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     Here's the November 2011 issue of Psyche-Selling TM eNewsletter, and the weather's getting colder while we brace ourselves for 2012.


     While 2012 may not be the end of the world as we know it, it sure has a lot of dark clouds looming in the horizon.  There are some companies predicting a decline in sales and profits, and some have already announced hiring freezes for for Q4 2011 in anticipation of uncertainty and tough times.


     In any case, life will still go on.  It's just a matter of whether you know how to thrive in times of adversity.


     Hence, this month's topics:

  1. Thriving in in Severe Adversity: Strategies to Overcome Insurmountable Odds and Win More Sales; and

  2. How to Overcome Insurmountable Challenges and Achieve Great Sales Results in the Hospitality Industry


     This issue's main article is on  "Thriving in Severe Adversity: Strategies to Overcome Insurmountable Odds and Win More Sales", and we look into ways you can help yourself and overcome challenges to still generate sales and profits in times of severe adversity.


    In brief:

  • "If you can march 1,000 miles and not feel tired, you are undefeatable", so says Sun Tzu in the Art of War.  In times of severe adversity, are you willing to go the distance far more than your competitors?;

  • Having a dogged determination and tough perseverance does not mean charging head on into a brick wall.  Do you have the powers of observation and imagination to create new possibilities?;

  • Thriving in severe adversity also means how you can help your customers thrive in adversity too.  Are you able to get them see you as helping them and develop win-win relationships?  Read on... ...  


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


    In the meantime, catch c.j. in Beijing on 6 Dec 2011 as he conducts a half-day workshop on Spend Less Time and Get More Results for Your Sales Coaching .  Seats are limited.  Reserve yours NOW by e-mailing


Thriving in Severe Adversity: Strategies to Overcome Insurmountable Odds and Win More Sales

by c.j. Ng


     Carol is on a "suicide" mission.


     As part of an Oncology pharmaceutical sales team, Carol is in charge of launching a new product to a market place that has been dominated by a single competitor for 10 years.  For years, customers (i.e. the hospitals) have been waiting for an alternative, and Carol's team is about to provide this highly-anticipated alternative product. 


     Except that things are not as simple as it is.  Carol currently faces the following challenges:

  • Her main competitor Neuetische, with a 10-year lead in her market, is well-connected with the main decision makers and buying influencers;

  • Neuetische sales team also outnumber Carol's team by 5:1, and could easily deploy more manpower to specific customers to dissuade customers from buying from Carol;

  • In terms of marketing budget, Neuetische also has a lot more to splurge than Carol's company could afford;

  • While customers are looking for alternatives, most are taking a wait-and-see attitude before committing to buy from Carol.  Most are simply using Carol's product as a bargaining tool to negotiate for better terms with Neuetische;

  • While Carol's products offer better healing properties for the patients, the results are not immediate.  They can only be observed after using the new medication after a while.  In other words, Carol's product while being a better product, is hardly a revolutionary product in any measure;

  • The Ministry of Health is tightening its regulations on to make it more stringent for hospitals to dispense medication to patients, and hence shrinking Carol's already very competitive market.


     If the above challenges are not enough, Carol's team is young and most barely had any experience selling in tough market situations, let alone selling in such severe adverse situations .


     Even in the face of such a "suicide" mission, Carol is undaunted in her quest to provide the better alternative to her market.  She knows that this will be a test of both will and wits, so that she and her team can outwit, outplay and outlast the competition.


Thriving Against Insurmountable Odds


     When we face adversity or any difficult situations, we generally have 2 choices: either we overcome them , or we run away from them.  In most cases, we will run away from the very difficult challenges, UNLESS we have a clear reason why we MUST overcome those difficulties.
    Using a goal-setting concept from Leadership IQ, if you want to get yourself or your team to be motivated to thrive against insurmountable odds, you have to do it the HARD way as follow:
  1. Heartfelt.  Are there any reasons why you or your team resonate with why we must overcome this adverse situation?  What is the purpose for the sacrifices and hard work to achieve such goals?  ;
  2. Animated.  People hardly feel excited about achieve a target.  People might feel a little more excited about "putting a dent in the universe".  Is there anything exciting that you or your team will experience while overcome those tough challenges?;
  3. Required.  What will happen if you DON'T overcome those challenges?  What are some of the negative consequences if you don't succeed?;
  4. Difficult.  Interestingly, people feel more engaged when they are given difficult, instead of easy goals to achieve.  This is provided if they resonate with your purpose, and are given the required autonomy to utilise the best of their talents.
     One of the greatest mistakes made by senior executives to motivate sales people is to provide more "spiffs" or bonuses if they deliver or exceed targets.  While some may argue if money is a good motivator for sales people, the bigger picture of incentive-related motivation can be summarised using the following formula:
  • Expected payoff, multiplied by;

