My name is c.j., and here's the May 2007 issue of Psyche-Selling TM eNewsletter.


    Before we commence to our main article, pls. take a look at a very simple yet useful self-diagnosis of the current sales effectiveness.  It's called the Sales Effectiveness Questionnaire, and it's available for download here.  I'll explain it further in the "Practical Tips for Sales Coaches" Section of this eNewsletter. 


    At the meant time, please also log on to and check out more than 70 selling and sales management related articles.  Your views on selling and the sales profession are also welcome in this forum too!


    Last but not the least, please welcome my son, Laurenz, who came to this world on 1 May 2007 at 09:52 hrs.  You can see his photos at


    This issue's main article is on  "Getting to the Right Contact Person", and it focuses some of the most common challenges in leading and motivating sales teams in China, and what are some simple suggestions to alleviate them. 


    Here's an on-point summary:

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


Getting to the Right Contact Person  

by c.j. Ng


    Many times, a lot of sales opportunities are lost or wasted because the sales people either:

    How do I mean by that?

    Many sales managers assume that to successfully close a sale (esp. in a B2B setting), you have to have to speak to the top decision makers, preferably the General Manager, Country Manager or the CEO.  As a rule of thumb, the higher the better.

    Sales people, on the other hand, often find that talking and securing appointments with these bunch of people are simply easier said than done.  On average, any key decision maker is likely to:

    If you want to get to these Very Important Top Officers (VITO, see here), you better have a darn well-thought and planned way to get to them.

    However, not being able to reach to these top decision makers is hardly just the worst-case scenario.

    The worst thing that can happen to a sales person is getting the much coveted appointment with a top decision maker, and then screw up the sales because the sales person said or asked or did something really way off-beat.  What happens next is that very sales person who worked so hard to get that appointment either could not get a 2nd appointment, or is being relegated to dealing with gatekeepers all over again.

    What sales managers need to do to help sales people is to recognise the following:

How to call high without acting stupid in the appointment

    As you might have guessed (correctly) by now, most top decision makers will be keen discuss matters with a sales person if the sales person is able to address the business issues faced by the decision makers.  To do this successfully, 2 conditions MUST be present:

    Most sales managers would prefer to have sales people making phone calls or seeing customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Some managers even believe that using the Internet or the computer during office hours is a big taboo. 

    While this outdated belief may work when customers' psychographics (i.e. the way they think and behave) are largely predictable and haven't changed much in years, it will fall flat for sales people calling top decision makers, esp. when those sales people aren't very familiar with the customers' industry.  This is especially so when most today's top management don't have unilateral decision making processes.  They will usually consult some other people before making any major buying decisions.  To do so is equivalent of asking sales people to charge against brick walls head-on!

    I understand there will be certain sales managers who will raise concerns that sales people will abuse such computer/ Internet usages and make it an excuse not to make calls. 

    One way to overcome this is to set a fixed time (when it's usually bad for calling) for sales people to do research, and make sure the sales people document their findings.  In this way, sales people are made accountable for what they do, even before they pick up the phone.

    Another way is to simply look into yourself and your organisation, and then ask, "what is causing you to distrust your (sales) team members?"  Of course, this will be a large topic which will render a separate discussion.

    Having done the initial research, sales people will have to STOP and AVOID what "traditional" sales people have been taught: Always Be Closing!

    The reason is simple.  Top decision makers are extremely busy people, and the reason they grant you 15-30 minutes of their precious time is to find out if you can help solve some of their business issues, and NOT enduring lengthy presentations and strong-arm closing tactics from you.  If they are nice, they will quietly sit through your "structured sales presentation", and swear never to see anyone else from your company again.  If they are nasty, they can get he guards and throw you out.

    When you got an appointment with them, the simple and easy way to touch the hearts of decision makers is to:

    At all times, remember that your ONLY objective is to instill confidence, so that you can get a 2nd appointment with them.  The exception to this rule is when you find the client not to be qualified (which you should have after your initial research and tele-conversation while getting this appointment), and it will be better for your to explore better opportunities elsewhere.

Who else to call if calling high is too far to reach

    There will be times when reaching the top decision maker is not feasible: either that they are not reachable; or your product or service doesn't really render the attention of a top decision maker.

    In such cases, you can contact what Neil Rackham terms as the Focus of Receptivity (see here).

    The Focus of Receptivity does not mean calling on customers who are merely "nice" to you.  What it really means are:

     In China, this may mean bringing such contact persons to lunch/ dinner/ drinks to cultivate the "relationship".  In Shanghai, most mid-level managers tend to keep their mouths air-tight shut and may even intentionally mislead you, just so that they will not be responsible for anything you do in their organisation.

