of emphasis on design (since they are the high end), Häfele sales representative decided to:

  • Cultivate a relationship with the designer team, instead of the Purchasing Manager;

  • Instead of selling to the designers, the sales representative took the time to understand what upcoming designs are the designers preparing to launch;

  • Then the sales representative advised the designers which of their furniture fittings will go best with those upcoming designs 

     Within weeks, Häfele increased the business with this customer by 10 fold.  The designers appreciated what Häfele’s sales representative had done, and exerted tremendous influence to get Häfele’s fittings for their designs.


The lessons we can learn here are:

  • If you are heading nowhere with your current customer relationships, explore ways to build more relationships outside the regular people;

  • Don’t just sell. Take time to understand what your customer is doing, and proactively help them with their problems 

“Make Me a Deal I Can’t Refuse”


     The Sofitel Shanghai Sheshan Oriental resort is a marvelous luxury resort in Shanghai’s suburb that comes with exciting Mediterranean design, 3400 m2 of inviting outdoor pools and breathtaking landscaping.  It is almost certainly that whoever has been to the Sofitel Shanghai Sheshan Oriental will fall in love with it.


     One day, Mr. Robert Young, Director of Sales & Marketing for the Sofitel Shanghai Sheshan Oriental got a visit from a prospective customer.  The customer loved what he saw at Sofitel, but was very much constrained by his budget and could not pay the rates that Sofitel Shanghai Sheshan Oriental was asking.  In addition, the customer had already made bookings for 5 nights for his company at a neighbouring resort, even though the Sofitel Shanghai Sheshan Oriental was obviously the better choice.


     Sensing that the customer really like his resort but just did not have the budget to afford it, Mr. Young then discussed the following with the customer:

  • What was the rate that the neighbouring resort was quoting, and if that rate could be lowered (Mr. Young did his homework well, he knows his competition!);

  • Instead of staying 5 nights at the neighbouring resort, the savings from the reduced rates could pay for 2 nights at the Sofitel Shanghai Sheshan Oriental and the remainder at the neighbouring hotel;

  • Instead of not getting a deal from a hot prospect (who’s got budget constraints), Mr. Young squeezed 2 nights out of 5 from the competition. 

And the lessons we can learn are:

  • Even if customers have budget constraints, if you can make them an offer that they cannot refuse, they will still buy;

  • Don’t just think about your sales targets. Make compromises if need be that will help the customers and will also help yourself.

     Need help in giving your sales processes a jolt of creativity?  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: 13 January 2010

Give Your Sales Strategy a Creative Jolt to Start Your 2010 with a Bang!


     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 to formulate better strategies that will meet your expectations in simple yet practical ways:

  • How to leverage your understanding of your customers’ business models and needs to handle price objections;
  • How to build relationships outside of your regular contacts within your customers’ organisation; and
  • How to make compromises and give customers deals that they just can’t say no to.


VENUE: To Be Confirmed


DATE: Wednesday, 13 January 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 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:

  • How to and NOT to Leverage Guanxi in Business in China;

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

  • From Better Service to Greater Profits;

  • Sun Tzu and the Art of Sales Leadership;

  • How to Communicate with Difficult People and Other Adventures in Communication; 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 People:

What to Do When Customers Say “I Need More Time to Think It Over”


By c.j. Ng


Let’s face it.  Customers are getting more careful when it comes to buying.  They are going to ned more time to make buying decisions, and may consult more people before making those buying decisions.


So what are you going to do when the customer says, “I need more time to think it over?”


Traditional sales methodologies would want you to close the sale now.  It will require you to overcome whatever the customer to consider, and “strike the iron while it’s hot”, so to speak.


However, if you need frequent re-orders from your customer, or if you would like your customer to refer their friends to buy from you, too much aggressive closing may result in the customer feeling that you are too pushy.  And when you get too pushy, customers may not trust you as much to develop a long-temr relationship with you.


Yet, you would like to keep up your momentum with your customer.  So is there a way to keep the momentum and grab your customers’ attention, without being too pushy?


In a nutshell, when customers say, “I need more time to think it over”, he or she is essentially not too sure if buying from you is a good idea after all.  Hence, there are 2 things you can do to increase their trust in you, as well as move things forward.  You can ask them:

  1. “Based on what we had discussed so far, what are the areas that are of most value to you?”; and

  2. “What do you think we should do next?” 

The first question re-emphasizes what makes us attractive to the customer, and also gets the customer to clarify their thoughts.  If indeed the customer does not find us attractive to them at all, then perhaps you haven’t found out their needs yet, or that this may not be the right customer for you.


The second question helps to move things forward without having to close the sale.  The customer may be looking for other “proof” of our value such as getting a demo, talking to our previous customers or in other ways scrutinize our products and services.  The reason for doing so is understandable: customers will NOT just trust what we say, they MUST see how we do things too.


In asking these 2 questions, we know how to drive the sale forward in ways that the customer feels comfortable in.  Sometimes, customers may not have a clear idea as to how to answer these questions.  Should that happen, simply give the customer 2-3 different choices and guide them along.


Increasingly, customers are looking to buy from people they trust.  Yet, many sales people are pressured to close more sales in an even shorter time frame.  With the right techniques and mindset though, you can build trust with customer faster, and still able to guide them to make buying decisions that just as fulfilling for them as well as for you.


For some deeper discussion on moving your sales forward when the customer seeks to take time to think things over, 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