Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Tough Side of Doing SALES

In my earlier post in July this year, I shared about '7 Reasons Why You Should Consider Sales Profession'. I think it will be unfair if I only share the good part and exclude the tough part of doing sales. So, in this post, I share my thought on the tough side of doing sales:

1) Meeting Sales Target
I guess this is the part that drive most people away from sales profession. The pressure of achieving the sales target no matter what's the situation. This is also one of the aspect that make sales profession different from other profession. Because of this target, those in sale profession had to crack their brains to find ways to achieve their sales target. Along the way, they learn new things too.

2) Thick-Skinned
In sales line, one must have some level of 'thick skin' because it is common to expect more than 50% of rejections in sales (first approach). One must take initiative to start the conversation and be approachable. One must be able to take and handle criticism professionally. Among the attitude of a successful salesperson would be someone who take rejections positively.

3) The 'Sandwich' Situation
As sales personnel, one become the representative of the company. Once the deal is successful, the sales personnel become the middle person between the company and the customer. If everything is smooth, then there is not much problem. But, when problem happened (which in most cases, problems do happened), then the sales personnel is in a 'sandwich' situation. Sales personnel must be smart to handle both situation smartly as both are equally important.

4) Be Prepared for Multi-Tasking
In one day, a salesperson must be prepared to make cold calls, arrange appointments, meet up with prospects, receiving complaints/inquiries either by phone/email/fax/SMS and attending to all these complaints and inquiries. At the same time, he must be prepared to have meeting with his colleagues, his superior and other team members to solve his clients' complaints and inquiries. Not forgetting, to be responsible for his client's payment records and his daily/weekly/quarterly/yearly reports as well. One of my bosses said, being a sales person means that we're a 'small boss' taking care of our own 'small business' :)

5) Overcoming the bad-label of a typical salesperson
In some office doors, you will see 'No Salesman Allow' signboard. This show that, most people still have negative thought about salesperson. Perhaps they have had bad experience with some sweet talking salesman. So, I find that it is quite challenging to change the prospects perceptions towards salesperson. It's not easy. Prospects always have this feeling that salesperson always give empty promises or over-promise. So, in order to overcome this, a good sales person will always think for the benefits of her clients and at the same time the company is 'happy' with the benefits. In other way, win-win situation for both - company and clients.

The above are my thought on some of the tough side of sales profession. Perhaps it is different from one company to another and it also depends on the industry you're working with. If you have more to share, feel free to comment below.

photo credit: inertia_tw via photopin cc

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Will RM2,500 Suffice For Fresh Graduates in Kuching?

Reading from The Star Online earlier this week on whether RM2,500 will suffice for fresh graduates , I think it's interesting to see the sample of a fresh graduate budget. This is a sample of a monthly budget for a fresh graduate in Kuching with a monthly salary of RM2,500:  

EPF contributions (11%): RM325
Daily pocket money and food allowances (RM20x30days) : RM600
Car loan installment (Myvi @ 9 years): RM450
Accommodation (inclusive of water and electricity): RM300
Petrol/Fuel: RM250
Phone/Internet Connection: RM100
Study loan (PTPTN): RM150
Insurance: RM100
Clothing, body care, hair care and other miscs: RM125
Savings: RM100
Total: RM2500
(Note: the figure is based on my observation and some assumptions)

The above has not add in other spending such as movies, special outing, dining, cool gadgets, emergency needs, medication and others. RM2,500 seems to be quite a lot but after taking care of the basic needs, not much left. Perhaps fresh graduates can choose to stay with parents or family members to save on accommodation. Also, have to adjust on food allowance for more cash to be spent on others. It seems like a big portion of the monthly salary spend on transportation (RM400 + RM250 = RM650). Other alternatives to reduce on transportation cost will be change to motorbike or car pool or share a family car or perhaps getting a smaller or second hand car with much lower monthly installment. In Kuching, we can't rely on the public transport, so the idea of using public transportation to go around is not a solution for fresh graduates.

The budget above still looks OK because there's savings of RM100 per month and there's a basic insurance coverage. I believe most of the fresh graduates had neglected the insurance part.

With some adjustments and 'temporarily sacrifice', it looks like RM2,500 seems to be sufficient for fresh graduates in Kuching. For fresh graduates in bigger cities such as KL, Penang, JB and other major towns where the cost of living (room rental, toll charges, food allowances) is higher, with monthly salary of RM2,500, it's quite hard to survive. Seems like they need to make more sacrifice and adjustment.

photo credit: Shawn | Shiyang Huang via photopin cc

Thursday, October 9, 2014

How To Check Your PTPTN Statement or PTPTN Balance?

