CJNg _ 2.jpgHi!


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


    At the end of this month, I will be heading for Washington D.C. to present a paper on "Optimsing Your Sales Training Effectiveness in China"for the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD) International Conference & Exposition.  If you happen to drop by, pls. go to http://registration.experient-inc.com/ShowATD092/Default.aspx invitation code 2562 for Psycho-Geometrics® LLC, Booth #1107 to get your complimentary pass to the Exposition.  The deadline for getting the free-pass is 15 May 2009, U.S. time.


    Since these are also times of diminishing and disappearing training budgets (not to mention the H1N1 virus), I'll summarise my paper and share it with you, in case you are not attending...


         Hence, this month's topics:

  1. How to Pay Less and Get More Results for Your Sales Training in China; and

  2. 7 Ways and 14 Checkpoints on How to Win in Trade Marketing

    This issue's main article is on  "How to Pay Less and Get More Results for Your Sales Training in China", and it gives training managers some ideas how you can meet top management's directive to reduce sales training budgets, while still helping the sales department to improve their selling skills.


    In brief:

  • Before you fix your sales training, review your sales force hiring, promotion and incentives practices first;

  • Whether you decide to get internal or external trainers to train your sales people, what matters most are your training objectives, and how you measure training success.

  • When deciding who will be the right trainer for you, prioritise your requirements on a score sheet and discuss with your team objectively.   Read on... ...


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


How to Pay Less and Get More Results for Your Sales Training in China


by c.j. Ng


     When earnings fall, most companies do the one thing that is easy to implement, and will make the earnings look better.  That is to cut costs and budgets.  And one of the first, if not the first, to be cut is the training budget.


     However, rather than deciding to cut or postpone all kinds of trainings, some companies are trying to retain the "must-have" trainings, i.e. the ones that are critical to the company's performance, such as sales, supply chain management, quality management etc.  Still, the budgets available for such training are still very tight, and these companies are looking into ways of dong more with less.


     Some companies have tried to use internal trainers instead of external ones to conduct sales training.  Others have switched to less "expensive" trainers instead.  Well, the question here isn't so much about whom to engage as your sales trainer, but rather how you can plan and execute sales trainings that deliver your desired results.


     To achieve this, you will have to first overcome some of the common weaknesses of most sales training initiatives:

  • Sales training content is outdated OR does not match the current buying practices of customers

  • Ineffective reinforcement or post-training coaching

  • No measurement of improvements after the training

  • Getting the wrong person to do the training, etc

Getting Your House in Order

While the purpose of sales training is to improve the selling skills so that they generate better sales results for you, to achieve such an objective may require the orchestration of a few other components as well.  These are:

  • Hiring: Do you have the right sales person for the right sales job that will fit into your corporate culture

  • Promotion: Have you promoted the right sales person to be your sales manager whom will lead and motivate your sales team effectively

  • Incentives: Is your sales team incentivised to go the extra mile and get better deals for you.

     If you need someone to get new customers and get quick deals, it will be very painful to train someone who is more comfortable cultivating long-term relationships with customers and grow their business.  Similarly, if you need someone to spend more time partnering with customers and create strategic sales, it will also be quite masochistic to train a sales person who is highly skilled in high-pressure selling.  Here  are some statistics from HR Chally:

  • 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

     You can refer to our past issue "If You Want to Improve Sales and Profits, Stop Your Sales Training?!" for more details.


     According to HR Chally, less than 15% of superstar sales people succeed in management.  The job of selling is very different from managing a team of sales people.  Some superstar sales people are so good in what they do, they don't even know why they are good, much less impart their skills to others.


     Here are some of the criteria of what a good sales manager should be:

  1. Directs and controls others in your team

  2. Optimise the company's profits through the actions of your sales team

  3. Analyse customer behaviours, sales people's actions and market trends effectively

  4. Train your team members

  5. Makes joint calls and then coach the sales person on how to deal with customers better

    You may ask why is hiring the right sales person so critical to getting good sales training results.  Well, according to research conducted by Huthwaite, 87% of what is learnt in a sales training session will be lost after 1 month upon completion of the training programme.  And the key reason behind this is due to ineffective post-training reinforcement, coaching and monitoring by the sales managers.  In fact some sales managers hardly, if ever, train or coach or nurture their teams!


     You can find out more from our past issue: "Mistakes Companies Make When Hiring their Next Sales Superstar".


     Ultimately, it is said that the sales person's mind works faster and more accurate than a super-computer when it comes to calculating their incentive payments. They know how to reach their targets and optimise their pay by taking the most efficient of all actions.  What this means is what gets paid, gets done, and if you don't provide the incentives for sales people to change their ways (or dis-incentives if they don't), then your sales training effectiveness will be compromised. 


     You can get more details from our past issue: "Re-Configuring Your Sales Incentive Plan".


