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     Here's the September 2011 issue of Psyche-Selling TM eNewsletter, and customers are demanding more creative solutions from you.


     While many people may believe that excellent service is the key to enhance customer loyalty, customers may care a lot more for the results you deliver, rather than the great service you offer.  This is especially true for Business-to-Business (B2B) customers, where they rely on suppliers to provide creative and customised solutions in order to achieve better results.


     At the same time, customer service professionals are facing constraints such as resources, costs or simply company policies, which sometimes could restrict the variety and quality of the solutions for customers.


     Hence, this month's topics:

  1. Helping Customers Get from Where They Are to Where They Want to Be; and

  2. Shirking (aka "I love you, but everyone else hates you")


     This issue's main article is on  "Helping Customers Get from Where They Are to Where They Want to Be", and we look into how you can provide creative customer solutions DESPITE the constraints you face at work.


    In brief:

  • While customers may state their demands to get things done in a certain way, they sometimes don't state the best solution that will help them achieve their goals;

  • Customers also have personal needs that have to be satisfied, in addition to their business needs;

  • As such, to serve customers better, you will have to understand both personal and business needs of your customers, and then suggest creative solutions that will help them achieve their goals.  Read on... ...  


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


    In the meantime, get a complimentary assessment of your shape/ profile by logging on to and key in CYDJ as coupon code to waive the charges of the assessment.  The waiving of charges is valid until 15 Nov 2011. 


     Also, Asia's final session of Thinking with de Bono will be held in Shanghai on 28 October 2011.  Join us before Dr. Edward de Bono retires from travelling to this part of the world forever.


Helping Customers to Get from Where They Are to Where They Want to Be

by c.j. Ng

Psychogeometrics® Licensee

Certified Facilitator, Six Thinking Hats®


     Sheila is the Key Account Manager for one of those "nightmare" Key Accounts, F-Tone Corp.  While F-Tone produced huge volumes in sales annually, their margins are rather thin.  In addition, their Procurement Director has been squeezing Sheila for lower prices as part of their annual "cost-down" initiative, or risk having that Key Account switching to other competitors.


     That's not all.  As part of Shelia's company's initiative, she would have to improve her service standards to enhance customer satisfaction so as to achieve greater customer loyalty.  Unfortunately for Sheila, F-Tone has been quite a tough act to follow as far as service is concerned.  Some of their "unreasonable" behaviours include:

  • Insisting on changing product delivery dates, either by postponing deliveries, OR by bringing forward the delivery dates.  As a Key Account, each F-Tone's delivery are measured in tons, and changing those dates will cause lots of logistical nightmare for Sheila;

  • Insisting on shorter lead times that are much shorter than the industry standard.  Shortening those lead times might compromise product quality;

  • Frequent spikes in demand resulting in either Sheila's company trying to respond to such sudden surges in production.  When Sheila's company is not able to deliver on time, F-Tone gets the additional supplies from their back-up supplier, whose quality is poorer, etc.


     The above challenges can be easily solved had F-Tone agreed to holding some buffer inventory, which their Procurement Director flatly refused whenever Sheila raised the matter due to the former's JIT (Just-In-Time) policies.  When Sheila is not able to provide what her customer wants, her management starts to perceive her as not "customer-centric" and not doing her best to improve her customer's "experience" with the company.


     Sheila is now in a tight spot.  While she would like to keep the Key Account since they produced large volumes, managing their expectations is becoming somewhat impossible for her now.  Sheila needs to seek creative solutions that will win her customer's way of thinking.


