CJNg _ 2.jpgHi!


    My name is c.j., your trusted Sales Advisor, and here's the June 2009 issue of Psyche-Selling TM eNewsletter. 


    Last month, we discussed about paying less and getting more results for your sales training.  Well guess what?  Check out our BIG event on 31 July 2009, the 1st Kirkpatrick workshop ever to be held in China, "Linking Action and Results to Training in China Using the Kirkpatrick Model".  Go to http://www.directions-consulting.com/Kirkpatrick2009.html for details now!


    War is business, and business is war, or so they say.  There are indeed a lot of simlarities between the two, and most of how we organise ourselves in business have their origins in some ancient armies.  In that sense, why not we look at one of the earliest "consultants" known in war history, Sun Tzu (Sūn Zǐ 孙子)?


             Hence, this month's topics:

  1. Sun Tzu and the Art of Selling; and

  2. Optimising Your Sales Coaching for Best Results

    This issue's main article is on  "Sun Tzu and the Art of Selling", and it gives sales people some ideas on how to leverage a couple of strategic manoeuvres that will help you in achieving better sales results .


    In brief:

  • Know yourself and know your adversaries, and most of your adversaries are your customers rather than your competitors;

  • Just like water flows from upstream to downstream, you can also opt for the paths of least resistance and highest receptivity;

  • If this is one sale where the stakes are high and lots of people will be involed in the buying process, cultivate your network of informants to illuminate your road ahead, or be prepared to lose the sale.   Read on... ...


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


Sun Tzu and the Art of Selling


by c.j. Ng


     It is a mis-conception that Sun Tzu (or Sūn Zǐ in pinyin, 孙子 in simplied Chinese, or 孫子 in traditional Chinese) was a "real" general, since there were no historical records of Sun Tzu ever leading an army into battles.  He might have been conferred the title of General, but in ancient China, General lead armies at the frontlines, NOT doing the planning and logistics at the base, which was what Sun Tzu did.  However, the reason that Sun Tzu's treatise in the 6th century BC, The Art of War, have so much impact after 2,000 years around the world has to be attributed to Sun Tzu's keen observations of the battlefields and other less visible aspects of war 


     In short, Sun Tzu had observed, analysed and summarised what works and what doesn't at war.  Most of what he had written turned out to be true, if applied correctly.  In fact as recent as the 1st Gulf War in the 1990's, the elements of deception, speed, and attacking the enemy's weaknesses used by the allies had so much in parallel with the Art of War, that some guessed General Schwarzkopf probably used it as part of his strategy.  In other words, Sun Tzu is a consultant, and a good one, whose observations and conclusions withstand the test of time.


     In business, many companies have used lessons from the Art of War in business strategy, and more importantly, in leadership.  However, there are some lessons from Sun Tzu that we can apply in the field of selling too.


Know Thyself and Thy Adversary

Once again, the biggest mis-quote of the Art of War is "Know yourself and know your enemy, a hundred battles fought with a hundred victories gained".


     The quote according to the original text is actually "Know yourself and know your adversary, a hundred battles fought and not be imperiled in any"  (知己知彼,百战不贻).  The number "hundred" here has the same meaning as "countless".  The word "adversary" is used instead of "enemy", because in the former means "opposing force", which is closer to the original text, while the latter has elements of hatred in it, of which such strong negative emotions may cloud your judgment in war (or business).


     If you were to ask any sales person who he think is the adversary or enemy, chances are the answer will be the competitor.  Unfortunately, unlike war, you can't blow up your competitors' office and stop them from selling.  The adversary in sales, is actually the customer.


     Think about it.  Before you make your sale, your customers may have their reservations about buying from you.  Your aim is to optimise your profits and fetch a good price.  Their goal is to save money and cut unnecessary spending.  Both parties started off as adversaries, initially.


     The second most frequent quote from Sun Tzu is probably, "The best victory is the one that's won without fighting."  This couldn't have been more apt for dealing with customers, as your goal is to win them over and not to crush them.


     Yet according to studies conducted by HR Chally, some of the key customers demands of sales people these days include:

  • "Sales people MUST understand our business"

  • "Sales people MUST be our advocates"

  • "Sales people MUST provide (innovative) solutions that work!" 

