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    Here's the July  2010 issue of Psyche-Selling TM eNewsletter, and many people are finding it difficult to get motivated at work due to the summer heat.


    As quoted from Sun Tzu's Art of War, "if you can march 10,000 miles and not feel tired, you will be in an undefeatable position".  If your sales force can get all motivated and make those sales calls while other sales people are hiding away from the sun, you will be in an undefeatable position too.


Hence, this month's topics:


  1. Improving Sales Productivity by Motivating the Sales Force; and

  2. Three Common (But Faulty) Management Practices


  This issue's main article is on  "Improving Sales Productivity by Motivating the Sales Force", and the focus is on the factors causing non-productivity in the sales force, and how you can turn things around.


    In brief:

  • While experienced sales people have the intimate knowledge about the market they serve, new sales people usually have the drive and energy to develop new markets;  However , most companies are stuck with either complacent experienced sales people, or clueless rookie new sales staff;

  • Experienced sales people are also the targets of competitors luring poaching them with the promises of higher pay and financial rewards.  Many companies are thus faced with the dilemma of paying a lot more for their sales people, or losing them to the competition;

  • While many companies are committed to developing new sales people via coaching, most coaching programmes are haphazardly implemented, and most sales coaches don't quite have a clue what is coaching.  Read on... ...  

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


    In the meantime, catch c.j. in action as he speaks at the Winning Pharmaceutical Sales Force Effectiveness Strategy conference from 26-27 August 2010 organised by Marcus Evans.  Or you can download c.j.'s videos here:


Improving Sales Productivity by Motivating the Sales Force


by c.j. Ng


     Christine had just recently been hired as a sales representative of a media company.  Her job was to primarily develop new leads and generate more sales for her employer.

     After going through the basic sales training (or induction) during her first week, Christine had been working real hard to meet customers and generate sales.

     However, 2 months later and averaging 4 appointments a day everyday, Christine still had yet to made any inroads, let alone closing a sale.  In fact, Christine was identified as one of the "high potentials" during her initial sales training with the company.  She was supposed to become a "star performer" in the near future, and not the "laggard" she was now.


     At the end of the second month, Christine was asked to attend "refresher" training, which was to re-attend the initial sales training (which she had when she first joined) with another batch of new sales hires.  She was asked to "shadow" some of the experienced sales people, i.e. to go out with them on their sales meetings and learn from them.  While most experienced sales people didn't mind bringing Christine along, a lot of those customers visited are old customers, and there's hardly anything that Christine could learn about developing and winning new customers.


     Worse still, the experienced sales people in Christine's company were not transferring the sales leads that were meant for new sales hires and some are even transgressing into Christine's territory.


     At the end of the 3rd month, Christine, along with other sales people in her batch of new hires, was fired for not being productive.  In fact, most of the company's new sales hires did not stay on for more than a year.  As much as 90% of the company's sales are generated by a handful experienced sales people, who in turn generated those sales from a number of existing customers.


     The company had been trying to hire new sales people to develop new sales for new products in new markets with new customers, but with dismal results.  Sales tanked, and there still isn't any clear indication how this pattern can be changed.


Striking the Right Balance

     It is a delicate art for most sales organisations to strike a good balance to:
  • Motivate experienced sales people to contribute more to the bottom line;

  • Getting experienced sales people to adapt to changes in the market; and

  • Hiring the right new sales people and getting up-to-speed ASAP


     When experienced sales people get complacent or are resistant to changes implemented by management (in response to changes in the market), most companies are reluctant or even afraid to discipline (let alone fire) such experienced sales people.  Since they generate the bulk of the sales results, and have built strong relationships with the key accounts over the years, they are pretty much "untouchable".

     To counter the unhealthy bargaining power of experienced sales people, there are now some companies that are employing fresh graduates who have the energy, drive and commitment to be a lot more responsive to the decision makers, gate keepers and even the end users. 


     After some time, their hard work are likely to be paid off by winning new accounts.  Some of these companies even went out of the way to cast more limelight on the high-performing "young guns" by giving them more attention during Annual Sales Meetings.  Even though their sales figures may still have yet to catch up with the experienced sales people, it sends a clear message to the incumbents: If you remain complacent, your position as top sales person will be taken away.