Setting Your Training Objectives

     If you were to ask any sales manager, what will be the objective of any sales training, the reply is likely to be "Get more sales (at higher prices)!"


     While this is very much the ultimate objective of most, if not all, sales trainings, the question here is what areas need to be improved before you can increase sales? 


     Since sales revenue generated is an end-result, in order to improve this result, you will have to look into the processes that drive this results in the first place.  Hence, instead on focusing on the final objective, look at which are the processes that need to be improved and work on those areas.


     E.g. if you find that your sales people have a hard time dealing with customers' pressure to cut prices, perhaps you can first:

  • Identify the sales processes involved in a typical sale;

  • Identify which process(es) actually caused our customers to focus so much on price discussions (e.g. did we quote the price too early, or we didn't understand the customer's business needs well enough, or we didn't get the customer to buy-in to the value we provide, etc.)

  • Set the training objective to be rectifying these causes of giving too much discounts

  • Monitor and measure the improvements on these processes

  • Then monitor and measure the improvements of selling at higher prices

     Perhaps the biggest headaches faced by many sales trainers (internal or external) is that some companies decide to have sales training only when sales are really doing badly, and then they expect immediate improvements to the bottomline.  Ironically, part of the reason that these companies are doing badly in sales is because they hadn't paid enough attention to the sales processes that drive the eventual results.  So it degenrates into a vicious cylcle of the company wanting some "magic bullet" to improve sales, while the sales trainer tries in vain to explain it is the process improvements that will improve sales.


Engaging the Right Trainers


     Typically, companies can choose between internal and external trainers for their sales training.  Whether you are getting internal or external trainers, your selection criteria will have to be based on "what kind of trainer(s) will be a best fit to deliver our sales training objectives now?", more so than any other criteria.


     While it seems like common sense to select the right trainer for most training managers, there some selections that are sometimes bizarre.  We know of companies who require trainers to have years of experience in their industry, when what they said they are looking is someone who can train them new ideas to meet future challenges as their industry is changing real fast.


     There's also a Fortune 500 IT hardware company in China that actually raised issues about the trainer's accent, and then promptly fired the trainer, even though that trainer is a subject-matter expert who is real good in designing new training programmes from scratch.  While it is true that the trainer has difficulty pronouncing broadcaster-standard putonghua, participants can undertsnad him well, and have graded him highly in evaluation sheets for previous trainings. 

     Depending on your current situation, your sales training requirements can be:

  • Designing a sales programme from the ground up (i.e. observing sales people in action, break down the sales processes, devise ways to improve each process through training)

  • Implement existing training programmes (no changes, just do it)

  • Emphasize role-plays and case study discussions in workshops, an then give de-briefings and pointers (sort of like a group-based coaching)

  • Conduct train-the-trainer programmes for sales managers, so that they can train their own teams

  • Audit current sales training programmes, and identify ways to improve on them , etc.


     In fact, one of our key customers are engaging us to help them develop their their senior sales managers to double as internal sales trainers.  Their challenges are

  • Their sales managers don't know how to train (and haven't got any training experiences);

  • They need external help to customise a sales training programme to their needs, and incorporating their CRM system into their sales processes;

  • They need ongoing identification of new training needs based on their weaker links in their sales processes;

  • They need advice on how to schedule their internal trainings so that their internal trainers are not over-burden with work;

  • They need to audit their internal training, to make sure the time is well spent.


     So we worked out a plan (that goes beyond the typical train-the-trainer programme) that will help them

  • Reduce operational training costs (by getting internal senior managers to do the training);

  • The trainees get more attention (it will be just 1 sales manager to 5 trainees);

  • Their trainers are well-trained to do the job well;

  • They get professionally designed training materials;

  • They get updates and further coaching from the master-trainer


     To choose the right trainer, you can create a score sheet of the list of proritised criteria for the trainer(s), that is based on your sales training objectives.  Most companies, even those that have very structured learning methodologies, are still using gut feel when choosing trainers, and sometimes that may end up as bad, if not ridiculous, choices.


     To get more details, you can meet me in person in Washington D.C. on 1 June 2009 (www.astd2009.org session M120).  Or you can 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 June 2009

How to Pay Less and Get More Results for Your Sales Training in China


     Join International Sales Leadership and Performance Coach c.j. Ng in this breakfast meeting in Shanghai where he will be sharing with you what he had presented at ASTD 2009 in Washington D.C.:

  • What needs to be done before you even train your sales people;
  • What are some ways that you can design your sales training content in cost-effective ways; and
  • How to select the right trainer within your budget constraints for your sales training

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: Tuesday, 16 June 2009


TIME: from 08:00 a.m. - 9:30 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.

Practical Tips for Retail Channel Managers:
7 Ways and 14 Checkpoints on How to Win in Trade Marketing

by Stephen Giam


It is old news about the explosion of new media and increasing dilution of traditional media, a new and fast growing generation of consumers is developing new information search habits and different ways to seek product information.

