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30 May 2014

Power-Up Your Day with These 10 Quotes

Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve. –Napoleon Hill

I attribute my success to this: I never gave or took any excuse. –Florence Nightingale

Definiteness of purpose is the starting point of all achievement. –W. Clement Stone

We become what we think about. –Earl Nightingale

Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. –Charles Swindoll

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. –Steve Jobs

To succeed, you need not just a reason but a strong compelling reason - Patrick Liew (Singapore)

You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore. –Christopher Columbus

A leader's job is to make people work hard, not make people's work hard - Andy Ng (Singapore)

Believe you can and you’re halfway there. –Theodore Roosevelt

Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears. –Les Brown

Have a D  (damn good) day.  Related articles:

  1. Spend more money today to earn more
  2. Make people feel powerful in these 5 ways
  3. Get rich by working hard
  4. How most training waste your money
  5. Leadership is adding value and the 9 ways to add value
  6. The oldest yet most effective tactic to win people over
  7. Only 3 reasons to go for training 

28 May 2014

The Oldest Yet Most Effective Sales Tactic

Successful salespeople use a very effective sales tactic that win business over easily. This tactic is actually a process that sells without selling.  It is said that a good salesperson never sells anything, he simply creates the conditions for buyers to buy by themselves.  This is because selling is defined as professionally helping other people to buy. 

The oldest and most effective tactic is Asking Questions. 

You see, when you ask questions you are not selling.  You're helping the buyer to solve problems. Asking questions helps you to find out what are the real needs of your customer to determine how much they are willing to pay for a solution.

But you cannot just ask a few questions and expect a sale. You need to ask the RIGHT Questions in the RIGHT ORDER

Other than that, you also need to use questions to overcome sales objections.  It is said that the real job of a salesperson is in overcoming sales objections.  For if he cannot overcome sales objections, the sales objections will overwhelm him and he will be out of sales.

This new course EFFECTIVE SALES TACTICS shows you how to use advanced questioning techniques to sell your products and services based on value to your customers, not price. It will increase your sales success rate. Over 50 questions will be shared, and the trainer will construct questions for your business free-of-charge.

Whether you are selling to large or small companies, if you too want to outsell your competition, this is just one sales course that you must attend.  Date: 22 August 2014 Friday 9 am to 12.30 pm.  Fee is at $298 a person or $199 each for 2 & above.  For details, click here. Related articles:

No Different from the Rest and Yet is Different

Everything in business starts and ends with sales, so all salespeople must be selling or they are simply redundant. 

If you don't make a difference to your customer, you are no different from other salespeople in the market, and customers will not choose you.  
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.    

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.
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:

27 May 2014

Never choose the last 2 reasons for training

There are 5 things that every trainee is looking for in an external training program:
  1. Enhance their thinking, for it is the thinking capability that determines our work performance. That's why most trainers like to ask provocative questions to broaden the minds of the trainees.  Sometimes to make an impact trainers would purposely give the wrong information to 'wake people up'
  2. Get Inspiration and Motivation.  As we know, the typical working life is full of stress and people usually get motivated when it's time for bonus or increment.  The fact that trainers help trainees to see things from another perspective will inspire people to do more.  Furthermore, trainers are external professionals that have no personal interest in the trainees, thus they can offer motivate people easily without being mistaken as phony
  3. Get Solutions to their Problems.  This is a very common and useful outcome of training, where trainees get answers to their current work problems.  Trainers can do that easily not because they're smart but because they are from the outside and offer clarity in problem perception
  4. Acquire New Knowledge.  This reason is lousy because new knowledge can be acquired easily free-of-charge from google and the internet.  What trainees need is not new knowledge but knowledge that are arranged in a useful and applicable structure
  5. Obtain Certificates of Achievement.  This must be the most lousy reason as the certificates that trainers give are actually worthless unless you put the ideas into action.  But if the primary concern is to get 'certified', would the trainees focus on application?   
By Andy Ng of Asia Trainers, related articles on training:

25 May 2014

Better Manager and Leader with Hungry Ghosts Strategies

The front 10 seats are reserved for the hungry ghosts
What a strange title! What has this Singapore superstitious Hungry Ghost Festival got to do with modern professional management?

