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    Here's the February 2010 issue of Psyche-Selling TM eNewsletter, and may you prosper in the Year of the Tiger. 


    I was having some discussion with a couple of good people at Amway China, and we stumble on one interesting fact.  Even when given the same products under the same circumstances (branding, pricing, sales systems etc.), some sales people will perform better than others.  In fact, some sales people will succeed while others fail.


    So I did my some further research on the matter, I do find that there certain things that the winners do differently from the losers.


Hence, this month's topics:

  1. Why Some Sales People Succeed While Others Fail; and

  2. Whatever You Want Your Customer to Say, Ask the Opposite!

  This issue's main article is on  "Why Some Sales People Succeed While Others Fail ", and it provides some insights how to be a winning sales person if all external factors being equal.

    In brief:

  • Simply put, winning sales people seek and add value to their customers.  They provide creative solutions to customers' challenges. They make sure that they reach out to ALL people who have influence over the outcome of their sale, and synchronise their sales process to their customers' buying process;

  • Unsuccessful sales people focus on selling products rather than delivering value.  They live each day hoping that they will net a sale or two, rather than understanding their customers' buying processes and preferences.  They are focused on themselves, and do not pro-actively seek to understand their customers on a more profound level;

  • The simplest way of improving your sales team performance is to find out what your best sales people are doing differently from the rest.  Then get the rest to learn from them.  Read on... ...  

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


    In the meantime, you can click here for a glimpse (a 20-minute video clip) of our sold-out Power Breakfast Hour in December 2009 on "The End of Guanxi as We Know It!"  Enjoy!

Why Some Sales People Succeed While Others Fail

by c.j. Ng

    A while ago, I was writing about how some hiring mistakes will lead to sales people performing well.  In fact, I quoted from HR Chally that:

  • Less than 15% of superstar/ top salespeople succeed in managing others

  • Only 19% of effective new business developers are effective at maintaining long-term customers

  • Less than 15% of key account managers are comfortable developing new businesses

  • Nearly 65% of salespeople who fail could have succeeded in the right type of sales position for their skills

  • 60% of sales position failures are related to individuals with the wrong skills for the position

     However, there has been a lot of inquiries lately that raise this question, "what if the same type of sales people are hired?  Will they ALL be winners, or will some lose as well?  At the very least, will some be performing better than others?"  And if so, why?.


     This really got me reflecting on my core business, which was to train sales people to perform better.  Part of our training also inculcates sales people to change one key bad habit, which is to complain too much and work too little.  This is especially so when the list of complaints (or bitching, depending how you phrase it) include:

  • "The managers gave the best leads to the best sales people.  That's why they did better than me!"

  • "The best sales people happen to enter an untapped market very early.  I came in late, and that's why I'm not performing as well."

  • "I'm given a lousy territory.  I would be lucky if I can make any sale out of this desert!"

     While some of these complaints or feedback may have some truth in them, there will STILL be sales people who perform better than others when most things are equal.  The good news is that we have found some things that successful sales people do differently from the less successful ones.


The Winning Ways of Winning Sales People


     If you made a search on Google, you can actually find a number of research as to what do winning sales people do:

  • Huthwaite spent over 12 years examining more than 35,000 sales calls in 23 countries conducted by the world’s leading sales organizations, found that excellent sales people ask questions regarding their customers problems, implications and "what will happen if those problems are solved".  The average sales person doesn't do that.

  • HR Chally's innovative research with 80,000 customers conducted over 14 years concluded that the one thing that matters in today's competitive marketplace is the sales person (NOT price, NOT quality, and NOT even innovation).  Customers expect sales people to be personally accountable for customers' results and understand their businesses.  High performing sales people do just that, and are always within easy reach by their customers.

  • Miller Heiman's  2009 Sales Best Practice Report states that "Reaching ALL people who have influence over the outcome of your sale is a key activity that should be practiced with discipline in difficult times" .  Winning sales people also understand their customers' issues BEFORE proposing solutions.

  • Sales  Excellence's research shows that the probability of a prospective client deciding to buy (or not) is determined by conditions that exist within their organisation, NOT by the steps the sales person takes.  Hence, the successful sales person focus on the steps the client has already taken – as well as the steps still remaining – in their buying process.

