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31 Mar 2014

The 36 Stratagems to Solve Singapore's Labour Shortage Permanently

(Read 4 Weeks to a Better Manager at here)
We know that with the Singapore's economy growing at 3% to 4% this year, companies should be enjoying at least 5% to 10% of sales growth.  Yet many businesses that I talked to, including the famous restaurant at Orchard Road that I attended, are seeing stagnant sales.  Some are even experiencing declining sales.  Why?

Lack of Labour. Because of the low birth rates from 1990 onwards, there are far fewer job seekers than job providers.  This, coupled with the continued tightening of foreign labour, means that it is the lack of labour, not lack of customers, that is causing sales to stagnant.  Is there a solution?

The solution must be a permanent one, that is, it should once and for all solve this labour shortage problem, at least for the next 10 to 20 years. It should also not increase the cost of doing business, yet at the same time does not require government's funding.  What is this perfect solution?  

Increase in Productivity.  This simply means ever more output with ever less labour.  There are at least 36 Ways to Increase in Labour Productivity:
  1. Trained staff - using both External and Internal Training (and get $36K cash under PIC)
  2. Work Smart staff
  3. Cooperative staff with Strong Teamwork
  4. Collaborative staff with sufficient Competition
  5. Outsourcing
  6. High Morale staff
  7. High Morals staff
  8. Automate
  9. Increase in Automation and Computer Speed
  10. Better attitude staff
  11. Better Management
  12. Better Leadership
  13. Work with Competitors
  14. Work with Government
  15. Work with Trade Associations
  16. Work with Tertiary Institutions
  17. Work with Overseas Partners
  18. Work with Vendors
  19. Work with Customers
  20. Increase sales with Effective Sales Strategies
  21. Increase Average Dollar Sale (read here for The 36 Stratagems used by McDonalds)
  22. Increase Customers Transaction Size
  23. Increase Customers' Transaction Frequency
  24. Down-size to Focus on More Profitable Trades, resulting in higher profit margins
  25. Improve Cash Flow, leading to higher sales
  26. Reduce Overheads, especially Premise cost
  27. Reduce Wastage, Rework and Duplicated Work
  28. Reduce travelling time by having mobile office and flexible work arrangements
  29. Reduce meetings and meeting time that are going nowhere
  30. Reduce Conflicts
  31. Increase in Staff Commitment via Ownership Strategies (that make them own their work)
  32. Goal Setting and Achievement
  33. Connect and Touch the Hearts of Staff with Love Strategies
  34. Build Loyal Staff
  35. Efficiency and Productivity
  36. Effectiveness
I could just go on and on, but will stop at 36 ways because you know that there are plenty of ways to solve this problem.  All we need is to open our minds, open our hearts and put our hearts and souls together.  Stop Whining and Start Winning.  We ARE THE Solution.  

By Andy Ng, Business Coach and Trainer at Asia Trainers, details at here. Related articles:

30 Mar 2014

It All Starts with Your Right View

People often wonder how do we live a life of happiness and fulfilment. Politicians often talk about human rights, but we know that humans need to live lives in certain right ways for human rights to be productive.  For example, everyone has the right to talk freely, but if one talks in not right ways that harm others, that human right has to be modified.

In our teachings we teach people the Eight Human Rights.  It all starts with the Right View, which is to view things from the right angle. We know that all views are perception, and with perception there is deception.  To perceive something is to perceive it as it is and not let ourselves (the perceiver) affect the perception.   For example, if you have biasness against someone, your view of him would be distorted and not right.

Only with the Right View can you start to have Right Thinking.  Thinking is the speech of our mind.  Because thinking often leads to action, Right Thinking is needed for us to take the right path of right action.  Right Thinking is not easy because our mind is often thinking about one thing while our body is doing another.  This is because our mind and body are not unified.  Our body's behaviour is often the result of habits and external influence.  Like you have the right thinking that exercise is good, but your body would prefer to rest more (lazy).  To have the Right Thinking we need to do some checking and question ourselves "Are You Sure?"

When you practice Right View and Right Thinking you are in the Present Moment, and that will lead you to what we called the Right Mindfulness.  With Right Mindfulness, you will have awareness and memory easily.  You are so called 'Paying Attention' and will never be careless, mindless or inconsiderate.  Mindfulness is the energy that brings you peace and clarity as you will be living every moment fully with full awareness and enjoyment.  This is what people called living a full life.

With Right Mindfulness you will naturally have Right Speech and Right Action.  Note that these two are what we express to the outside world where our thoughts are no longer our private possessions.  Deep Listening is at the foundation of Right Speech for if we cannot listen mindfully we cannot practice Right Speech.

Right Action is simply the result of the above Right View, Right Thinking, Right Mindfulness and Right Speech.  When people say someone has behave wrongly, that wrongful action often has roots in wrong view, thinking, mindfulness and speech.

Having Right Action we also need Right Diligence or Effort as any action without diligence will not be able to achieve the right result we want.  Right Diligence also means perseverance and not giving up easily.

When you put in the Right Effort to your Right Action you will achieve Right Concentration, where your mind dwells on whatever that is happening in the present moment, even as it changes.  You will become very alert and can adapt immediately to any changes in the environment.  Right Concentration leads to happiness, and it also leads to Right Action.  The higher the degree of concentration, the greater is the quality of our life.

With the above 7 Rights, you will live a life of Right Livelihood, which means that your life is in accordance with your view, thinking, mindfulness, speech, action, effort and concentration.  There is simply no struggle and every day life is a breeze.  Isn't this the happiness and fulfilment that everyone is looking for?

