How Subtly Changing Your Words Can Give You MASSIVE INFLUENCE

Phil M Jones is a world-leading business speaker and influence expert. On this episode of The Salesman Podcast, Phil explains why what you say and how you say it are equally as powerful at influencing others.

If you're searching for videos like charisma on command to learn the art of persuasion,  how to influence people and how to persuade then you're in the right place.

You'll learn:

Sponsored by:

Featured on this episode:

Host - Will Barron
Founder of Salesman.org
Guest - Phil M Jones
World-Leading Business Speaker

Resources:

Transcript

Phil M. Jones:

That we now know as sales professionals that we have to ask for the things that we want in life. And it isn't just the fact that you shouldn't be asking or you should be asking, how you ask for things can have huge impact upon the success. And one thing that I have learned from now working with over two million sales professionals, is that the difference between those that do good and those that do somewhere like awesome is the ones who are at the top of their game, they know exactly what to say, when to say it and how to make it count. They know the power of words and they know that words matter.

 

Will Barron:

Hello, sales nation. I'm Will Barron, host of The Salesman Podcast, the world's biggest B2B sales show where we help you not just hit your sales target, but really thrive in sales. Let's meet today's guest.

 

Phil M. Jones:

Hi, it's Phil M. Jones. I'm here today to help you exactly understand how you can be more effective in your sales conversations, making more of those conversations count.

 

Is Knowing the Right Things to Say Every Time a Skill That Can Be Learned? · [00:55]

 

Will Barron:

On this episode of the show, Phil shares the magic words that we can use to influence others and how we can take sales objections, we can literally lift them off the table and throw them out of the conversation all together. And so with that said, let's jump right in. And where I want to start with this is I think I know the answer to it, but I'm going to ask you to set up the rest of the conversation is knowing the right thing to say in the right circumstance and being able to get it out there without hesitation. Is this down to nature or nurture? Is this down to practising it and it's a skill that we can pick up? Or is this down to being born as someone with the gift of the gab, which clearly these individuals find their way into sales more often than not?

 

Phil M. Jones:

I think it's a bit of both in terms of the answer is that absolutely nurture is necessary to be able to utilise this skill at a professional level, which I know most of the people are listening right here. Yeah, also I believe there is an inherent behaviour and belief that we had as kids. And I remember at three years of age and every other three-year-old that I've ever met that when they want something, they would ask for something. They would be persuasive with their language, their behaviours, their actions. So often what happens is adults started to tell lies to those children, things like it's rude to ask or [inaudible 00:01:56].

 

“The one thing that I have learned from working with over two million sales professionals is that the difference between those that do good and those that do somewhere awesome is the ones who are at the top of their game know exactly what to say, when to say it and how to make it count. They know the power of words and they know the words matter.” – Phil M. Jones · [02:00] 

 

Phil M. Jones:

Now, we now know as sales professionals that we have to ask for the things that we want in life. And it isn't just the fact that you shouldn't be asking or you should be asking, how you ask for things can have huge impact upon the success. And one thing that I have learned from now working with over two million sales professionals is that the difference between those that do good and those that do somewhere like awesome is the ones who are at the top of their game, they know exactly what to say, when to say it and how to make it count. They know the power of words and they know the words matter.

 

Will Barron:

And is this a series of hacks and tactics and a spreadsheet? Or is this being great, knowing about your product, being knowledgeable and being intuitive about it all?

 

“Making decisions is hard. Our job as a sales professional is to assist the other person's decision making process.” – Phil M. Jones · [02:47]

 

Phil M. Jones:

I think it's different to all of those things. Those things are all useful. Where the essential parts add on top of the useful parts are understanding really what our job is as a sales professional. Our job as a sales professional is to assist the other person's decision making process. Making decisions are hard. In a B2B environment, typically with the multitude of variables that could be at hand to be able to make a decision that's quite complex all of a sudden means that it feels like a lot of weight rise on my shoulders. Also in a B2B environment, when people are buying, often they're spending somebody else's money or they're going to be judged by other people in that decision, whether it's a price judgement or a choice of partner judgement , or just a, “I thought I know somebody better,” judgement . So we want confidence in our decisions as buyers and our ability as salespeople to help somebody navigate that complicated buying process and remove some of the friction, particularly done with word choices, can bring both more confidence to both sides of the negotiation.