  • Ari Galper advocates that sales people will have a lot less rejections if they call prospects without expectations of any sale, but start the conversation centered around the prospects' world, so as to build a relationship with no agendas.

  • Finally, the "Professor of Professional Selling"Neil Rackham recommends that winning sales people are value creators.  Rather than being mere "talking brochures", winning sales people deliver as much value as the product by providing creative ways to solve customers' problems

     In a nutshell, what all the above winning ways result in is:   Trust!  The more customers trust you, the more successful you will be.  And there are only 2 aspects of building trust:

  1. Customers trust you because they know you have great integrity in recommending what's best for them;

  2. Customers trust you because they know you have the skills and abilities to provide what's best for them

     Sounds simple?  Well, applying these ideas may be a little less simple as it seems, due to the following  customer challenges:

  • Customers sometimes don't know what they want or their key challenges, let alone understanding the implications if their challenges are not overcome;

  • Some customers simply refuse to refer the sales person to get in touch with their other colleagues in their organisation;

  • Those customers who claim to be decision makers tend NOT to be the real final decision makers, and those real and final decision makers tend NOT to say that they are the decision makers. 

     Overcoming such obstacles and then build trust is exactly what some winning sales people have done.  Here are some real examples:

  • My ex-colleague in Ringier Trade Publishing, Jessey, was our top sales person in Mainland China.  What she did differenty from everyone else is to advise customers how to synergise their advertisements with their other marketing activities such as trade shows and conventions for optimum effect.  Jessey built trust with her professional knowledge and delivering value to customers;

  • The best sales people in the building materials industry, regardless if they hail from Philips Lighting, Häfeleor Aldes Ventilation, know that if they involve the architects and designers early in the designing stage, they can exert greater amounts of influence later in the sale with the key decision makers;

  • Successful sales people also know how to provide great service, AFTER the sale.  Some of the best sales people in Sofitel China actively solicit feedback from their guests after their first-night's stay, and followed up with the booker after the guests have left.  In addition, their best sales people know how to make recommendations on how to enhance their guests' experience whether they come to the hotel for meetings, rooms or wedding packages.

Why Some Sales People Fail


     Unlike what most sales managers would like to think, here are some behaviours that do NOT guarantee sales success:

  • Hardwork.  Not that successful sales people are not hardworking.  They are indeed very hardworking to respond to their customers' needs.  However, average or under-performing sales people are just as hardworking.  It's just that the latter work hard on the wrong areas;

  • Aggressiveness, especially when it comes to price negotiations or closing the sale.  Successful sales people spend more time winning customers' trust so as to serve their needs, rather than "Always Be Closing" to try to close sales prematurely;

  • Experience.  In fact one of the best (or worst, depending on how you look at it) parts of a sales job is that your past success (or failure) does not extend to the future.  While you can have the right connections and relationships (or Guanxi)

     While observing many sales people in action in Asia, and also having huge amounts of interaction with sales managers, we found the following mistakes that sales people make that cause them to fail:

  • Selling on price.  The historical baggage for China and other parts of Asia has been to produce cheap products and sell at low prices.  Those who sell on prices will find that there will ALWAYS be a cheaper product somewhere, and competing on pricing is a bottomless pit;

  • Leveraging on a single internal contact to make the sale.  Increasingly, most buying decisions are made by a group of people rather than by a single individual.  While it is getting lesser that any one single influencer can make the buying decision alone, any one influencer can make an objection and kill the sale.  Hence, sales people will have to cover all influencers in case one of them may kill the deal;

  • Leveraging on relationships or Guanxi ALL the time.  While building relationships with customers and having a wide network of customer contacts is important, sales people who over-emphasise the relationship and under-emphasise the technical and business details will have difficulties creating value for their customers.  Such sales people also have difficulties developing new businesses beyond their guanxi networks, and will face huge challenges when there are changes in the decision making structures of their customers

  • Selling products and not providing solutions to problems.  Customers buy conference facilities from hotels because they want a successful event.  Customers buy media spaces because they want more people to buy their products.  Customers buy computers because they want to boost productivity.  Customers don't want the product, they want the results you can deliver instead.

  • Putting their sales targets in the first place, instead of customers' interest.  Many sales people are so focused on getting the money out of customers pocket to make the sale, and they forgot about customers' interests and needs.  Not good in trust-building, to say the least.