    When working with these Points of Receptivity, be sure to note that these people don't make decisions, and may even not be able to influence the decision making in any way.  What they can really do is to provide information, and they do so either they really like you (hint: bring on the food and the booze), or that they sincerely believe what you do is really positive for their company (hint: identify who in your client's organisation has a distinct sense of social justice!)

    Another way is to earn your right to see the key decision maker through the gatekeepers.  In essence, gatekeepers exist to keep under-performing vendors out.  Yes, I'm sure you are an outstanding vendor for your clients, and you will need to prove that with gatekeepers.

    Gatekeepers are very likely to be risk averse, both from the company's as well as from the personal point of view.  They prefer to work with well-established brands and/ or tried-and-proven solutions in the market, so if you have a brand new solution that solves a problem that the customer has yet to know, be prepared to:

Who else can block or veto the final decision in the client's organisation

    Ultimately, according to British sales guru Clive Miller (see, the top decision maker's decision may not be final after all.  In most large companies, top management will still have to be accountable to shareholders or a board of directors.  If the buying decision is perceive as too risky for certain stakeholders (shareholders, trade unions, government intervention, political stability etc.), these decisions may be overturned eventually.

    Hence, while getting an audience with the top decision makers may be important, it will also be just as important to get a real feel of other variables through the interactions with other people within your client's organisation.

    For further  reading, I suggest the following resources:

    And in the end if you still feel confused, fret not.  Simply send your queries to or call +86-13671902505 or Skype: cydj001 and we can have more in-depth discussions, or if you want "live" and concrete examples or case studies. All information shall be kept in confidence.

Elite Sales Club
A Club set up by Sales Elites, for Sales Elites

We are looking for sales and marketing people (executives, managers, directors, VPs) to help form this Elite Sales Club, with the purposes of:

  • Sharing sales resources (articles, MP3 and videos) on sales and marketing ;
  • Sharing of sales and marketing experiences;
  • Providing feedback and insights for other members;
  • Placing of sales and marketing job vacancies;
  • Placing of CVs for sales and marketing jobs;
  • Reviewing the latest selling tools (IT, training programmes, books, mobile phones etc.) ;
  • Organising gatherings to exchange ideas and experiences, etc.

 Recent members include:

  • David Alström, Product Manager at Volvo CE AB, International Division

  • Peter Williams, Director Global Sales and Marketing at Bamboo Networks Ltd.  Peter is a consummate business leader, entrepreneur and consultant with 25+ years of experience driving profitable growth in challenging global business markets

  • David Wee, Founder & CEO - DW Associates Pte Ltd / Asia Speakers Bureau (ASB). David has achieve a track record for bringing a new fast moving consumer goods company from zero to S$8M turnover and personally opening new accounts with all major department stores, and chain stores in Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia and Thailand.

If you'd like to participate as a member, pls. e-mail your details to and tell us a little more about yourself.  An online forum will be set up soon.

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Practical Tips for Sales Coaches

        Alright, so you may not be a professional or certified sales coach, but your duties and responsibilities include helping your team to achieve better results.  Your job title may be anything from VP Sales to Sales Director to Sales Manager to Team Leader and so on.  But as long as you someone to achieve better sales results (even if that someone if you yourself), you are a Sales Coach.

        As coaches of any kind, the essential thing is to find out where your team member(s) stand at this current moment.  To make things easy for you, here is a online
Sales Effectiveness Questionnaire that I have designed so as to give you a guide on how to measure the effectiveness of your team.  As the saying goes, whatever gets measured gets done.  This simple tool will provide you an idea what needs to be measured for your team.

        There are 2 ways to use this tool after you and your team (yes, everybody) answered it:

  1. Sit together with your team and HONESTLY look into the issues that you have to handle, and have a open and direct discussion about it with your team; OR

  2. Let me take a look at the answers that you and your team had provided, and I can sit with you guys and have a chat about it.

        Should you choose Option 2, let me assure you that there are no obligations whatsoever for this complimentary service. 

        I won't even apply sales gimmicks such as "the first 7 people who reply will get.....". 

        All I seek is your understanding that I may not have the time to respond to every sales team's reply in time.  So if you really have a concern that you want to raise, pls. do so as early as possible.

        If you want to reach me, feel free to contact or Skype: cydj001 or call: +86-13671902505


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:

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 operating as a community of experienced sales and marketing professionals helping other sales and marketing professionals.  Psyche-Selling TM welcomes collaborations with consultancies and distributors.

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