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    Here's the October 2010 issue of Psyche-Selling TM eNewsletter, and for the past 3 months, we have been getting lots of enquiries on negotiation skills training, not just sales negotiations, but also negotiations between foreigners and Chinese counterparts, as well as negotiating with "unreasonable" bosses.


    In many cases, negotiating is thought to be akin to bargaining, or specifically bargaining over prices.  In actual fact negotiation is a lot more than that, and seeks to jointly create solutions with the adversary.


     Some will say that while this is the ideal, but that may not be very applicable to China, where negotiating parties are skeptical and distrustful of one another.


     Hence, this month's topics:

  1. Sun Tzu and the Art of Winning Negotiations in China; and

  2. Cosmetics Sales Promoters: Creating Outstanding Sales Results by Focusing on the Customer


     This issue's main article is on  "Sun Tzu and the Art of Winning Negotiations in China", and the focus is on how you can navigate the complex relationships and achieve winning outcomes.


    In brief:

  • While negotiation is about giving others what they want so that they give you what you want, most people don't know why they want what they want. Understanding the reasons behind your needs is crucial to your negotiation success;

  • The problem with negotiations in China is that negotiating parties tend to hide what they want from each other, resulting in breakdowns in negotiations.  The trick is to get people disclose their needs, directly or indirectly;

  • If the best victory is the one won without fighting, then what you need to do is make your adversary really wanting you to win.  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, please check out our upcoming events in November-December 2010:


Sun Tzu and the Art of Winning Negotiations in China


by c.j. Ng


     To many of his colleagues, Sandro is an old China-hand.  Having been working in various cities in China for the past 7 years, Jack has more working experience here than most of his Chinese colleagues.


     One of the key success factors that attributes to Sandro's career success in China is that he takes time and patience to listen and understand his Chinese colleagues, suppliers and partners.  While some of the business practices in China may be very different, even contradictory, with the ones in his native Germany, Sandro has always been patient enough to understand why certain things are done in certain ways, and then seek to get his Chinese counterparts understand why some things have to be done the international way.


     Hence, when it was time to negotiate a major deal with a key supplier, Sandro decided to have his Chinese Project Manager take the lead in the negotiations.  As Sandro had not had the experience negotiating for such a large project in China yet, he thought it may be a good idea to learn from the local expert.

     The Chinese Project Manager, Mr. Chen, shared with Sandro his negotiating strategy, which is to divulge nothing and squeeze them for the lowest price.  And that was what he did.


     Halfway through the negotiations, Sandro found things to be diverting away from his goals, such as:

  • While the company does have a policy of minimising purchasing costs, there has been frequent cases of suppliers increasing prices unilaterally because they just realised the agreed prices were below their costs.  If the buyer does not agree to the increased prices, the seller will cut the supplies.  And since the agreed prices were below costs, the buyer then could not find other alternative suppliers to supply at such prices too.

  • One of the key requirements for this deal is to have the supplier commit on various quality and delivery guarantees, which are critical for the buyer's production.  However, these issues have not been discussed as Mr. Chen fears discussing such issues will then increase their buying prices.  Mr. Chen thought it best to secure the best price, then state these requirements after the price have been agreed.  Sandro knows that if these requirements are stated after the price has been agreed, the supplier may not honour their quality and delivery guarantees because the price they get does not cover the costs of additional work.


     Having these observations in mind, Sandro was wondering if there's a better way to get long-term commitment to negotiated agreements in China.


Formulating Your Negotiating Strategy

     "The victorious army plans for victory before fighting, the vanquished army fights before planning for victory"  (胜兵先胜而后求战,败兵先战而后求胜), says Sun Tzu in the Art of War.  The same principle applies to formulating negotiating strategies as well.  We can use Sun Tzu's 5 elements:
  • 道:Your Goal or Desired Outcome 

  • 天:External Factors beyond Your Control 

  • 地:External Factors within Your Influence 

  • 将:The People Conducting Your Negotiation 

  • 法:How Should the Negotiation be Conducted


     To start with, you will have to define what is the goal, or desired outcome, for the negotiation.  The most primary concern you need to have is if you just want to win the negotiation, or would you like to have a sustainable outcome of your preference.


     Interestingly, while it is often mentioned that Chinese business people expect negotiated agreements to be re-negotiable later should there be some unforeseen circumstances arising, most Chinese negotiators tend to view a signed contract or agreement is an indication of negotiation success.  They often are too myopic to see that if the agreement is not sustainable in the long term, or that if it is deemed unfair, their negotiation adversaries will want to re-negotiate.  As such, the negotiated outcomes are NOT sustainable


     Hence, to reach a sustainable negotiating outcome, you will have too consider a few more factors, such as:

  • What is the negotiating outcome you want to achieve, besides price or immediate gratification?;

  • What is your best-case, second-best case and worst case scenarios?;

  • Why should your adversary agree to your demands or requests?;

  • What are you willing to give in return for what you get?;

  • When to walk away and negotiate with someone else instead?


