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The Business of Meetings

Sep 8, 2020

We are thrilled to welcome Phil Jones as our guest for today’s podcast! Phil is brilliant! He is a true Master of Words, and it is fascinating to find out how the specific words he chooses, and the context in which he uses them, really work! 

Phil has written several books, including Exactly What To Say, Exactly How To Sell and Exactly Where To Start. He is joining us today to talk about his entrepreneurial journey, discuss his books, share some of his invaluable knowledge, and offer some golden nuggets of advice. We know you’re going to love today’s conversation!

Phil’s bio

Phil is exactly like… nobody else!

He entered the world of business at the tender age of 14, armed with nothing more than a bucket and sponge, and since then, he hasn’t looked back!

Phil’s early career went from strength to strength. After starting as the Sales Manager for a fashion retailer, he moved on to assisting several Premier League Football Clubs, after which he became a key part of growing a £240m property business. 

Then, in 2008, Phil decided it was time to dedicate his future to helping others to succeed. So, using all his knowledge about leadership, sales, and business growth, he created a one-day workshop, where he trained over 2,500 people in his founding year, before licensing his training to the UK, Switzerland, Australia, and New Zealand.

As he dived deeper and deeper into the world of training businesses, however, Phil became increasingly uncomfortable with the selling style that the marketplace was glorifying. Since then, he has made it his life’s work to demystify the sales process and bring simplicity and integrity to a world that is often full of egos and lies. 

He has gone on to deliver over 2,500 presentations in 57 countries across five continents, training more than two million people, including sales and non-sales professionals, leaders, and experts, to have more influence, confidence, and control when steering their conversations.

Phil’s unique philosophy of using specific word choices to teach his audiences “Exactly What To Say” to influence, persuade and drive outcomes has made him one of the most practical and in-demand business speakers in the world today.

An accidental start to entrepreneurship

When Phil hired his first employee, it was neither planned nor was it a strategic move. He hired someone because he had to play football at the same time as he had arranged to do a job for someone else. Phil got a friend to do the job in his place, and he paid his friend a difference to what he was getting paid. In doing that, he learned about margins, and he kept on doing more of the same thing, from then on.

A lesson learned about value

The best lesson that Phil learned very early on in his entrepreneurial journey was that the ability to acquire customers is the value, rather than the ability to do the work. Phil explains that you will always find people to work for you if you can afford to pay them and if you have customers.

A prestigious offer

When he was eighteen, Phil got an offer from a very prestigious university in the UK. He didn’t want to go, even though he felt obliged to further his education. 

A suitable compromise

He thought that a suitable compromise would be to land a big job with career development attached to it. In that way, he could get his education in the workplace while being paid for it, and he wouldn’t have to bury himself in debt. 

Phil’s career path 

At the age of eighteen, Phil became the youngest Sales Manager for one of the biggest department stores in the UK. From there, he built sales teams, became a Sales Training Manager for one of the largest independent furniture retail groups, became the Head of Retail and the Commercial Director to a few Premier League soccer clubs, and then, together with a business partner, he went on to build a very successful, independent property business.  

The 2008 recession

In 2008, the recession kicked in, and there was no longer a market for Phil and his partner’s product offering.


Due to the recession, Phil was continuously being asked by chambers of commerce and small business networking groups to speak to their groups of people, train entrepreneurs to trade out of a recession and share some ideas about what to do to take things back into their own hands. He continued doing it, thinking that it was a just time-filler while he was figuring out what his next entrepreneurial venture would be. 

The personal development industry

Although he had always had aspirations to do that kind of work in the future, Phil thought that he was still too young to be a professional speaker. Yet, he found himself being sucked into the personal development industry and running his own business. From there, things built out very organically for him and he viewed it very much as a business every step of the way.

A better approach to selling

The typical approach to selling anything is the features and benefits approach. The only way you can be successful with that approach is if you are pushy. Rather than being pushy, Phil recommends thinking about how you can be pulling, instead, and putting yourself in a position where people want to run towards you.

The right words to say

When selling something, you should never, ever, invite anybody to do anything unless you can first say the words: “Because of the fact that you said…” This means you have to be curious enough to understand two things: Firstly, the current situation, and secondly, what the vision of success looks like to the person you’re selling to.

Getting better at getting clients

The issue when getting clients is not messing things up when you find someone to speak to by bombarding them with information. Instead, you should catch your breath and remember that content without context is noise. In other words, you need to do the work to understand the context before you start to insert your content.

Getting the client

Phil breaks things down to a simple method:

  1. Find the truth 
  2. Be curious enough to see if there’s a genuine alignment towards where you are 
  3. Ask three more questions to reach a position of certainty 
  4. Present yourself as the only solution 

Precise verbiage

Phil has been training people with sales skills for the last twelve or thirteen years, and he has always added pieces in his training about precise verbiage or specific word choices. 

Magic words

Phil wrote a speech called Magic Words that he would often use in an environment where he got a short window to deliver some content with the purpose of being able to win credibility and leads.

Communications training around word choices

Phil was asked to deliver sales training for a group of admin assistants in the telecommunications industry, and he didn’t want to call it sales training, so he made it a communications training around word choices. He produced a PDF for the training that included seventeen sequences of words to influence, persuade and encourage people to take action.

Creating the book, Magic Words

Later, at a mastermind event in 2011 or 2012, Phil told some colleagues that he could publish a book in seven days and get it to bestseller status. He took the PDF that he had written for the training and turned it into the book, Magic Words, and he ended up selling tens of thousands of copies of it! It was not done properly, however, because he did it mainly to prove a point.

Doing it right

When Phil moved from the UK to the US, he wanted to create a new credibility platform for speaker bureaus and agencies, so he decided to rewrite the book as he should have done it. He did so, and he called the book Exactly What To Say.

Links and resources:

Phil’s website

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