 

How to Use the Right Words to Achieve Sales Success · [03:34] 

 

Will Barron:

So how do we go about using words to… I guess there's two angles to it. Are we being confident in ourselves and describing ourselves confidently and using confident language and that somehow transcribes to the other person opposite us on the table, they pick up on these signals, these vibes, these things like mirror neurons which physically make you pick up and have empathy on all of this, is that what's happening? Is it a transfer of emotion? Or are we using perhaps specific words and language patterns to get inside the brains of the individual? Even if we're not congruent with what we're saying perhaps, and that's perhaps another story for another time, but are we using language patterns to reprogram their thoughts and experiences?

 

“The worst time to think about the thing you're going to say is in the moment in which you're saying it.” – Phil M. Jones · [04:39] 

 

Phil M. Jones:

There isn't just a one thing that works, we all know that. What we're looking at is the sum of a number of parts. So confidence, enthusiasm transfer of that, enthusiasm through positive body language, belief and certainty and the fact that your product is going to be right for them, it's going to deliver upon and exceed upon what's being promised to the other person, those are all vital ingredients. Yet, what I have learned to be true is that the worst time to think about the thing you're going to say is in the moment in which you're saying it. Quite often, sales professionals find themselves leaving a key appointment, a key contact point, a key telephone call thinking, “Why didn't I say? I wish I asked. I should have bought with me.” And add to that fact that so many of our conversations are bordering on repetitive, wouldn't it make sense that what we do is consider the power of our conversations ahead of time?

 

Phil M. Jones:

So precise words, exact words are important. They're as important as some of the other things. It isn't the ability to think on your feet. It isn't the ability to make stuff up as you go along. It isn't having the gift of the gab. It's understanding that certain sequences of words assist the other person's decision making process eloquently. So in my book, exactly what to say, I'll give a precise example because I think it might help people be able to get it. Quite often, we find ourselves in situations where the person on the other side of the desk or the other side of the conversation is stuck in indecision. Not sure what to do. They're at a crossroads of a decision. And we in that moment in time as the expert often want to be able to tell that person what to do. But you can't tell somebody what to do because that would be rude, it would be obnoxious.

 

Phil M. Jones:

People don't like to be told what to do. But hold on a second, maybe they do. We quite like actually to be led in certain sets of circumstances. So we've got this belief that people don't like to be told what to do, yet, inherently ourselves, we know that we do like to be led. We don't like telling people what to do, but we do like to lead. So hold on, this creates a vicious cocktail of all kinds of other stuff. So add to that another piece of basic psychology that people take safety in numbers. If people like us have done something before us, it gives us greater confidence to be able to follow that same path, hence why we believe Yelp reviews of 200 more so than we do the recommendation of our mother-in-law. We can wrap all that up with two simple words. See, instead of telling people what to do, we can talk in terms of what most people would do in your circumstances.

 

Phil M. Jones:

Now, if I talk in terms of most people, little voice goes off in the other person's subconscious and goes, “Aha, I'm most people.” So if I wanted Will to do something, I'd say, “Well what most people do in your circumstances is blank, blank, blank.” And you go, “Well okay, I'll do that then.” And they're just tiny little nuances. This is the stuff that if you can programme it into a point where you can use it with the right level of integrity and you can use it with the purpose of saying, “My goal is to help the other person make the right decision, not to sell my thing,” then you can lubricate conversations in a way that allow you to be able to not just get better results, but get better results quicker.

 

Tips on How to Prepare For a Sales Meeting · [07:08] 

 

Will Barron:

Okay. So what do we need to do, Phil, before we walk into a meeting? Perhaps, I'll line up here, of we're going to a meeting with an individual, there's a big deal on the cards. We know it's the right thing for them to do. They know it's probably the right thing to do, but perhaps we're a new supplier they've not dealt with before, we're a new contact, they've not dealt with us individually. We've not done anything to give them a gut feeling that something is up, but we want to. And I love this word and I've used this before which it's funny you should say it like this, we want to lubricate the conversation, we want to lubricate the deal. We want to reduce the deal cycle length if nothing else because we know it'll come in eventually. What do we need to do before we walk in the door? And then I guess we can work on then what we do in the moment.

 

Phil M. Jones:

Well before we walk through the door, the whole piece of preparation is significant, and this level of preparation is going to differ depending upon the lifetime value of the client. And if you're looking to be able to make a single transaction, $100, £100, I wouldn't say that you're going to do an archive of research behind it and look to know the inside leg measurement of the person that you're looking to go speak to. If you're talking about 10,000, 100,000, quarter of a million, 10 million worth of ongoing revenue, then it would make sense to be able to do some of your homework first. If you've ever been the other side of an interview, i.e. been interviewed for a job, then you probably knew that the more prep you did for that interview, the more you knew about the company you were going to work for, the more you knew about the person that was going to be interviewing, the more you would increase your chance of success in winning that job. The sales world is the exact same thing.

