016: Exactly how to sell coaching – interview with Phil M Jones
This week’s guest, Phil M Jones has written 8 best-selling books, produced two original programmes for Audible and delivered over 2,500 presentations in 57 countries across five continents.
Phil entered the world of business at the tender age of 14. With nothing more than a bucket and sponge, he went from singlehandedly 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.
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.
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 in the world.
We talked about…
>> How to sell coaching online
>> Closing sales and confidence
>> Questions to ask on a discovery call
>> Selling High-ticket
>> Great pieces of content that grow your personal brand
Episode Links and Mentions:
Phil’s website: https://www.philmjones.com/
Instagram & Twitter Handle: @philmjonesuk
Phil’s Books on Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Phil-M-Jones/e/B0097DKWP4?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1&qid=1613472429&sr=8-1
Exactly what to say on Audible: https://www.audible.com/pd/Exactly-What-to-Say-Audiobook/B077Z8S58Y
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Prefer to Read? Here’s the Transcript:
Phil M Jones (0:00):
A pleasure to be here. Thanks for having me on the show.
Stephanie Fiteni (01:07):
Well, I am very intrigued and I was, I was reading information about you and your website. I’ve heard you talk about this before, and I just really wanted to know how you started at 14.
Phil M Jones (01:22):
How did I start at 14 years of age in business – I guess it probably started a little bit before that is it. My parents did a wonderful job getting me into a great school and the school that I got into meant the lots of the kids had different things than what I had in terms of trainers, sneakers, the bag that they would carry, you know, the sports equipment that they have on the sports field, et cetera. And I’d always go to my parents and be like, Hey, can I have, can I have, can I have one? I got the recurring answer of no. So I started to get this idea of, of how do I go about being able to make money for myself and have this sort of entrepreneurial gene that when everything from me selling the homemade sandwiches that my mum had made for me in my pack lunch through to then me starting a little car cleaning business at the age of 14, and that had me just knocking on the doors of my neighbours, asking them if they’d like their cars washed. And by the age of 15, that little carpooling business was making me more money than most of my school teachers, as what I’d done is I’d built out quite a comprehensive round of customers have kids in the year below that were helping to service those customers. And we had a legitimate business that I didn’t even realize was as such until much later in life, but that’s where it all started.
Stephanie Fiteni (02:37):
That’s so amazing because you know, so many of us just, you know, we kind of take a while to realize the power of actually asking for the sale and, you know, making things happen. So it’s just so amazing.
Phil M Jones (02:52):
Being helpful as well as a mistake that many people make is that they think that they ask is one-sided. So if you think back, even to that early business of mine is, is the reason that we had success in that car cleaning business is that there were literally hundreds of local people had a car sat on their driveway. They needed cleaning, but they couldn’t be bothered to clean themselves or to take it somewhere that required cleaning. So somebody interrupted their day for long enough and said, Hey, let me take care of that for you for a reasonable fee. Then there was a truckload of people that wanted to say yes, and the same is true with every other profession. People aren’t sitting at home thinking what’s wishing was missing from my life today is X, but there are people sat at home today with the problem that your business solves, that if you just show up and say, Hey, I’m prepared to help support a difference in progressive you getting better in that given area, then you’ll find enough people say yes if you’ve, the right thing,
Stephanie Fiteni (03:46):
Indeed, absolutely. That this is something I, I talk about with my clients a lot, because you know, obviously content is very closely tied to SEO. So we’re always talking about, you know, what problems are people typing into Google, right? And of course, a lot of the people that I work with tend to be people who think that Google is going to do the selling for them. So then we always come to the problem that, of course, if come to the site, you’ve done everything right. You’ve done your blog post, right? They’ve clicked on the call to action button. I never booked a call with you and now you have to close the sale. So, I mean, sometimes that comes a bit of a wake-up call in the sense that, you know, you’re, you still have to help your clients decide whether you’re the best option.
