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Outcome based selling requires understanding where satisfaction comes from, and what if we always knew exactly what to say in this process? Don’t get us wrong, there’s a bit more to it than that. But when incredible feats were being accomplished, this week’s guest recalls, “I would never say wow, I’d simply ask how. And then dig in and say yea- but really, how?”. This is how Phil M. Jones molded a robust, outcome based, and quite frankly very impressive career.
George Leith speaks with Phil M. Jones, Philmjones International on this week’s podcast. Phil takes great pride in adding value. He discusses at what point we should celebrate a sale, outcome based selling, preparation, and understanding an audience’s capacity to understand your message.
Phil went from single-handedly washing cars at weekends to hiring a fleet of friends working on his behalf, resulting in him earning more than his teachers by the time he was 15. Soon after, at just 18, Phil was offered the role of Sales Manager at fashion retailer Debenhams – making him the youngest Sales Manager in the company’s history. His early career went from strength to strength, as he worked with a host of Premier League football clubs to help them agree sponsorships and licensing agreements, to then being a key part of growing a £240m property business. Since then, Phil has made it his life’s work to completely demystify the sales process and bring both simplicity and integrity to a world that is often full of big egos and even bigger lies. With this as Phil’s core mission, he has written 8 best-selling books, produced two original programmes for Audible and delivered over 2,500 presentations in 57 countries across five continents. To date, more than two million people (both sales and non-sales professionals, leaders and experts) have benefitted from his teachings and now have more influence, confidence and control when steering their conversations. Phil’s unique philosophy of using specific word choices to teach people “Exactly What To Say” in order to influence, persuade and drive outcomes, has made Phil one of the most practical and in-demand business experts on the planet.
George: Welcome to the Conquer Local Podcast. You are absolutely going to love this episode. Phil Jones, the CEO and founder at Phil Jones International, we’re going to get him on the show today. Phil is a sales training juggernaut. He has trained organizations all over this planet. He has authored a number of different books, which we’ll get him to tell us about on the episode, and you’re going to really dial in to one of the best communicators that I’ve met in a long, long time. Phil M. Jones, the CEO and founder of Philmjones International, coming up next on the Conquer Local Podcast.
Phil Jones joining us, and Phil, I’d love to get your bio. We covered it a bit in the intro, but I’d love to hear it from you because it’s such a great story as to how you end up today as an international sales trainer and sales leader. So if you could give us the bio in a too-long-didn’t-read format, that’d be great.
Phil: I’ll try and do this as promptly as possible. But yeah, firstly, thanks for having me here, George, it’s a delight to be on the show. I’ve been an entrepreneur as far back as I can remember. So I started in business when I was 14 years of age. Started knocking on the doors of my neighbors, asking them quite politely whether they wanted their cars washed. And some said, yes, some said no, most just asked me how much money I would charge, and I did okay with that little car cleaning business. So much so that by the age of 15, I wasn’t going to school anywhere near as often as I should. And I remember being invited in by my schoolteachers, questioning my attendance, saying, “Phil, why don’t you come to class?” To which I’d respond with a question. And the question I’d responded with this is, “How much money are you making, sir?” And my schoolteachers always refused to tell me, but at the time, my little car cleaning business was delivering me circa US$5,000 a month, it’s around 3,000 Pounds a month at the time. So the reason I wasn’t going to class is I had customers that needed servicing, staff that needed direction, things needed to be done. And I built my studies around my businesses, built businesses all through my teens. And then at the age of 18, instead of the dilemma of “which college do I go to,” is- I turned down an offer from one of the most prestigious universities here in the UK and took a role to become one of the youngest ever sales managers for one of the largest department store groups in the UK. Running teams of a couple of hundred people, turnovers in excess of 10, 12, 15 million pounds a year. And the beautiful thing, being in a senior leadership position in your teens, is you don’t know what you don’t know and it was very much a baptism of fire. I held a number–
You Don’t Have to be Old Enough, You Just Have to be Good Enough
George: Can I jump in for one second? How do you land that job? And congratulations on being an entrepreneur, and maybe another time, you and I could talk about what the teacher said back, but I’d love to know, how do you get this job at 18?
