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


    Through Shi Bisset & Associates (www.shibisset.com), I'm now currently an affiliate of HR Chally Group in China.  The HR Chally Group is a talent management, leadership development, and sales improvement corporation providing personnel assessment and research services for over 33 years.  Chally is recognised as an international technology leader in scientific assessment and prediction for selection, job alignment and leadership development, and for management assessment.  For more information about implementing Total Quality Sales Management in your company, pls. log on to http://www.psycheselling.com/TQSM-ExecBrief_email.pdf to get more insights.


    In addition, if you are a multi-national and you want to find ways on how you can get better results from local staff and partners, pls. check out our September event: http://www.psycheselling.com/iTAP.pdf  Attendance is purely by invitation only.


    This issue's main article is on  "Putting the Right Horse on the Right Track", and it looks into how you can better manage sales talent (esp. in China) by capitalising and developing on their unique strengths, and find ways to avoid their weaknesses. 


    Here's an on-point summary:

  • Before you hire your next sales person, make sure you don't ask a farmer to do a hunter's job;

  • In case you are frustrated over how to handle the mediocre performers, find out first what are the areas they need guidance, and if they are placed on the right job in the first place;

  • Before you spent a single cent on your next training, be sure you are really equipping the right kind of people with the right skills, and that they can succeed with these new skills.

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


Putting the Right Horse on the Right Track  

by c.j. Ng

        I happen to listen to a number of senior managers of some Multi-National Companies lamenting that China's sales people are not aggressive enough, and they aren't able to close as many sales as they should.  In their view, Chinese sales people are too focused on the relationship or "Guanxi" so much so that they aren't able to assert their views to customers and get customers to agree on an action.

    Yet at the same time, I have seen many Chinese sales people who literally went straight for my wallet as they approach me.  They sure make a pit bull look like Winnie the Pooh by comparison.

    Hence, I believe most senior managers in MNCs in China hasn't seen the enough of sales people yet.  Worse still, most have been hiring the people for the wrong job, or does not provide the right guidance to help them succeed in their jobs.

    In fact, in a survey conducted by HR Chally :

  1. Nearly 65% of salespeople who fail could have succeeded in the sales role that matched their skills.
  2. Only 19% of effective hunters are just as effective at maintaining their customers over the long term, a skill critical to the success of farmers.
  3. On the other hand, less than 15% of good farmers are comfortable doing cold calls, an essential task of successful hunters.
  4. Overall, about 50% of the failure rate in sales positions is due to putting a natural hunter in a farmer's job, or vice versa.
    Put bluntly, finding the "right horse on the right track" will matter a lot to your sales bottom line.

Hunters vs. Farmers

    Typically, sales people who generate new businesses are known as "hunters", while those who maintain good relationship with existing customers are known as "farmers".

    Hunters are generally driven by ego, achievement and of course by money.  Some are also aggresively pursuing the fast track to get a managerial position.  Hunters thrives on challenges and see results as the only gauge of success.  They are direct communicators and sometimes are the cause of conflicts with other colleagues, esp. in China.  At best, they speak their mind with little regard for any need to "save face" for others.  At worst, they can be down right arrogant and holding the company hostage, just because they generate the lion's share of their company's sales turnover. 

    Farmers, on the other hand, prefer stability and will do anything to protect existing relationships, whether with colleagues or clients.  Farmers are afraid to upset their customers, and are at times perceived as being too "soft" by managers.  At times they can be taken for a ride by certain customers, including running errands, buying gifts and of course succumbing to price pressures very easily.

    Hence, given the farmers' temperament, it's not surprising that they are the preferred candidates should they be interviewed and hired by the typical HR Managers (whom esp. in China, tend to want staff to be more docile and easily managed).

Who do You Need, and Who can You Handle

    While it is obvious that if you want to generate a lot more sales, or if you want to increase market share, you will need hunters.  The problem is, most Chinese and Asian companies are culturally ill-adapted to foster and grow the right hunters, especially in State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) or in Joint Ventures of SOEs and a foreign company.