Phil M Jones (04:35):
There’s a lot of fear around that, that language of closing the sale like that, that, that amps the pressure on the person that’s needing to make the phone call or make the outreach towards the other person is like, Oh, dang, like this is all on me right now is my job to be able to close this sale. And if I mess it up, I waste the opportunity, et cetera. And that in my head is just a wrong mindset to have towards that kind of lead generation. Instead, we should stop trying to close the conversation and by alternative close, the sale, instead of step continue the conversation. That’s what we’re looking to do is to continue the conversation with some exploration around, is there a fit? That’s what we’re looking for. Is there a fit here? And I think if you give yourself permission to explore the possibilities and find out if there’s a fit, then what naturally happens is you agree with the terms if there is a fit and also if there isn’t a fit, you can move away with no loss of momentum. You can continue on with your day without thinking, darn I lost that sale. There wasn’t a sale to be made. You’re the wrong fit. And that’s okay to be able to then move on.
Stephanie Fiteni (05:41):
That’s right. I think it’s, it’s more the emotional charge that we give it’s then, you know, probably the fact that we don’t actually close it,
Phil M Jones (05:51):
It’s both, it’s both. It is having trained over 2 million sales professionals around the world is we think the whole, the common thought process between most people looking to be able to sell is they think it’s about them. And it’s never about you and your ability to be able to sell it’s your ability to be able to understand the other person’s circumstances. And if you take your content marketing strategies and you say, well, actually, I’m looking to get inside the head of people. When I’m looking to be able to understand what problems they might need solving, and I’m going to produce content towards that. Well, all your sales conversations are that follow on behind that are a natural progression in conversation to explore more detail about their current circumstances, because they’ve shown an indication that they have an interest. If you can then understand their circumstances, right. And care about their problem, more than what they’ll do is trust you with a solution. But you have to take the time to be able to help explore their reality before they’re going to grant you that permission. Because otherwise, you sound like you care about your solution, where instead you should care about their problem.
Stephanie Fiteni (06:56):
Absolutely. I couldn’t have it better. So, so what you’re suggesting is that there is no mindset change here.
Phil M Jones (07::06):
There’s a big mindset change where you’re just going to move to help that’s, it is fueled with curiosity, explore a conversation further and find out if there is a fit for you to be able to help them move from where they are right now, to where they want to be. And it is that simple, but you have to interrupt their day. See more often than not particularly with online leads because they were flirting. It’s the equivalent of them making eyes at somebody across the room. They weren’t necessarily saying let’s go on a date. But they were saying, if you asked me on a date, I’d probably say yes. So you still have to make that, that next step. They made as a, you, you got to walk towards them and say, can I buy you a drink in some way? Which means that you’ve got to pick up the phone and you’ve got to reach out with an email. You got to respond on a messenger. But what you want to respond with is a question and a single question, because questions create conversations, conversations, lead to relationships, relationships, create opportunities and any opportunities to become sales. So every response should be a question. Not here’s the barrage of ways in which I can help you, which is the mistake that the majority of people make inquiry comes in, download of information, follows in the other direction, they overwhelmed or confused the other person into inaction. And people think that no is the enemy of the essence sales. It’s not, maybe it’s the enemy. Indecision is the enemy. People stuck in maybe is what’s preventing the progress from the majority of people, not ‘no’. We can learn from those. We can move on from those we can adjust from, but, but indecision is the real end.
Stephanie Fiteni (08:44):
So how can we help them make decisions more?
Phil M Jones (08:56):
I think to stop presenting packages for starters and start exploring other people’s situations. And, you know, yes, you might need packages on a web page to help somebody understand where they’re at. With most coaches and consultants is what people want is they want a custom solution from them, not a cookie-cutter package. Now you might need a series of coo-ie cutter packages for you to be able to align the right package for the right person at the right time. But the person on the other end thinks that their situation is truly unique. Therefore it needs a truly unique set of circumstances on the other side. So give me some real context. Let’s play something out at a granular level. If somebody creates a lead, how for what purpose and what do they want to provide, let’s, let’s set up a set of circumstances and we’ll talk through a conversation that would work.