Phil: Well, firstly, nobody told me I couldn’t apply for it, right? So there’s a big lesson in that, is that nobody said you had to be old enough to do something, you just need to be good enough to do something, and we see that through the world of sports, and we see that how the playing fields been leveled through technology, is you don’t have to be old enough, you just need to be good enough, and I was brave enough to try. And what am I ended up doing actually is I applied for the management training program, that was a grad program. I got through the grad program, even though I wasn’t a grad, so I got given a wildcard place. I got bought in as a trainee to an environment and then within two weeks of me arriving, the line manager that I was supposed to be being mentored from went long-term sick, and then I got holding the baby in that role. That was the mechanics of how it happened.
George: So a bit of baptism by fire, but then you had to perform. You don’t keep that job with imposter syndrome. So what was that like? Because I get the feeling, and you and I have just met, but you’re kind of in the deep end of the pool and treading water a bit probably.
Phil: Yeah, you are. You’re also consciously incompetent. If we’re going to use some Covey stuff, is you’re like, “Hey, I’m in over my head here.” And the beautiful thing is when you’re naive really incompetent and then you’re open and vulnerable about it, people are willing to help. And I learned that success leaves clues at a very early age in my life, and I learned if you’re brave enough to be able to ask it from people who’ve walked a path ahead of you and then humble enough to accept it, you can accelerate your growth trajectory at no end. So I just became a sponge in every single area and I learned to never be in awe of anybody else’s brilliance. I’d never say, “wow,” I’d simply ask, “how?” And then dig in and say, “Well yeah, but really, how?” And then learn what works. The other beautiful gift I was given is that as a very young business leader, you learn that you cannot expect respect. And your job title does not give you any respect, you earn respect by the things that you do. And I love that very quickly, that I was being… The expectation of me as a young leader was, “He won’t be around long. “Why do I have to listen to this little kid?” I knew it was uphill and that meant I had to do things right, I had to win the trust of other people the right way. I did a lot through influencing other people using third-party stories. So it was never what I think you should do is, it was, “Hey, I was speaking to Sally and what Sally said that she does in order to be more successful in this area was blank.” “And I was observing Steve the other day and I tell you what, he’s fantastic at doing X, Y, and Z.” “And I noticed he does this one thing different that seems to be that nobody else does.” “I wonder what you could learn to be more like Steve”, right? And it became this facilitator of information as opposed to an oracle of knowledge. And I think that served me very well.
George: Well, it’s an amazing story to think that you start as a young teenager, you become a proficient business person, where the majority of people start businesses in their teens don’t make it to make more money than their teachers. Then you get this job at the fashion retailer, running a massive sales organization, and it’s learning on the job. And then, when I Google your name and I start to see this brand that you’ve built over the years, we’ve got eight bestselling books, we’ve got two original programs for Audible, over 2,500 presentations in 57 countries, and you create this thing, Orange & Gray. Let’s talk about that corpus of work now because it’s a resume that anyone leading sales organizations would kill to have.
Phil: Yeah, it’s been quite a journey. So I went through fashion retail. I then went from there, to work with one of the largest furniture retail businesses in the UK, helping turn around broken retail stores. I went from there to become a commercial director with two Premier League soccer clubs. Went from there to build a property business with a business partner of mine that turned over 240 million Pounds at its peak. And then in 2008, when the recession kicked in, we had no option but to bring that business down and it was like, “Hey, what do I do next? “What do I do next?” And it was small, independent businesses that knew a little of my track record that were interested in how my advice could help them trade out recession. And then networking organizations like BNI, and chamber of commerce, and other small, independent networking groups were saying, “Hey Phil, will you deliver a presentation “to our members about things that they can do “to grow their business from now?” And I thought, “Sure, that sounds fun “while I’m figuring out what I want to do next.” So I started to deliver presentations in these environments, gratis, without business plan or future plans of what I was looking to do, and I realized I liked it. And I was only in my late 20s at the time and thought the idea of being a speaker, trainer, author, expert was something I’d do when I’m old and gray, but it seemed the customer base were pretty happy with what I was doing, so I started this business in 2008 from very humble beginnings, then it became a sales training company where I’d sell tickets to workshops, and then it became a coaching business, then it became consulting business. And today, like you said, it’s a fairly significant size organization through my thought leadership. And then what it’s also allowed me to do is to bump into other verticals. And Orange & Gray, you mentioned, is one of the companies that I own now with two other business partners that I met through some deep work I did consulting into the hearing care profession. So we now have an agency that supports almost 100 of the top hearing care practices across the United States, with a done-with-you sales and marketing strategy to support their business growth. So I’ve had the ability to bring some other people with me on the journey, to create some other organizations. I still do my Phil Jones thought leadership book stuff, consulting, speaking, etc, and have, what now is, five other independent businesses that run outside of my thought leadership that have all, in some way, plugged into the work that I do. And what’s nice is some of the people that started with me when we were humble, 2008, that were my accounts guy and my assistant, etc, are now in senior leadership positions in those other companies, which is a lot of fun.