By Andy Ng, Chief Trainer at Asia Trainers.  Related articles:
  1. With Right View, you will save money, not waste money
  2. Trainers have right view and here's how to make use of them
  3. The Right Training Broadens and Narrows Your Mind
  4. Stop Making Money and Start Making Healthy Money Now
  5. What My Fortune Teller Revealed to Me is Shocking
  6. How to Not Get Drained at Work
  7. Don't Be a Leader if You Want to Lead Well
  8. Don't Add Work but Add Value in Your Work
  9. Follow From the Front
  10. How to Walk on Fire and Never Get Burnt

Getting People to Not Know You: What Sun Tzu Really Meant

Sun Tzu said in the Art of War that it is not enough to "Know Yourself, Know Your Enemy", we also must ensure that our opponent does not know the real us.  This is what he meant by 'Deception' - "When strong, appear weak, when weak, appear strong".  The famous Sun Tzu quote: "All war is based on deception" does not mean Sun Tzu teach us to deceive people and be dis-honest.  At the beginning Sun Tzu said "Moral" is of utmost importance, thus we know that Sun Tzu is not a book for cheats.

To Get People Not to Know You could mean the following 5 Things:
  1. Be Humble, for humility gives you flexibility if things go wrong
  2. Under Promise, so that you could Over Deliver easily.  If you over-promise, you would stand a high chance of under-delivering
  3. Be Confident, especially when things are uncertain.  For that confidence gives people confidence in you, and that will translate into support, which in turn will make you stronger
  4. Leave Questions Unanswered.  Because you answer everything, there is nothing for people to come to you again. Also, some questions are best left unanswered so that people can discover it for themselves
  5. Keep Your Secrets Secret, like the famous Coca-Cola formula is only known by 4 living beings in this world.  That enables Coke to maintain its leadership in the marketplace
However, To Get People to NOT Know You does not mean the following 5 things:
  1. Confusing People with Unclear Stands 
  2. Being Secretive about your intention, for this will backfire and people will hate you for that.  Like many retailers like to advertise goods at very low prices when there is no stock, and they want customers to come and pick up other normal price goods.  
  3. Using the same trick twice.  A trick, once known, cannot be used again. 
  4. Avoiding Answers when Questioned.  This is not the same as leaving questions unanswered. this is evasive and will instead invoke more suspicion
  5. Boasting, for it will quickly lead you to 'over promise under deliver'
By Andy Ng, whose courses using Sun Zi Art of War has now evolved into the following 5 practical courses for everyone: Win Without Fighting, Leadership with Sun Zi Art of War, HR Management with Art of War, Sun Zi Art of War for Sales and Goal Setting and Achievement using Sun Zi Art of War. For details, click here.  Related articles on Sun Tzu Art of War includes:
  1. Leadership with Sun Zi in 5 Ways
  2. Top 7 Ways to Win Without Fighting
  3. How Sun Tzu Made all Leaders Redundant
  4. How the Government used Art of War in Little India Riot
  5. How to Deceive without Cheating People
  6. Hard on the Problem Soft on the People: 2 Key Pillars of Sun Zi
  7. How Marissa Mayer Looted a House on Fire at Yahoo!
  8. The 36 Stratagems that Make MacDonald's So Rich
  9. The Intellectual Fool Meets the Practical Wizard
  10. How our Finance Minister Kill with a Borrowed Knife in PIC
  11. 20 Ways to Win Without Fighting

28 Mar 2014

The Most Powerful Question Asked in Singapore

I like short and simple words because to say something short and simple takes a lot of effort and understanding.  This is unlike some professors who use very difficult to understand terms and words that few can understand. 

In people management, the less you say, the more they get it.  I learnt this very powerful phrase from Singapore's highest grossing local dual movies "Ah Boys to Men".  In that movie, while the recruits are preparing for their most ardent training (3-days field camp), their Officer asked them this question: "Before we move out, anybody not feeling well?"  All the recruits answered a resounding, "NO!!!".  Next the Officer said, "Gentlemen, every time the training gets harder, one question comes to your mind: 'Why am I serving national service?'  My answer to you is - 'If not You, Then Who Else?'"  With that the soldiers happily go for their training.

Indeed, "If Not You Who Else?" is a very powerful phrase because it contains at least 7 meanings:
  1. You are the most qualified and prepared person
  2. Please tell me who is better than you
  3. I have no choice, you are the only one available
  4. I have already done my homework: believe it or not, you are the most suitable
  5. You are the best!
  6. I am depending on you now
  7. You are my chosen one
You can use this powerful "If Not You Who Else" phrase in your sales, management, parenting and even motivating yourself.  The beauty of this phrase is that it is a question that has to be answered by the listener himself . We know that people believe more in what they themselves say than what is told to them. For no one likes to be told, but we all like to be led.  

By Andy Ng, Chief Trainer Coach at Asia Trainers, details at here.  Other related articles on people management:
  1. Making a Difference as a Manager in 6 Un-different Ways
  2. How to use force and still get people to like you
  3. 6 Common Myths and Truths of Management
  4. Turning Negative People into Positive in 8 Positive Ways
  5. How to Be a High Value Middle Manager
  6. Managing People in Difficult Times
  7. The HAPPY Way to Build Happy Teams
  8. The 5 Easy Steps to Be Promoted to Manager this Year
  9. A Manager Only Has 1 Job: Change and Touch Peoples' Lives

27 Mar 2014

Seeing Your Work as Changing and Touching People's Lives

Ask any man on the street why he works and he will tell you working is to earn enough money so as to get a good life.  Many people see work as a necessity for living, and some will say they work for their dreams.  Others will tell you working is their passion and they enjoy every minute of their work.