Phil M Jones (09:45):
Okay. So somebody has received a booking from the website and then to they need to jump on a booking for a discovery call, which is, which of course a lot of people will do it different ways discovery call and you know, they want to basically see if they’re a good fit. Now, most people do not collect enough information between you know, from the, from the form of the discovery calls. So I think sometimes the main problem is that you go into the call with maybe too little information. So how, how do you go into the cooler with too little information and provide it? And you understand that the purpose of the call is to collect the information, right? So there’s not necessarily a right and a wrong way of doing it. There was just an order of events that you need to work through before you get to be able to make recommendations. And that the simple way to think about this is that prescription before diagnosis is malpractice. So the medical term, but it relates usually towards the world of salesmanship as well, is that you shouldn’t ever suggest to somebody that this is what they need. Unless you can say these words in the word, you should look to say first to the words. So they booked this and they’ve scheduled it at a time, right? So it was happening at 10:30 AM on Tuesday. Should we just use this? So there you are on zoom on the call, wherever it might be at 10:30 AM on Tuesday, the first thing I’m going to lean into is I’m going to go back in time.
Phil M Jones (11:36):
So I’m going to go back in time and say something along the lines of is what is it about me and my work that makes you think that there might be an opportunity for us to be able to work together? Because I want them to tell me how they found out about me, but I don’t want to say, how did you find out about me? And they say Google search, Facebook ads, et cetera, boom, the conversation is over, what is it about me and my work that makes you think that might be a good fit? They say, well, you work with three of my friends and they were delighted by the results. That’s a different conversation than somebody saying, well, I saw a Facebook ad that interrupted my day and I completed the form. And now here we are right. Completely different setup. So what is it about me and my work that makes you think I’m a good fit?
Phil M Jones (12:12):
Cool. Then the second preface is so helped me understand where you’re at. So help me understand your current situation. Then the next frame would be something along the lines of, so how long has this been going on for right. People think that there’s a problem. And then they jump straight to the solution. I want a problem at scale. So tell me about where you’re currently at. They tell me where they’re currently at and how long has this been going on. So how long has this been going on, and then I need to know what are the consequences of that? Nope. You know, what, what is the actual real outcome of this current set of circumstances? What’s this costing you is what I’m really looking to get. Okay. So I then might even ask on a scale of one to 10, with 10 being it’s like essential and one being ‘meh’. How important is it that you make progress towards fixing this? Right? They might say, well, it’s like a 9.6. I say, great. Well, I only work with people who aren’t going above.
Stephanie Fiteni (13:14):
Okay. Excellent. That, that was going to be
Phil M Jones (13:18):
Qualified themselves in.
Stephanie Fiteni (13:20):
Okay. So the level of urgency you’re gauging the level of urgency as well.
Phil M Jones (13:25):
No urgency importance, importance. Okay.
Stephanie Fiteni (13:30):
Very interesting. You know, is, is there, do you feel that the conversation needs to be different? This is something I get a lot of questions about sometimes. Is, does the company for the sensation need to be different if you have a high ticket coaching package or you have a regular coaching package?
Phil M Jones (13:48):
Okay. Where’s the, where’s the line between regular and high ticket. I’d love it. If somebody could explain that to me.
Stephanie Fiteni (13:54):
Well, it usually actually depends on the person because for someone, you know, 2 grand is high-ticket and for somebody else, you know, 200 grand is high-ticket. You know, it’s all about perception
Phil M Jones (14:05):
Using the language high ticket. I think it’s an internet marketing internal term that has no relevance or bearing on any given customer at any period of time because I’ve seen people struggle to spend $20. And I’ve seen people write checks out effortlessly for 20,000. So like high-ticket is your perception, not theirs. Yeah. What we should be looking to be able to do is to explore the conversation, to say, is it worth it for them? See, people think that they have to add value to their package to make it worth a high ticket price. They don’t. What makes something high ticket is your ability to solve a high ticket problem. That’s what it comes down to.