 

Phil M. Jones:

That potential buyer is interviewing you to see if they're prepared to give you in your organisation the job of providing that service or product towards them. It makes sense to be somewhere near prepared as to the level that you would for an interview. So that would mean doing your homework about the company as a whole, doing your homework about what's important to them right now, taking a look at the key social channels and what they are communicating. I would absolutely be looking ahead of time to communicate with key decision makers. So I'd be doing things like shooting a LinkedIn connection request, say, “Hey, looking forward to meeting you on Thursday. I thought I'd check out what you guys have been up to online and it would make sense that we connect here.” I'd send that ahead of time. Why? Because they can now crawl all over my profile and see what I've been up to, and we've almost had that resume CV point ahead of time before going in.

 

Phil M. Jones:

There's one other key piece of information I'd always look for on the way in of a conversation, so to prepare ahead of time, is I'd look at who they know that I know. Now, if I can capture that piece of information ahead of time, then early part of the conversation I can say, “Hey, I was browsing online in preparation for today's meeting and I see that we both know,” insert blank.” “How do you guys know each other?” Now, I've got a great place to start a conversation about a mutually agreeable contact, somebody that we both know to create a safe place to be able to start.

 

The Three Levels of Success For All Types of Conversations · [09:50] 

 

Will Barron:

Is there anything that we can do, Phil… Sorry to interrupt. I want to dive deeper into this. Is there anything that we can do before we jump into the conversation so that we mitigate the chances or the risk of us leaving the conversation going, “Oh, I wish I would've said that,” or, “I wish I would've done this instead?”

 

Phil M. Jones:

I write about this in my book Exactly How to Sell and I talk about nine levels of success. And this is about prepping out ahead of time. What am I really coming for? What does success look like? Now, we go deeper in it in the book, but I would certainly look at creating at least three levels of success for every conversation that you have. And first level of success is what's the worst that could happen here? Worst case scenario, where is my acceptance for what worst case scenario looks like? Second level of success is what am I really going for? What am I hoping to be able to achieve today? And the third level of success would be if today was my birthday and I got everything I could possibly dream of, what could I get out of this conversation, this action? And write yourself a shopping list ahead of time. Worst case scenario, worst case scenario give a good representation of myself and my company.

 

Phil M. Jones:

Worst case scenario find out how much they're currently spending on these products and services. Worst case scenario I find out when they've got a next renewal day for contract. Worst case scenario I find out how long they've been working that. Worst case scenario I get three, four, five, six more contacts within the organisation that I can help influence the decision over a period of time. Okay, what am I really here for? Well I'm here to look to be able to win a first transaction to win a piece of trust with the purpose of being able to get them to try our products and service alongside like yada, yada, yada, list, list, list. Okay, if today was my birthday, what could I really find out? List, list, list, list, list, list, list. The minute you create yourself multiple objection points, we throw away the idea of success and failure. It's not, “I won the business, I lost the business. I got the sale, I lost the sale.” It's how much of the sale did I achieve? How much of success did I get?

 

Phil M. Jones:

And if you create a pie that's big enough, then what you're doing is you're working on the size of your slice as opposed to the ability to be able to get the biggest success. So I'd do that ahead of time for anything that's purposeful and important and get ready, ready, ready for the conversations that way. And once you get the list of new objectives, the actions you need to take start to become crystal clear and obvious.

 

How to Develop Skills That Allow You to Have More Powerful Conversations With Prospects · [12:02]

 

Will Barron:

I want to get into the specifics of language in a second because this all really fascinates me and I know it will fascinate the audience. But again, before we get to that meeting and this is acutely to one specific meeting, but is there anything that we can do to improve our… I think one way to describe this is perhaps our quick wittedness, our ability to ping back a response faster? I mean the answer might be role play, which none of us want to hear because we all hate doing it, but the answer might be that. But should we be looking at doing, I don't know, standup comedy, improvisation classes, is there anything outfield that we could be doing as well?

 

“The person who's in control of any conversation is the one who's asking the questions.” – Phil M. Jones · [12:47]

 

Phil M. Jones:

Yeah. I mean completely. Anything you can do to find yourself in more powerful conversations. I think also just the day to day conversations, we have loved ones, friends and family members can be more important. The person who's in control of any conversation is the one who's asking the questions. So if somebody wants something to go and practise upon is practising day to day scenarios where when you get asked a question, don't feel obligated to be able to give an answer. Look to be able to create a conversation instead. So when somebody says, “Did you have a nice weekend?” Don't say, “Yeah.” Say, “Yeah, I did this, this and this. How about you guys? What did you do?” Look to be able to then move a conversation through questions. I think for the purpose of confidence, one of the things that people can do in preparation is put themselves in the right frame of mind, listen to podcast interviews that are of a two person conversation because you feel like you've been a fly on the wall, you feel ready to be able to join in.