The Toaists Chinese in Singapore believed that when people die, they become ghosts and live in hell. Once a year, such ghosts have a one-month holiday when they can come up and roam the streets and enjoy themselves to relive the experiences of human life. Such a month falls on the lunar 7th month every year.  They are called Hungry Ghosts because they are hungry for food, entertainment, money and most importantly, attention.

Imagine if your neighbourhood suddenly sees an influx of people, surely there will be disorder, disturbances and even chaos?  Would you call the police for help?  What the Chinese do in 7th month is not to call the police, but instead get together to do praying and offerings (food and paper-made things like money, house and cars) to them throughout the entire 7th month.  To keep them occupied and entertained so that they will be happy and not disturb human lives, they offer entertainment like Ge-tais (live performance songs and dances on make-shift stage) too.  In short, the Chinese did not treat the Ghosts as nuisances but instead offer love and care to them in both physical and mental terms.  Over time, such a custom has become a norm and even in ultra modern scientific Singapore, people still carry on this tradition.

To be a better manager and leader, we too can learn from the Hungry Ghost Festival.  The 'hungry ghosts' in your team represents those people that are always hungry for more pay, staff welfare and attention.  Instead of ignoring their requests and suppress them, you offer them love and attention.  Your 'live performance on make-shift stage' may mean you 'perform' by giving them praises and recognition in front of others in the workplace.  You can do it once a year, after the performance appraisals and throw in a dinner and dance too! 

In short, if people disagree with you, object you, express their unhappiness and even protest against you, do what the Chinese do in 7th month.  Don't suppress them, instead embrace them and offer them your love and attention in both physical and material terms.  Remember, when people are well-fed and happy, they will naturally be calm and peace-loving.  There won't be any chaos and you don't need any police to control them for they'll be self-controlled.  They will love you, work and live with you harmoniously and most importantly, support you.  You can get everything you want in life if you help people to be happy in their lives.

By Andy Ng, whose next 2-day course for How to Be a Better Manager starts on 4 August 2014 Monday.  If you want this course to be done at your premise at a convenient time, there is a slight sur-charge of 10%.  Call Andy at 8201-4347 for details.   Related to this:
  1. A Tale of 2 Companies in Singapore
  2. How to Listen like a Guan Yin
  3. The unbelievable 7 truths of training
  4. From good to great with skillfulness in 7 ways
  5. It's the trainees that make training great, stuipd!
  6. People are more capable than you think
  7. Work hard is not hard and hard work is hard to work hard
  8. Selling when people don't want to buy

23 May 2014

How to Listen like Avalokiteshvara

In Buddhism, there is this bodhisattva called Avalokiteshvara, or commonly called 'Guan Shi Yin" in China and South East Asia (or "Guan Yin" in short).  This bodhisattva is an enlightened being living in heaven that has delayed his own buddhahood so as to save mankind from their sufferings.  He (or she as in Guan Yin) has the ability to listen and understand the suffering of others.  Buddhists believe that if we evoke his name, he will listen and help us.  Note that his one life cycle is of a few thousand years. 

In everyday life, you as a human being are also like Avalokiteshvara if you can practise deep listening and active listening.  Just by being able to listen with calm and understanding and without any judgement, we are already easing the suffering of another person.  If you were to engage in 30 minutes of such listening, you can relieve a great deal of pain in another person.  That's what coaches and trainers like us do: we listen to the voices of our clients.  But we go one step further: we also help them to see things from another perspective, a perspective that will make them realize that their suffering is not real.

For example, my trainees feel that they are treated unfairly in the workplace. Their bosses come and go every few years.  Each new boss has a completely new way of doing things that renders all their past achievements almost useless.  So they are always very busy to meet the targets set by the bosses, who upon achieving them, got promoted and move on.  But the staff will remain in their positions and have to re-start the whole process again when a new boss arrive.  No wonder they're feeling unmotivated and not driven! 