    As mentioned earlier, hunters are individualists who will bend some rules to nail the deal.  At the same time, they hate paperwork or any constraints that bind them to their seats in their offices.  They want to see immediate rewards for if they made contributions (i.e. closing sales).  In staff meetings, they will be the ones to push the envelopes to the maximum (and then some) so that they influence company policy-making to be in their favour.    And the biggest taboo of all, they will directly disagree with management without "giving face".  Worse than that, they will despise managers if they feel that those managers' capabilities aren't really up to scratch.

     To allow hunters to grow, you will have to be prepared to adapt to their communication styles on one hand, and maintain a firm hold on company policies and interests which should not, and could not be compromised.  In other words, to generate a lot more sales in a short span of time, you will need hunters.  However, you will need to have great managers and strong leadership in your company if you were to ever hire or develop any hunters. 

Developing Hunters and Farmers to Greater Heights 

    While hunters are great in bringing new businesses, they are usually horrible in keeping them.  In fact, there are hunters who will do anything to close sales, including stretching the truth to its limits.  The resulting consequence is hunters over-promise, and let their staff under-deliver.

    Customers will be upset as such, and tend not to re-order the next time.  In some cases, customers simply cancel the order.

    The other key hunter weakness is the unwillingness to sell new products, or to sell solutions or packages.  Hunters love to stick to a winning formula, and dislike trying something that has yet been proven successful.  This may lead to lost sales in the near future as customers' needs are getting more complex and require sales people of any kind to do more than just pushing stand-alone products. 

    In helping hunters to develop into better sales people, managers will have to:

  • Provide different ways of measuring sales people's success, i.e. rather than just reward based on sales generated, reward on gross profit or 2nd purchase from a new customer;
  • Incentivise hunters to get to know more about customers businesses, and guide them to match the right solutions to the right customer's business issues;
  • Instill a corporate culture where (ironically) maximising short-term sales results is NOT the no.1 priority, but rather understanding and satisfying customers' needs is.

     And the list may go on.

     Similarly, managers may also want to develop farmers in the following areas:

  • Rather than just maintaining the relationship, seek ways to understand customers' businesses more, and then suggest solutions to their business issues;
  • Rather than satisfying customers' whims and fancies, guide customers to your way of thinking, and onto benefits that they have yet to know;
  • Rather than maintaining the relationship with 1 contact person with the customer, probe in deeper and get to know more people within the customers' organisations

    The main difficulty in doing the above for farmers is that they are afraid customers may "lose face" in doing so.  However such fears are usually unproven (even though most farmers believe otherwise), and managers will need to guide these farmers how to do so in "face saving" ways for the customer.

So Do We then Fire Everybody Who's on the Wrong Job?

    Fortunately, if you found that you had hired a bunch of farmers to do a hunter's job, you don't have to lay off your entire sales team (even when the results you get are dismal).  Here are some suggestions to bridge this gap:

  • Formulate alternative lead generation tactics, such as networking at more conferences, industry events and tradeshows;
  • Train your farmers some cold calling techniques that are less intimidating and more personable;
  • Conduct direct marketing campaigns that will make potential customers call your sales people, instead of you calling them;
  • Re-assign some good-natured farmers to handle customer service or sales support, so that they help the hunters in your company to increase customer-facing time.

    In addition, farmers and hunters alike will have to know how to understand customers' business issues, and then probe in deeper to suggest solutions that deliver results for customers.

    Managers can also learn the following lessons with regards to dealing with sales people:

  • If you hire a farmer to do a hunter's job, it will take you a lot more effort to train them, and even after that, they may still not perform to your expectations;
  • If you have hunters in your company, don't just be happy with the cheques they bring in.  Make sure your customers are just as happy paying them;
  • If you found that you have placed the "wrong horses on the wrong tracks", fret not as there are tricks in the trade to help them adapt, albeit in ways that aren't very fast

        If you are concerned with what kinds of horses, and what kinds of tracks you have, simply e-mail info@psycheselling.com or call +86-13671902505 or Skype: cydj001 have a chat.  You will be surprised with how much assistance you can get.  All information shall be kept in confidence.