     The next question then is: would it be safe to tell our adversaries what we want?


The best victory is the one that is won without fighting


     In simple terms, negotiation can be defined as: getting others to give you what you want, by giving them what they want.


     The problem is, most of us would like others to give a lot MORE of what we want, while we give as little of what they want.  While the reason behind such thinking is to control costs or maximise profits, there are however some flaws in this logic:

  • It doesn't mean that if you give a lot more of what they want, it will cost you a lot.  There are some things that you can give at minimal or zero costs to you but may benefit your adversary a lot;

  • Many times, the costs of NOT getting what we really want (apart from lower price and immediate gratification) is higher than the savings of giving as little of what they want; and

  • Sometimes, you need to educate your adversaries to understand what is the sustainable outcome that is what they really want too!


     As Sun Tzu says, "The best victory is the one that is won without fighting"  (不战而屈人之兵,善之善者也).  If you want your adversaries to give in to your demands or give you a lot of what you want, you may want to  make your adversaries feel that:

  • When they give you what you want, they will get what they really want (besides price and immediate gratification);

  • You will make sure that whatever deal you make with them is something that they will be happy with, even if it's made in your best interests;

  • You make the conscious effort to shift from adversaries in the the negotiation, to being partners in the long term.


     Sun Tzu also says, "use conventional methods to get organised, but use out-of-the-box methods to achieve victory". (以正合,以奇胜).  Talking endlessly about price will end in a stalemate, but if both parties are willing to explore the reasons why they want what they want, they might be able to come up with a creative solution that meets mutual needs.


     There is a Chinese expression called "words spoken from the bottom of one's heart" (掏心话), which is actually quite common between buyers and sellers whom have done business together for a long time.  It goes back to the Chinese ideal of taking care of the welfare of your business partners, even if they may be your negotiation adversaries.  The trick is to make your adversaries trust you quick enough for this effect to happen.


Know Yourself and Your Adversary


     When we mention we need to win the trust of our adversaries, it doesn't mean that we are just being nice and sacrifice all our profits.  Hence, Sun Tzu says, "Know yourself and know your adversary, a hundred battles fought and not be imperiled in any"  (知己知彼,百战不贻).  


     What this means for the negotiator could be:

  • You can't win with ALL adversaries.  Knowing whom you can trust, and get them to trust you, is key to getting winning outcomes;

  • You don't just learn about your adversaries by talking to them only.  You can get more information about your adversaries (including if there's a huge need for you to give them what they want) from their colleagues, business partners or industry news in general; and

  • In negotiation, knowing your adversary could be just as important to let your adversary know you.  If the adversary is someone whom you do not know, start with disclosing less sensitive details in smaller deals.


     In short, while there are overwhelming tips, techniques and other resources on how to win in negotiations, there is only one thing in the minds of your adversaries, and that is "Why should I let YOU win?".


     Here's one last little story to illustrate why it is important to get your adversaries to want to let you win, rather steamrolling over them.  We often see some unreasonable and rude guests in hotels or restaurants who make unreasonable demands to the service staff in very rude ways, knowing that because they are paying the money, the service staff will just have to say "yes" to most of their rude demands.  While some service staff merely suffer in silence, some experienced service staff know how to get back by secretly spitting or adding other unmentionable "ingredients" into the food of the rude customer.


     The moral of the story: even if you have overwhelming bargaining power, you may still want to make your adversaries wanting you to win.  As in the Art of War, "To win, use reason to connect with your people, and use discipline to implement your strategies" (合之以文,齐之以武,是谓必取)


     Need help in winning more negotiations in China?  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.

Practical Intensive Workshops: 24-25 November/ 4 December 2010
Sun Tzu and the Art of Negotiations in China for Foreign Managers/ Sun Tzu and the Art of Winning Sales Negotiations in China


     Join international Sales Force Effectiveness coach and trainer c.j. Ng in these workshops in Shanghai and Qingdao respectively where you will find out:

  • How to understand the key needs and concerns of your negotiating adversaries, even when they are not speaking;

  • How to get past the price issue and focus on issues that really matter to both parties;

  • How to get your adversaries to keep and adhere to their negotiated agreements




PRICE: please click the above links for the pricing and detailed information, or contact Viven @ +86-21-6219 0021 for details.  Limited complimentary 1 night stay @ the Crowne Plaza Qingdao is available for the first 3 registrants.


     For optimal training effectiveness, we are expecting a small group of about 15 people for each workshop only. Please e-mail your enquiries to .

     Pls. check out our web sites www.directions-consulting.comm and for more inspiration.