To me, if you consider work as work, you are working too hard and life is not meaningful.  You are no different than the busy ant, or the dog that slaves.  To me work is about changing and touching peoples' lives.  

You don't have to be a teacher or a high level politician to change or touch peoples' lives.  Everyone, regardless of their profession, vocation, education or speciality, can change and touch peoples' lives. The moment you see your work as an opportunity for you to change or touch someone's lives, you never have to work another day in your life.  For now work has a totally higher meaning.  You will be energized to do whatever you do everyday.  Challenges will no longer be daunting but exciting opportunities for you to touch peoples' lives. Isn't this the dream that we are all dreaming about?  There are 4 Cs' Way to Change and Touch People's Lives:
  1. Connect with People.  Connecting with people at the heart level is the greatest gift you can give to anyone. When you connect with people, all problems can be solved easily and communication is a breeze.  If not, you are just going through the motion and are just talking to the wall.
  2. Conduit to a Purpose.  As a trainer, training gives me the conduit or passage to touch peoples' lives.  Everyday when I stand up and teach, I am touching peoples' lives knowingly and unknowingly.  Your conduit could be something else, like making the world safer, or just bring joy or relief to the public
  3. Community.  When you connect with people through a purposeful conduit, you are building up your community. That's what celebrities do with their songs and movies, and we too can do the same with our vocation.  As a Trainer Coach I am building a community of learners that will learn what I teach to go and touch and impact many peoples' lives in their work. Isn't this a very noble job?
  4. Closing. To touch and change peoples' lives, we need to have closing, that is, lead people to where they want to go.  In sales, our closing is for them to buy our goods and services which will benefit them and solve their problems.  In management, we 'close' our team by getting them to take action so that they can be better employees. No matter what you do, you need to close or you're just wasting time and people will be at the same position as where they started.
By Andy Ng, Chief Trainer Coach at Asia Trainers, details at here.  Other related articles:

26 Mar 2014

No wonder it's either Apple or Samsung: The 3 Immutable Laws of Marketing

I just re-read THE 22 IMMUTABLE LAWS OF MARKETING’ book written by Al Ries and Jack Trout and many ideas already exploded in my little mind.   You can read the full list of 22 laws at our previous article at here.

As at today Samsung and Apple both controlled over 52% of the world's smartphone market share out of over 40 players.  Samsung and Apple successes can be attributed to the 3 laws:
  1. Law of Sacrifice.  This is the opposite of Law of Extension.  It says that if you want to be successful, you need to give up something.  For Samsung, they give up software control, for they use Google's Android instead of their own Tizen operating system. For Apple's iPhone, they give up screen size so that the users can have a easy one-hand operation.  Note that the rumoured iPhone 6 coming up in June 2014 will have a larger 4.7 inch option, but this is still much smaller than Samsung Galaxy Note 4 coming up in July 2014 which will have 5.9 inch. 
  2. Law of Attribute.  This states that you have to own a certain attribute that your competitor does not have.  Both Apple and Samsung share the same critical components that made their smartphones so popular: screen, processor and flash memory.  (Samsung has been supplying these 3 components to Apple since 2007, the year of the first iPhone launch).  No wonder some people are wondering if both Samsung and Apple are not competitors but collaborators!
  3. Law of Candor.  When you admit a negative attribute, the market will give you a positive attribute.  It goes against human nature to admit a weakness, so if you admit a weakness, the market will see you as honest and strong enough to be weak, that means you have certain strong attributes.  For Apple, they admit their weakness is their small screen size, whereas for Samsung their most exposed weakness is its plastic back.  Samsung justified this so as to allow for the battery to be removed and replaced easily (and thus you need not worry about weak battery)
Now you too can apply these and other ideas into your daily sales.  Whether you are now enjoying good sales income or you want to fast track your success, learn from the experts.  Related articles on sales and list of sales courses are at here:
  1. The 9 things that Your Sales Training must Cover
  2. How to Be Wise, Not Foolish
  3. Don't Close Files, Close Sales Instead
  4. The QUIET Way to Handle Sales Objections
  5. Making a Difference as a Salesperson in 7 Different Ways
  6. Questions to Get People to Switch their Vendor to You
  7. Don't Under Promise and Over Deliver, Over Promise and Over Deliver instead
  8. To Sell is Human: Selling is Moving People
  9. Believe it or not: the best salesperson is never from your industry

25 Mar 2014

Connecting People when they are Disconnected with You

Yes, it is getting more obvious that people are getting more disconnected despite of the proliferation of tools that 'connect' like smartphones, tablets and smart watches.  We know that connection is beyond 'being there', it is also not about being 'on line' or 'on the line'. Connection is nothing but connecting at the heart and spirit level.  It is beyond connecting at the body level, and also above the mind level. 

You'll know when you're connected to someone when both of you 'get it', and you don't need to show anyone that connection exists.  Like a loving couple, they are truly connected at every minute of their date even when they 'do nothing' at their dates.  Note that the Chinese used to think of connection at the 'blood' or family level, but this is just body connection and may not even be mind connection.

The recent MH370 Plane Disaster showed that the families of the victims were simply 'disgusted' with the Malaysian authorities, this shows a total lack of connection.  On the other hand, some of the victims' families feel warm towards the Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot, you can say that there is some connection there.  