But if you as the new boss can listen to their grievances, such negatives will recede.  There are 10 things to listen to:
  1. Listen to what is said
  2. Listen to what's not said
  3. Listen to between the lines
  4. Listen to the body language
  5. Listen to how things are said - tonality, pitch, volume, emphasis, pace, speed and tempo
  6. Listen to silence
  7. Listen to their breathing, for it indicates their state of mind
  8. Listen to feelings and emotions expressed (like laughter)
  9. Listen to context, that is, the before and after of what is said
  10. Listen to yourself: how you listen
By Andy Ng of Asia Trainers, the next course on How to Be an Effective Manager is on 22 October 2014 Wednesday 9 am to 5 pm.  Details of our other courses are at here. Related articles:

22 May 2014

Powerful One Minute, One Liner Closing Questions

As I learnt from James Pickens, master sales closers ask one minute, one liner closing statements that close the sale instantly.  The top 7 such questions are:
  1. "What could I do to help you buy?"  If the customer says, "Nothing" you say, "Why?"  The customer then answers, and you overcome the objection and closes the sale
  2. If the customer says he can't make a decision, you suddenly ask him if he wants more coffee . Whatever answer the customer gives, you just say, "Don't tell me you can't make a decision; you just did."
  3. "Let me tell you something I've learned.  When you don't know which road to take in life, any road that looks good to you will do.  Isn't this proposal I showed you look good?"
  4. "Mr customer, if I give you this product free of charge, you would take it, wouldn't you?  So we're only talking about money, right?"
  5. "Mr customer, anyone can say no, because that's easy.  From what I know about you, that's just not your style."
  6. "You say you can't afford it. I think what you really mean is you can't afford not to have it."
  7. "Would it be okay if I outline what we need to do to get that underway?"
By Andy Ng of Asia Trainers.  The next Sales Power is on 4 Jun 2014 Wed 9 am to 5 pm. Those that can only afford half-day can come for How to Close Every Sale on Thursday 5 June 2 to 5.30 pm.  Related articles:
  1. Asking Limitless Questions in 5 Ways
  2. Smart answer to the question "How much?"
  3. Selling when people simply don't want to buy

Selling When People Don't Want to Buy

A good salesperson is one that can sell in difficult situations, that is, selling when people don't want to buy.  There are 7 situations when people don't want to buy:
  1. You are selling something that they already have aplenty - like selling ice to the Eskimos
  2. Your customer has just bought the same thing that you're selling
  3. Overnight, the number of suppliers increased by 200% while your target market shrinks by 50%.  In other words, there is a massive over supply, much like the PC market here now
  4. Your product or service has a bad record - and no matter how attractive you make them, no one wants to buy. This is much like the Windows Surface RT now
  5. There is little demand for what you sell now as people can get it for free on the internet - much like DVDs and CDs now
  6. Your prospect has been approached by over 10 vendors from your trade in one week - how would you expect him to buy from you?
  7. People just don't want to buy because there is no mood - much like Thailand now where people are unsure of the political situation
In our sales trainings, we teach people solutions to the above:
  1. We have already sold ice to the Eskimos before, read this blog earlier
  2. Differentiate in what you're selling - even though the customer has just bought what you're selling, they still can buy again.  Look at the multiple number of smartphones and tablets that people have and you know that the more people have it, the more they want!
  3. Over supply means that customers will have more choices, and you can sell easily if what you sell is what people don't have, like extra service or extended warranty
  4. Previous bad record means that we can always start fresh, the important thing is we don't have a bad record now
  5. Products purchased on the internet have one major problem: there is nothing hard and concrete that you can hold and touch before you make the purchase.  Thus we will emphasise on packaging and pre-sales service, something that internet cannot do
  6. Over-whelmed prospects need one thing: someone to show them what they do not know, like free gifts or new product feature
  7. Moods can be boosted instantly with attractive offers, like exhibitions and tradr shows. People buy on emotions and impulse. 
By Andy Ng of Asia Trainers, sales courses at here. Related articles:

19 May 2014

How to Be Happy When You're Stressed

It sounds funny, right?  How can one be happy when stressed?  What is stress?  Whenever you're not getting what you want, you have stress.  Note that it is negative stress that makes us suffer, positive stress gives us energy and impetus to do more.  

The next time you are stressed, you are doing this thing called Focus on What Went Wrong.  The simple way to de-stress immediately and be instantly happy is to Focus on What Went Right.  It is not what happens to us that makes us suffer, but what we do to what happened that makes us suffer.  

For example, your team members are not demonstrating the teamwork and responsibility you want.  As a result, work gets piled up and you're now stressed.  Instead of scolding your team members for being irresponsible and upset everyone, why not focus on what's right?  What are right could be: you have a team, your team is intact and not broken, your team's turnover is low, your team have not betrayed you, and most importantly, they possess the needed skills and experience to get the job done.  With focus on such positive factors, you and your team will be able to quickly come up with solutions to tackle the challenge on hand. 