 

Phil M. Jones:

Plug yourself into a decent audio book, put yourself into something that makes you smile, makes you laugh, puts you in a good frame of mind. All of those things are stuff that can be done ahead of time. I try and throw out the idea a little of being quick witted because I think being quick witted is an art form that gets added towards success of a salesperson that actually becomes derogatory towards the potential success of that individual. We create this stereotype of what a great salesperson is that the majority of people don't fit into that actually creates an ugly lens to look at the profession as a whole. What I've learned about some of the most successful sales people, they're the ones with the biggest hearts, they're the ones that actually move the finish line of what they're looking to be able to achieve from their clients past the day of the transaction itself and towards the promise that they made in the initial discussion.

 

Phil M. Jones:

And they're the people that often sit somewhere near the mid of the pack when it comes to the noise that they make, but they're articulate, they're long-term and they care about the results of their clients. And I think if you're looking at other things you can do to prep to grow your confidence ahead of time, write yourself a list of questions that you'd like the answer to. What is it that you need to go find out? Not how much are they paying? Not about the money, but how do they go about choosing their last supplier? What's changed since that point in time. Tell me about the plans for your future of your business. When you're looking to choose a supplier, what are the things that are most important to you? What have you found disappointing in the past when you've worked with somebody in this interesting industry? Is there one thing that really grates and gets under your skin when you've worked with sales representatives in the past?

 

Phil M. Jones:

If there was success in this area and that we did manage to achieve all the things that you were looking for, then what difference would that make to you and your business? Those questions put you into a situation that show that you care about the results you're looking to try and achieve as opposed to this quick wittedness that can often be celebrated.

 

Why Quick-Wittedness is Not a Skill You Should Be Trying to Develop in Sales · [15:40] 

 

Will Barron:

As you say this, so I used quick witted… I used it consciously then and I didn't realise the image that you're going to paint back at me. And in hindsight, when I now think about it, quick wittedness is the used car salesperson, right? It can perhaps be slimy, unless you are genuinely hilarious. You can come across as a bit of a jerk. The stereotype is getting deeper and deeper down the line of someone who's sarcastic, someone who's making jokes at someone else's expense. And when I then visualise the B2B salesperson that I want to be engaging with, perhaps I don't want a quick reply, perhaps I want them to go, “Oh,” and think about the response for a second and then give a real thoughtful answer back, right? Is that perhaps a better way to look at it?

 

“Nobody likes the expert that tells you they're an expert. And my simple analogy towards this is that in the medical industry, prescription before diagnosis is malpractice.” – Phil M. Jones · [17:04] 

 

Phil M. Jones:

Yeah, I think so. And I think what we should be looking to do is to ask three more questions before we ever give an answer, because we're expected to be treated in a way that we have an answer for everything and that quite often in a B2B environment, the buyer thinks they're in charge and they think they can beat you up, they think it's about price. The truth of it is they are in charge. So why don't we serve them in a way that accepts the fact that they are in charge and then prove to them that actually, if we truly understand their situation, we can make better recommendations coming from a position of expertise. Now, nobody likes the expert that tells you they're an expert. And my simple analogy towards this is that in the medical industry, prescription before diagnosis is malpractice. And the same thing would be true in a sales environment is our ability to embellish things with features and benefits hoping that somebody finds it attractive to then do a little dance around finding the best possible price, welcome to 1986.

 

“Understanding what selling really is in the Phil Jones dictionary definition is earning the right to make a recommendation.” – Phil M. Jones · [17:38] 

 

Phil M. Jones:

In today's world, what we really should be doing is understanding what selling really is. In the Phil Jones dictionary definition of what selling is is earning the right to make a recommendation. And I want to lean on those words earning the right. It means that we need to be able to get ourselves into a position that we should be able to say we should never ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever invite somebody to buy something of ours unless we can say these words first, the words we want to be able to say first are because of the fact that you said. So because of the fact that you said A, B and C, it's for those reasons, what I'd recommend we do is X, Y and Z. Now, if I can make recommendations based on the words of my prospects, then guess what happens? I'm aligned as a partner and we're on the same side. And there's more you can go into on this. In fact, I'd like to make a plug recommendation to a good friend of mine's book and methodology around some of this is a guy called Ian Altman.