Whether you are working as an salesperson, executive, supervisory or managerial level, if you too want to inspire people and make them work hard for you, you need to go beyond engaging your people.  Understand that left on their own, people will naturally get disconnected.  So connecting people is not a luxury but a must or you'll be left with zero human interaction.  There are 7 Ways that You Can Connect with People Quickly and Easily:
  1. Focus Beyond the Money.  Any focus on money, even making money together is not connection but just contacts.  If you have to focus on money in business, focus on fair terms like money back guarantee
  2. Non-Judgemental.  The moment you judge people, the connection is gone.  This is because judging makes us feel inferior.  On the other hand, praising is good and is connecting, but certain praises actually de-motivate people (read my other article at here). 
  3. Admit Your Mistakes and Vow to Work Hard to Minimize its Future Damage
  4. Love people, which is about being 4 things: Joyful, Calm, Kind and Understanding.
  5. Open and Transparent, with Nothing to Hide.  Let people know your inner intentions and what you're doing things in certain way.  Avoid having ulterior motives (like what Russia's Putin is doing now with Crimea) are the most dis-connecting
  6. Serve People from the Heart.  If you serve by protocol, you leave people pretty impressed but when you serve from your heart, you leave behind a lasting impression and good connection.
  7. Inspire People to Achieve Beyond their Imagination.  This is because people will never stop believing that they can do more with what they have now, be it their jobs, money or relationships. 
Using the MH370 Plane Disaster incident as an example, it is not too late for the Malaysian authorities to now re-connect with the victims' families.  They should start by admitting their own incompetencies and ask for forgiveness. Next, they should really listen to the families and do not judge their current antagonistic behaviour as rude but instead offer their love by being understanding and calm. They should also not focus on money as the main form of compensation but instead offer to serve them with services like insurance claims and funeral arrangements.  The Malaysian authorities should from now onwards be totally upfront and hide no information from the families.  They should inform people the findings from their police investigation of the pilots and also the dangerous cargo that were inside the plane.  Finally, they should encourage and inspire the victims families to step up, let go and live on, as this will be the best way to comfort the victims who have passed on.

By Andy Ng of Asia Trainers, details of training courses at here. Other related articles:
  1. How to 'Grow Your Tree' Faster this year
  2. To Sell is Human, Selling is Moving People
  3. How to Make People Like You in 2 Seconds
  4. Bosses are the problems, and here are your solutions
  5. Making a Difference as a Manager in 6 Different Ways
  6. How to Not Get Drained at Work
  7. Question Yourself to Success
  8. They Laughed when they saw me glued to my tablet, but when they see what I see...

24 Mar 2014

Making a Difference as a Salesperson in 7 Ways

A salesperson should be proud of his work, he need not hide his title under other 'more glamorous' titles like Advisor, Consultant or Marketer.  This is because all businesses start and end with sales.  Without salespeople, there is no need for any other person in the company.  But understand that not all salespeople are the same, and you must make a difference to the customers, not make a difference just to be different.  There are 7 ways that you can make a difference to your customers:
  1. Adding Value to Customers Even When They Don't Buy.  
  2. Giving Referrals to your Customers
  3. Help the Customer to Save Money, Time and Energy 
  4. Make the Customer and his Team Happy, Free of Worry and Delusion
  5. Make the Customer a Hero
  6. Be There for Him When He Needs You Most, Disappear When He Doesn't Need You
  7. Love Him by being kind, joyful, calm and understanding.
Remember, if you don't make a difference to your customer, you are no different from other salespeople in the market.  Making a Difference (MD, not MAD) is not about offering the lowest price at the highest quality and the fastest delivery.  Nor is the MD Salesperson providing the best entertainment, for you are not an entertainer.  It is also not about you providing the most service, especially services that are way beyond the core of what you're doing.  This is because a salesperson is NOT a Service Provider, but a Service Provider that Sells.  Everything in business starts and ends with sales, so all salespeople must be selling or they are simply redundant.  

By Andy Ng, Sales Coach and Trainer at Asia Trainers, details of Successful Selling Strategies and How to Close Every Sale courses are at here.  Other related sales articles:

23 Mar 2014

Associations: the Master Key to Memory

Everyone knows that all learning is based on memory.  Even at work, the more you remember, the easier will be your work.  Searching for information is done by Google, but remembering the information and applying the information have to be based on memory.  So it is important for us to have good memory.  Most people think that memory skills are difficult to learn and apply, in fact some even say that "I'm too old to remember" or "Age is catching up" to justify their forgetfulness. 

When people say, "I forgot", they didn't, what really happened was that they didn't remember it in the first place.  For human memories are infinite, we are not computers with limited memory.  How can you forget something that you didn't remember, originally?  So if you do remember something, how can you forget it? 

One of the fundamentals of a trained memory is Original Awareness.  Anything of which you are originally aware cannot be forgotten.     

So memory tools are all based on awareness.  All memory, whether trained or untrained, is based on association.  So the first rule of memory: You Can Remember Any New Piece of Information If It is Associated with Something that You Already Know or Remember. 

If you know how to consciously associate anything you want to remember to something that you already know, you'll have a trained memory.  It is as simple as that.  For example, few people knows the map of Italy, but if you have been told that Italy is shaped like a boot - the shape of Italy cannot be forgotten once that association was made. 

To strengthen your memory, In Order to Remember Any New Information, It Must Be Associated to Something You Already Know or Remember in Some Ridiculous Way.  The addition of 'in some ridiculous way' will force the Original Awareness that's necessary to remember anything, it will force you to form associations consciously.  Pictures are used in associations because visual is the most used sense for humans (in addition to hearing, touching, feeling, smell and taste).  