    From these comments, it's quite clear that many customers are indeed waiting for some enlightened sales people to win them over!  If you know what your customers' business is, and you know how you can add value to their business, you would probably have won them over.


     To win over customers, sales people would have to do more planning before communicating with customers.  In a less-often quote in the Art of War, "Those who plan more will win those who plan less."  (多算胜少算,而况于无算乎)  That's probably the predecessor of "Failing to plan is planning to fail".


     Unfortunately, most sales people and managers are so obsessed with action and activities that they forgot to plan, i.e. to planning to understand customers' business, be their advocates and provide innovative solutions that works.  While some may view planning as a waste of "calling time", if they plan less than their competitors, they will lose the deal.  If the plan less than their customers in researching the right facts, preparing for the right questions and providing the right responses, they will lose the deal. 


     And just like war, being in 2nd place does not mean you win the silver medal.  Instead, it may mean you've lost your customer to your competitor, and may have to play catch-up for years to come.


Be Like Water


     "Just like water avoids the upstream and go downstream, you should also avoid the areas of strong opposition and strike at points of least resistance", says Sun Tzu  (水之行避高而趋下,兵之形避实而击虚).


     I would make a slight amendment on that quote to make it applicable to sales.  In sales, avoid the people who resists you most, and start talking to those who are most receptive.


     While conventional sales thinking is to get the sales person to call as high as possible, sometimes this may not be feasible, nor may that be optimal.  If you don't really know your customers' business enough to suggest possible solutions that might work, some senior people in your customers' organisation may view meeting you as a waste of time, and may not want to see you yet.


     When this happens, look around for those in your customers' organisations who may be the most receptive to your ideas and solutions.  In China, if you sell technical machinery, parts or other solutions, customers are more receptive to seeing technicians than sales people.  Their logic is that technicians are there to help them solve or improve some technical issues, while sales people are there to take their money and run.


     Hence, in this case you could get your technical people to play the double role as sales people, or get sales people to go on joint-visits with their technical colleagues.  Then you target at their points of the greatest receptivity.


     There's another quote regarding water too.  "Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup;  You put water into a bottle it becomes the bottle;  You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot.  Water can flow or it can crash.  Be water, my friend".  That's from kungfu legend, Bruce Lee.


     In China, some sales people can be so inflexible as to communicate with the procurement manager only, and when they meet strong resistance with procurement, they just give up the lead.  One of our clients' sales person decided to do something different.  He "flowed" to the more receptive department, which in that case was the design department, and increased the revenue from that account by 10 times within 3 weeks!


Build Your Network of Informants


     When you focus on your points of receptivity, don't just stop there.


     While some of these receptive people may be influential enough to help you with the sale, others may not.  In any case, once you won receptivity, you might as well gather information from them.  The information you may be interested may include:

  • What is the buying selection criteria of the decision-making body (sometimes when even seeing the key decision makers may not even give you any clues);

  • Whom amongst you and your competitors are the key decision makers and influencers favouring;

  • Who else do you need to win over to win this deal, AND how should you win them over?

     Even when you lose a sale, find out the reasons why you lost, and what you must do in order to win the next one!  One of the key frustrations managers have with sales people is when sales people reported they've lost the sale to the customer's regular supplier, and no further information is given as to what needs to be done to move one step closer to the sale the next time. 

     Depending on the industry you are in, some sales cycles may be longer than others, and a lot of time and resources will have been committed to get the sale.  In fact, the higher the value of the deal, the more likely that more time and resources would have been committed to winning that deal.


     Hence, you owe it to your company, your boss and yourself to get as much information about your customer (or adversary) as possible.  If you don't, then "you are extremely inhumane, you are not a leader, you are unable to assist your boss, and you definitely are NOT a winner".  (不知敌之情者,不仁之至也,非民之将也,非主之佐也,非胜之主也) .  So if you are not a winner, then you are a loser.  And during times of war, being a loser will get you, and everyone around you, killed.