 

Phil M. Jones:

I don't know if you know Ian, Ian's got a great book called Same Side Selling and positions a beautiful piece with these same side quadrants that allow you to better shift your entire thought process towards being buyer centric as opposed to being company and product centric. And yeah, I just encourage more people to think that way. I think we'll get better results.

 

Word Choices and The Ultimate Sequence of Words That Sell · [18:45] 

 

Will Barron:

Perfect. So Phil, you used again a specific phrase there of because you said. So if that's at the end of the sales process or the end of a sales conversation, perhaps to make it easier to comprehend, we'll think of the whole sales process happening in one conversation. Clearly, it's not going to be like that in a B2B high value deal, but let's assume that for the second. Are there any other parts within this conversation, any other parts within the sales process, the sales cycle, that we'd be looking for a specific phrase like that or a specific series of words that have more impact than perhaps what they seem on just the outside of it?

 

Phil M. Jones:

I think we should be collecting sequences of words. And I used to work with one of the largest independent furniture retail businesses in the UK and I would write questions for the purpose of overcoming or avoiding our most common objections. When it comes to sequences of words, as a B2B sales professional, I'd look at every conversation that I have that's repetitive. I'd look at every common objection that I get that's repetitive in that scenario and I'd write a question to pre-qualify that objection, making that objection impossible to pick. So it isn't me saying, “Here are the words right now,” I'd be saying, “Actually, if I find myself in a regular predicament of conversation, wouldn't it make sense that instead of trying to put out the fire, I found the guy with a match, I took the matchbox out of his pocket the morning that he got out of bed,” and I'll do that with word choices. So I'll paint this out as a story in the furniture industry.

 

Phil M. Jones:

One of the most common objections that we faced was when introducing fabric protection for couches. In a retail environment, most common objection that customers would give as to why they didn't want their fabric professionally sealed at the factory is that they would say they do not eat and drink on their furniture. Let's just think about that for a second. Most common objection was a customer says they do not eat and drink when sat on their couch. And people say that sales people are liars. So let's just accept the fact though that if a customer says that they don't eat and drink on the furniture, we as the professional in that environment have to treat that as the truth and then respect that truth in our future recommendations. What I'd rather do though is to get them to admit to the fact that that isn't. Untrue earlier in the conversation. So I'd write a series of questions, questions around this apart from yourself who would be using the furniture.

 

Phil M. Jones:

Let's say me, the wife, the kid, the dog, I'd say whilst nodding and a spot of entertaining. What do you think everybody says to that? Everybody says, “Sure.” I mean I guess nobody admits to having no friends, right? So they admit to being able to [inaudible 00:21:22]. I'll say, “Is it going in your best room or your everyday room?” Do I mind which one they pick? Of course I don't. If it goes in their best room, they want it to be able to maintain its best. If it goes in the everyday room, then it's going to take a hammering. I say your last piece of furniture, how long did you keep that one for? Didn't matter whether they said six years, 11 years, or 15 years, I'd say, “I guess you're looking for this one to last the same time or longer.” Now, I'm in a situation where they've told me they want it to last a long time, it's going in their best room and they use it for entertaining. Am I in good shape to recommend fabric protection?

 

“What we're looking to do in professional sales is not to embellish the option of yes, but to destroy the option of no. That's what we should be looking to do in our conversations. Make no impossible to pick, not make yes sound better.” – Phil M. Jones · [22:35] 

 

Phil M. Jones:

I'm not selling the benefits of fabric protection, I'm introducing fabric protection for the purpose of helping them with the problems they've told me exist in their world. That's the difference of being able to make formalised recommendations as opposed to embellishing products and services is to write those questions ahead of time. And in every given industry, you could write yourself three, five, seven questions that you will use on an ongoing regular basis that you can work through your discovery phase that put you in a position that when you're making a recommendation, you're not coming from a position of confidence. You're coming from a position of certainty, much like a criminal prosecution lawyer would that before they lean out to the jury for verdict they ask all the questions to say, “Told you so.” And what we're looking to succeed in professional sales is not to embellish the option of yes, but to destroy the option of no. That's what we should be looking to do in our conversations is to make no impossible to pick, not make yes sound better.

 

The Questions You Choose to Use in Sales Conversations Matter · [22:47] 

 

Will Barron:

So Phil, if 20,000 plus people are going to listen to this now, they want to implement this this afternoon. They're listening in the car, they're jogging on a treadmill, they're riding the bike, whatever they're doing as they listen to this, they want to put it into practise this afternoon. Tell me if I'm wrong, it seems like the first step is to start jotting down the objections you get in so you can see the commonalities and the trends between them. What is the next step? Because what you just described, it seems very elegant. It seems very succinct. It seems simple as you through the questions and describe it. But is there any nuances with these questions? And are we starting with the end in mind and then working backwards from it? Or is there a separate process to put a series of questions like this together?