Remember whatever you focus grows, focus on what's right and your team members will show to you what are right. Focus on what's wrong will actually motivate people to do more wrongs so as to live up to your expectation.  The fastest and most effective way to de-stress is to not to stress on the negatives any more.  Stress on the positives and your stress will go away instantly.  It's that simple but effective. Related articles on work:

17 May 2014

The Unbelievable 7 Myths and Truths of Training

Knowing the truths makes one wise, believing in the myths makes one unwise, so said my teacher Andy Ferrari Norman.  The top 7 myths and truths of training that few people realize are:

1.  Training will make me 'Get High'
Truth: Yes, you may get very pleasant feelings of peace and tranquility but you should not get high or the trainer has just embarked on 'emotion brainwashing'.  Training will increase your self awareness of your knowledge, beliefs and experience.  For example, people often told me that they didn't realize that they were using the wrong words and phrases in their work until they came to our training.

2. Training will equip me with 'Magic Power'
In promotion flyers for seminars, they often use words like 'turn you from unmotivated to highly charged' and that gives many the impression that training has some magical power. 

Truth:  Trainers are not magicians, they don't possess magic power to transmit them to you.  But with better understanding, you will better manage and reduce your work stress, frustration, anger and anxiety.  Of course the training won't make you insane, but you will see things more clearly, and with clarity comes wisdom.  That's why trainees often report to be wiser after the course. 

3. Training is just 'sitting in the classroom and listen'
Truth: Training is a whole range of activities that encompasses your mental development. Other than listening to the trainer, you will be asked questions, given case studies, do role plays, perform some physical exercises (like poking a hole in potato with a straw).  No one can just sit and listen whole day, there are also video clips to watch and some music to listen to during the course.  

4. Training is free for me as my company pays for it
Truth: The biggest payment to make in this world is pay attention.  Training is never free even when you never pay for it, for your employer expects you to pay back the cost of training in your work. The payback is in the form of higher productivity, better teamwork, higher sales, lower cost and minimize risks. The end result: Higher Profits or value for the organization.

5. Application of training is smooth and straightforward
Truth: There are 5 hindrances in applying the training to your daily work:
  • Impatience - you need to be patient and not expect immediate results as all good things takes time to materialise
  • Sceptical doubt - if you doubt the training can help you, it will not help you. You must cast doubts aside and have faith in applying the training
  • Laziness and Procrastination - these are the most common reasons why training don't work, for trainees are lazy and like to postpone application of the training as 'there is always tomorrow' 
  • Greed - people are greedy for more results, after applying the training and seeing immediate results, they expect more results, resulting in disappointment. The truth is that all things starting from ground zero have more results, but you should know that the law of diminishing returns will kick in once you are above ground zero.
6.  Training only benefits those who are unsure and inexperienced
Truth: Those who are very knowledgeable and experienced benefit the most from training, as they are able to apply training faster and better.  In comparison, the newbie will find the training 'very good' but more difficult to apply as he has a weaker base to work from.

7. Employers expect to make profit from every training
Truth: Most employers care for their employees, that's why they pay money 3 times when they send their staff for training: the training fee, the salary cost of the employee and the opportunity cost of both the training fee and time lost in training.  As such, most employers do not expect to make any money from training as the total training cost is easily 3 times of the training fee paid.  As an employer myself and having been in top management before, I believe that employers only have one thing in mind when they send their staff for training: to make them better.  It is like the parent's wish for their child to be better and nothing else. 

Buy Andy Ng of Asia Trainers, whose courses are now eligible for the Singapore Government's PIC (Productivity and Innovation Credit) cash subsidy of 60% or tax refund of 300%.   On top of that, companies also get $15,000 cash from PIC bonus, for details, click here.  Related articles on training:

16 May 2014

From Good to Great with Skillfuness in 7 Ways

Our achievement-oriented society is always crazy about skills and certification: the more skilled you are, the higher would be your income. However, we do know that in the longer term, having more skills without being skillful will not sustain your success.  You need to be both skilled and skillful to enjoy sustainable growth.  

By the way, skillful means being careful, mindful, considerate and most importantly, having good intention with wholesome thoughts.  Wholesome thoughts include love, kindness, equanimity, empathy and joy.  For example, if I am a skillful driver, I would be very considerate and would not want to cause traffic jams unnecessary by driving too slow during peak hours.  A skilled driver may not be as skillful as me unless he has the same state of mind as me. 