     To understand how Sun Tzu's observations can help you boost your sales performance, e-mail info@directions-consulting.com or call +86-136 7190 2505 or Skype: cydj001 and arrange to buy me a some Chinese tea.  All information shall be kept in confidence.

Power Breakfast Hour: 8 July 2009

Sun Tzu and the Art of Selling


     Join International Sales Leadership and Performance Coach c.j. Ng in this breakfast meeting in Shanghai where he will be sharing with you how strategies of war can be used in the art (and science) of selling too:

  • How to know yourself and your customers in greater detail - before, during and after meeting them;
  • How to be as flexible as water when dealing with tough customers; and
  • How to gather information about your customer and competitors through your network of informants

VENUE: Waga's Hongyi Plaza 288 Jiujiang Lu.  G116 (Near Nanjing Dong Lu Subway Exit 1, pls. enter via the office entrance) (venue is subjected to change depending on demand)

DATE: Wednesday, 8 July 2009


TIME: from 08:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.

PRICE: Just Pay for your Own Breakfast at the Counter (50% Off before 10:00 hrs + 1st cup of coffee @ additional RMB 12 ONLY!)

     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

      Pls. check out our web sites www.directions-consulting.com and www.psycheselling.com/page4.html for more inspiration.

Creating Lasting Impact, Actions and Results for Your Annual Sales Conference


     Are you planning for your annual or semi-annual sales conference?


     Rather than just talk, would you like your sales conference to have longer lasting impact, and will lead to action and results?


     If yes, the good news is whether you are looking for a  30-minute key-note, or a half-day workshop or a full-day's seminar, we can help plan to make sure your next sales conference will be a runaway success with lasting results.  Whether you have a local staff of 10, or regional sales strength of 50, or a global network of 200 sales people and distributors, you can have the peace of mind to have us organise your sales event of the year for you.


     Contact us sales@directions-consulting.com or call +86-13671902505 to find out ways to rejuvenate and recharge you sales force now! 

Practical Tips for Sales Managers:
Optimising Your Sales Coaching for Best Results

by Michael "Doc" Pasela


(c.j.'s note:  this is a statement from a practicing sales manager on how he used coaching to get his sales team improve their sales performance, with significant results)


I focused my training in a few easy steps and found great success (17% increase over conventional classroom.  (1 week field training every third weeks for the first three months)

1.   Spend two weeks prior to field training talking with the recruit on the phone and emails. This gives you time to plan your course of action and training.

2.   Meet the recruit for coffee the night before and set down the ground rules of the training. i.e. start time, meal times, outline of the actual training, what you want to achieve and what you want them to achieve. Bond, motivate and build the relationship.

3.   Meet 45 minutes prior to starting every morning for motivation time and the days outline and what needs to be achived for the day. This builds time management skills, budget awareness skills and relationship building skills.

4.   You are at your first client's location. recruit needs to go over the "What I need going in process. this takes a few minutes and they are ready.  The first day, try to do most of the sales presentation and include the trainee.

5.   You have left your Client. Now is the time to take out their note pad and write down ..What was done, what was discussed, did I achieve what I went in for and most important, What could I have done better. You ask the questions and let them fill in the blanks. I do this after every call I make and I have done it for 20 years. Have them keep all these notes in a folder for future reference, after you have made copies for yourself.

6.   Day's end. Sit down for 1 hour. Discuss with the recruit- did you plan your work and work your plan, discuss each sales call, discuss successes and improvements.

By going thru this process and integrating them into the sales culture you can handle objections, closes, presentations without losing the sales.  The mentoring and relationship building process occurs and you will see your turn over drop and sales increase.  I build sales people for life this way.

This is a 12 to 13 hour day for both and it's is worth it.   I increased recruits weekly sales dollars by 23% and reduced roll over 20%.

Now, here's the real bomb.  My sales peoples produced 18.5% sales increase for 2008.  All my people sold over the one million each in 2008 and they made 17% commission on the average.

P.S.  That is why my middle name is Doc.

Thank You,

Michael "Doc" Pasela
Linkedin - http://www.linkedin.com/michaelpasela
My Linkedin Group: The Conference Room


For more ideas on how to implement effective sales coaching, you can also 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