Self-Publishing a Book in 10 days
George: Well, I want to talk about the “Exactly” title on the books first. Great, great title. I was on a call this morning, earlier in the day with a customer, and they said, “I’d like to know exactly what to say to a customer.” And here you are with “Exactly What To Say”. So can we introduce these books to the folks listening today that may not be familiar with your branding here and what you were trying to accomplish when you put these books together?
Phil: I wish there was a very strategic, scientific, well-thought-out, decade long plan for this body of work, but I’ll tell you, what really happened is I launched a book in 2010/2011 called “Magic Words.” And this book actually appeared through opportunity and accident, is I was at a mastermind group with some other author/consultant friends of mine and we were talking about publishing books, and this was 2009, and I let my big mouth get me into trouble and say, “Look, it’s easy. “You don’t need a big New York publisher to back you. “You can back yourself now. “This thing’s called self publishing. “I bet you could turn a book around in like 7-10 days.” And they made me put my money where my mouth was. And 10 days later, I spawned a book called “Magic Words” that came from a training manual from a body of work that I’d done with a client just a few days previous, and I turned this book around quickly. I put it out into the world and it did really well from a download point of view. It was ebook first, it was done for fun. We did 240,000 copies of it in quite a short period of time, but it was never done properly. It was done for the purpose of appeasing my mastermind coworkers. And I used it as a giveaway on the website for lead capture, I used it as a promo piece for events and as a giveaway. And then, when my geographic move to the US from the UK happened, 2017, I thought, “I need to launch something new.” And then when I got my head out of my backside, I said, “Well, instead of launching something new, “why don’t I relaunch something old that I know works “and do it right?” So “Exactly What To Say” is, in fact, the rewrite of “Magic Words,” and here’s how it became called “Exactly What To Say”. I was going to call it “Magic Words” again. And then when I looked at call it “Magic Words,” I found there was another book that was already published in the US, called “Magic Words” by a guy called Tim David, and I thought rather than go head-to-head with a guy that’s a real magician, I’ll just retitle the book. And I’ve done a number of training programs and speeches in theaters where we’ve had fun in an infotainment fashion, and I called the program “Exactly What To Say”, and the title resonated. I produced an audio program for network marketers, and I called it “Exactly What To Say” and the title resonated. So I took these two tested ideas, plugged them together, I said, “there’s a title for the book.” Now, here’s what happened. Published the book, and the book went gangbusters. Got reviews from all kinds of different angles really quickly, crushed a number of lists in its first number of weeks. And I got a phone call from a major New York publisher that said they want “Exactly What To Say” from me after publishing. I’m like, “This is my baby. This is mine. I own the IP inside out.” I can send every member of my family to college on the success of the back of this book, right? I didn’t want to give my body of work away to anybody else. I wanted to own it in its entirety. But I said, “I’ll tell you what I will do. I’ll do two more books.” And they say, “Great, we’ll jump on that deal.” And the deal was that those books had to come out quickly.
George: Which you’re good at, by the way- I already proved that.
Phil: And then it was like, okay, now if I’m going to bring three books to market quickly, well, I can’t have three conflicting books with different levels of thought leadership that are dragging in different directions. What happens if I retell this story where they can be a trifecta of books, read in any order, with any tip of the arrow being the entry point and the other two backing it up? And that’s what we did with “Exactly How To Sell” and “Exactly Where To Start” that came behind that. And now I’m stuck owning the word “Exactly”, hoping that every time somebody says the word, I get a cents in the dollar as a tax on it, and it’s become part of my brand. But it’s been more organic than strategic, George. Does that make sense?