The one problem you have in Association is in making the association.  How can you associate something new to something you already know?  There are 4 tools to help you.  
  1. Substitution. You need to picture one item instead of the other.  Like picture boot for Italy
  2. Out of Proportion.  When you see things larger than life, you cannot erase it it. Like Italy for a Giant Boot.
  3. Exaggeration.  Things that are overstated cannot be ignored, like Italy is made up of 'a few hundred millions of boots formed together.
  4. Action.  An action is a moving picture and thus easier to remember.  To remember Italy, imagine it is made up of 'a few hundred millions boots thrown up in the sky'
Applying any of the above tools will help you to make the picture ridiculous. Understand that a logical picture is too vague to be registered in the mind, thus we need to dramatize and make things ridiculous for memory. 

Let's do a simple test.  The first 10 states of USA in alphabetical order are:
  1. Alabama
  2. Alaska
  3. Arizona
  4. Arkansas
  5. California
  6. Colorado
  7. Connecticut
  8. Delaware
  9. Florida
  10. Georgia
So let's associate the 10 states to some ridiculous pictures:
  1. Alabama - A big Album
  2. Alaska - a big bowl of Laksa
  3. Arizona - a Zone of Hot Sauna
  4. Arkansas - a big Ark falling from the sky hitting a Car
  5. California - big girl Kelly in a Phone (kelly-phone)
  6. Colorado - Color a toe
  7. Connecticut - connect and cut a piece of gigantic cloth
  8. Delaware - Deli wear
  9. Florida - Flora the
  10. Georgia - George in a jar
To remember all the 10 states in alphabetical sequence, you need form linkages in their pictures.  Like:
  • My big Album has a big bowl of Laksa, thrown in a Zone of hot Sauna.  Next to it I see a big Ark falling from the sky hitting a car. Kelly in that car is on the phone, she colors her toes, connect and cut a piece of cloth to make a Deli Wear, put in some flora to present to George in a jar!
Note that if you can remember the 10 states in the right order, you can recite them in a reverse order. That's the beauty of memory, once remembered, it is never forgotten.  Happy remembering!

Making a Difference as a Manager in 6 Different Ways

Most managers are doing their job well, in fact, too well, and that's the problem.  They do not make any difference to their organization, the people and most importantly themselves.  Just ask any manager this question and you'll get stares from them: "What is the most difficult decision you made in your career and how has this decision turned up now?"  Many managers will be asking you this question instead, "Am I supposed to be doing this?  I am a good manager, you know..."

To me, if a manager does not make a difference, he is irrelevant and will either be by-passed or made redundant.  Just look at many companies where they don't make any replacements for resigned managers and you'll know what I'm talking about.  In fact with today's workforce being more educated and experienced, many jobs can be done directly, with the staff reporting to the boss without a middle manager.  In many cases, the staff just report to the client directly and there is simply no boss for him!

How can a manager really make a difference?  It all starts with the manager having understanding that he is not just a manager but also a leader.  That is, he must lead and not just manage. For key differences between a manager and leader's job, see the picture below. A good example is not just ensuring that people do their work, but also people do their work with some standards that is rising, not falling. The other 6 ways to make a difference as a manager includes:
  1. Looking Beyond Profits, especially quarterly profits.  If you just look at profits you're missing a bigger picture: Organizational Value (OV).  For anyone can create profits but few can create a truly lasting value for the organization.  For this to happen, the manager needs to master the Balanced Scorecard, and how to take care of the key interests of stakeholders instead of just profits. 
  2. Build People ,not Just Build Business, Building people is to make people better than themselves.  A MD (Make a Difference) Manager is one who uses ordinary people to produce extra-ordinary results.  He can turn a non-performer into a performer, and turn star players into decision-makers.  A good example is Apple's Steve Jobs, he made Jonathan Ive, an industrial engineer designer, into one of the world's greatest designers.  The iconic iPhone5S and iPad Air all came from Ive. 
  3. Lead Leaders.  Yes, a MD Manager leads his bosses too, who sometimes need the leverage of a middle manager who can see things from all angles instead of just from the top.  A MD Manager is not a yes man, he is a "Yes, but this is better" man.
  4. Innovate and Create.  Innovation is new ways of doing things while creativity is about creating value out of day-to-day processes.  The 6 ways to create value in a company is to increase sales, improve profit margins, enhance cash flow, reduce cost, ramp up productivity and minimize risk. 
  5. Doing the Impossible.  Rise above all criticisms and voices that tell you 'You can't' and turn them into 'You Can'.  
By Andy Ng, whose courses on management are listed here.  Related articles:

22 Mar 2014

They Laughed When I Stared at My Tablet - But When They Saw What I Saw...

They laughed when they saw me staring at my tablet for the whole day.  What am I so engrossed in?  But when they saw what I saw, they begin to laugh too.  What I am doing is simple: ALT (Anytime Learning with Tablet).