Quote of the Month
"Excuse Me, Are You a Bi-Trainer?"

A few days ago, I was approached by this training consultancy that asked me, "Excuse me, are you a bi-trainer?"

"I beg your pardon?"  I asked, a little confused and amused at the same time.

"O, what I meant was are you a bilingual trainer in both English and Chinese?" came the next question.

"O!  Bilingual in English and Chinese?  Yes of course!"  I replied with a smile.

So if you are looking for a bi-trainer, and especially a bi-sales trainer, pls. e-mail your details to info@psycheselling.com and we can discuss further.

Forward your friend's e-mail now!!

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Practical Tips:

Simple Ways to Make Non-Sales People Generate Sales for You


by c.j. Ng


Recently I was doing some sales and sales management training for a international Hotel Chain, and found that they have activated every single one of their staff to help generate the sales of moon cakes, in conjunction with the coming Mid-Autumn Festival.


However, since most of the non-sales personnel are not trained in how to sell anything, let alone some boxes of rather expensive (as compared to a typical confectionery) moon cakes.  Hence, they are rather frustrated with the lack of results, and also felt the pressure from management.  Some even felt they were treated unfairly.


So here's what I suggested.


"Why on Earth would someone want to buy a box of US$45 moon cakes, when they can get them at RMB 20?"  I asked the class.


"To present to someone important as a gift."  The answers are as spontaneous as they are in unison.


"So if you are going to sell an expensive gift, why compare yourself with other cheap products in the market?"  I asked again.


This time the silence was deafening.


"Next time you see a customer, simply ask them since Mid-Autumn Festival is coming soon, is there someone important they want to make a gesture to."  I told them.


"What if they want something else other than moon cakes to present as gifts?"  Some smart guy asked.


"Well then, sell them whatever they need to present as gifts, as long as we have it!"  I replied instantly.


To cut a long story short, when I was checking out the next day, the Front Office Manager came to me and said in excitement, "I just sold 2 boxes of those expensive moon cakes!  Those are the first things I have sold in my life!"


That exclamation made my day (in fact, the entire month).  But what's more important is the moral of the story:

  • In sales, don't just look at the products you sell.  Ask yourself what do customers buy them for, and what will be of value to customers;

  • In getting non-sales people to help out in sales, use a more "humanised" script that they can relate to, and won't feel embarrassed if they use the same script on their friends;

  • If you learn a new technique (in any aspect), practice it the soonest possible or you will lose it.  On the other hand, you will be pleasantly surprised with the results when you practice it immediately.


About PsycheSelling.com

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:

  • Unable to qualify for the right customers;

  • Unable to generate interest through the telephone;

  • Unable to get to the right people (who may or may not be whom you think);

  • Unable to define the decision making structure of customers;

  • Unable to get customers interested and excited about what you have to offer;

  • Unable to sustain customers’ interest through the sales cycle;

  • Unable to get past clients’ objections and close the sale

  • Spending too much time with proposals that seem to go nowhere

  • Unable to sell deeper to the same customers

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 a co-affiliate of the  HR Chally Group, together with  Shi Bisset & Associates, to help you identify gaps in your current sales force, and then formulate ways to help you get better results.

The HR Chally Group is a talent management, leadership development, and sales improvement corporation providing personnel assessment and research services for over 33 years.  Chally is recognised as an international technology leader in scientific assessment and prediction for selection, job alignment and leadership development, and for management assessment.  For more information about implementing Total Quality Sales Management in your company, pls. log on to http://www.psycheselling.com/TQSM-ExecBrief_email.pdf to get more insights.

Forward your friend's e-mail now!!

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Enquiries and suggestions, pls. e-mail info@psycheselling.com or visit www.psycheselling.com