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Happy New Year!


     Here's the January 2012 issue of Psyche-Selling TM eNewsletter, while we enter great uncertainty in the coming Year of the Dragon.


     While 2011 had been a great year for many, 2012 promises to be a lot more "exciting", since no one knows how the economy will be.  As it is, there is already slowdown across different sectors in many countries across the Asia-Pacific.


     It will be anybody's guess if things will get much worse, or will it get better.  The key is to be prepared, and map out successful strategies whatever is the outcome of the economy.


     Hence, this month's topics:

  1. Creating Winning Strategies in Uncertain Times; and

  2. Why New Hires Fail


     This issue's main article is on  "Creating Winning Strategies in Uncertain Times", and we'll explore how we remain focused while the rest of the world turn topsy-turvy.


    In brief:

  • If you know you are entering a period of great uncertainty, what will be your main objective?  Will that be survival, maintain market share or exploiting hidden opportunities?;

  • What didn't kill you will make you stronger, so what are some of the potential threats that might affect you seriously, and how do you take on those threats;

  • The Chinese words for crisis include both "danger 危" and "opportunity 机".  Are you able to gain insights and take advantage of the opportunities that others have missed?  Read on... ...  


     To read the rest of this newsletter, pls. click here (


    In the meantime, catch c.j. in Singapore on 23 Feb 2012 as he conducts a half-day workshop on Selling in Severe Adversity: How to Win More Sales and Get More Customers in Uncertain Times .  Seats are limited, and the first 3 readers of this newsletter who respond will get a one-for-one special offer.  e-mail for details.


Creating Winning Strategies in Uncertain Times

by c.j. Ng


     Just like many other business leaders, Peter faces a great deal of uncertainty in the forth-coming year.  While some economic indicators are saying that the economy will be really bad, some other reports are saying that the economy is recovering.


     Not knowing whom to believe, Peter finds it difficult to make decisions ranging from hiring staff, increasing production or moving into new markets.  He fears that if he commits more resources, he might be badly hit if the economy turned for the worse.  However, he might also be losing opportunities should the economy improve for the better.


     Starting with his objectives, Peter finds that there are roughly 3 options he can choose from:

  1. Merely want to survive, and hence would want to be as conservative as possible; or

  2. Would like to maintain his current market share, and explore further opportunities if the economy stabilises; or

  3. Prefers to seek out hidden opportunities during uncertain times, and get ahead of the competition


     Peter then analysed his financial situation as well as gathered feedback from the market.  Since Peter's company is financially healthy, there's no need to be overly-conservative.  While there might be hardships and difficulties, survival is not an issue.


     Hence, Peter's choice will be between options 2 and 3.  Before he commits himself, Peter decides to identify and understand the possible Threats that might pop up during uncertain times.


What didn't Kill You will Make You Stronger


     The good thing about a weakening or uncertain economy is that it tends to affect everybody in your industry, including your competitors.  The difference is that if you have better cost-structures than your competitors, you are more likely to weather the economic storms better than others.
    On the other hand though, some competitors have cost-structures that are as good, if not better than you.  Hence, in difficult economic times, they might still have the budget to gather more resources to beat you.
     As such, your biggest Threat in an uncertain economy may not be the economy itself.  It could actually be your strongest competitors.  If you are too conservative to stop growing your market or engaging your customers, you might be squeezed out by your strong competitors.
     Having understood these hidden Threats, Peter decides to take the following actions:
  • Train his existing staff to deliver better performance.  If it is a risk to hire more people during uncertain times, perhaps there might be less risks to train up existing employees so that they help you beat your competitors.  (It's less risky because employees are not likely to leave after the training during uncertain times);

  • Spend more quality time with key and emerging customers, even if they have reduced their orders or have postponed their purchases.  If you don't engage your customers adequately, your strong competitors may be stealing them from right under your nose.

  • Seek ways to achieve more with less resources.  Even though you might have a healthy financial status, you can't be sure how bad the economy may impact you financially.  This is not to say that you simply cut expenses. It's just to put on the Green Hat and explore how else you can spend less, and achieve better results in innovative ways.


Seeking Hidden Opportunities in Uncertain Times


     While there are some real Threats that could put you out of business during uncertain times, there might be some hidden yet highly-rewarding Opportunities that you can leverage on as well. 