Know Thyself and Thy Customer


     As Sun Tzu puts it, "Know yourself and know your adversary, a hundred battles fought and not be imperiled in any"  (知己知彼,百战不贻), just that in this case, the customer is now the "adversary".  Since  Sun Tzu also mentioned that "the best victory is won without fighting" (不战而屈人之兵,善之善者也), customers are to be won over without fighting them.
    There are 2 aspects which you might need to know about your customers:
  1. The work that each contact person in your customer's organisation does, and what is important to each of them; and
  2. What are the best ways to communicate with them
     As in the above fictitious scenario, most sales people and Account Managers liaise with the Purchasing or Procurement department most of the time.  Generally speaking, most Purchasing departments are "gatekeepers" where their job is to ensure suppliers' compliance to their company's policies and regulations.  They are detail-oriented and will strictly follow procedures.  In Psychogeometrics® terminology, they are a "Box".  Pls. see below for a brief explanation of the various shapes/ communication styles:
  • Triangle/ Dominant.  These are the high-flying hotshots who are status and power conscious.  These are also people who hates to waste time, and want to get straight to the point.  While different Dominant people will have different levels of intelligence, most if not all of them believe they are very smart and has the right answer to most problems;

  • Box/ Analytical.  These are the people who likes facts and figures as well as evidence and proof.  They like to apply rigour to testing and analysing test results.  Sometimes they see the trees but miss the entire forest;

  • Rectangle/ Confused.  When people are transiting to a different job in a different arena, or are taking on new responsibilities, they sometimes can be in a confused state as they are grasping the new rules of the new game that they are playing.  They are inquisitive, fickle and are subjected to wild mood swings;

  • Circle/ Social.  These are the people person who likes to make friends with you.  Their boss sometimes believe that they socialise to much and work too little though;

  • Squiggle/ Creative.  Finally, we have the oddballs who always seem to have new ideas and fresh perspectives in any given situation.  They are easily bored, and are always looking for some kind of thrills and excitement in whatever they are doing

     You can get a complimentary assessment of your shape/ profile by logging on to and key in CYDJ as coupon code to waive the charges of the assessment.  The waiving of charges is valid until 15 Nov 2011.  You can also refer to our previous newsletter to get a clearer understanding of these shapes/ communication styles.
     The "Box" customer seeks to make everybody comply to what he deems are his company's policies, initiatives and objectives.  Anything that does not fit into the "Box's" perception of "standard operating procedures" will be viewed with suspicion.
     When dealing with the "Box" customer, sales people will have to adapt and  come prepared with supporting facts, figures and evidence.  If a sales person want to get the "Box" customer hold some buffer inventory, she would have to prepare the facts of the costs of holding such inventory, and the precise calculations of the benefits of holding such buffer inventory.  This is something that many sales people are not prepared to do, but if the "Box" customer is not totally convinced, you won't be able to influence them to your way of thinking.

Getting Customers to Get to Where They Want to Be


     To the seller, getting the customer to hold buffer inventory is a great way to counteract against sudden changes in their production schedules.  To the buyer, however, holding excess inventory means incurring additional costs.  Both are right in their opposing points-of-views.  Sales people and Account Managers will have to be careful NOT to end up in arguments with customers.


     When advocating customers to take actions, sales people might need to understand 2 issues:

  • What are the causes of a particular customer behaviour, such as refusing to take an action that will improve their situation; and

  • What are some of the objectives that the customer needs to reach, both at the personal as well as at the organisational level.


     As such, here are some questions that you need to clarify, so as to know the causes of your customers' actions and behaviours, as well as the objectives that they want to achieve:

  • Have you asked the customer to do anything that deviates from their "standard operating procedures" ?  If yes, have you helped them to reduce their risks and clarify their benefits in doing so?

  • Is the customer a Decision Maker, or is he a Decision Implementer?  In most cases,  the purchasing department belongs to the latter, and seek to abide by the instructions given by the Decision Maker;

  • Are the things that you need the customer take action upon within control of the customer?

  • Have you developed the relationship with your customer such that he trusts you enough to jointly formulate solutions that benefit both parties?


Generating Creative Solutions to Difficult Customer Situations


     When faced with tough and challenging customer situations, sales people tend to rely on their instincts and past experience to resolve the situation.  In most sales-related advice, it has almost always been to go directly to the Decision Maker if your customer are simply implementing other people's decisions.  In reality, it is easier said than done.  The good news though, is that there are other ways to help customers get from where they are, to where they want to be.