     Ironically, some of the sales training providers who advocate selling value and reaching all people who influence the outcome of the sale, simply contact only the training manager (and no one else) AND are "talking brochures" for their products without showing how they can help their customers achieve better results.  I guess it is one thing to know these principles, and another thing altogether to apply them.


Why Not Build a High-Performing Sales Team Instead?

     Does that mean that if you make the same mistakes as some poor performing sales people, that's "the end" for you?  If you are a sales manager, does that mean you have to fire ALL sales people who made the above mistakes, and hire new ones?


     Fortunately, not!


     Not all sales people with good track records are sales people who can add value and win trust with their customers.  Some of them may have just gotten lucky with the best leads, the best markets and easy-to-sell products.  That means finding good sales people who can perform well even if the market is down, or if customers are tough and demanding, will be like finding a needle in a haystack.


     On the other hand, most if not all of the winning ways of winning sales people can be learnt and applied, even by new sales people without prior experience.  Whether you are a sales manager or a sales person, you can:

  • 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;

  • Learn and emulate such qualities and behaviours! 

     Alternatively, you can also engage us to help you boost your sales performance.  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: 16 March 2010

Why Some Sales People Succeed While Others Fail


     Join International Sales Leadership and Performance Coach c.j. Ng in this Power Breakfast Hour in Shanghai where he will be sharing with you the winning ways of winning sales people, and how to rectify any mistakes you might have made:

  • Winning sales people reach all people who influence the outcome of the sale,then add value by solving customers' problems and providing solutions that work. They are also excellent trust-builders;
  • Unsuccessful sales people focus on price and the occasional "insider's tip". They are "talking brochures" than problem solvers. They destroy trust.; and
  • Sales people who have made mistakes that reduced customers' trust can learn the winning ways of winning sales people. The winning ways can be learnt too!


VENUE: CO2 Cigar Bar • Level 2 • The Longemont Shanghai • No.1116 Yan'an West Road (near Panyu Road) • CO2 雪茄吧 • 上海龙之梦大酒店 • 二楼 • 延安西路 1116 号 (靠番禺路)

DATE: Tuesday, 16 March 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:

  • 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 People:

Whatever You Want Your Customer to Say, Ask the Opposite!


By c.j. Ng


Here's a typical dialogue between a seller and customer:


Seller:  So what do you think about our product and service quality?


Buyer:  I think they are quite good


Seller:  How about your current suppliers?  How good are they?

Buyer:  They are quite good as well.


Seller:  So will we be getting more orders from you in the future?


Buyer:  That depends.


Seller:  On which areas, may I ask?


Buyer:  Depends if we really have the need to change.  You have good products and services, no doubt, but what you can do, my supplier is already doing.  We don't see the real need to switch here.


And the conversation goes on and on, and unless or until the buyer's supplier makes some huge blunder, it will be hard for the seller to make the sale.

If we analyse what the seller wants to do, we can see that she wanted the buyer to recognise that the seller can deliver to the buyer's expectation.  She also half-expected the buyer to say that their current supplier is not as good, something which is unlikely to happen.  Instead of getting the buyer to say some negative things about their current supplier(s), here's what you can say:

Seller:  So tell me, what is the best thing you like about your current sales training supplier?


Buyer:  I like the videos which they use in their sales training.  They illustrate the principles behind the sales training easily.


Seller:  If there's any one area that they can improve on this best feature, what do you think it should be?


Buyer:  I find that the videos are very generic and not customised to our industry.  If they can customise it without charging too much, that will be fantastic!


Seller:  If we are able to customise some training videos that are relevant to your industry and culture, is that one way to improve the quality of your sales training?


Buyer:  Yes, we sure can explore that!


Seller:  Besides the video aspect, what else in your sales training would you require customisation as well?


Buyer:  Certainly.  Let me fill you in the details... ...


Moral of the story: while customers would like you to do a lot better than their current suppliers to switch to your products, they don't like to admit that their current suppliers are not doing a good job.  What you can do is to ask the customer if there's anything (besides price) that they would like their suppliers to improve upon.


Since almost everyone would like to get a better deal, so will your customers.  You just need to ask the opposite of what you want your customers to say.


For some deeper discussion on getting better customer responses from the questions you ask, 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