George: No, it definitely does. And where I wanted to get to was this idea of “Exactly How To Sell” or “Exactly What To Say” is… The concept, when I was reading through at a high level on the content, it was giving people a place to start with some structure. And obviously, there’s a big need for that when you’re working in the… And then I wanted to tie it into some of the keynotes that I was watching and learning about your approach, but it really is a very tactical- you try to give the audience a tactical thing where they can go use it and find some success quickly or am I not reading it correctly?
Phil: You’re right on the money. I call it “Freedom Within Fences,” right? It’s very tightly constrained fences that people can bring their own personality, their own freedom towards, where they can be themselves. And what’s interesting about “Exactly What To Say” as a body of work is it’s a tiny little book. You can read it cover-to-cover in an hour. If you’re not smart enough, you can lose the simplicity in just how powerful it is, and think that it is merely just a tiny little book. What it actually is, is 23 deep rooted psychological principles illustrated through the form of one tiny micro-example, that if you can understand that and apply that principle 1,000 times over, you can choose any set of words you like. This is just one example of “Exactly What To Say” that delivers that principle. And that preciseness gives people confidence to try things that wouldn’t have otherwise formed- things they would become confident in being able to do. It allows them to confidently step outside of their comfort zone because of this framework.
George: And then build upon that. So enough to be dangerous, enough to have a level of confidence, and then start making it your own. I saw a theme in most of your content around that.
Phil: Yeah, and it’s… People have often said to me, from a sales point of view, “How do people get more confident in selling?” And the only answer I have to that is that they need to become more experienced. Confidence cannot exist without experience, otherwise, it’s arrogant. So what the body of my work is often focused on is saying, “Just take this step. “Just nudge yourself into that.” And it just gets them on their way. Then they gain experience, then they gain momentum, and then, before they know it, they know what they’re doing.
Outcome Based Selling: Shifting the Finish Line of the Sale
George: I completely agree with that approach and that’s why I wanted to hear it directly from you because I saw it at a number of presentations that you’ve given. The next thing that I wanted to touch on, and I know this is one of your passions but I’d love for you to expand on it, why shouldn’t we try to sell like Wolf of Wall Street or the used car salesperson, or, if I could quote a very famous radio… ’cause I’m a radio guy, a very famous radio-TV show, Herb Tarlek from WKRP. I think of that when I think of what I think you’re going towards, but why so passionate about that? I’d love for you to share it with our listeners.
Phil: I spent my professional life helping people to sell more effectively, and we live in a world when nobody wants to be a salesperson. If I asked a room full of people to throw some adjectives at me of what would describe a stereotypical salesperson, I receive an ugly list every time. Pushy, obnoxious, self-centered, a liar; This set of ugly adjectives and if anybody ever used those words to describe you, you’d be mortified. And then, ask the same audience, “Well, if you can give me some adjectives “to describe not a stereotypical salesperson, “but a professional salesperson, “what words would you reach for now?” And they give me a completely different set of words. Now, you’re consultative, you’re honest, you’re caring, you’re knowledgeable, you’re empathetic; a completely different set of words. And what my work is focused on is saying, “How do we bring more integrity “to the profession of salesmanship, “knowing that we’re all selling something? “Sometimes it’s a product or service, “sometimes it’s an idea or an outcome, “it’s a change in behavior, “and can we bring some integrity back “towards the sales profession?” And it comes down to our knowledge of where we celebrate. So if you look at the Wolf of Wall Street scenario, and almost any glamorized Hollywood production of what selling is, the finish line is the day that somebody closes the deal. The finish line is when you collect the suitcase full of cash. The finish line is when you swipe the credit card. And this is where people get excited about where salespersonship should exist, is they celebrate the transaction itself. In my work, I want to shift the result further down the tracks. The point we should be celebrating is when you over-delivered on the promise that somebody parked it with money for. When you over-delivered on the promise. So I use a simple example on this, is if you think about owning a wedding dress shop, and if you are the owner of a wedding dress shop, when do you celebrate the transaction of the sale? And in truth, most wedding dress shops actually celebrate the transaction of the sale when she says yes to the dress and you swipe the credit card, and this is cha-ching, right? That isn’t the most important day though, in the consumer’s life. That’s not what’s going to make you remarkable, it’s not where you’re going to build a reputation, it’s not where the magic is gonna happen. Where should you celebrate? Some of the smart people say, “Well, what about the wedding day itself?” And I would accept that that would be a better day to celebrate, right? If the product performs on that day, that’s a better day to be involved in celebrating the value of the transaction that happened. There’s a better day still, if you are smart enough to truly understand it. Because in my mind, through the research we’ve done, the most important day to the consumer in that transaction isn’t when she says yes to the dress, isn’t when she tries it on that morning, it’s when she sees herself in the dress, in the photographs. That’s when she can decide, “Did I make the right choice?” Now, if you were a wedding dress retailer, excited about celebrating her loving herself in her pictures after the wedding day, what kind of organization would you build then? It’s just a shift in focus, and I’m just fascinated by companies now that are- the sales department and then the customer success department, or the sales department and then we’ve got a retention department etc, when if all you did is shift the finish line out to where the promise mattered, then the sale would run all the way through and everybody would understand they have a part to play in it.