Stephanie Fiteni (14:49):
Phil M Jones (14:53):
Tens of thousands of dollars for 60 minutes of my time in a consultation or et cetera. If I’m going to help a company make millions like that’s a no brainer, but I could take, like people would say to me like my speech is worth X, right. And do a lot of work in professional speaking. No, your speech is worth nothing. Your speech to a given audience to achieve a particular outcome is what’s worth the money. So my ability to entertain 1500 people for 90 minutes from the stage at a conference that allows them to be able to have increased productivity and efficiency in the sales process to the tune of around a thousand conversations a year that’s worth big money, same speech to 1500 people, in Kansas, when they’re there for a Sunday, barbecue, it’s not worth it.
Stephanie Fiteni (15:42):
That’s right. Different context.
Phil M Jones (15:45):
Yeah. Correct. So, so the process doesn’t change. The exploration of the questions may well change. You know, if what you’re looking to be able to do is to help somebody to make a decision over purchasing a $300 course, then you might go to get to the conclusion that it’s worth it. Oh yeah, that’s right. Yeah. If you’re looking to get somebody to invest in a 12-month long-term one-on-one coaching relationship to this tens of thousands of dollars, the exploration might be more detailed. Why? Because on both sides of the thing, you want to have certainty that it’s worth it, both sides and your ability to coach or consult does not provide you certainty your ability to coach or consult that individual is what provides you certainty, which means you have to understand their current circumstances, their ability to bring their side of the work, your relationship in terms of ability to collaborate over that period of time. And without certainty on that, you are selling a package and your package won’t get results. Your relationship with the individual will drive the results. And if you focus your efforts on results for your client, you help a client fix a hundred thousand dollars problem. You can charge 10 grand for that. And that’s how I often help people work out their pricing. Your pricing should be circa 10% of the value of the problem that you sell.
Stephanie Fiteni (17:08):
Interesting. Why just 10%?
Phil M Jones (17:11):
Well, because there has to be enough skin in the game, right. In terms of the fact, it might not work at a hundred per cent. Yeah. Of course. Like 50% in it. Okay, great. Not only that, is there other factors that then talk towards this problem? So you’re probably not the only solution that somebody is working on. So be able to help make progress in that given area. I could be working on other things too. The, that they need to invest in to be able to help them get the outcome. You’re only one of the solutions. You’re not the solution quite often. That’s important to be able to consider. The other part of, of what, like they have to be the hero of the journey. If you’re the hero you missed the point. So if you take 55% of the value of the problem that you solve, where you come out, the hero of the journey, it benefited you more than it benefited them. Well, it’s unsustainable is what it is. And you know, I’ve, I’ve had 20 years in the, in the personal brand business and I’ve seen a lot of people come quickly, make big money quickly and disappear just as quickly as they showed up, like sustainability is important, which means that what you really want to invest in is your reputation should be built on results. So, therefore, that also keeps you saying, right, is if you focus your pricing on 10% of the problem that you solve, then you can have high levels of confidence that you would deliver a positive outcome for everybody who does business with you.
Stephanie Fiteni (18:48):
Do you think that confidence is a big one when it comes to actually, getting into a solid sales conversation?
Phil M Jones (18:56):
Confidence is essential is probably the most important quality to have to succeed in, any sales related environment and by sales related. I mean, leadership, I mean, selling an idea to your parents or your children. I mean, getting a result when you’re looking to enter into a conflict scenario with a vendor, confidence is key. But a thing that people need to understand is confidence cannot be earned without experience. Experience has to become for confidence. So confidence without experience is in fact arrogance.