     Needless to say, some of the incumbents are not going down without putting up a fight.  The more positive-thinking ones (who are the minority) will be motivated to work harder to win respect from both the rookie sales people and their management.  The negative-thinking ones, on the other hand, may create some trouble, including:

  • Leaving the company to work for the competitor (and bringing over their customers);

  • Making things difficult for the new sales people by taking away their leads or transgressing into their territories;

  • Using their clout to force management to give them preferential treatment


     If management does not have the courage to intervene, the efforts to rejuvenate the sales force will fail.


Retaining the Right Sales Talent


     Staff turnover in the sales department is always high.  If the sales person performs badly, he will be fired.  If he performs well, he will be poached.


     To retain high-performing sales staff, companies have been offering all kinds of financial rewards and perks.  Still, there will be some better offers that will beat your best offer.  In such cases, you lose your sales talent.


     To retain the right sales talent, companies will have to consider:

  • What needs to be done to retain a person besides providing better financial rewards; and

  • Who needs to be retained.

     It is a common misunderstanding that sales people are motivated ONLY by money, and hence can only be retained via financial means.  Research has shown that the motivating effect of financial rewards, even for sales people, are temporary at best.  At worst, it makes experienced sales people using their relationship with key customers as bargaining power to ask for more money each time management wants to retain their services.


     Neither is promoting high performing sales people to be managers a good way to retain them either.  According to research, only 15% of the top performing sales people can be good managers.  Appointing sales people who love to sell but hate to manage will simply lead to disastrous results.

     A better way to retain sales people is actually to provide more public recognition of their efforts and contributions, as well as involve them in the formulating of new sales strategies and goals.   Besides the money, sales people love the autonomy or freedom as well as the sense of achievement on the job.  Giving them extra recognition company-wide sometimes beats giving them small increments in financial rewards over the long run.

     Also, over the long run, it need not always be the current highest performers who will be future great performers too.  Some experienced sales people that are not adaptable to increasing customer demands and subtle changes in the market may not remain as winning sales people in the future.

Training and Coaching as a Means of Motivation


     Sometimes, new sales people will be de-motivated if they don't see the possibility of reaching their sales targets.  In other words, if they feel that no matter how hard they try they will not succeed, then they won't even try at all.


     Hence, many companies have used training and coaching as one of the means to motivate sales people too.  Even most experienced sales people look forward to training and coaching session as well, as they feel there might be areas they can do better to win more sales.


     However, most sales training and coaching programmes are implemented in sporadic and haphazard ways.  Apart from sales training that are being outsourced to external trainers and consultants to train sales people, many companies have asked internal sales managers to conduct regular refresher training sessions, and more importantly, to be internal coaches for junior sales people.


     While sales managers do have the experience, some lack the expertise to coach.  To them, coaching is merely telling the sales people what to do, rather than getting the sales person reflect about what they can do to generate better results.  In addition, since internal training and coaching can be perceived as something important but not urgent, as it is unlikely to be catastrophic if the training or coaching is postponed for a day or a week.  Hence, many busy managers tend to postpone such training or coaching sessions so that they can handle their more urgent tasks on hand first.  Unfortunately, there'll always be ore urgent things to handle.


     So here are some tips for companies that would like to make their training and coaching sessions a little more motivating than it is right now:

  1. If it's not written in the diary or the weekly meetings schedule, it won't be done.  Get the sales managers to schedule in their training and coaching sessions AS IF it is an important sales appointment;

  2. Keep the session short and specific.  Unlike training that are conducted by external consultants, internal sales managers can conduct a 30-min or 2 hour training or coaching session that deals with specific work issues;

  3. Don't just tell them what to do, get them to think as well.  Given the current dynamic sales environment, sales people will have to think on their feet and adapt quickly.  Knowing what to do sometimes is less important as knowing why to do it


     Need help in improving your sales productivity?  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: 25 August 2010
Improving Sales Productivity by Motivating the Sales Force


     Join International Sales Leadership and Performance Coach c.j. Ng in this Power Breakfast Hour in Shanghai where you will find out:

  • How to fire up experienced sales people who have grown complacent and make them produce extraordinary results;

  • How to retain your winning sales people without relying too much on financial rewards;

  • How to leverage on training and coaching as effective motivational tools to boost morale and productivity


VENUE:  Function Room • Level 4/5 • The Longemont Shanghai • No.1116 Yan'an West Road (near Panyu Road) • 会议厅 • 上海龙之梦大酒店 • 四/五楼 • 延安西路 1116 号 (靠番禺路)

DATE: Wednesday, 25 August 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   You can also catch c.j. when he speaks at the Winning Pharmaceutical Sales Force Effectiveness Strategy conference from 26-27 August 2010 organised by Marcus Evans.