At the end of the day, what matters are always moments: it is not what you do but what you do in that moment that makes the difference.  Accidents are usually caused not by people with poor skills but by people that are not skillful as they miss a moment of attention in that critical moment. 

There are 7 ways that you too can become more skillful:
  1. Begin with the end in mind: what do you want your completed picture to look like?  What do you want people to say when you're lying in that box?
  2. Pay attention: nothing is for free, and the biggest payment you have to make in this world is pay attention (click here for article)
  3. Do things from a Human Angle, not just from a Efficiency angle.  You may be efficient, but if you miss the human touch, you are simply not skillful. 
  4. Seek first to understand, then to be understood.  Once you have good understanding, your perspective will be better and your action in speech body and mind will be skillful.
  5. Harbour wholesome thoughts, not unwholesome thoughts.  Take wholesome mental foods on a daily basis.  Think high, not low. (read here for details on wholesome thoughts)
  6. Work hard and make your work your play and you'll never have to work another day.  When you are into the flow of things, work becomes a joy and you'll naturally be skillful, regardless of your skill level.
  7. Systematize work like McDonald's, where you can pay peanuts and hire ordinary people to produce extra-ordinary work.  With systematization, work quality is predictable and we can focus our efforts to make a difference, like connecting with people. That will definitely lead to skillful work. 
By Andy Ng, Chief Trainer at Asia Trainers, details of courses at here. Related articles:
  1. The biggest payment in the world is still pay attention
  2. Have you taken wholesome food today?
  3. 20 ways to use mindfulness in your sales
  4. More pay for less work is not a dream when you are skillful
  5. As successful as a successful movie
  6. Aspire to be rich by working hard
  7. How skillful trainees make the difference in training programs
  8. The Sun Tzu way to be skillful using foreknowledge and deception

15 May 2014

Deception and Foreknowledge as taught by Sun Tzu

In his military classic "Art of War" written 2,500 years ago, Sun Tzu taught us that to defeat the competition and achieve your goals, you must have foreknowledge.  Foreknowledge is not about the following:
  • Prediction based on the past
  • Unsubstantiated Hearsay
  • Analogy with past events
  • Derived from calculations
Foreknowledge is about 4 things:
  1. Detailed research and analysis from people who know the competition situation in details
  2. Knowledge of the personality and behaviour profile of people
  3. Psychology of things, why people do things in certain way
  4. Knowledge about the environment, including business climate
Foreknowledge does not stop at knowing your competitors.  The most important knowledge is to know yourself.  You must know where you are strong and where you are weak so that your weakness will not be exposed and instead positioned as strengths.  

Having foreknowledge will also help us to exercise Deception, which is simply not letting the enemy know your true situation as follows:
  1. When strong, appear weak; when weak appear strong.  
  2. To beat your competitor, you must first deceive them about the true nature of your plans.  If they do not know where you will attack next, they will be confused and unable to respond effectively
  3. When capable, feign incapacity; when incapable, pretend strong
  4. When active, feign inactivity; when inactive, act busy
  5. When near, appear far; when far, look near
  6. Offer a bait to lure your enemy, feign disorder and strike while he is weak
Other purposes of deception:
  1. Waste your competitor's resources
  2. Buy you time
  3. Gives your team members confidence about your strength
In summary, foreknowledge and deception give you the advantage in war.  Business is war.  Our goal is to defeat the enemy with dignity and integrity.  We never cheat or go low in our morals, instead of lying, we use deception as stated above.  Happy deceiving!

By Andy Ng of Asia Trainers, whose course Sun Tzu Art of War is coming back on 5 Feb 2015 Thursday 2 to 6 pm.   Click here for other courses.  Related articles on Sun Tzu:

Jump into the Bandwagon of Successful Selling Strategies

Note: Successful Selling Strategies seminar is now on 17 July 2014 Thursday 9 am to 12.30 pm.  Details at here.