 

Phil M. Jones:

You've got to come at this from a couple of multiple angles. One is let's look at the most common objections we get and then write questions to be able to prevent. And then secondly, we need to say what are the milestones and landing points within the decision making process at their end that I do want to achieve? And how do I create proactive forward facing questions that steer a conversation towards that next checkpoint whilst gathering the evidence that I want on the way to be able to make sure that people are happy on that new island that I've moving to? So take, for example, we're looking to be able to move somebody across, away from their incumbent supplier and towards doing business with ourselves. We know that the likelihood of getting them to take everything they do with them and putting that everything with us is going to be a significant step for them to be able to take.

 

Phil M. Jones:

So we put a micro step in what I would call an easy first yes and we say our checkpoint number one is for them to do a 12 week trial running our product or service alongside what they're doing right now. What I might do is I might write an opening question. How do I get into more of these conversations? Let's list some magic words from exactly what to say. One of the biggest reasons people don't ask for the things that they would like in life is they're fearful of rejection. We hear it in sales all the time. So I figured if I can write standard rejection free openings, we can get people into more powerful conversations. They can play with this stuff straight away, this is instantly applicable. If I want somebody to accept a new idea for me, I will position it to the left or to the right of them rather than to them directly. And I'll use magic words like, “I'm not sure if it's for you.”

 

Phil M. Jones:

Now, if I'm going to preface an idea with the words, “I'm not sure if it's for you,” a little voice inside the head does two things. First, it says, “I'll be the judge of that.” Secondly, curiosity is peaked and it says, “What is there?” Now, what I might do is I might add some words behind that. I might say I'm not sure if it's for you, but how would you feel about saving an extra $15,000 a quarter on your insert blank expenses? Well try and say no to that. They've got to lean in and say how would that work? Now, if I'm not going to use, “I'm not sure if it's for you,” but I might actually create another preface to a question. Now, if I'm to ask an audience full of people who in this room would be open minded, say there are a thousand people in the audience, I'm pretty sure I get 900 hands raise up. The other 100 are unlikely to raise their hand regardless of what I ask. So everybody likes to see themselves as open-minded.

 

“All I want people to understand in a B2B environment is the five stages: questions come to conversations, conversations build relationships, relationships create opportunities and opportunities lead to sales. But if you slow the process down, you speed the outcome up.” – Phil M. Jones · [26:12] 

 

Phil M. Jones:

How open-minded would you be to insert blank, which is result or outcome, of your product good or service allows you to be able to get into a more meaningful conversation. So not how open-minded would you be to working with a new ball bearing supplier? Ah, no good. How open-minded would you be to working with a local supplier that can match the costs that you get from coming from overseas maybe all of a sudden, has somebody feeling more likely to enter into a conversation. All I want people to understand in a B2B environment is the five stages, questions then comes to conversations, conversations build relationships, relationships create opportunities and opportunities lead to sales. That's what we need to better work through. So what are the questions that allow you to have more meaningful conversations about the service that you provide that lead to you having an effective relationship that then goes on to create an opportunity? Only once the opportunity exists can you start to then be able to impact upon your closing skills. But if you slow the process down, you speed the outcome up.

 

The Difference Between an Open-Ended Question and a Close-Ended Question · [26:45]

 

Will Barron:

For people who aren't familiar, can you just give us a… And people call them different things, but I'm sure you'll get where I'm going with this. Can you give us a quick explanation of what an open ended question is and what a close ended question is? And then I'd like to dive into perhaps what's the cadence between leading people and just having a conversation because clearly, one builds a bit of stress and then the other one perhaps is more of a conversation?

 

Phil M. Jones:

Paint a picture for a set of circumstances you're imagining if you're listed right now, we'll take a closed angle at it, we'll take an open angle and we'll illustrate the difference.

 

Will Barron:

Cool. Well we'll use me selling ad space on the podcast. So-

 

Phil M. Jones:

Okay.

 

Will Barron:

Regularly I get people coming to… So all the ads, all the ad space on the podcast is sold through inbound leads pretty much, unless there's a company I want to work with on a different project, that's there in through the door. So one of the things that I'll ask people about is whether they've done any podcast advertising in the past. So I guess there's close and open ended questions to this and obviously I want to lead them down one pathway.

