About Phil Jones
Phil M Jones is the President and CEO of Philmjones International. He is a well-renowned keynote speaker and author of ‘Teaching the world to sell’. His main focus areas are sales coaching, business networking, retail, and referral skills. He helps his audiences to learn new skills that empower confidence, overcome fears, and instantaneously impact their results. He is the author of multiple best-selling books, and the youngest ever winner of the “British Excellence in Sales and Marketing Award”. Bringing with him a great experience we are happy to have someone of his stature on our interview series today.
We have the pleasure of welcoming Phil Jones today to our interview series. I’m Sumitha Mariyam from the peopleHum team. Let’s begin with just a quick intro of PeopleHum - peopleHum is an end-to-end, one-view, integrated human capital management automation platform, the winner of the 2019 global Codie Award for HCM that is specifically built for crafted employee experiences and the future of work.
Welcome, Phil. We're thrilled to have you.
Thank you so much for inviting me, a pleasure to be here.
Thank you so much. It is our pleasure to have you. So the first question I had for you Phil was
Can you tell us something about your journey that brought you to be a sales coach?
Sure. I mean, I've been in business pretty much my whole entire life. So I started with my first business When I was 14 years of age, I started knocking on the doors of my neighbors and asking them quite politely whether they would be interested in having their cars washed.
Now, by the age of 15, my small car cleaning businessmen that I was making more money than the majority of my school teachers had an army of people in the year below washing cars and a proper book of customers that we would take care of.
I built a lot of entrepreneurial businesses through my teens and then at the age of 18 then became the youngest ever sales manager for one of the large department store retail groups here in the UK.
I went from there became a senior sales manager and sales training consultant for a large furniture retail business in the United Kingdom and then went from there to work with two Premier League soccer clubs, helping build their rate retail organization.
From there I became a business partner with a large property business, and we built a business that turned over £240 million at its peak, and that takes us through to about 2008. In 2008 we bought that business down based on the last recession, and I spent a chunk of my time helping small, independent business owners look to see what they could do to get a navigate change next.
I was doing that while I would figure out what I wanted to do next. And now we're here in What are we 2020? So almost like 12-13 years on? And I'm still figuring out what I want to do next. But since that point to now is, I've worked with over 800 different industries, helping them navigate how they can achieve better sales results without being so Sanousi and that's me speaking on the platform over 2500 times in 57 different countries writing seven books and today have trained over two million people. So that's being the kind of pot in the history of my journey today.
That's an interesting journey and, you know, like having the thought inside you. What's next? I don't know about it, that's the real surprise.
Well, I think we're all making it up a little as we go along. The right is I'm on the continued quest for better. I love helping people, love looking to be able to overcome obstacles and challenges that stand in the way. But I don't have, like, a five-year vision or a 10-year plan that way around. I just have “Hey, how do I keep improving?”
That makes a lot of sense and also coming to the current situation.
What advice would you give the sales professionals of today who have to keep selling nonessential services at this current situation of the pandemic?
Okay, It's a very fair question, and I just want to play with those words that you said there in terms of non-essential and services raising the level of essential nous, depending upon the other person's independent individual needs, and it may well be the supply of, say, for example, batteries is an honest central service.
However, if my mouse isn't working today and I need my mouse to get a contact to the other side of the world, then guess what batteries all of a sudden become essential. So what is necessary for sales professionals during this time period is to have huge amounts of empathy. You know, I think they've always needed it.
But right now, lacking in empathy is gonna be a giant cost to anybody to sell. It sells professional without that you're going to lose and the ability to truly understand the other person's point of view and truly understand the other person's circumstances.
“Selling should be easy when the value is present in abundance”.
And if the value is present in abundance and your thing is truly helping the other person in their current circumstances, then what you have is something that isn't forcing it on them. It's something that's actually genuinely a gift, and that's what we should always be looking out of.
Our products and services is, is where is the gift in this thing to the other person The one thing that I would say that makes now a very different environment to selling than maybe six months ago is that now you've got to be thinking of things that would help people now, not things that might help somebody over the next 3 to 5 years, not something that might be a good long term solution for them, but something that is gonna help them right now.
And if I'm to try and explain, this kind of simply, is...
“If somebody is drowning in water, please don't try to sell them swimming lessons. If somebody is drowning in water, throw them a rope, get them out the water but a towel around them and only want safety on land.”
