CJNg _ 2.jpgHi!


    My name is c.j., and here's the February 2008 issue of Psyche-Selling TM eNewsletter, and Happy Chinese New Year to you all!    


    In China, the period before and after the Chinese New Year is always busy with employees searching for greener pastures, and employers looking to hiring new staff.  In the rest of the world, this is also pretty much similar after the employees have collected their year-end-bonuses.  (Click here for a McKinsey's paper on the War for Talent).  Hence the articles in this issue:

  1. Mistakes Companies Make when Hiring their Next Sales Superstar; and

  2. Selecting the Right Recruiter for Your Sales Hiring Needs;

    This issue's main article is on  "Mistakes Companies Make when Hiring their Next Sales Superstar", and it deals with one major frustration that most sales managers face -  getting sales people to change for the better. 


    In brief:

  • The fact that companies are trying to hire the next "sales superstar" is a mistake in the first place;

  • A better solution is to build a sales team that performs consistently well;

  • Even when hiring sales people, companies will need to avoid typical mistakes that others frequently make.

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


Mistakes Companies Make when Hiring their Next Sales Superstar 


by c.j. Ng


        When faced with declining sales and missed targets, many companies opt to hire a "sales superstar", one whom will do the wonders and rev up sales single-handedly.  Unfortunately, most companies almost always end up with mediocre results at best, and sheer disappointment in most cases.
        In fact, the notion of trying to hire a "sales superstar" is a mistake itself.  Here's why:

The Elusive Sales Superstar

Usually, the term "sales superstar" refers to an ultra-aggressive sales person who simply doesn't take "no" for an answer, and is just fantastic in generating great sales results real quick.  This kind of sales person represents only about 1-2% of the entire sales population.
        As such they are very difficult to find.  But finding them is just the beginning of more challenges.  You will face issues such as:

  1. Sales superstars are highly paid individuals, and to entice them to work for you will mean you will have to pay even more, for both fixed and variable pays;
  2. As most sales superstars are currently happily making money with their current employers, and hence that means you will have to proactively reach out to them.  The usual employment ads won't work, and even most headhunters don't go around poaching candidates.  In worse scenarios, you get candidates who claim to be sales superstars, but are far from it;
  3. The sales superstar you hire may or may not fit into the way you sell, or into your company culture.  If that happens, and it quite frequently does, you simply end up with a very expensive dud!

        Even when you hire THE sales superstar who's producing good results for you, you'll still face 2 possibilities:

  1. Despite your sales superstar's Herculean effort, you still are not able to stem the tide of declining sales;
  2. Due to your sales superstar's good efforts, you have now seen
  3. sales increasing as a result.

         Most companies who have hired a sales superstar will eventually find that to increase sales and profits on more sustained basis, you will need a lot more than an individual's effort, and thus diminishing the sales superstar's impact on the bottom line.

         However, it is the 2nd consequence that poses the most danger to the company.  If you have one sales person who can single-handedly turn the tide for you, then
you may have a situation where a significant amount of sales are held in the hands of just one person.  If that is the case, your company may be taken hostage by this individual easily, i.e. whatever he/ she demands, you'll have to oblige, or else he/ she will just bring all your major customers to the competitor.

Why Not Build a High-Performing Sales Team Instead

         Rather than hoping to find an saviour in the form of a sales superstar, what companies can do is to make sure that all sales persons hired are first equipped and then train in the skills that make them good sales people in your unique sales culture.
        While you are highly unlikely to groom sales superstars in your own company, you may actually build a team that collectively produces much more than a superstar ever will.  Here's how it works:

  1. Compare the best performing sales person(s) with the rest (the middle and worst performing) in your company.  Find out what are the qualities or behaviours that are ONLY present in the best people, which the rest are not doing;
  2. Structure the interview processes where you look for past performance whereby the candidate has demonstrated such ideal qualities or behaviours;
  3. If the qualities or behaviours can be learnt, structure your sales training such that everyone on your team can learn and internalise them.

         In doing so, while you may not have sales superstars eventually, but you will get a team of sales people who are performing well above average. 

         Now, what if you are unhappy with the performance of the entire sales team, and in your view, there really isn't any quality or behaviour that you want your staff to emulate from your best sales person, there's still hope.
         The HR Chally Group is a leader in the field of sales staff research, and they have identified the ideal qualities and behaviours that are needed for each of the separate pre-determined 14 sales and 8 management position categories.  Now although these are based on decades of research findings worldwide, they are still generic qualities and behaviours.  If you are keen to find out what will work specifically for your company, simply drop an e-mail to info@psycheselling.com and there will be someone (yes, a living person) to assist you. 

The Sales Superstar Isn't Going to be Your Next Sales Manager

Some companies may now be thinking that if they haven't got any good sales people that they want to emulate, then perhaps they can hire a sales superstar and get that superstar to be their sales manager so that all can learn from him/ her..