    During uncertain times, some prospective customers may be looking for alternative suppliers who can:

  • Provide better quality at lower costs;

  • Provide greater flexibility to fulfill those customers' needs that arise due to the uncertainty;

  • Provide guaranteed supplies when their current suppliers might have insufficient inventory during uncertain times, etc.


     In Peter's case, he observed that most of his competitors have some Weaknesses that he can leverage his Strengths to gain an upper hand.  As Peter is very much aware that some of his competitors will have more resources at their disposal, he will have to really look hard at what might be overlooked by his well-financed competitors.  These include:

  • Spending more time to understand and respond to the customers' business concerns.  After all, research has shown that 39% of a customer's decision to buy (or not) is based on the effectiveness of the sales person in appreciating the customer's business realities, and responding to changing customers' needs.  This will include reaching out to all key influencers in the customers' organisations, from Decision Makers to Gatekeepers to End Users;

  • Aligning the key functions such as sales, production and supply chain to be really customer-focused so as to customise different solutions to different customers' needs.  Peter might also be looking at formulating group bonuses to encourage the free-flow, meaningful and frequent communication between sales, production and supply chain staff;

  • Proactively suggesting to customers innovative ways to improve the customers' results or experience.  While customers may be a lot more price-sensitive during uncertain times, they are also actively seeking ways to reduce downtimes, inconsistent qualities or wastages.  These inefficiencies, if reduced, will help customers save more costs than just simple price reductions.


Mapping Your Action Plan in Uncertain Times


     The thing about uncertain times is that you'd never know what could happen tomorrow, be it for the better or the worse.  As such, mapping an action plan during such times can be really challenging.

     There are, however, some principles that you can adhere to whatever the outcome of the economy.  These are:

  • Reliability.  Can you take the right actions and make your customers feel you are a source of reliable products, information and integrity?

  • Responsiveness.  Can you take the initiatives to connect with your customers and address that current and hidden needs?  Can you respond more readily to your customers' needs and concerns?

  • Resourcefulness.  Can you align both internal and external resources so that customers can come to you for a one-stop solution to their needs?

  • Relationship.  Can you build trust with all levels and sectors of people within your customers organisation?  Can you take the right actions and win them over to you?


     Ultimately, if you expect the unexpected to happen during uncertain times, perhaps you can also do the unexpected during such times as well.  The key advantage of to having tough and uncertain economic times is that such situations force us to rethink really hard about what else we can do better.


     As a start, you can ask yourself these lateral thinking questions:

  • Why does the customer buy from us?;

  • Why not the customer switch to a competitor? 

  • What if our competitor start to take actions to win our customer?  What if we take the necessary steps to win both our and our competitor's customer?


     To win, it's best that you attack your adversary's strategies (上兵伐谋), so says Sun Tzu in the Art of War.  Before you can outdo your competitors, you will need to outsmart them first.


     Need help in getting your team to map winning strategies in uncertain times?  Simply e-mail 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: 9 Feb 2012

Creating Winning Strategies in Uncertain Times (using the Six Thinking Hats)

  • What needs to be done to protect you from key Threats that could have huge negative impacts for you during uncertain times
  • How to leverage on the hidden Opportunities to get ahead of your competitors; and

  • Mapping out the action steps that will guarantee you success in uncertain times!


VENUE:  Crowne Plaza Shanghai • 400 Panyu Road (near Fahuazhen Road) • 上海银星皇冠酒店 •  番禺路 400 号 (靠法华镇路)

DATE: Thursday, 9 Feb 2012

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


     Pls. check out our web sites and for more inspiration.

Need a Keynote Speaker for your Annual 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:


    • Using the Six Thinking Hats to Resolve Conflicts and Build Synergy

    • The Conscience of a Leader: How to Stay True to Yourself and STILL Achieve Exceptional Results

    • How to Spend Less Time and Get More Results for Your Sales Coaching

    • Price is NOT the Reason Why You Lost the Deal

    • Achieving Exceptional Customer Satisfaction, Productivity and Talent Retention by Boosting Your Employee Engagement

    • Why Some Sales People Succeed While Others Fail?

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


     Simply e-mail your requests to or call +86-21-6219 0021 for enquiries.  Sample video and audio recordings available upon requests.