     Without jumping into any assumptions, the first thing to clarify with the customer is "where they would want to go".  In the above story, the Procurement Director's objectives could be:

  • Make sure there's enough supplies as and when the Production department needs it;
    Make sure the cost of inventory and other aspects of the Total Costs of Procurement (TCOP) remains low;

  • Make sure there are no complaints from anyone in the company


     Having these in mind, sales people would have to generate creative solutions to solve often-contradictory objectives, which in this case is to have on-demand supplies, yet have low costs of inventory, AND still make everyone happy.  


     While it may be very challenging to provide a solution to such a predicament, there have been ways to reach such solutions depending on the industry, the corporate cultures of both buyers and sellers, and the creative perseverance of the sales person.  The critical steps are:

     Need help in helping your customers get from where they are to where they want to be?  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.


(The case story in the article are strictly fictitious.  Any resemblance to any real organisations, people or events are purely coincidental)

Power Breakfast Hour: 19 Oct 2011
Helping Customers Get from Where They Are, to Where They Want to Be


     Join International sales, leadership and strategic thinking consultant c.j. Ng in this Power Breakfast Hour in Shanghai where you will find out:

  • 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: Wednesday, 19 Oct 2011

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 


     You can also get a complimentary assessment of your shape/ profile by logging on to and key in CYDJ as coupon code to waive the charges of the assessment.  The waiving of charges is valid until 15 Nov 2011. 


    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:


    • Price is NOT the Reason Why You Lost the Deal

    • Achieving Exceptional Customer Satisfaction, Productivity and Talent Retention by Boosting Your Employee Engagement

    • Using the Six Thinking Hats® to Win More Sales and Get More Customers

    • 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;


     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 Managers:

Shirking (aka "I love you, but everyone else hates you")


By By Mark Murphy,

CEO of Leadership IQ


Shirking is one of the most destructive conversations a manager can have with employees.  What is shirking?  It’s a conversation in which a manager is SUPPOSED to give some constructive feedback to an employee (you know, something like “your performance is falling short in these areas, let’s discuss how to improve it, etc.”).  But instead, what the manager says is “Listen, I think you’re doing great, but you know how our executives are, and THEY think you really need to improve.”

Shirking is just that; it’s avoiding responsibility for delivering tough feedback and instead dumping responsibility onto somebody else (like upper management, or your boss, or the boss of another area). In it's briefest form it becomes "I love you, but everyone else hates you."

Any time we let someone else be the 'heavy' for telling an employee they need to improve ("in my eyes you’re great, but for some reason Pat thinks you do subpar work"), that’s shirking.

Shirking is partly damaging because it hurts the particular employee who missed out on some important feedback, but it really causes harm because it undermines your entire leadership team.  It shows a divided leadership team, it throws fellow leaders under the bus, and it utterly destroys alignment. How can we all be pulling in the same strategic direction when we don’t share the same standards and expectations?

Leaders aren't just allowed to give feedback; they’re obligated to give feedback. And more than that, they’re obligated to own that feedback.  Leaders are coaches with a fresh perspective; it's their job to shed light on issues that employees may have missed. But when we engage in Shirking, we avoid that critical part of our job.

I know, it's a lot more fun to be everyone's friend.  And so Shirking seems like a good idea (this way, we can deliver the tough feedback without getting the employee mad at us for delivering it).  But it never works out that way.

An important determinant of whether the employee will actually listen to critical feedback is how much credibility they assign to the person delivering the feedback.  If they truly respect the brains, performance and courage of their boss, they'll accept his/her feedback.  If they don't, they won’t. And unfortunately, Shirking basically tells employees "I didn't have the guts to take ownership of this feedback, so there’s really no reason to respect me."

So test yourself. The next time you give someone feedback, ask yourself "Am I taking ownership of this feedback?  Or am I passing the buck and making it sound like the feedback is really coming from somebody else?"

Shirking is unnecessary, it's horribly damaging, and remember, if you shirk and blame somebody else for the tough feedback you're giving, it's only a matter of time before they do it back to you.


If you would like to get more and better ideas how to get your managers be able to give direct and effective feedback, 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 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 Chinana