I started to pay to study loan from Perbadanan Tabung Tinggi Pendidikan Nasional (PTPTN) since I received the first letter from PTPTN to inform me to start paying my study loan (about fews months after my graduation). I was considered lucky as I got employed right after I graduated. So, there's no problem for me to start my PTPTN loan repayment.

Along the way, I lost track of my PTPTN loan repayment records. At the same time, I also need to check whether my loan repayment was updated according or if there's any payment missed out. After done some reading and searching on PTPTN main website, I later found out that I can easily check my PTPTN statement from PTPTN epay (This is for Pinjaman Pendidikan Konventional (3%) only). You will need to key-in your IC number (12 digits without space, eg: 800412135522) and your study loan number (Nombor Pinjaman). If you forgot your study loan number, you may call, email or SMS PTPTN and the details is on the PTPTN epay website. Once log in, you will be able to see the complete statement of PTPTN loan repayment records. You will also be able to see the balance left.

For those who opted for the Ujrah (1%), you may check the PTPTN statement here. Honestly, I have never log in to the Ujrah statement. In case you've successfully log in, perhaps can share your experience here.

photo credit: LendingMemo via photopin cc

Monday, October 6, 2014

Can We Rely on KWSP @ EPF Savings to Fund for Our Retirement Years?

Reading from Yahoo News yesterday, it is sad to know that almost 70% of active KWSP @ EPF contributors at age 54 have less than RM50,000 in their accounts. These group of contributors only have about  6 more years to increase their savings in their KWSP @ EPF accounts. Retirement age for private sector employees had been increased to 60 years old since July last year. But, it seems like many companies are still practicing the 55-year old retirement age.

With inflation and increasing cost of living, it will be hard for retiree to enjoy their retirement years. 

With the minimum wage of RM900 for West Malaysia and RM800 for East Malaysia, how much can we expect from our KWSP @ EPF savings when we retire? Even though, the total savings of monthly EPF is 24% (11 percent from employee and 13 percent from employer, 12 percent from employer for those earning more than RM5000 per month), it is still not enough to support our retirement years.

We can't rely on KWSP @ EPF savings for our retirement years.

First, we must find alternative to increase our income. Second, we must save a big portion of our monthly income. Third, we must invest our savings so that we can grow our hard earned money. Forth, we must be careful with our money related matters especially nearing or after retirement. I understand you need to help your children through their college year, but they have unlimited alternative nowadays - the most common one is PTPTN. I understand you need to help to get a car for your children when they start working, but they can opt public transport for the first few months until they save enough to buy a car. I strongly disagree if you wish to pay for your child's wedding or down payment / monthly installment for their home. Your retirement savings is for you during your retirement years. Your children still have plenty times to earn their income.

I would like to repeat again, we can't rely on our KWSP @ EPF savings for our retirement years. It's never too late to take a good look at your retirement savings and start to plan from there. Stop blaming the situation but take action and be responsible for our own decision.

photo credit: 401(K) 2013 via photopin cc

Friday, September 26, 2014

Financial Problems - Among The Reasons for Divorce in Malaysia

Reading the article Serving Matrimonial Ties from The Star Online today, I am quite shocked to know that the Syariah court in Jalan Duta is handling an average of 210 divorce cases in a day which is about 30,000 to 50,000 cases in a year. That is quite a huge figure.

Towards the end of the article, it mentioned that the primary cause of the divorce cases in Malaysia is financial problems, followed by drug abuse, and mental and physical abuse. So, financial matter does really play an important role in today's marriage. 

It is better to understand your partner's financial habits before tying the knots. And please do no hide your financial problems from your partner because you won't be able to hide it forever from your partner. It is best to have a proper discussion about financial matter before entering the marriage phase - among others: who pay what,  spending habits, whether to have join finances, existing debts, to have or not to have children,  and many more. Maybe it won't assure zero financial problems after marriage but I believe it does help to provide a guideline and some expectations when the couple got married. Once married, when financial problem, it is important for both partners to 'communicate properly' to reduce the financial strain. 

Let's hope that couples in Malaysia will be able to tackle financial problem smartly. Let us use money to make our marriage stronger...

photo credit: DrJohnBullas via photopin cc

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Why SOSCO@PERKESO Is Important for Malaysian Employee

Other than EPF@KWSP, Malaysian employers are required to register and contribute to SOSCO@PERKESO on monthly basis. You can click here for the rate of SOSCO@PERKESO contributions, based on your monthly wage. Maybe the monthly contribution which is deducted from our monthly payslip is not significant (the highest contribution by employee is RM14.75 - for monthly wage RM2,900 and above), but it is very important for us to contribute to SOSCO@PERKESO.