Everyone from Facebook to Google and Apple are jumping into this bandwagon of Successful Selling Strategies, which are summarized as follows:(source from here)
  1. Your salespeople are the solutions to increasing sales, not more advertising or image building.  All Apple Stores (not to be confused with Apple Resellers) staff undergo 3-months of intensive training before they can attend to walk-in customers.  How about you?  When was the last time your salespeople attend training?  2 years ago?  Take advantage of PIC claims and sign them up for sales training now!
  2. Content is king, context is emperor.  Yes, content is important, but what is more important than content is context, how do you customize and contextualize your content to the local market?  
  3. Customer satisfaction is worthless, customer loyalty is priceless.  No point satisfying your customers because you can't win by making them happy, you only can win by exceeding their expectations, that's how you can repeat business. Apple's iPhone 6 is one good example.  (orders are being placed in the black market now)
  4. Leadership by Management is outdated, Leadership by Salespeople is evergreen.  Get your salespeople to lead the company by doing the impossible, that's right, sell the impossible
  5. If you build it, they will come. Yes, build your supply in advance, supply here includes goods, capacity and sales team. Get more salespeople out in the market and you'll win over business from your competitors.  Look at Google, they have so many re-sellers out and they have a huge team in Singapore too. Whether you're building your sales now or waiting for sales to come, learn from the experts.  Related articles on sales:

14 May 2014

Get Rich by Working Hard

Mention 'work hard' and many equate it to be toil, suffer, to be on tenterhooks, sweat, labour, fret, tolerate and even slog.  Truth be told, working hard is a virtue that all successful people have.  I have yet to see a self-made man that has never work hard. 

If you want to get rich, you need to work hard. 

In fact, working hard is not the same as hardworking, as when you are working hard, you may not realize that you are working hard.  For work has become a joy, and working hard is second nature as you are just fulfilling your calling.

If you enjoy your work and work your enjoyment, work is never hard at all and you'll never need to retire.  

Understand that work hard is not hard if you work with your hearts.

If you find that your work is hard, it's hard for you to work hard.

Hard words make work hard (read here for full article). 

Heart words make hard work not hard. 

A manager's job is to make people work hard, not make people's work hard.

Work hard until work becomes easy, and you don't have to work hard anymore.

Don't forget to work smart too and not just work harder and harder.

To stand out in the workplace, work hard when everyone is hardly at work.

Finally, work so hard until people say you 'spoil the market'.  

You can work hard in the following 7 ways:
  1. Work longer hours
  2. Work longer hours without staying back late
  3. Work earlier hours
  4. Work on rest days
  5. Work when people detest work
  6. Work when nobody is watching
  7. Work  when everyone has given up
Happy working hard!  Details of courses are at here.  Related articles:

13 May 2014

Plant Seeds of Happiness in Your Office in 7 Ways

Yesterday's article on Planting Seeds of Happiness in 7 easy ways drew one comment asking me to elaborate how to do that in the office. As we know, the office is one place where we spend more time than anywhere in this world.  Smart bosses often equate happiness at work as the ingredient to high productivity, the other 2 ingredients being management system and management style.  The 7 ways that you too can plant the seeds of happiness in the office everyday:
  1. Know Your Value in the Office for the Day - yes, some days people feel that they are just messengers but the moment you realize your value in the office, you'll start to feel you are doing something good. Such good feelings give you instant happiness
  2. Validate and Appreciate your colleagues for what they do for you.  Before going back, ask your boss this question, "Can I ask you a question before you leave?"  The boss will of course say, "Sure".  "Is there one or 2 things that I can do tomorrow so that we can build on what we did today?" Such question immediately validates and appreciates the work done for the day, and both you and your boss will feel happy instantly.
  3. Show Concern for your co-worker's personal issues at work.  Don't just show concern during lunch breaks, but during the day when all the noise and hustle are making people stressed, show concern for their personal life.  Ask if you could do something to help the. Let them know that the easiest and most effective way is you will lend them your listening ears anytime.
  4. Be Kind.  Do not use hard words (see "Hard Words Make Work Hard") for they are not kind and create instant unhappiness.  
  5. Show Empathy when your co-workers encounter difficulties at work.  You don't need to show sympathy, which is feeling sorry for them.  You show empathy, which is feeling sorry with them. 
  6. Show Your Joy when they achieve success at work or in their lives.  Such appreciative joy is the fastest way to spread happiness. Most of us are only happy when we achieve our own success and we seldom show joy for others' successes.  In fact most people show their jealousy and envy when they see others doing better than them.  You can see this in the standard congratulatory messages that people just rush and join in.  
  7. Give People Space.  Yes, the is the most overlooked way to plant seeds of happiness in the workplace, and yet this is the most powerful.  Just like a seed needs space to grow, you too need to give people 'space' to handle work issues.  'Space' includes 7 elements:
  • Time
  • Patience
  • Understanding
  • Benefit of doubt
  • Physical space
  • Personal quiet time
  • Learning and thinking time
Remember, if you plant the seeds of happiness today, flowers of happiness will bloom tomorrow.  If you never plant seeds of happiness today, how can you expect happiness tomorrow?  The office is just an extension of your life, so plant seeds of happiness in the office and you'll see the quantum leap in your happiness and productivity at work.  Happy planting!  Related articles on workplace effectiveness: (course listing at here)
  1. Five Lessons for Today's workplace Warriors
  2. So important yet they never tell you
  3. How to be more successful at work in 6 ways
  4. Selling the impossible made possible
  5. Ask these 7 questions before you ask for a pay raise
  6. Start Planting the Seeds of Happiness in Your Life Today
  7. Using the Circle of Life to Solve Problems