George: It’s interesting when you look at SAS software companies, one of the most famous narratives and metrics is that 90 day window from when you close a deal. And if they aren’t a customer 90 days after the deal is closed, they never were a customer. It’s like they’re rewriting history based upon, “Did they find the value from the product?” But what you’re talking about, in a nutshell, is outcome-based selling and moving that magic moment a little further down the road, where that becomes a hell of a marketing tactic to say, “We’re more concerned about this day than we are concerned about the day we put this thing in a bag and it leaves.” It’s a great analogy.
Phil: And every business should be able to find not just that moment, but that moment and then the plotted sequence of moments that then come after that. And now, you’re not looking at saying, “Did they stay for 90 days?” It’s, “Did they reach that success point? “Did they reach that next success point?- Did they reach that next success point over there?” which aligned to their reason for saying yes in the first place. And my anti-Wolf of Wall Street stuff is if, in truth, you look at the moments that were being celebrated in that, the consumer in every one of those celebrated moments will have lost. And in a marketplace like now, where we have so much transparency over service with the internet, whether it’s Yelp reviews, Google Reviews, the consumer has more power in today’s market than they ever have done. You sell ice to Eskimos and you think that you’re a hero, watch your reviews next week and see how much longer you’re in business, right? It doesn’t add up anymore.
George: You and I are completely aligned on that. Can I ask this question, though? You started selling at a very young age, you were an entrepreneur at a very young age, when did the integrity thing really jump in? Because if we go back over the years we’ve been doing this podcast, and you talked about old salespeople, old gray salespeople by the way, I remember in the early days of selling media, the integrity thing really wasn’t something that you talked about from day one. And I realized that if I had a level of integrity, I was able to differentiate myself. And that was long before we had this thing that you talk about, where we can do all the research and everything else. So I’m wondering, in your journey, when did you realize that that integrity piece was really a game changer?
Phil: When you sit across the table from someone and you encourage them, influence them, help support them to make a sizable decision, you then look them in the eye and you then shake their hands on them, based on this going in a direction that’s important to them, if I couldn’t sleep at night knowing that I believe that that was the right thing for them to do at the time, I couldn’t do my work. I have a simple belief in what I do, and I’ve been quoted this a number of times over, which is, “If you’re not convinced, you cannot convince.” You have to believe with absolute certainty that what you’re asking somebody to do is worth the money and some, otherwise you can’t expect anybody else to. And the first sale that ever needs to be done is on yourself. You have to believe that this is worth it. And I’ve found myself in numerous occasions in the past where I have decided to step in new directions where I didn’t believe in what I was asked to sell. And I think that’s where that integrity test comes in, is when you get the ability to walk away. And I now have that, even in my speaking profession. My agent and my management team know there are a number of industries that, regardless of fee, I’m heck no. Like “No, thank you. “I do not want to encourage people “to buy more cigarettes. “No, thank you.” And numerous other industries. And I think it’s knowing where your walk away points are and knowing that not every successful sale is the right thing to do.
George: The other thing that you said that I’d like to hear a little bit more from you on, because I think you can teach me something, you were talking about, we’ve got the sales department and we’ve got the customer service department, and how is a business successful if those two organizations aren’t completely linked?