SOSCO@PERKESO is just like 'an insurance at work', where the workers are protected when they are at work. It can be accidents while traveling to / from work, accidents at work, accidents during emergency at work or illness caused by working condition (employment injuries or occupational diseases). I am amazed by the list of benefits provided by SOSCO@PERKESO. You can refer to the full list here.

So, all employers and employee must take SOSCO@PERKESO seriously. At least, when something happened while we are at work, we have SOSCO@PERKESO for the medical benefits including temporarily / permanent disability, dependants' benefit or funeral benefits.

For all employers out there, please ensure all your employees are registered with SOSCO@PERKESO and most importantly, must pay the monthly contribution accordingly. If something happened to your employee while she/he is at work, at least some of the medical expenses can be covered by SOSCO@PERKESO. For employees, please check your monthly payslip for the SOSCO@PERKESO contributions.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

(Local) Places of Interest To Visit In Kuching, Sarawak

This post is dedicated to those who are planning to visit Kuching, Sarawak. Occasionally, I do have friends or relatives visiting Kuching for the first time. Usually, they will request to visit places of local interest. Sometimes, they will request to experience the life of local Kuching people. I guess, if it's me, I would prefer to visit and experience the life of the local place as well, rather than just follow the itinerary provided by tour agencies. So, here I listed down 8 places of interest with some 'Kuching feels'.

1) Sarawak Muzeum
Based on the name, you already roughly have an idea about this place. Located within Kuching city centre. A visit to Sarawak Muzeum will enhance your knowledge about the life of the local people, their culture and its history.

2) Ewe Hai Street
I usually see a lot of tourist along Ewe Hwai Street. You can easily locate Ewe Hai Street or Jalan Ewe Hai from Google Maps. Along Ewe Hai Street, you will see many Bed & Breakfast, Lodge, eateries, cafe and other local shops. You will be able to find the tourist-famous local coffee cafe, Black Bean Coffee & Tea Company. You will be able to smell the freshly brew coffee from far away :) Black Bean Coffee & Tea is famous for its Sarawak gourmet coffee. These coffee beans are planted by the local Bidayuh and it's organic. I would say, the coffee has a very special taste and my bro-in-law from Taiwan loves this coffee very much. If you're a coffee lover, I would strongly encourage you to give our local coffee a try.

3) India Street
This is a very busy street located within Kuching city centre. It's famous for its textile and spices. Other than that, there are many other shops as well. You will experience many different layer of Kuching people here.

4) The Pasar Tani MJC, Batu Kawah (MJC's Farmer's Market)
Whenever I have the chance, I would visit Pasar (Local language for 'market') Tani ('Farmer) MJC (a local town in Kuching developed by MudaJaya Corp). I love to see the fresh produce from the local farmers, the different walks of life of Kuching people and the many local foods only available in Kuching. So far, I don't see many tourist visiting this place. But, I would strongly suggest you pay a visit to this place. It's located about 20mins drive from Kuching town. Take note, it only open on Thursday and Friday, 1pm-10pm. It is better to visit on Thursday as there're more traders on Thursday compare to Friday.

5) Jong's Crocodile Farm
Jong's Crocodile Farm is a famous place of interest among the local as well. Located along Kuching/Serian Highway, you will need about 40mins drive from Kuching city centre. Most travel agency will arrange for its tour for a visit to Jong's Crocodile Farm. You will not only expect to be entertained by the crocodile show but also have the chance to see  many other unique animals as well. I would strongly suggest you visit during crocodile feeding time, 11am and 3pm daily. There are entry fees applied.

6) MBKS (Council of the City of Kuching South)
This is the administration centre of Kuching City South. But, I am not suggesting you to visit the administration office :) Late in the evening, between 5pm-7pm, I would suggest you have an evening walk at MBKS. You will see many local Kuching people from all walks of life also taking the opportunity to jog, have an evening walk, bringing their kids to the playground and some old folks chit chatting at the garden along MBKS buildings. You will be entertained by the local flora and other plants as well.

7) Semenggok Orangutan Rehabilation Centre
This is another famous tourist attraction, located about 25mins from Kuching city centre. I myself have been here a few times. If you are lucky, maybe you will be able to have a wefie with the orangutans. Open from Mon-Fri only, 8am-5pm. Remember to visit during feeding time, 9am and 3pm.

8) Local Pottery Shops along Jalan Penrrisen
Along the journey to Jong's Crocodile Farm and Semenggok Orangutan Rehabilation Centre, you will passed by a number of pottery shops along Jalan Penrissen. I would strongly suggest you drop by these local pottery shops to see the different design of Sarawak pottery. You will be able to find local Sarawak souvenir at very reasonable price too. 

These are among the local places of interest which I think will be able to give you the 'Kuching feel'. I hope you will enjoy your stay in Kuching. Feel free to drop me a message if you would like to know more about these places.