 

Phil M. Jones:

So let's look at that. You say have you done any podcast advertising in the past? What do you want them to say to that?

 

Will Barron:

That's a good question. I don't really care either way because there's angles on both sides of that.

 

Phil M. Jones:

Right. So what you get though by the answer on that is you get a complicated next step. So they say, “Yes I have,” now all of a sudden it's well what have you done? What have you paid for it? What has that worked for you, etc. You've got a prejudgment now that you have to deal with that you created for yourself. They say, “No,” you've got a prejudgment that then you have to deal with. Actually you said that you want to take a step forward, but really you put yourself 10 yards behind the start line just with an opening question because you shot with a closed one. Now, if we take that and we open it and we say, “What's your experience with podcast advertising?”

 

Phil M. Jones:

Guess what happens? It doesn't matter what the answer is, but we get a better picture and we move five yards past the start line by utilising an open question. So instead of asking a have you question that is closed, that gives you a blank set of data points, which actually strengthens the position and the negotiation of the other person, flip it to a, “What's your experience with blank.” Now, all of a sudden, we're into a conversation. What we've now got is we've not got this checkbox of yes or no, we've got this beautiful grey space in the middle that allows us to go onto an exploration.

 

Will Barron:

And that's exactly what I wanted. And the example is perfect. Cheers for that, Phil, because that's what I wanted to touch on with the audience here of, and tell me if I'm wrong, but isn't necessary, especially for longer deal cycles, isn't necessary bam, bam, bam, almost Grant Cardone used car salesperson, that isn't going to work when you're dealing with a CFO whose time is precious, and clearly your time should be precious if you're going into those conversations as well. But when you need to, in that 30 minutes, do a bit of investigation and build rapport and do all these other things as well, right, we can't just be smash, smash, smash through this process.

 

“The goal in sales is to be nice and be useful. That's it. The second you move yourself into a position of being useful to them, guess what happens? They'll give you more time. They'll then spend more money with you.” – Phil M. Jones · [29:38] 

 

Phil M. Jones:

And the goal is to be nice and be useful. That's it. Be nice and be useful to the time and the challenges and the objections. And see if you can understand the problems that your products can help with for that given individual better they can see it themselves. The second you move yourself into a position of being useful to them, guess what happens? They'll give you more time. They'll then spend more money with you.

 

How To Analyze Past Meetings and Use the Notes to Prepare For Future Meetings · [30:00] 

 

Will Barron:

Okay. So we've done all the prep work before the conversation itself, we've had the conversation. Perhaps nine times out of 10, we've crushed it. We've come up with great questions, great answers. We fought on our feet, we've done well, we've come out of it. What should we do to review the process almost? Is there anything that we should do to review so that we can improve the next conversation that we go into?

 

“Never finish a conversation without scheduling your next one. I find it fascinating that there is so much talk about follow up as a process yet follow up is an entirely unnecessary step if you didn't leave before the conversation was finished.” – Phil M. Jones · [30:25] 

 

Phil M. Jones:

Well I think that there's a couple of things, it's firstly never finish a conversation without scheduling your next one. I find it fascinating that there is so much talk about follow up as a process yet follow up is an entirely unnecessary step if what you did is that you didn't leave before the conversation was finished. So I'd make sure that you always have an agreed next step even if that's in six months, 12 months, two years, that next step needs to be agreed in every conversation. If you're leaving conversations right now without planning that, then you're putting yourself into the position of pest in order to be able to get that conversation back under your control. When it comes to reviewing, there's a process that I use right now that I learned from some friends of mine called Andy Quinn and Mary Colin a decade or more ago. And I call it LBs and NTs. So LBs is what did I like best? And NT stands for next time.

 

Phil M. Jones:

So instead of saying, “What did I do right and what did I do wrong?” What we end up with is this position of continued improvement. What did I like best about that conversation? Well I loved I was there on time, I loved I asked those questions, I loved I didn't dive in with the answer. I got two more facts in there. I love the fact that I found out about these other areas in the business. I love the fact that I know who else is involved in the decision making process. I love the fact that I got their pricing from their existing supplier. I love the fact that I understand the quantities that they might be forecasted for next years. I love that. I love that. I love that. I love that. Great. Feel good, I did a pretty good job. Okay, if I was there again, what would I do next time? Well next time, I wouldn't go down that rabbit hole of telling him about the fact that I love golf so much and next time I wouldn't forget their name part way through.