Phil: A friend of mine called Jason Hewlett, who talks about “The Promise,” and that’s really what we’re selling in any given environment, is a promise. A promise to do something, a promise to perform in a certain way, a promise to be able to be there, one way round or another. And if the promises are misaligned, then you’re guaranteed to drop the ball. And what happens if that alignment isn’t in place is there’s no congruence, and at some point, somebody is going to blame somebody else. Now, all of a sudden, you’ve lost trust. That’s why it’s imperative that everybody needs to be on the same page. And the page that everybody needs to be on is the sales page. I think there are only two departments in every business: There’s the sales department and then the sales support department. They’re the only two departments, right? So manufacturing should be supporting the promise of the sales team, is customer service should be supporting the promise of the sales team. Now, if every other one of those departments is failing, it might be because the promise the sales team is making is the wrong promise. But finding this alignment of saying, “Can we just all be what we said we were going to be?” All of us sounds like such a simple little thing but it’s hard for that to actually be done in reality. And people need to trust what’s being said at every level, otherwise it falls down. The natural thing that people want to do when something goes wrong is find somebody to blame, and that’s what happens in the customer service department, quite often. It’s like, “She shouldn’t have said that.”
George: Right. Your salesperson over-promised.
Phil: Yep. And this creates mistrust in salespeople. And in today’s market, I believe a salesperson is more important than has ever existed. Because consumers now have choice, they’re confused about choice, decision-making is hard and they’re looking for people to help navigate those complex decision-making process, and that sales responsibility is serious. And without integrity, hugely irresponsible from the organization.
Preparation for Keynotes: Applicable to Any Situation
George: I don’t know how you’d do the job without it. I don’t know how we did it, and I know I made the mistake back in the day, running an ad campaign that I knew wouldn’t work for the customer, but I had to hit budget. I think things have dramatically changed and I’m glad that you gave us some of that insight. I do have a couple of questions, maybe they’re coming out of left field, but I’m sure that you can handle it. I was watching a number of your keynotes, I was mesmerized by the way and that doesn’t normally happen to me, I would love to understand how long do you prep for one of those presentations that you give? Because everything was to a tee and spot-on in the one that I saw, and it was just a random sample. So I’m like, “I think that there’s a lot of prep “that goes into this, “when Phil’s going to do a speech like that.” So I’d love to understand that a little bit more.
Phil: Wow, it’s a big question that probably requires a bigger answer. Note, firstly, I’ve been doing this a long time. So the prep and the experience are a little bit merged and meshed together in that you’ve got reps in something. The prep that mostly goes into all of my work is trying to see the world through the audience’s eyes. If I can hit a very special button in the bulk of my work, then I’ve done my job right, and the button I looked to press is what I call the “Show Me That You Know Me” button. So my prep goes into understanding what is happening within the heads of the majority of people in that audience. Here’s what most speakers think: They think their job is to deliver their speech. My job is to deliver a meaningful conversation to 1,000 people at the exact same time, one-on-one, that just happens to be delivered. So if I can understand what’s going through the heads of those people, that starts to help me be able to show up to that moment with a little bit more integrity and be a touch more present, because I’m not worried about what they’re thinking. I have confidence that I understand what they’re thinking. The other things that then go into prep is I build, almost a content… Like an ingredients list. So if you’d ever seen me prepping for speech, I’ll have just a number of bubbles on a page with words in them. What I’ve built through the years is I’ve built a number of bits. I’ve never delivered the same speech twice, yet I also have a number of pieces that could all go into the making up of speech. So it’s like Lego only have a certain number of components, but what you can build is indefinite. So I have all these little pieces together and then what I’ll do is I’ll build a cadence of story and content piece, story and content piece, story and content piece, and then link it together. Now, for that concept piece, I might have three to five headers or footers of what could come in, depending upon what time constraints I have, depending upon what audience I’m at. And I’m building from a pantry like a chef would build a dish out of all of these little tried and tested pieces. Now, I’ll do that with 80% of a speech. Now, to keep it fun for me, I’m going to plan in 20% of fun, new stuff. Now, I can be experimental. Now, I can push something a little further. Now, it gets me back on edge, right? I’m not complacent. I’m on edge, is to say, “Well, hang on. “How might that work?” But I’ve got 80% that I know I can trust, which means I can play with 20. And in that, I find that another thing, like, “That was a winner, “I’m doing that again.” And then you learn, “How do I get playful with props? “How do I maybe turn the volume up at a point?” Now, the other big thing that goes into prep is the room is a prop. If you’ve seen any of my work, particularly in a live environment, is I use every inch of the stage, often giant parts of the floor. And that requires planning because you can’t jump off a stage without knowing how you’re going to get back on. And you don’t want to be found in the wrong spot, making the wrong point. So if I’m doing a 9:00 AM keynote, I’m flying into that venue night before. And when everybody else has gone to bed or they’re in the bar, I’m walking the floor.