Need a Keynote Speaker for your Major 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 Lure Away Your Competitors' Key Accounts, and Make Them Buy from You Instead?;

    • Improving Sales Productivity by Motivating the Sales Force;

    • Sun Tzu and the Art of Strategic Decision Making;

    • The End of Guanxi as We Know It!; and many more!


     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 Cosmetics Sales People:

Creating Outstanding Sales Results by Focusing on the Customer


By c.j. Ng


I have been asked this question by many retail or FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) companies if the concepts that has been applying successfully when selling to corporates or businesses can also be applied onto selling to consumers.


The fact is, since we focus largely on B2B (Business-to-Business) sales, we don't quite have the exact answer.  That is until recently.


We happen to have this "confession" of a skincare cosmetics promoter, Sharon, who was very new to her job and was almost hopeless with numbers, but is now the top sales person of her team and is currently coaching her more senior colleagues how to improve their sales too.  Here are some excerpts of Sharon's "confession":


"I started my new job on 1-Sep-2010 as a cosmetics consultant because a long time friend whom I lost the number called me asking me if I know anyone who wants that position. I took the job, without time for interview, put to be the make-up artiste there because of a discussion I had with my friend (my new boss) who happened to see me doing a demo for a customer who bought all the colours I recommended $400 in all. 


"Best of all I didn’t know what the promotion mechanics were so all the items I sold were not discounted or 'vouchered' as I was NOT informed about them... ...I was put to work immediately after a brief training. I broke the sales records, 80% of my receipts were high-value items in ala-carte items undiscounted. The balance 10-20% were small items like single lip balm items or small hand creams mainly because those customers are really on a tight budget and were willing to give one out of 3 or 4 my recommendations a try."


"To my surprise, those non-discount customers were the ones who came down from Orchard to Raffles City (quite a distance in Singapore) to look for me when they hear from my colleagues that I am on duty at Raffles City. They came to me with their friends to seek advice for their skin/hair/body-care problems and they also paid WITHOUT discount and/ or free gifts.  Hey...come to think of it may be I am the gift!"


"It’s not even end of September, and I don’t even know the ingredients and technical details in the products!  Yet, I am already training the new girls who only came in days later than me and giving refresher training to the girls who came in earlier than me.  To my surprise girls with problematic attitude opened up to me about their concerns and dissatisfaction.  These are the two girls my boss says were fighting with each other, and they don’t fight anymore after the 2 sessions of training with me."


"She (my boss) asked me what I did? I said I really don’t know... ...I only shared what I know and think can help my customers and colleagues.  All constructive and non-constructive details were sounded out there and then."


"My only fear is my boss test on my technical details.  I only know how to sell them by the usage or the solutions they provide.  I don’t know what are the technical details that make them different from other brands.  People buy from me because I got them to open up their skin/hair & body-care problems and I just bring the bottle as the problem solver to them - based on the bottle’s labels.  I am still learning the technical details at my own time and I hope my boss doesn’t think I am incompetent or ask me lots of weird questions on 'how I did it?'  *Shrugs*"

I wish I can say that Sharon was one of our trainees, but unfortunately for us, she is not.  However, if we were to take a closer look, here are some reasons behind Sharon's success:

  • Customers don’t care about the discounts or vouchers as much as they care for how they can look beautiful without damaging their skin. This is especially so for high-value items where their objective is to get value for the money they spent much more so than the little price savings on the vouchers. Hence, had Sharon known about the vouchers, she might have ended up selling the vouchers than to sell the value as she had done;

  • Sharon's customers came all the way hunting for her for advice about skin/ body/ hair care. It goes to show that Sharon can engage and connect with her customers. She cares for their well-being too. Hence, Sharon is  right to say that she is THE gift to her customers;

  • Helping her colleagues to engage and connect with customers actually help them (those colleagues) to generate more sales.  It’s not at all surprising that they will have a drastic change in their attitudes towards work, since they can see the improvements they’ve gotten at work, with Sharon's help;

  • While it’s good to gain knowledge of the technical details of one's products, it’s evident that customers value Sharon's skin care advice much more than the technical details of those products;

  • While understanding the technical details may not be Sharon's strengths at the moment, I don’t think her boss is ever going to make things difficult for her top sales person, as well as a highly effective sales manager or coach (which happens ONLY to 15% of top sales people).


It's also noteworthy that Sharon sees her products as "solutions" to her customers' problems.  The term "solutions" seems to be used more frequently in B2B sales than for consumer sales, but in this case, it has become relevant to consumers.


Also, Sharon probably thinks she is selling "solutions" to her customers, even though what she is doing is to provide a solution that fits individual customer's needs.  Her skincare/ hair care/ body care advice are an integral part of her customers' solution as it is the products they buy.  If only more retail sales promoters could be more sensitive to customers' needs, they will also see faraway customers beating a path to buy from them too!


If you would like to get more and better ideas how to create outstanding sales results by focusing on the customer, 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 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