12 May 2014

Plant Seeds of Happiness in Your Life in 7 Ways

This article appeared in The Straits Times on 28 August 2015 Friday Page C32. For article on "Plant Seeds of Happiness in the Office", click here
If you plant seeds of happiness, flowers of happiness will bloom.
Everyone wants to be happy, yet often we have very little idea of what brings about genuine happiness.  It's obvious that material comforts will only bring us momentary happiness, as the moment you have something good, you start to want more and better and diminish your own happiness.  In fact clinging on to material comforts only leads to suffering.  No one wants to suffer, but do we know how to give up those actions that cause suffering?

True happiness is an inside thing, it is your inner feeling of bliss and joy.  There is no clinging, no craving, only pure enjoyment.  

What is planting a seed?  It's the simple act of setting something into motion that will help you create the life you want.  It's taking a moment of work today so that you can enjoy the fruits tomorrow. 

The seeds of happiness is planted by paying attention.  By not paying attention, we miss the every-day, every-moment opportunity to see directly, and deeply, the changing nature of life.  For example, we are seldom reminded to think of the good things we've done.  Let to our own devices, we often dwell on mistakes and things that we should have done.  This is not paying attention.  That's why we suffer.  Here are 7 easy ways that you too can plant seeds of happiness everyday:
  1. Start Your Day with Gratitude: What are I grateful for today?  It can be the good sunshine, the job that you have, or the breakfast that you would be having.  
  2. Do something for people. Do without being asked, do with happiness and do with swift action.  It can be anything, like pressing the lift's door 'open' button and bringing people out for tea and really listen to them.
  3. Practice the 'letting-go-mind'.  As what my teacher Thict Nhat Hanh said, if you let go a little, you will have a little peace.  If you let go a lot, you'll have a lot of peace.  If you let go completely, you'll have complete peace.  Your struggles with the world will come to an end.  
  4. Think of others as if there were no 'other'.  We are one, and how others behave are dependent on how we behave.  (See blog on Dependent Origination).  Once you have this 'no self' concept, you will have true happiness as there is no more fighting with the world, for the world is one and with you. 
  5. Develop Patience.  When you are about to lose your temper, take 3 breadths and remember you are a human, not a reptile, so don't use your reptilian brain, which is the part of brain that merely reacts and does not think.
  6. Something to Look Forward to.  The joy of anticipation will plant in my mind to truly enjoy whatever that comes.  Anticipation can easily turn into disappointment if you cling on to your expectation.  Let go and make the best with what comes and you'll be happy.
  7. Be Mindful.   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 of what I'm doing now, I will take note of what is happening, be aware that I am doing something 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.  When you are mindful, you are experiencing each and every moment.  There is no past, no future, only the present.  This is true happiness.
By Andy Ng, Chief Trainer at Asia Trainers, details of courses at here. Related articles on happiness at work:
  1. Work hard is not hard work and hard work makes it hard to work hard
  2. 5 C's Way to Increase Your Work Satisfaction this year
  3. The secret to happiness is to have no self
  4. It starts with your Perception and ends with Your Proceed
  5. How you can become powerful instantly without taking drugs
  6. Have you taken wholesome food today?
  7. Answers that everyone look for in sales
  8. Solving problems with Dependent Origination

11 May 2014

Answers that Everyone Look For in Sales

Every salesperson (including those not selling but selling ideas like those in management) wants to know the fastest and easiest way to make the sale.