        Unfortunately, the sad story is that only 15% of sales superstars will be competent managers.  Here are the reasons why:

  • Selling is about getting things done through the customer, while sales management is about getting things done through the sales team;
  • The sales superstar is a highly skilled specialist in the former, but not in the latter;
  • When the sales team faces difficulties in getting better results, the sales superstar tends to fall back on what she does best, i.e. to take over the sale.  In the long run, you'll end up with a sales team of one, the superstar herself;
  • Sales superstars know that they are good, but they usually don't know why they are good.  hence, they will find it difficult to reflect and analyse what makes them successful, and how to make others be as successful as well.

        Indeed, sales superstars can be trained to become good managers.  However, in doing so you are depriving the superstars to do what they do best, which is closing those deals!

        Interestingly, the best candidates to be the sales managers that are required to coach the sales team to better performance tends to sales people who had shown drastic improvements over the course of her career.  These people are usually not "naturals" when it comes to selling, but have improved their performances by analysing, learning and applying the skills that make other sales people successful.

         As a result, they are more likely to understand the dynamics behind what made them more successful as compared to their past performance, and are likely to flesh out the learning points of others once they settle into a coaching role.

        In any case, if you would like to build winning sales teams where each team member is an above-average performer, simply e-mail
info@psycheselling.com or call +86-13671902505 or Skype: cydj001 and arrange to buy me a mocha.  All information shall be kept in confidence



Pracitical Tips for Managers:
Selecting the Right Recruiter for Your Sales Hiring Needs

by c.j. Ng

Due to the acute shortage of experienced, good sales people, more and more companies are looking to hiring such sales people (and sales managers too) through headhunters.  Unfortunately, most of the results are quite disappointing.

The purpose of companies engaging headhunters is usually to seek direct and alternative ways to source for good candidates.  Alternative in the sense that the candidate will not be reading about the position in recruitment ads.  Instead, companies hope that headhunters will have a large pool of ready candidates, and in lieu of that, can actually make the cold-calls and poach the right candidates from other companies.

Unfortunately, many headhunters, including some international ones, tend to be rather passive in the hiring process.  If they have a good pool of suitable people, that's great.  If not, they simply take out an advertisement and publicise the vacancy, something which the hiring company could have done by themselves anyway.


In many cases, the consultants working for the headhunters tend to be also very junior, and may not have the right exposure to decide what will make a good fit for the hiring company.  They may be susceptible to manipulation by some candidates, and in some cases, even willfully recommend the hiring company to meet up with less-than-qualified candidates, just to prove hey are doing their jobs.

As a result, most headhunters don't really add value to the hiring companies.  That's no to say that all headhunters are bad.  There will be times that headhunters can save time and resources while providing candidates that fit at the same time.  It's a question about how you evaluate and choose whom to work with.

Here's a list of questions that you may want to ask yourself, or the prospective headhunter, before you decide hiring them:

  • How is the track record of the headhunter?  How many sales or sales management positions have they filled in the past year?  Can they give you references from their other clients for similar positions?

  • Do they understand your business, and the qualities and behaviours needed to succeed for the candidates?  Will they know if the candidate will fit into your unique sales culture?

  • Do the consultants have real work experience, or are they fresh out of school? Do they have a structured interview process that allows them to identify the good-fits from the rest?

  • Do they pro-actively solicit good candidates in your industry?  If yes, how well do they perform for such pro-active recruitment?

  • Do they guarantee you a time frame for the search?

  • Will you be updated regularly on the progress?

  • Do they make reference checks?  How do they make them? (note: your competitor will be most delighted if you were to hire their worst performing sales person, and hence may give glowing references!)

While engaging headhunters may save some time and resources, there is still a lot of groundwork to be done in the initial process.  Headhunters should not be perceived as the "all cure" that solves all your hiring problems in an instant.  Instead, the good headhunters will be your partners in identifying and planning for your long-term hiring needs.

If you are looking to source for good (i.e. conscientious) headhunters in China, simply e-mail info@psycheselling.com or call +86-13671902505 or Skype: cydj001 and arrange to buy me a mocha.  All information shall be kept in confidence


About PsycheSelling.com

As you might have heard of them, the most common challenges faced by sales people in any country, and across nearly every industry, are as follow:

  • Unable to qualify for the right customers;
  • Unable to generate interest through the telephone;
  • Unable to get to the right people (who may or may not be whom you think);
  • Unable to define the decision making structure of customers;
  • Unable to get customers interested and excited about what you have to offer;
  • Unable to sustain customers’ interest through the sales cycle;
  • Unable to get past clients’ objections and close the sale
  • Spending too much time with proposals that seem to go nowhere
  • Unable to sell deeper to the same customers

Having these concerns in mind, the Psyche-Selling TM is created as a result of 1-to-1 coaching with sales people from a variety of industries across 13 cities in Asia.

Psyche-Selling TM is currently a co-affiliate of the  HR Chally Group, together with  Shi Bisset & Associates, to help you identify gaps in your current sales force, and then formulate ways to help you get better results.

The HR Chally Group is a talent management, leadership development, and sales improvement corporation providing personnel assessment and research services for over 33 years.  Chally is recognised as an international technology leader in scientific assessment and prediction for selection, job alignment and leadership development, and for management assessment.  For more information about implementing Total Quality Sales Management in your company, pls. log on to http://www.psycheselling.com/TQSM-ExecBrief_email.pdf to get more insights.

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