The modern world is no longer about getting good grades, for things are changing so fast that no school in this world, including the top universities, can teach us new things.  The only way to learn in this world now is to learn on internet.  Not through your PC or laptop, for it is too tiring and inconvenient.  Neither is it through your smartphone, for your smartphone has to be reserved for texting, facebooking and calls.  It has to be through another devise, a portable one that you can bring to anywhere: office, restaurant, bedroom, bathroom, bus, train, lift and bedroom.  With a tablet of a convenient size (e.g. 7 inch), relatively cheap (best cost you less than $200), reasonably fast with good battery, you can do the following learning easily anytime anywhere:
  1. Youtube videos, they now include up to 5 hours long training seminars
  2. TED seminars, where you learn from the top notch speakers on a wide range of topics
  3. Play Books, where you can read sample of the world's books for free, and buy them at a one-third discount over traditional print versions
  4. Blogs, where you can learn on a daily basis the latest thinking that shape our world, e.g 
With so much benefits, no wonder they say having a tablet today is no longer a luxury but a necessity.  This is really a good alternative to learning: the ALT All-time Learning on Tablets.  From now to 31 December 2014, every 5 seats registered for our courses will entitle you to one free Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 7.0 (wifi version, 16 GB, Dual core 1.2 GHz) tablet worth $298.  Limit to 5 sets a week and whole stocks last.  For clarification on this, email to us or text to me (Andy) at 8201-4347.
Other related articles:
  1. What the Government Don't Tell You About PIC
  2. 11 Misunderstandings about PIC
  3. How to Earn More without Working Harder
  4. Successful Pitching with Hot Button Selling
  5. How to Impress Your Boss without Licking his boots
  6. Workplace has evolved into these 5 things

The Best Leaders Listen: 7 Important Voices to Listen To

There is a world of difference between passively and actively listening.  The best leaders and managers are also the best listeners, they asked themselves 3 questions every week:
  • Who Does Not Feel Listened To?
  • What People Have I Neglected to Listen to?
  • Have I audited my own listening to ensure that my listening still have standards?
There are 7 Important Voices that Every Leader Listens to:
  1. The Unhappy Voice - discontentment with what is happening now
  2. The Inner Voice - the unspoken feelings inside of you
  3. The Higher Voice - something higher than what we are doing and thinking now, like kindness
  4. The Successful Voice - Who can we learn and leverage from?
  5. The Undermined Voice - the people who are losing out, if left unchecked, will lead to chaos
  6. The Hidden Voice - this is beyond your inner feelings, it is the spirit or soul of you
  7. The Repeated Voice - anything that repeats 3 times or more is a cause for concern, this is usually the neglected voice.
In my opinion, the Malaysian authorities have not been listening to the families of the missing plane MH370.  What they are doing now is just hearing the sounds, which is useless.  If they were to engage in a heart-to-heart talk with the families, they will begin to hear the above 7 important voices.

By Andy Ng of Asia Trainers, related articles on Self Leadership and Leading Others are as follows:

20 Mar 2014

The 5 Steps to be Promoted to Manager this year

If you as an employee too want to earn higher salary without causing a rise in cost for your employer, you need to handle more responsibilities and take more risks.  This means that you have to be promoted to a level that has more managerial and leadership roles, i.e. manager.  In fact all employees that are not already managers now should aim to get promoted in 2014, and here are the 5 steps:
  1. Change Your Thinking from Employee into Management.  Typical employee thinking is 'What's In It For Me?' whereas management thinking is 'What's in it for the Stakeholders?'  Also, management thinking is about win-win abundance, whereas employee thinking is about win-lose scarcity. Most importantly, management thinking is long term business sustainability, while employee thinking is about yearly increment. 
  2. Take on some roles outside your usual role.  Like volunteer to look after certain issues or best take over some of your boss's work.
  3. Learn skills on 4 critical areas of management: People Management, Teambuilding, Leadership and Communication. People Management is about making people better than themselves, whereas teambuilding is about getting things done with less people.  Leadership is about doing the impossible and communication is about involving and influencing people to work.  You can refer to here for the list of things to know in these 4 areas.
  4. Take Risks and Make Decisions to Solve some Problems.  To take risk, you must be ready to be wrong. To make decisions, you need to be decisive.  To solve problems, you need to analyse things critically but also consider the human side of things.  Your final decision should be one that takes care of all stakeholders, i.e., everybody benefits. 
  5. Go to the Ground, Get Really Dirty and Understand Thoroughly Things from the Ground Up.  Do not stay in the office and just look at reports, for they are not real and often hide the things that you really must know.  

19 Mar 2014

7 Instances when Salespeople Close Files instead of Close Sales

We know it is the job of the salesperson to close sales, but many salespeople are actually closing files instead of closing sales.  Worse still, they are unaware of this because they think they're just 'doing my job to respond to customer's request'.  The 7 instances where salespeople close files are:
  1. Being Impatient with No Answer from the Client.  Usually salespeople will, after a few no answers from the client, get impatient and just want a quick answer.  They say things like, "I need your answer now as I must book my schedule which is getting full now".  The client will, 99% of the time, simply reply, "Since you're so busy, why not you go ahead with your schedule and leave me out for now?"  The next time you have such a situation, do not press for an answer, for you know that the client has no answer for you, otherwise, he would have replied you long ago.  Instead offer help to the client, and you'll leave the door open instead of closing it.
  2. Proposal or Quote that Mis-matches the Client's Affordability and Needs.  This simply make the client write you off immediately for you're showing your incompetency and lack of heart for him.  That's why it is important that you do your research first before issuing your quote. 
  3. Rely on E-mails alone.  Unless you're selling a very simple one-off cheap product or service, communicating via e-mail alone gives people the impression that you're simply not sincere
  4. Talk Themselves Out of the Sale.  Like encouraging the client to check alternative quotes, or ask them to think about it. 
  5. Overwhelming Clients with Too Many Choices.  Any choices more than 3 is overwhelming, and this worsens if you're selling a me-too product with many similar choices in the market. You should instead compare with 3 closest competitors but yours have differentiating points that put you way ahead of them.
  6. Lack of Confidence and Conviction in What You're Selling.  This is the most obvious and common way to close files, yet how many salespeople are aware of this?  You can tell a salesperson's lack of confidence in what he is selling when he cannot answer you positively the question "Have you bought this yourself?"
  7. Lack of Follow-Up.  This is the most important step but is often missed.  Reason is that the salesperson will face the mirror when he follows up, and most salespeople cannot handle the negative reasons for the client not choosing him.  Yet we know that even if the client rejects your offer, your follow-up will increase his confidence in you, and you will get the next chance.  You can click here to learn how to do effective sales follow-up. 
For those that want to learn how to close every sale and serve customers from the heart, come for our short but effective courses now.  From now till 31 July 2014, every 5 seats registered (need not be the same person or same course) will, other than the usual 49% discount, gives you a FREE Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 7.0 (Wifi verson) worth $328.  This offer is limited to 5 sets a week, and while stocks last.  For the stunning specs of this useful tablet, click here.  Related articles:

  1. The Oldest Yet Most Effective Sales Tactics
  2. Be a Different Salesperson and Close All Sales
  3. Do not aim for certificates in your next sales training

The 7 Praises that De-Motivate People the Most

Everyone knows the power of praises, but few people know that some praises actually demotivate people instead of uplifting them.  The following are the 7 most common instances of praises that de-motivate people:
  1. General Praises, like 'You're Great' and 'Well Done" if used in a general way will make the person feel that you're being sarcastic or flattering.  Imagine your staff worked hard for the exhibition and there were a few hiccups along the way, you need to be specific in your praise, like you appreciate the fact that they managed to clear backlogs.  General praises will just make them feel that you're just putting on a show. 
  2. Praises that Compare them to another person.  Everyone knows the de-motivating power of comparisons, especially when you compare the person you praised to another person that achieved much more than them. The person will feel more inferior with your comparison.  If you want to compare, compare their current improved performance with their past performance.  
  3. Conditional Praises, like 'I'll say you're good if you can do that' is not a praise but a demand.  You can state your demand in a more direct way, like 'I need you to do this' instead of coating it in a praise
  4. Trading Praise.  This is worse than conditional praise, this is where immediately after your praise, you ask something from them.  People will realize that you're actually manipulating them and they will turn against you instead of liking you.  In fact many salespeople are guilty of this, they often praise customers for 'having a good choice' and then recommend a higher price item for them. 
  5. Big Group Praise, especially when some of them are doing much more than the rest of the group and will feel that their efforts are not being appreciated.  Remember, a praise that is cheap is not valued by people
  6. Too Early Praise.  Yes, it's good to encourage people to take the first steps, but too early praise actually makes people become complacent. When they do not get praises later into the work, they will feel that their boss is just being phony and not sincere.  Worse still, they become de-motivated!   
  7. Un-deserving Praise.  This is the worse praise of all, for it simply adds on to the person's pain that his poor performance is made known.  If you want to praise, limit your praise to the effort, and make it a very small praise, more of an acknowledgement rather than a praise.
By Andy Ng, Chief Trainer at Asia Trainers, details are at here

18 Mar 2014

Use Your Eyes to Get People to Agree with You Instantly

Yes, your eyes are your most important organ in your body.  Smart salespeople use their eyes to get customers to say yes to their proposal instantly.  This is what you do:
  1. You ask your customer a question, like, "Which product fits in best with what you had in mind?"
  2. Then you lower your head slightly and get a few degrees below the eye level of the customer
  3. As the customer considers your question, you slowly bring your head up, almost unnoticeably, so that your eyes are on the same level as the customer's eyes
  4. At the exact moment when the customer starts to make a sound, you move your eye level up a few degrees above the customer's eye level
  5. At this point, something magic happens. The customer will automatically raise his head and eyes to meet your eyes
  6. Before you realize it, your customer gives you a positive response.  
Scientists said that the above action produces a psychological encouragement to the customer to agree with whatever you said, because your eye movements are leading him so.  When the eyes meet, the minds meet, that's why we have this phrase called 'see eye to eye'.  Note that you need to do this action very smoothly and not jerky, and most importantly, you need to be confident and slow in your entire movement. Remember, your body language directs the mind of another person, so use this technique to close more sales today!

By Andy Ng, Chief Trainer at Asia Trainers, details are at here.

17 Mar 2014

20 Ways to Use Mindfulness in Your Sales

Mindfulness is often thought of the same as meditation, when in fact it is more than that.  Perhaps it is easier to understand mindfulness from the opposite, i.e. when do we consider someone as mindless?  When he does things without thinking, or when he does things with so much 'auto-pilot' that he becomes robotic and apply the same approach to different situations.  Like many salespeople assume customers like details and would go into details without considering the client's needs.  Mindlessness can also be found in salespeople that are ill prepared and incompetent, and yet try to pretend that they know.  

Simply put, mindfulness has 3 elements: you need to first take note of something, be aware of it, and remember that awareness.  So for example if I am being mindful in a sales meeting, it means that I have to take note of my client's objections, be aware that it is an objection and remember that awareness.  Note that once you have mindfulness of an experience, you will never forget that experience for the rest of your life.  It's that simple. 