Can we teach them how to prevent this from happening next time? And I take that metaphor on a play that your sales help is to say, What do you have that could help people now and then? With that being taken care of, even though it might be a smaller transaction, you'll win. Trust your win loyalty. You'll win the relationship that they could go on for you winning the next business later down the tracks.
That's a great thought process to it. And that was a beautiful answer.
So shifting our focus to something else, you know, what are some of the techniques that a sales professional can adopt to build a robust leads pipeline?
Okay, so this is about how they can have a never-ending supply of prospects. And they always have good people to talk to. And lead generation is a daily skill for anybody who's in a sales environment. It's not something that you do once, and then you work those leads.
You should always be looking to generate more leads for your business and leads on every way to a point that I think that many organizations miss the opportunities that are all around us, right? I go for a walk and I could walk past three vans with signage on them.
I could see 10 things pop up on my phone and I could see e-mails coming to my inbox from people that I've meaning to connect with that could help introduce me to others etc. is the potential to develop new businesses is all the way around us.
What you should have, though, if you want to be able to adopt a mindset of having a never-ending supply of people to speak to is, you really need to have clarity over two very simple questions.
- Question one is, Who were the people that you help? So you mistake, many people think, is that they want to deal with everybody. Where is really you wanna have complete clarity ever saying, These are my people And then any time you spot environments where those people show up; Ha ha, Here's where I can step into the long like there's the question.
- Question two is What are the problems that I sold for? You have clarity over that than any time that opportunity mirrors together. You should be in a very, very strong position. You gotta say, Hey, I'm the right person. The biggest difference between sales and marketing his marketing is trying to attract like bees around the honey ball, but they have no control over who the bees are. They show up like they are just everywhere, salespeople by alternative can choose their customers. They could be a lot more specific about going to work. If you want a never-ending cycle of warm prospects to get work, you need one.
Be working in a prospect list and two have marketing funnels and systems that are permanent, working in the background that are creating new opportunities but only working a certain number of prospects at a time.
"A piece of advice that I share I'm often when trying to help people to work a pipeline is I teach them to be what I call Devilishly productive and being Devilishly productive means working on no more than 18 prospects at a time. For my experience, I've learned that working 18 prospects is kind of the magic number of prospects to be out of work. More than that, you're really working leads less than that. You're gonna go hungry, but 18 is the magic number."
Making that magic number and turning into Devilishly productive is I would split your prospects into three different user groups. Six in 1, Six in another, and six in the next.
That's why I call it Devil Issue productive because it's like 666 and I have six that would be kind of my low hanging fruit, my kind of transactional type pieces of business. Six. That would fall into my perfect target market customer.
Kind of the sweet spot that I'm looking for, and then six that would fall into my, like, big fish dream opportunities up there, and I'll always be working six in each category. Don't want a software to better back that up. I'd want systems to be out of them. Keep tracking those things, but six in the low hanging fruit. Six in the core business, Six in Dream Client, and I always want to know what is my next play.
What is the next thing that I'm doing to be able to work that person through to the next decision? And if I don't have the next play, they're not on the list. If they say yes, please, they're not on the list. If they say no, thank you, they are not the list.
And I'm just forever bringing people into play moving people into the next thing, and I think that keeps it fun. It gives you a robust pipeline, helps you understand it, and predicts the future. You work in some short term that you'll get quick decisions on some midterm and some big fish knowing that you're not getting stuck with a dry pipeline too.
That's a great answer. I mean, you've helped. I love a wonderfully framed that answer was, And going to the next question.
So I saw that in your profile it was written that, "You increase the confidence of an individual by teaching new skills." So can you elaborate a little bit more about that?
Sure. I mean, there is so big even answer that could be given to this is: there are a variety of different reasons that people like confidence. One of the biggest reasons that people lack confidence is because they like competence. One of the reasons they like competences because they don't know precisely, or perhaps even exactly what they should be doing. So three of my books one is exactly what to say.
The other is exactly how to sell. The other is exactly where to start, having precise leadership that says, "These are the steps to jump through, here is the right way of being able to do things", gives people confidence because I have a framework to be a leader.
That framework provides them some safety and structure that they can then apply themselves to. If the feeling that they have to operate entirely in the gray area, that's where they start to like confidence. Also, what we will typically look about to do is teach people to disarm potential points of friction ahead of time, disarm potential objections ahead of time.