  • Chances of success, divided by

  • The amount of effort required

     In a nutshell, if you are asking someone to put in a lot of effort to achieve something that he thinks is impossible, he might not even do so for a million dollars because he does not see any chances of succeeding, despite his best efforts.
     If we take a closer look at what's happening in many sales teams, most sales people and even distributors tend to sell the products they feel most comfortable selling at, rather than the products that pay the highest commissions.  If you work out the math, it's very simple.  If you pay someone twice the bonus to sell something that will take 3 times as much time and effort, he won't do it.  Period.
     On the other hand, if you want someone to achieve the impossible, you probably won't be able to motivate him or her using money or any material incentives.  Achieving the impossible means putting a lot of effort to achieve something that has a close-to-zero chance of succeeding.  If someone is doing such things, he must either be madly in love with what he is doing, or he's doing it for something far more valuable than money, or both.

Outwit and Outplay the Competition


     To thrive in severe adversity, it's not enough to just have the will to overcome all odds.  You need to outwit and outplay your adversaries too.


     From the perspective of selling, there are 2 general ways of beating the competition:

  • Either you get the customer to stop buying from the competition and start buying from you exclusively;

  • Or you ask your customer to try using your products on a smaller scale as a "back-up" supplier.


     Generally speaking, customers hate to change suppliers, and hence it's relatively easier to get them to add you as a back-up/ alternative supplier.  Does that mean that you will always be the back-up and not the main supplier?  Of course not, and here's why:

  • According to research by Shipley, 80% of all bids are awarded to current suppliers.  Being a back-up supplier means that you will get better chances to get bigger deals in future.

  • If you provide better products or services, then let your customers get to experience how you can add more value than your competition for your customer.  Your customer may then decide to shift more purchases to you;

  • Being a supplier, even if it's a small one, allows you access to the key decision makers and buying influencers, thereby cultivating your relationship with the customer for potential future sales.


     Sometimes, even if your products and services are clearly more superior, or even when your prices are lower, it does not mean you will win the sale.  In fact, lowest-priced bids win less deals than highest-priced ones, and the most technically superior proposals lose 49% of the deals to inferior ones.  To win, you will have to consider multi-dimensional aspects so that you lure your competitor's key accounts and make them buy from you instead:

  • Reliability.  Compared to your competitor, can you deliver your promises in ALL aspects  ranging from product quality, delivery lead times, maintenance schedules etc?

  • Responsiveness.  Compared to your competitor, can you be more responsive?  Not just service responsiveness, but also sales team's responsiveness to the customers' needs and concerns.  This also includes sales people who are stationed on-site at the customers' plants, offices or facilities to help customers solve problems when using your products

  • .
  • Resourcefulness.  Compared to your competitor, can you harness internal and external resources so as to provide customers a one-stop solution for their needs?

  • Relationship.  Compared to your competitor, can you seek to build relationship with everyone that has an influence over whether this customer should or should not buy from you, part from merely cultivating guanxi with some key decision makers?  These buying influencers include the gatekeepers, fault-finders, end users, and just about anyone who will be affected by the products you provide, or who has some contributions with regards to how your products can be used (or not be used) in their company.


     To obliterate the competition, ask yourself these lateral thinking questions:

  • Why does the customer buy from their current supplier?  Why they will or won't seek alternative suppliers?;

  • Why not you suggest something that the customer is not aware of?  Why not approach someone else in their organisation?  Why not you do the impossible for the customer?

  • What if you help customers resolve some of their chronic problems and inconveniences?  What if you come out with some wishful and outrageous ideas?


Give Yourself a Chance to Survive


     Most tough challenges require long periods of hard work before you can overcome them.  Most difficult periods will get harder before they become easier.  Hence, here are 3 main reasons why many people failed in the face of tough challenges, rather than overcoming them:

  1. Trying to take on too many issues in too short amount of time, with insufficient resources;

  2. Giving yourself too tight a deadline, and not being patient enough to see the results after a longer period of hard work;

  3. Giving up half-way or getting disheartened when things don't work out as smoothly as planned.


     When things get really bad, there are times that we can look at it from the positive points of view.  In the Six Thinking Hats lingo, it's about using the Yellow Hat in the face of many Black Hats.  In Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), it's simply about shouting and thinking "That's Good!" in the face of severe adversity.