 

Phil M. Jones:

Next time, what I would do is I'd make sure that I have some samples with me so I can show them the physical thing. Next time, I'd prepare some testimonials ahead of time for relevant similar industries so they can see how we've had success for this for others. Next time, I would blank, blank, blank, blank, blank, guess what happens? You're on this journey of continued improvement and it just means that the next time you find yourself in that situation, you remember to do all the good stuff that made you great in the first place and you sprinkle on a few pieces of the extra stuff that you will do when you find yourself in that situation again.

 

Phil’s Advice to His Younger Self on How to Become Better at Selling · [32:40] 

 

Will Barron:

Perfect. Well just before we jump onto the books, can you tell us a little bit more where we can find out more about yourself, Phil? I've got one final question. It's something I ask everyone that comes on the show. And that is if you could go back in time and speak to your younger self, what would be one piece of advice you'd give him to help him become better at selling?

 

Phil M. Jones:

I'm happy with how my life's mapped out from a salesperson's point of view. I mean I started in business at 14 years of age and I've put growth on my success year upon year upon year every year since that point. If there was a piece of advice, I think the only thing that I would encourage myself is to shoot a little bit bigger a little bit earlier. That's it, just to think a little bit bigger, be a touch braver, understand that more is possible if you can imagine it is and don't think that success is for other people.

 

Why Mindset is the Key to Achieving Exceptional Sales Success · [33:30]

 

Will Barron:

I think I would offer the same advice to myself. And I think in 25 years, I'd still probably offer the same advice to myself. It probably never ends, right? We'll wrap up with this, when we come into success and winning in sales, investing that money, having a bigger life, you're retiring early if that's what you're into or just you establish a huge base of wealth that you can do whatever you want with or provide your family, all this kind of stuff, how much of this comes down to what we're talking about today, which is skills, which is things that you can learn? How much of it comes down to just your mindset?

 

Phil M. Jones:

Mindset without question is huge as is your ability in yourself, ability to believe in yourself. Now, to give an answer to everybody listening in right now is… As I sit here at 36 years of age, I'm the son of a builder. I grew up in a small village outside London in the UK, I have no college education. I now do some honorary doctorate stuff. But I have three houses around the world. I drive the car of the dreams. I have a beautiful family. I get to do pretty much what I want, when I want with who I want. And I'm only good at three things, there's only three things I know how to do. So one is acquire more customers, two is to get them to come back more often and three is to get them to spend more money when they shop. It's the only stuff I know how to do.

 

Phil M. Jones:

So I've learned that if you get good at those three things, you can craft the life of your dreams, not saying that it needs to be anything like mine. But the ability to sell stuff is one of the most underrated skills that exists in this world. And I'm super excited because at the end of this month, I produce a programme for Audible and we're producing a programme called… What is it called again? We've changed the name three times. How to Persuade and Get Paid. And it's a sales workshop for everybody. So whether you are a sales professional or at the level of the majority of your users or you're a self-employed plumber that needs to get people to be able to buy into your services. And a huge passion of mine is to champion the importance of sales skills and that selling isn't a dirty word, selling is something that needs to happen for everybody to be able to get on and move through life.

 

Phil M. Jones:

But the success that we're looking for in a job well done as a salesperson isn't applause for our sales skills, it's merely the receipt of the words, “Thank you,” from the other person, not just on the day you closed the deal but the day that the deal delivered on the promise. So I think I work hard to be able to do that. And I would like more people to try and think about selling in that same way.

 

Parting Thoughts · [35:50] 

 

Will Barron:

Phil, with that, tell us about the books, where we can find them, where we can find out more about you, sir, and then we'll wrap up with tell us what the dream car is as well.

 

Phil M. Jones:

Okay. So if you want to find me online, Phil M. Jones is where you'll find me. So hit Google search and whatever your social platform is of choice, you'll find me there. Books are Exactly What to Say, Exactly How to Sell and Exactly Where to Start comes out later on this year. And we're doing loads of stuff with Audible and audio content right now. So quite excited about that. January 2019 is the release of my Audible original which is How to Persuade and Get Paid. I'm excited to see how people respond to that when that finds itself in the marketplace. What else did you want to know?

 

Will Barron:

The car.

 

Phil M. Jones:

Bentley Continental GT.

 

Will Barron:

Nice, smooth. Right, well with that, I'll link to everything that we talk about in the show notes in this episode over at salesman.org. Phil, I appreciate this. We've gone back and forth. I've asked some somewhat challenging questions here, mate, and you smashed the answers back. So I appreciate that, it's a sign of a true expert and the audience will recognise when people hesitate and the pros like yourself don't, sir. So with that, I want to thank you for your time and for coming on The Salesman Podcast.

 

Phil M. Jones:

Delight to be here, thanks for having me on the show.

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