So if I can and teach people to qualify with better questions than when they get to the point of recommending their product or service, they should be to do so with more confidence because they're not guessing they're not pitching there, not hoping or praying that somebody's gonna like it.
There's a medical analogy that says prescription before diagnosis is malpractice. The same thing is true in the sales process is that you should never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever invite somebody to be out of move forward with your offer.
Unless you can say these words first on the words, you should look to say for first of the words because of the fact that you said see, because of the fact that you said blank, blank and blank It's for those reasons My recommendation is blank.
Now, all of a sudden, what we're doing is that we are earning the right to make a recommendation, as opposed to embellishing a product or service with features and benefits. I'm hoping something might stay.
So how would you go about improving the referral skills for a sales professional? How would you advise them to do that?
Okay, so referral skill is a giant area, and there are three big reasons that people wouldn't offer referrals, and the biggest one of those is they just don't ask, period, right? I mean, finish this sentence for me. If you do not ask, you don't get right. We know that to be true. So just asking for referrals is going to create an increased output in referral skills. And I think that's the biggest missing piece and refers to asking badly will get a better result than not asking so.
And if it's not that the fact that they just need to know about how to ask is they need to know what the timing is being able to ask us well, so there's when to ask and how to ask of the two missing pieces that often say, If you've decided you're are gonna ask, the win is a hard question because there are actually hundreds of times you could ask someone for a referral.
When you invite them to buy and they say, Yes when you invited to buy and they say no when you invite them to be a have your product installed once it's delivered upon its promise, once you fix the problem for them at some point in the process, once they've been with you for five years, like all these different moments provide a referral opportunity because there's so many.
The typical result that people have is they have what I call the should’ve would've could've moments, you know, the driving away from an appointment, hanging up the phone, leaving a meeting and thinking should’ve would’ve could’ve asked for a referral and you can't go back to that moment once that moment is passed. So what you need to realize is there is a singular right time to ask for a referral on the singular right time is when the other person is happy. When the other person is happy, they typically say something.
A sequence of words they say back. And the secrets of words they say back when they're happy are the words “Thank you” when they say thank you to you don't think aha! pat yourself on the back. You've done a wonderful job. When they say thank you, you understand what thank you really means when somebody says thank you to you is because they're feeling indebted because they feel like they owe you. When they feel indebted, they say thank you. They repay the debt without thanks. That's what gratitude does.
So the best time to ask somebody for something extra is at the point when they feel indebted. So you listen to the thank you's when they say thank you. You think Aha That means they feel indebted. Here is my time to ask. So we've got you. Don't ask. You don't yet. We know we need to ask. We now know when to ask what we now need to deal with is how to ask, on the how is, Well, it's a myriad of different ways as well.
But what I'm gonna teach your right now is a set of what I call my magic words. If you think about my most famous piece of work is a book called "Exactly What to Say", It's a book full of words that talk straight towards the subconscious brain.
These are words that influence people to take action which has the power to act on an impulse to have people not overly process the decision that needs to follow. I'm going to share with you a set of words you can use to get just about anybody to agree to just about anything ahead of time.
So the set of words you can use to get just about anybody to agree, Just about anything, any time And for this, I need you to just help role-play something with me. So could you do me a small favor?
Yeah. Please tell me.
There are words. That's the word you can use to get just about anybody to agree to just about anything. I just ask. Could you do me a small favor? You said yes, in the other direction. Almost unanimously. So how do we play that same sequence of words out on referral scenario? You wait for the other person to say thank you when they say thank you. Do you think? Aha. Now is my time to ask at the point of asking.
You say you couldn't do me a small favor, could you? Every reasonable human being on the planet says Yes, sure. What is it? Now, What you've got is this open window that you can insert your referral request. I have a full script, that complaint on, from there it exists inside the book.
But I hope that what you're thinking about is if you're a professional in these kinds of environments than the worst time to think about the thing you're gonna say is in the moment when you're saying it. What we need to be is ready, ready, ready for when these moments show up so that you think I've got this. I'm ready to be out of response.
"And the biggest difference that I have seen between people who do good and people who do awesome is the ones that do awesome, they know exactly what to say, when to say and how to make it count and know how to make more of their conversations count."