     To win in tough times, you will need to "march 1,000 miles and NOT feel tired" (行千里而不劳者,行于无人之地也), so says Sun Tzu in the Art of War.  When facing insurmountable odds, leaders and team members will have to really be united as one, and be willing to support one another so that the team synergises and thrive in severe adversity.  As Sun Tzu puts it, if your goal and purpose is aligned from top to bottom, you win (上下同欲者胜).


     Need help in getting your team to overcome insurmountable odds and thrive in adversity?  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: 15 Dec 2011

Thriving in Severe Adversity: Strategies to Overcome Insurmountable Odds and Win More Sales

  • How to build trust and rapport with demanding customers in difficult and challenging situations;;

  • How to understand the causes of bad customer behaviour, AND the objectives that you can help them achieve; and

  • How to use some Lateral Thinking methods to create innovative solutions for customers that work!


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, 15 Dec 20111

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 Hospitality Sales:

How to Overcome Insurmountable Challenges and Achieve Great Sales Results in the Hospitality Industry


By c.j. Ng


Carl (not his real name), is the Director of Sales and Marketing (DOSM) for a 4-star international business hotel in the suburbs of Shanghai.  Although a 4-star brand, the hotel's facilities are good enough to match any 5-star hotel anywhere in the world.

However, the location of the hotel actually makes it very difficult for Carl and his team to sell its 400 rooms.  The key challenges that Carl and his team face include:

  • Situated in an industrial area where there are literally no international or big companies willing to pay the price of a 4-star hotel, so that guests can stay in better comfort and get better service;

  • Surrounded by a litter of 3-star and budget hotels, where cost-conscious visitors to the area find it more attractive to choose the cheaper options;

  • Devoid of external parks and spaces that can be used for outdoor teambuilding programmes, which otherwise will make the suburb location of the hotel ideal of teambuilding and company retreats.

Undaunted, Carl led his team to target at the MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions, Exhibitions) market. In particular, he targeted at companies who would want to bring their staff a from all over China and other parts of the world off-site to have a series of meetings, training or strategic planning.

So far, Carl's strategy has worked enough to keep the hotel afloat.  Apparently, the meeting facilities of the hotel is in such high demand, Carl can actually "force" his customers to buy his hotel rooms, rather than staying in a cheaper (and poorer quality) place across the street.

So putting ourselves in Carl's shoes, what else could Carl do to build on this initial success?

Well, if we were to frame Carl's target customers as "people who don't mind staying in a faraway hotel, BUT would like to stay in a hotel with good facilities", then perhaps we can target at the following groups:

  • Tour groups.  During the 2010 Shanghai World Expo where there's a shortage of hotel rooms, some tour groups actually stayed outside of Shanghai, and then hopped on the tour bus to get to the Expo.

  • Cabin crew.  They've got the usual tour buses to pick them up as well.
    Companies doing outdoor teambuilding.  Didn't we say that there's no outdoor teambuilding spaces around the hotel?  Well, the nearest teambuilding facility is only about 20-30 minutes' drive away, and companies who want to have outdoor teambuilding AND stay in a better hotel can charter a bus.

  • Industrial companies seeking to hold trade shows and exhibitions.  Exhibition centres are expensive, compared to usage of hotel ballrooms.  Since the hotel is in the middle of an industrial area, why not?

  • Event management companies.  Carl does not need to go directly to customers all the time.  He can also approach the event organisers who could bring the people

The other way of thinking could be "how can we shrink the distance between the hotel and places to shop, dine and wine?"  In this way, we have the following ideas:

  • Charter buses for guests to go to town;

  • Get a shopping mall to charter a bus, so they can bring hundreds of hotel guests to shop at their malls.  In this way, the malls and not the hotel bears the cost of the bus;

  • Get a shopping mall to provide regular shuttle buses, especially during peak seasons

These are just some of the ideas that we can generate to help Carl get more sales despite his insurmountable challenges.  Some will work, while others won't, but if you don't generate enough of all kinds of ideas, you probably won't find the one that will deliver the best results for you.


If you would like to get more and better ideas how to overcome insurmountable challenges and achieve great sales results, 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