In our training with our clients, we teach them how to increase sales with mindfulness as follows:
  1. Plan the day before
  2. Before every sales presentation, plan the responses to the likely objections
  3. Listen to the real message of the customer, don't be distracted by noises like 'Your price is too high' may conceal the worry that your company's service is poor
  4. Do not talk while the customer is talking
  5. Be careful of non-verbal objections, like the showing of uneasiness of the client
  6. Do not defend when the prospect raises objection, instead listen to the reason behind the objection
  7. See things from the customer's view
  8. Empathise the customer's feelings
  9. Be realistic, don't paint superfluous results
  10. When in doubt, slow down and ask, don't continue talking
  11. Think positive, and think of what can be done instead of what cannot be done
  12. Do not dwell on the past
  13. Do not over plan
  14. Use words economically and don't say anything unnecessary
  15. Do not confuse the customers with too many choices, keep your choices to 2 or 3, maximum 4
  16. Always ensure, never assume anything
  17. Give people the benefit of doubt, hear them out first before making your stand
  18. When you find that the customer is giving you excuses after excuses, take a break and let him rest
  19. Use your 5 senses fully: see, hear, touch, feel and smell.  
  20. Most importantly, be in the present with the client.  Take out the trash, which is anything that keeps you away from the only thing that mattes, here and now.  When you are truly in the here and now, you will be amazed at what you can do and how well you do it

15 Mar 2014

Human Intervention Can Cause Things to Vanish in Your Life

The Malaysian Prime Minister Najib has already confirmed on 15 Mar 2014 3 pm that human intervention caused the Malaysian MH370 airplane to have vanish into the oceans on 8 March 2014.

Of course this is a human intervention, don't tell me this is a monkey intervention?  But at least we know this is not a mechanical failure, terrorist attack or the plane hit by Malaysian air defence missile by mistake.

What about you?  What kind of Human Intervention has Caused Things to Vanish in Your Life?    Have the following things vanished in your life: Love, Kindness, Empathy, Equanimity, Sympathy, Generosity and Simplicity?  We should be careful of the following 7 types of human intervention that affect your life negatively:
  1. Discouragements and Sarcasms from People
  2. Distractions from People, like some mindless facebook postings
  3. People Stealing Away Your Time with gossip
  4. People who ask you to buy things that you don't need, thus intervening with your spending
  5. Bosses who always pick on faults and never praise you for accomplishments
  6. Customers who are of the wrong fit and thus often intervene with your service process
  7. People who just don't believe in whatever you're doing and often do things opposite of your beliefs
We must all rise above human interventions.  From today onwards, say no to such interventions and influence them to our way.  That's life!  By Andy Ng of Asia Trainers, other related articles are as follows:
  1. Apply the Pareto 80/20 Rule in Your Life
  2. 3 Things that Make a Difference in Your Life and Money is not one of them
  3. When a Mistake is Not a Mistake, it is THE Biggest Mistake
  4. The 5 Strategies that Make Android the Fastest Growing in the World
  5. The Purpose of Training is Not What the Trainer Said

Is Your Office More Hazy than the Outside?

In another 2 months, the haze or smog will stay with Singapore and its neighbours for several months until the rain comes. We are told to stay indoors most of the time. Unknown to many people, your indoor 'haze' is actually more than the outdoor haze.  You see, a haze is defined as an unclear atmosphere suspended by fine particles.  In a non-weather sense, a haze is a state of mental confusion.  

Many people are hazy about their future.  They are affected by the environment, what people say about them and about what they read about everyday in the social and print media.  People are even more hazy when it comes to work.  How many people can tell you straight in the face where their company is heading?  What's the company's vision, mission and goals?  When it comes for financial matters, hardly 1% of the population has retirement plans other than some insurance policies. 

We at believe that our job as trainers is to help people to become more clearer in their life. With clarity comes decisiveness, and you'll get absoluteness and action to achieve your dreams in life. Here are 5 ways that you can clear the haze in your office:
  1. Find out from your boss, customers or the public where your company is supposed to be heading.  If the answer is 'no idea', then your company is heading towards the most common direction of all companies: doing what it knows best for as long as possible. Next, you need to find out what is this 'best' that your company is good at: is it its services, its products or simply its people attitude?
  2. When in Doubt, Ask, don't let unclear unclear instructions pass through the night for it will accumulate into more doubts in future
  3. Don't add on to Confusion by being unclear in your communication. Be specific and not general, like don't tell people you need it 'as soon as possible', say, a definite date
  4. Everyday either add some 'rain' or 'blow some wind' into the office, as rain and wind are the fastest ways to clear haze.  The 'rain' here refers to positive words that cleanse the workplace negativeness, while the 'wind' here must refers to wins.  Yes, add some wins into the office everyday.  Your win can be little, like getting a prospect appointment, clearing some backlog or even becoming more healthy.
  5. Finally, and most importantly, haze is caused by small particles in the air.  Clear the 'small particles' in your office, and they are the small negativeness in the office.  If left unchecked, such small negativeness will soon cause some chockage in the communication.  A common example is 'next time' and never mind' kind of negativeness in quality control.  They are negative because they do not improve your quality, how can you say 'never mind' to poor quality and use 'next time we'll do better' as an excuse for doing shoddy work?  
By Andy Ng, whose courses on management and sales have now reached 13 countries, the latest being Vietnam and soon, Myanmar. For details of courses, click here. Related articles on the office:

  1. The 7 Lessons from 2,500 Years Ago that You Must Know
  2. A Better Way to Handle Criticisms
  3. Getting People to Not Know You
  4. Improving Your Memory Skills in 3 Easy Steps
  5. They Laughed When they saw me Glued to the Tablet All Day
  6. How to Tell Someone is Lying
  7. What the Government did not tell You about the PIC