Oh, that's wonderful. I mean, that's such an eye-opener to a lot of viewers out there. Thank you for that. And also Phil.
If you could tell us, Do you think this, you know, this time of the pandemic when we're all locked inside is the right time? Or is a good time for networking online to make new connections?
I think every time is a good time to make new connections. I think every time is a good time to be out of the expansion network with more of the right time at the right people. What I would also give is an added warning. Right now. It's also a bad time to network online. It's also a bad time to be out of try and grow your network, is yes, and it's both...
"I think, in times of crisis. That what you need is you need people around you that can help you navigate in the direction that you want to be out to go"
...now that might be that you already have your tribe of people you already remarkably well represented with the people that are in your existing network and it's time to get close. It's time to get insular.
It's time to do today's work today and not worry about any external noise coming into It might also be that right now that you realize you need to be going in a new direction and your tribe of people around you isn't necessarily equipped or experienced or full of the right resource is to allow you to be out of going in that new direction.
And there you need to have the strength of internal leadership to say, OK, I've got missing people in my world. I need to go and recruit my squad to help me navigate this next chapter of my life and I'm going to go network and I'm going to go find those people.
The other thing that online networking can do during times like right now is it can provide sounding boards, and it can provide no stress relief for you have your questions answered by other professionals that can help.
And if you don't have that sounding board of educated professionals that you can lean on, you end up bringing those questions to your dining room table. You end up bringing those questions to know a weekend, family time wherever it might be, and you end up asking the right question to the wrong person, making that person feel like they should give you advice and then getting stupid advice from somebody that was never qualified to better give it.
So. I think in times of crisis, be a lot more purposeful with how you spend your time, who you're looking for, and what roles do people play in your life. And by which I mean, you know, I've got a lot of people in my life that I love and I enjoy hanging out with, and I love being in conversation with.
But I would never speak about business with, because what I'll end up is getting stupid advice from somebody who's never bean, either where I'm going or have any understanding of what it's like to be in my shoes. So it's just selective on the advice and they help you ask for.
Yeah, I think you know, coming to understand that fine line of separation is value succeed? So that was a great answer. Thank you for that.
And just a wrap of the interview. If you have any last soundbites that you would like to leave our audience?
I mean, I could talk on all this stuff forever in a day. So what would I like to leave the audience? I'm gonna throw the question back to you right now and say, If there was one thing that you think your audience participants are struggling with more than most right now, what would that one thing be? And then I'll give something back towards that scenario.
I think everyone right now is trying so hard to be productive. So with the interview, cities were trying to, you know, enriched the knowledge and trying to make them improve themselves and coming out of this a better self.
Okay, here is a product productivity tip, and it's going to sound a little counterintuitive. What I encourage everybody to do is to write a list that they've probably never written before. Almost everybody on the planet has a to-do list, right? It's a duelist full of things that they need to get done. The trouble with the to-do list for almost everybody I've ever met is, "you'll never finished it."
There are always more things that are left to do, so it actually creates nervous anxiety to keep focusing your efforts on this incomplete list. Not only this, but the external pressures that come from outside this is also you always need to be doing more. You've never done enough. Just such a failure. Being compared to other people right? like that is a very real thing.
I would like more people to write is a list of like, Oh, you're done, Your list is going back to a point in life for like as far back you can remember whether it's tying shoelaces, whether it's completing a 10-meter swimming badge, whether it's getting a badge on your arm, boy scouts or learning to cook a meal or whatever.
It might be as far back as your early memory of a sense of achievement, and then write a list of all the things that you've ever achieved in your life that were meaningful and what I'd love more people.
To be able to realize is that they're already a proven success story. They've already overcome giant milestones of adversity. They've already achieved far more or than a point in their life ever told them they could and once be more people realize that there a proven success story, they overcome adversity in abundance.
Any hurdles that are in front of them right now, they feel more capable of being able to overcome. And it will fuel their productivity as opposed to drive fear into their productivity, which is what many other things content to do.
Well thank you for the last magical dose positivity that is wonderful and I had a wonderful time talking to you. And, you know, this last half was really an enriching experience for me. And I'm sure it will be for our audience also. Thank you so much for your time and your energy. You were really energetic during the process and have a healthy and safe time ahead of you.
Likewise. You stay safe out there as well. Keep being brilliant. Love to your family. I wish you a lot of success in the world that you're prepared to work for. Thank you.