George: Doing the prep.
Phil: And I’m planning, and I’m blocking and staging, and I’m considering where I’m going to come. Now, the other thing I do is I control all of the controllables. So I have a backup for the backup, for the backup, i.e if the mic fails, I’m good. If the A/V fails, I’m good. If my slides go down, I’m good. So I can be fully present in the moment without fear of anything. I even prep, “How am I going to get introduced? “Are we shaking hands or are we high fiving?”, “Are we fist-bumping?”, “Are we hugging?”, “Which way are you exiting the stage?”, “When I’m done, who do I hand back to?”, “What happens next?” All of those little things. And what it then allows me to be able to do is to be fully present in the moment. And I think that level of immersion means that you can show up completely in-state, knowing that you’re there to serve the moment, and I take that very, very seriously. If you got 1,000 people in the audience and you’re on stage for an hour, that is 1,000 hours of productivity you’re responsible for.
George: It’s a big investment that’s being made. So now, I’ve got this question, and I’m glad that you gave us that level of detail: Is it any different than preparing for that $1,000 a month presentation? Is it any different… The level of detail that you put into it and the way that you have that whole thing crafted, and it could go one of two or three ways, but you know where it could go, Isn’t that the same prep that every sales rep should put into every presentation that they give in front of a customer?
Phil: That’s what I call “the work before the work.” Everybody wants to say, “How do you get good at the work?” If you do the work before the work, then the work is easy. And that would be showing up for a sales appointment, that would be delivering a speech, that would be running a demonstration, that would be making a regular account call, that would be thinking about, “I’ve got to deal with a customer complaint.” And I did a lot of this work through consulting at the start of the pandemic, of creating what I would call “scenario plays” with clients. And they thought it was revolutionary, I’m like, “What?” They’re scared about what could happen. I’m saying, “Well, why don’t we look at “all the things that could happen “and then work out what all what ifs, “so that when that happens, “you’re not like, “Oh, dang,” “you’re like, “Oh well, we’re going to do this then”?”. They’re like, “Wow, that’s amazing.” There is so much more that we can’t control if you’re brave enough to play all your scenarios out ahead of time, and then you’re prepared. Because quite often, all you need is a split second or a beat to make a choice, whereas if you procrastinate, the moment has passed. So if you do the thinking ahead of time, in the moment, you can be on full. And I think so few salespeople really do the work. And in today’s environment, George, where we’re at arms length and you can’t smooth over cracks by buying somebody a scotch or taking them for a round of golf, or jumping on a plane and taking them to a show, where your time is precious, the work before the work is more important than it ever has been. And you’ve got to be worth it in the time. I find it fascinating that people show up for meetings… And we see this in the podcast world, right? You are an example of doing the work before the work with how much you understand about me as a guest before we’re getting into what is our first real conversation. You want to understand how many podcasts guests invite me on the show and they’ve done next to no research, and you’re like, “Wow, “that doesn’t sound that responsible to your audience, “that you have requested a guest “that you want to plug their expertise “on their behalf, “and you haven’t considered “what you might be able to extract “from them ahead of time, “you’re just going to wing it.” We see this with salespeople, we see it with entrepreneurs, we see it everywhere where people think they need to be brilliant in the moment. You need to be brilliant before the moment, and then the moment can be brilliant.