Stephanie Fiteni (19:30):
Indeed. So it’s the confidence because you already know that you have delivered this many times before and you know, this person is the right match for it.
Phil M Jones (19:38):
Right? That, and outside of that, as in, in your earlier days, then enjoy the fact that you’re earning your experience and give yourself permission to play. So if you’re looking at, you’ve got three discovery calls to make this week and you’re like, oh, I haven’t got the experience. So, therefore, I can’t show up with confidence, say no. I’m showing up as a collaborator here. And what many people are looking for in a coach or a consultant, isn’t somebody, who’s an expert. They’re looking for somebody who has an increased level of expertise them. And they are further on, on the journey that they’re looking to travel themselves.
Phil M Jones (20:20):
Not somebody who is at the end of the journey. Somebody who’s further on. And quite often that’s more valuable, you know, I’m, I’m not going to get great tennis lessons from Roger Federer because he’s too far advanced from where I am at tennis, but I could get great lessons from, you know, from my local tennis coach here in Florida.
Stephanie Fiteni (20:41):
That’s right. I completely understand that. Yes. I that’s how I’ve hired coaches, you know when they start going too far where you can’t really see how they got there, you’re like, no, maybe what they’re teaching is not relevant anymore to me. So I need to, yeah, just one or two steps ahead.
Stephanie Fiteni (21:01):
Excellent. Wow. Thank you so much, Phil. That’s been bucketfuls of value. That’s been just such a so amazing. I do have one question that I ask all the people who go on the podcast and you may have a little bit of a different answer to it. As you know, the podcast is called the profitable content show and we are all about content. So I know you you’ve created a lot of contents. I see a lot of stuff on LinkedIn, especially of yours. Is there a piece of content that you have created that has, you know, whether it’s a book, an email, maybe it was a mail-out, maybe something you did on social media or a blog post, something you’ve created that gave you a really good return on investment or, or, you know, has a big impact on your business?
Phil M Jones (21:51):
I guess the short answer to that is this little book. So my book exactly what to say is now sold almost a million copies around the world. It’s transpired into the creation of, I don’t know, maybe 50,000 pieces of unique content that have spun out off the back of this little book and is focused in a variety of different ways.
Stephanie Fiteni (22:14):
So my desk, I love it.
Phil M Jones (22:17):
I just jumped off on audio, but that is just some of the versions of exactly what to say that exist.
Stephanie Fiteni (22:27):
Oh, okay. Wow. I wasn’t aware of all the versions.
Phil M Jones (22:30):
Right, right. And then custom versions for the industry there, international translations. There’s a lot of mileage in it. And what’s interesting about exactly what to say as a, as a piece of content is people think it’s about the book it’s not is when you get to content, right. You create a movement like what’s almost happened is, is my brand is now synonymous with the word. Exactly. Just like Simon Sinek is synonymous with the word, why and your ultimate goal. I would say when looking to build any content-based brand is to see if you can own a word that is almost the utopian goal to be able to run to from content. Is, can there be a word that can’t be said without not being you,
Stephanie Fiteni (23:28):
Without people thinking of you? Yes.
Phil M Jones (23:32):
And you can’t, you know, think four-hour workweek without jumping to Tim Ferris. Indeed. You can’t get the word vulnerability without thinking about Brene Brown. Absolutely. Right. And there is the ability to be able to own words. So it’s not a singular piece of content. It’s a compounded piece of content with a rich epicentre, with a plethora of content that comes out from it. And interestingly enough, today, as an example of a piece of content that is created off the back of ‘exactly what to say’ of which was a keynote speech that I met you at an event that you said, would I come onto your podcast to talk about work or choices towards people in a different environment? And guess what that content is now compounding to be able to create a bigger piece of two types of content. One is the advice-based piece. That means that somebody finds you through search. The second is the content that is created that interrupt somebody. They can, somebody stay for long enough that introduces you into a new relationship. And exactly what to say has introduced me to millions of people around the world. And nobody was looking for
Stephanie Fiteni (24:37):
Amazing. It is really an exceptional book in the sense that you can read it, cover to cover, read it on the flight back home, very easy to read, but it’s has sat on my desk since, because every time I can’t find a words to put in an email or anything I’m writing, I’m going to pick up the book. So actually I do have a question about the format of the book. You said you’ve done lots of different, different rehashes, but this format, the one I’ve got is, is just amazing. You know, w what’s how, how is it? Is there a formula behind it? Is it, you know, is it designed to sort of on something else? Is it designed for our talk? Is it what’s it designed on?