Trade Marketing, as the name suggest, is a direct marketing activities targeted at consumers through the trade channel, usually a retailer. In this instance, the retailer is also at the point of purchase, meaning the customer is ready to make a purchase, be it planned or prompted.

Organized retailers are getting larger and more dominant and probably more demanding. Organized retailers know that they can command a lot more than just a traditional profit or margin to have products listed in their stores. Their demands could include listing fees, distribution fees, promotional support, and other sources of buying income. Given this change in landscape, it is sad, but unfortunately true, that we still see “Sales Managers” of fairly large organizations visiting large retail chains wishing to get listing armed only with a price list.

Within this evolution of a larger and more organized retailer, it is only natural that Trade Marketing today is gaining greater attention since it can be argued that it is marketing activities that are closest to the customer. The decision to a purchase decision is literally one arm’s reach! Global FMCG companies such as Nestle, Unilever, P&G have long started the shift from traditional above the line marketing to Trade and In-Store Marketing.

This transition is not just about a shift of budgets. It requires new organizational structures and roles. For example, Brand Managers will need to work closely with Trade Managers to understand how the retailers and consumers tick, then develop fitting brand strategies.

Key Account Managers will need to match organizational drivers (what they company wishes to achieve within their categories) to the Retailer’s Triggers (what will trigger the retailer to want to work more closely with the Supplier). This is often mistaken as “retailer relationship” when in reality, the emphasis should be on a win-win-win (retailer-supplier-consumer), not how much each party gets along with the other.

This short questionnaire aims to provide some distinction between traditional sales and distributor management from Trade Marketing. There are four possible answers, and you may have more than one answer per question. The four possible answers are:

A – Absent meaning it is not in place.
P – Present meaning is present, but might not be important of effective. Therefore these are activities that you might want to stop doing.
I – Important meaning it might be Important but absent. These are activities to Start Doing
E – Effective meaning how well you are currently performing.



Trade Marketing is NOT distributor management. Trade Marketing sees the Retailer as a point of purchase, and retailers are carefully stratified to ensure that the more important retailers get more focus and attention.
     Do you have some form of a Retailer Classification System?
     Is it regularly updated and fairly reflective of the Retail Universe?

Trade Marketing is NOT just about revenue. Trade Marketing rides on the retailer target consumer profile to develop marketing activities. For example, during Christmas, a hypermarket may sell more Champaign than a club, but it is the club that is better positioned to deliver a brand experience.
     Do you have a clear idea the retailer current and planned target shoppers?
     Do you see your product as a brand experience? Even house brands are brand experiences!

Trade Marketing is NOT about one-size-fits-all. Trade Marketing activities are likely to follow an 80/20 rule, where 20% of the outlets may get 80% of a budget. This means that Trade Marketers should have some form of consumer based retail classification system and budget allocation process.
     Do you have a clear budget allocation system that that is skewed towards your key accounts? (Need not be organized retailer if that is not your primary focus)
     Do you have some form budget to identify who the budget is to be spent?

Trade Marketing is NOT just about Channel incentives. Trade Marketing activities must revolve around understanding the customer. Some research process is likely to include some form of buying decision trees and brand preferences.
     Do you have some form of consumer behavior reports beyond market share?
     Will these reports be of interest to your retailers?

Trade Marketing is NOT just about selling to Trade. Trade Marketing is very much concerned about selling out. Trade Marketers must work with their channel partners, as well as internal product and brand teams to create offers that serve to entice trial or repeat purchases. The offering for trial and repeat purchase could be entirely different.
     Do you see you have clear measurable objectives for your marketing activities?
     Do there measurements go beyond sales volumes, for example to induce trial?

Effective Trade Marketing is NOT about just about Retailer Relationship. The “relationship” should cover making win-win decisions and occasionally some very tough business calls.
     Do you have a client contact report that covers mulitple levels of the client organizations?
     Do you conduct business reviews with your clients?

The process does NOT start with the Retailer. Effective Trade Marketers will have extremely robust in-house activities that look at Account Profitability, Investment Returns, Activity Planning and Results Review.
     Is your finance department involved in your sales meeting?
     Do they actively contribute their expertise in increasing Key Account Profitability?

So, in summary, effective trade marketing is really about having rock-solid internal processes. These processes will include Customer and Retailer insights, after which Product, Brand and Trade activities are designed, delivered and evaluated. Until these processes are in place, many Key Account Managers are still using an outdated Distributor Management Model.


Reproduction of this article for non commercial purposes is granted. Please include this statement: Copyright Stephen Giam, Step Up International Private Limited. Www.StepUpInternational.Com. Stephen has more than 15 years of retail and trade marketing experience in Asia, and currently runs results driven workshops in helping retailers and their suppliers improve sales and service. He can be reached at Giam@StepUpInternational.com  

For more ideas on effective trade marketing, 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