One day I asked an audience of insurance salespeople, "How many of you would like it if I gave you a list of people who wanted to buy insurance now? Everyone raised their hands.

Truth: There is no such list. The one-word meaning of sales is "WORK". The 2-word meaning of sales is "WORK HARD". The 3-word meaning of sales is "WORK EVEN HARDER".

How Do I Make a Cold Call?

There answer is, "Don't". Don't make a cold call. Make a warm call.   Warm up the cold call and you'll get your results improved by 27%. Guaranteed.  We teach in our courses the 7 ways to warm up any calls.

Instead of calling people and look for "Mr Andy", tell the other side that "I've been asked to give Andy a call". If they asked you "What's it regarding?" You don't answer it. You just say, "I don't know. I have been asked to give Mr Andy a call. Is he in?" Using this script will get you over the gate-keeper and direct to the prospect directly.

The Objective of a warm call is to set up an appointment. If you ask me the biggest secret of cold calling, I would say in word, "PREPARATION". You need to be prepared, prepared for what? Be Prepared for 3 things:

  1. To win the call. That is to achieve your objective, which is usually to fix an appointment
  2. To be rejected. This is not rejection but a feedback. Understand that they can't reject you because you have not given them any proposal, they only can give you feedback. If they say that "I'm not interested", the feedback is "Tell me something more interesting".
  3. To know who you are talking to and please, please, make something interesting for him. Don't sound like a bore or a salesperson desperate to make the appointment.
How to Get People to Call Me?

Don't call them. Get them to call you. They will call you if you make them excited.

One method that is extremely low cost is to write them an exciting letter (not e-mail) and when they read the letter they definitely have to call you. For example, if I were to write to Obama, the USA President, with this headline "Your next CIA Agent will become another Snowden - leak out all your secrets..."  Do you think he will throw away the letter? Not until he has read the letter and get an assistant to call up the person writing the letter!   In our Selling Ice to the Eskimos course, we teach how to make people buy even when they don't need it - as long as you can make them excited with their own needs.

What's the difference between a Stall and An Objection?

A stall is "I want to think about it", or "I have to talk to other people".  An objection is "Your price is too high", or "We have a good supply now".

Both are put-offs which basically say, "You haven't sold me yet".

What's the best way to approach the prospect? Try Limitless Selling. 

What's the best way to make my proposal stand out? For this and other answers, come for this newly edited course "Successful Sales Strategies" course on Friday 13 May 2016 from 2 to 5.30 pm. Call Idah at 6225-1784 or click here for immediate registration.   Related articles on sales and winning new customers:

10 May 2014

Never Ask for Pay Rise without Asking These 7 Questions

Everyone wants to be a great employee or High Contributing Employee (Course on 26 May 2016 Thur. 2 pm).  Unfortunately, such essential skills are not taught in schools. At Asia Trainers, we teach the following 7 things that all employees should ask before they ask for pay raise:
  1. Early in the Morning, ask "What are the one or two things that I can do today to make your work easier?"
  2. At end of the Day, ask "Thank you for the teachings today"
  3. End of the Month, ask "How's the month's profit?  What one or two things I can do in the next month to make it better?"
  4. If your boss is consistently working late, ask "What can I do to help you go home earlier?"
  5. When faced with attacks from customers or competitors, ask "What track records we can rely on to turnaround the situation?"
  6. At end of the Quarter, ask "What can I do to increase sales, lower costs, improve cash flow, minimize risks, increase productivity and most importantly, increase profits for the company?"
  7. When faced with disappointments at work, ask yourself this question "What can I do differently the next time?"  Understand that you are the boss, you are actually not working for your employer but for yourself.  You are just selling your time to the company in exchange for wages.  Knowing that you are the President of your Own Company will lead you to take ownership in whatever you do.  You will become a high performing employee in no time.
By Andy Ng of Asia Trainers, details of courses at here.  Related articles on employees:
  1. Ask What You Can Do For Your Company
  2. The 7 Fetters of Employees
  3. Test if your boss is sane by asking him this question
  4. Managing Your Boss at Ease
  5. The Problem with Most Employees today
  6. So Important Yet They Never Tell You
  7. Training in Singapore: Waste Money or Win Money?
  8. Your Inter-relationship with Your Employer is Dependent on this Origination