Practical Tips for Hiring Managers:

Why New Hires Fail


By Mark Murphy

CEO, Leadership IQ


News Release (WASHINGTON, D.C.) -- According to a new study by Leadership IQ, 46% of newly-hired employees will fail within 18 months, while only 19% will achieve unequivocal success. But contrary to popular belief, technical skills are not the primary reason why new hires fail; instead, poor interpersonal skills dominate the list, flaws which many of their managers admit were overlooked during the interview process.

Read the results of the entire study here in Leadership IQ's free white paper, "Hiring For Attitude: The Research & Tools To Skyrocket Your Success Rate."

The study found that 26% of new hires fail because they can't accept feedback, 23% because they're unable to understand and manage emotions, 17% because they lack the necessary motivation to excel, 15% because they have the wrong temperament for the job, and only 11% because they lack the necessary technical skills.

The three-year study by Leadership IQ, a global leadership training and research company, compiled these results after studying 5,247 hiring managers from 312 public, private, business and healthcare organizations. Collectively these managers hired more than 20,000 employees during the study period.

While the failure rate for new hires is distressing, it should not be surprising: 82% of managers reported that in hindsight, their interview process with these employees elicited subtle clues that they would be headed for trouble. But during the interviews, managers were too focused on other issues, too pressed for time, or lacked confidence in their interviewing abilities to heed the warning signs.

"The typical interview process fixates on ensuring that new hires are technically competent," explains Mark Murphy, CEO of Leadership IQ. "But coachability, emotional intelligence, motivation and temperament are much more predictive of a new hires' success or failure. Do technical skills really matter if the employee isn't open to improving, alienates their coworkers, lacks drive and has the wrong personality for the job?"

The study tracked the success and failure of new hires and interviewed managers about their hiring tactics and new hires' performance, personality and potential. Upon completing the 5,247 interviews, Leadership IQ compiled, categorized and distilled the top five reasons why new hires failed (i.e., were terminated, left under pressure, received disciplinary action or significantly negative performance reviews). The following are the top areas of failure, matched with the percentage of respondents.

  • Coachability (26%): The ability to accept and implement feedback from bosses, colleagues, customers and others;

  • Emotional Intelligence (23%): The ability to understand and manage one's own emotions, and accurately assess others' emotions;

  • Motivation (17%): Sufficient drive to achieve one's full potential and excel in the job;

  • Temperament (15%): Attitude and personality suited to the particular job and work environment;

  • Technical Competence (11%): Functional or technical skills required to do the job

In addition, the study found no significant difference in failure rates across different interviewing approaches (e.g., behavioral, chronological, case study, etc.). However, 812 managers experienced significantly more hiring success than their peers. What differentiated their interviewing approach was their emphasis on interpersonal and motivational issues.

"Highly perceptive and psychologically-savvy interviewers can assess employees' likely performance on all of these issues," explains Murphy. "But the majority of managers lack both the training to accurately read and assess candidates, and the confidence to act even when their assessments are correct."

"Hiring failures can be prevented," he notes. "If managers focus more of their interviewing energy on candidates' coachability, emotional intelligence, motivation and temperament, they will see vast improvements in their hiring success. Technical competence remains the most popular subject of interviews because it's easy to assess. But while technical competence is easy to assess, it's a lousy predictor of whether a newly-hired employee will succeed or fail."

"The financial cost of hiring failures, coupled with the opportunity cost of not hiring high performers, can be millions of dollars, even for small companies," adds Murphy. "And the human cost can be even worse. If a hospital hires a nurse that won't accept feedback and alienates pharmacists and physicians, the result could be a medical error. This one bad hiring decision could cost a patient their life."

Read the results of the entire study here in Leadership IQ's free white paper, "Hiring For Attitude: The Research & Tools To Skyrocket Your Success Rate."


Get your complimentary copy of our "Hiring Effectiveness in Asia" survey report when you particpate in our survey.  Simply download our survey here to fill in, and e-mail your completed survey to and we will send you our report once we have analysed the results.  Please submit your results by 29 Feb 2012 to participate.


If you would like to get more and better ideas hire the right people with the right attitude, you can e-mail or call +86-136 7190 2505 or Skype: cydj001 and arrange to buy me a mocha.  All information shall be kept in confidence.



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 LtdPsyche-Selling ng 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 or visit



Mailing Address: Shui Cheng Nan Road 51 Lane No. 9 Suite 202 Shanghai 201103 China