George: Well, Phil, I’m sure that you and I could continue this conversation for hours and unpack all of that knowledge, but what I’d love to do is to have you leave our listeners with a few nuggets as to where they could get more information on you and your organization. And then, if there is some listener out there that’s looking to book a great keynote speaker, I know a guy, his name’s Phil, and I watched a number of those keynotes and I’ll continue to follow your content because it’s very, very good information. So if you could leave your information here, we’ll of course put it in the notes, but love to hear it from you first.
Phil: Yeah, you bet. I mean, if people have enjoyed this conversation, we can continue it offline. So come find me on social media, on LinkedIn, on Instagram, we can continue the conversation, I’m @PhilMJonesUK there. If you want to learn more about me and my body of work, hit Google and then put “Phil space M space Jones,” you’ll stumble across a load of things. Website is philmjones.com. and if you’re new to my work and you want to understand, in particular, how you can be more persuasive and how you can be more influential in all the critical conversations that show up in your life, then grab a copy of “Exactly What To Say”. Read it. If you don’t find it useful, don’t think it was worth your $10 and your hour of read, then send it to me or tell me about it online- I’ll buy you any other book that you want in its place.
George: Phil M. Jones, CEO and founder at Phil M Jones International, thanks for your valuable time today. And we appreciate having you as one of our now Conqueror alumni on the Conquer Local Podcast.
Phil: Thank you, George. Thank you, rest of your team. Pleasure to be here
George: Well, Phil shares his time between St. Petersburg, Florida, and London, England, working with companies all over the globe and helping- you can tell that he’s very passionate about bringing integrity to the sales process. And I just want to touch on a couple of the takeaways. We talked about, “How do I not be the sleazy salesperson?” Because people have this connotation of sleazy salespeople. And we’ve talked a lot about it on this show, it’s around delivering on the promise. In fact, the way that Phil presents it is, “Did I over-deliver on my promise?” And it’s a cliche, under-promise over-deliver, but really that’s what the customer is looking for. After you have made that sale, you’ve made some statements, you’ve said that it’s going to do X; what if it was to do X, Y, and Z? And then with that level of trust that you’ve built, and the fact that you delivered on your promise, you can now start to really grow your relationship with that customer. Phil talked a lot about… And I’m glad that we were able to get to it because when I was prepping for the episode, I noticed that he’s just a phenomenal presenter. And usually, that isn’t just something that you wing it, you have to have a lot of preparation. And he went into painstaking detail about the level of preparation that he does, and I let him run with it because I want all of us to understand that, first off, he’s been doing it for a long time, so he called that out, but he spends a lot of time trying to understand the audience. “Who is in the audience? “What am I going to be able to pull out of my repertoire “to relate to that audience?” And he has a general idea of where he’s going to go with a little bit of room for an ad lib or something that he could do on the fly that would really resonate with the group that’s in that room. So then it’s not just, “Oh, here’s Phil, “with canned presentation three “that I’ve saw 15 different times.” He always gives a little bit of room to make it unique. So the same thing, when we go into a presentation with a customer, we have a very clearly defined path that we’re going to go on. The talk track that we’re using has been delivered a number of times and we know that it resonates with a certain audience. We have analyzed the potential audience that we’re presenting to, and we know that this content will resonate with that group. And then, even using the room as a prop. And we’ve talked about that on this podcast when we’re doing virtual presentations, there’s all the jokes and the memes and everything else about how you don’t have to wear underwear, or you don’t… But you still are making a professional presentation. So what’s behind you on the screen? Should we blur that thing or will the cat running across the screen be okay? We’ve gotta be thinking about the environment that we’re in, making the presentation, as much as what we are presenting, use it all. It is all a part of that message that you’re trying to deliver. Phil’s a pro and you can learn a lot from him. I’m looking forward to learning more as I dig into the content that he has online, and we have links to a lot of that content here in the show notes, to make it easy for you to get some more Phil M. Jones, or just Google him and you can see the YouTube videos and the various keynotes. We really appreciate him making some time in his very busy schedule to share with our audience here at the Conquer Local Podcast. We’re looking at building late 2021 episodes, so we’d love to get some feedback or some suggestions from you, or maybe you’ve saw a great keynote and you’re like, “Oh, George and Colleen should get “that person on the podcast.” Share all that information. We love hearing from our listeners and look forward to seeing you again when we continue to Conquer Local. My name is George Leith, I’ll see you when I see you.