Phil M Jones (25:27):
It’s a tool now the mistake many people make when they produce a the how-to book is they produced it without the experience of training that content they’ve introduced that idea once. And then they say, here’s how you do this is the content around. Exactly what to say. First was born in a book in 2009 called magic words. Before that book called magic words was released in 2009, I delivered the talk over a hundred times. I’d introduced it to training programs over 500 times. And exactly what to say is in fact, the rewrite of the book that I wrote in 2009 called magic words. So what you’re looking at is you’re looking at a piece of content that has been evolved. Resharpened republished, repackaged over, longer than a decade in terms of where it comes from. And people often say. Now writing a big little book is remarkably difficult, easy to write a long book. Writing a big little book is, is powerful too because what people fail to understand about content creation is a, is a fight for the attention of somebody else. Right? Absolutely. And then how much of that attention you can keep? I did some research into the book space and I found the next to nobody reads complete books right next to nobody.
Phil M Jones (27:00):
They skim read, they pick up, they work their way through it, and then they’ve read the book, right? That way round, there were very few people that would actually go line by line word by word, throughout the content of the book. And if you did a traditional 40 to 45,000-word book would take you around eight hours to read. So you might be saying, well, the book’s only $20. No, it’s not. The book is a day of somebody’s life, which is a fairly big piece of attention. What’s interesting though, is if you take a book like mine that is only asking for an hour of somebody’s life, when you deliver value in that hour, what happens is you actually get more hours of attention from that person over a period of time than if you write an eight-hour book, because it’s like, what you’ve said is it sits on your desk. It becomes a table to talk to, or it’s something you revert back to. And I got some data back out of audible the other day. And exactly what to say is the most listened to nonfiction audiobook on audible, the most listened to.
Stephanie Fiteni (27:59):
Five times last year, maybe my favourite movie, not the only books I can think of, but yeah, that is why it sits on the desk because I think its strengths is that because you can, you can absorb it so quickly. You can also remember what’s in it and you can also remember why you need it so you can dip back into it really easily.
Phil M Jones (28:28):
Everybody needs a signature piece of content. That simplifying is one of their most useful ideas. And one of the biggest ideas that can be used on repeat, it’s the kind of thing that you share person to person as opposed to is just found on your web page. But say, for example, you’re in the business of helping people produce a podcast show, you should have a 16-24 page e-book blog article, you know, some form of how-to guide that is regularly updated with new platforms, et cetera, that says, here’s how you do it, whatever your area of expertise is. And that becomes your signature move piece of content. And I think that if you produce content with decades worth of experience behind there and ahead of it without foresight, that this is the last 10 years not to increase traffic to my site, then what you do is you, you think differently.
Stephanie Fiteni (29:21):
Wow. so that’s the secret then. Yeah. Ask for less, ask for less time and give much more value. I’ll certainly be taking your advice. I have been reading exactly how to sell as well because I don’t deal with sales, but I obviously provide people with leads. So then that’s the next natural step, which of course with a nice handshake, I think I will start buying my clients, your book Thank you so much, Phil. We will add the links to your books onto your, into your website in the show notes. And thank you so much for being with us.
Phil M Jones (30:42):
Huge pleasure. Thank you for having me as part of the show.
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