     Pls. check out our web sites and 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 Build Instant Trust and Rapport with Your Customers;

    • 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 or call +86-21-62190021 for enquiries.  Sample video and audio recordings available upon requests.


Practical Tips for Managers:

Three Common (But Faulty) Management Practices


By Aubrey Daniels


There's an old joke about a woman who cuts the ends off a ham before putting it in the oven because her mother had done it that way. The joke traces the reasoning through several generations until a great-grandmother finally explains, "I had to cut the ends off, because otherwise it wouldn't fit in my pan!"


Unfortunately, many sales leaders use management techniques that are rooted in the same philosophy – that longstanding management practices are effective. But that's not always true, warns Aubrey Daniels, an expert on management, leadership, and workplace issues and author of OOPS! 13 Management Practices That Waste Time and Money (and What to Do Instead) (Performance Management Publications, 2009). In his book, Daniels shoots down 13 common but faulty management practices, including the following:


FAULTY MANAGEMENT PRACTICE #1: Creating stretch goals


Stretch goals, by most organizational definitions, are attained less than 10 percent of the time, which means sales reps fail to reach them 90 percent of the time. This repeated failure causes performance to gradually dip. The result? A rep's willingness to stick with difficult tasks disappears. Eliminate stretch goals and instead do these three things:


  1. Set lots of "minigoals." When you set a lower goal initially, you increase the probability of success. "While small incremental goals appear to take longer to produce significant results, the opposite is true," Daniels explains. "This is because positive reinforcement accelerates performance, and small goals provide more opportunities for acceleration."

  2. Make progress visible. Display performance data on a graph so employees can see progress. An hourly basis is ideal, but daily or weekly will also work.

  3. Plan positive reinforcement for improvement. Researchers have found that attainable goals combined with positive feedback, social recognition, and monetary incentives improve task performance by 45 percent. "Improvement of two to three times baseline levels is not uncommon when graphic feedback and effective positive reinforcers have been used," says Daniels.


FAULTY MANAGEMENT PRACTICE #2: Publicly ranking your sales reps


Another common but ineffective practice is the public ranking of sales teams. The thinking is that rankings will create healthy competition at the top while motivating people on the bottom. Often, however, rankings do little more than inhibit sharing and cooperation, not to mention demoralize weak performers without giving them any support to improve.


"Employees should be competing with their real competitors, not with each other," says Daniels. Instead of internal rankings, use external benchmarking to motivate individuals and groups.


"Benchmarks allow you to compete with a real competitor or someone who is best in class for what you do," he explains. "Beating the competition, closing the gap between you and the benchmark, and actually becoming the benchmark are all highly motivating."


FAULTY MANAGEMENT PRACTICE #3: The compliment sandwich


Every manager knows "the sandwich method" of delivering performance feedback: take two positive statements, insert criticism in the middle, and serve. It's nice, but effective? Not in the long run. Employees catch on to this game quickly and soon learn to doubt the sincerity of your compliments. Also, they learn that compliments are merely a prelude to criticism. So forget the sandwich. If you have corrective feedback, be straightforward. State the problem behavior, the desired behavior that should take its place, and the consequences of not making the change. It's also helpful to have the employees track the behavior you want changed.


Albert Einstein once said that the world's problems cannot be solved by the same kind of thinking that created them. So if things aren't working for you, don't keep doing the same things your predecessors and managers did. Instead, question everything you're doing. Gather data to determine whether each of your management practices are effective, and jettison the practices that aren't working.


If you would like to get more and better ideas how to make your staff perform better, 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 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 or visit



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