Change your words. Change your world.

Q&A With EWTS Founder Phil M. Jones

2023 is set to be another really exciting year for Exactly What To Say. Our community is growing, and we’re able to reach a wide audience with hundreds of exclusive talks and workshops scheduled.

All of this wouldn’t have been possible without EWTS founder Phil. M. Jones’s vision and hard work. He took some time out recently to walk around his beloved New York City and answer some of the most common questions that we get asked.

You can watch the full video here, and don’t forget, if there’s anything else you want to know about the EWTS family and what certification could mean for you, then don’t hesitate to get in touch. We’d love to continue the conversation!

How many events are you doing per year, and do you see that increasing?

About 100 – 150, but I guess the number of events we do will be increased; whether I’ll be doing them all is another story.

The majority of events will be things that our certified guides are going to be running as well as me. We now have approaching 30 independent certified guides teaching EWTS in all different areas of the world.

They’re running small workshops, as well as big keynotes, so it’s no longer just me out there doing it.

But for me personally, 100 – 120 events per year will put me in good shape.

What happens at a new Certified Guides program?

It’s a privilege to work with such talented, experienced people. People who’ve been practitioners of material from Exactly What To Say. What we’re allowing them to be able to do is go deeper and give them a greater understanding of the work to bring many of the core principles to other areas.

So when we run a certification workshop, what we’re really doing is helping people find a new level of understanding of the work.

So what they can do is start to be able to stack the word choices on top of each other. It’s not about just forcing the words into conversations; it’s about understanding the principles, the tactics, and teaching levels of mastery by going deeper in a group environment.

We take talented people to a start line so that they can guide others to have more confidence in many areas of life’s critical conversations.

What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to somebody wanting to be more effective in sales?

When it comes to common questions that people ask me, it’s quite often they’re looking for the cheat code or a shortcut.

They’re asking me questions like, ‘what advice would you give your younger self?’

The questions they should be asking are questions about their next steps, given their current prospects.

If there’s one tip to being more effective in sales conversations, it’s to remember that the worst time to think about the thing that you’re going to say is at the moment that you’re saying it.

If people want to elevate to pro standard, then they need to put more effort into knowing exactly what to say, when to say it, and when to make it count.

What would you say to someone having a hard time getting results from their sales conversations?

There are 2 questions that people need to know the answers to;

  1. Who are the people you’re trying to help?
  2. What are the challenges that you’re trying to overcome?

Nobody ever wants to buy the thing; they want the result of the thing. Or, more precisely, they want the result of the results of the thing.

So right now, you’re pointing a video camera at me and asking me questions; nobody ever wants to do that. But what people do want is the result of the other side of that.

In my world, I’m looking for people to understand some content. You’re here asking questions of me – the result of the results is what matters.

Why are you sharing your knowledge in this way?

One of the big reasons why I like to do this work is to find a way to serve the many.

There are people that can invest in high-level consulting to solve very specific problems.

There are also people that are at much earlier points in their journey, and what they’re looking to find is inspiration, application, or tactics. 

By producing video content, you find ways to bring your methodology to many people at very different levels depending on where that person is on their journey.

What advice would you give to someone who’s just starting out in sales?

Every human being on the planet is selling something to somebody. Sometimes it’s a product or service, and sometimes an idea or an outcome.

So when it comes to getting started, the first place to start is to realize that you’re already a proven success story.

You’ve sold stuff to people in the past, you’ve sold stuff to family members, and believe it or not, you’ve changed belief systems too.

We all have the ability to ask for things. 3 year old you knew how to sell, but there are just points that we get to later in life when we’re more caught up in needing to get the result.

Make sure that every time you make a phone call, or find yourself in a conversation, or a meeting, your focus is on discovering if there’s a problem worth solving.

Do you have a solution that can help solve the problem? What are the steps that they need to take to get them where they need to be? The conversation will be about the journey and the results, not about your solution.

What’s the fastest way to influence anybody to do anything?

Remember that people do things for their reasons, not yours.

The fastest way to influence anybody to do anything is to talk about their interests, not yours. That means utilizing words like ‘you,’ and ‘your,’ and then positioning your idea towards something that will be valuable to them.

There’s a big difference between saying ‘I think that’ and you being able to say ‘you might benefit from.’

So if you’re looking to influence others, talk in terms of the interests of the person you’re looking to influence and not your own self-interest.

Why New York City?

I’ve had the privilege of traveling all around the world both living in and visiting several different places.

What I love about New York is that it’s the epicenter of everything. Just about anything that I want to do exists on foot from where I live.

It’s great for living a transatlantic life, especially if you need to operate between the UK and the US like me, there’s no quicker or more regular path than between London and New York.

There’s a lot of convenience that comes with it too, especially if you live a busy life. Everything is close.

It’s also a great city to not live in. What I mean by that is that we have an apartment building, we have a doorman, convenience is on our doorstep, and you can hide in plain sight.

But if you want to know the greatest thing about New York City, it doesn’t matter how much you’ve done, how far you’ve come in your life, or how much you’ve achieved. New York will keep you humble.

New York reminds you that whatever you’ve done, you’ve done nothing, somebody has done something better.

You’re surrounded by people who inspire you and encourage you to do more.

What goals do you have for yourself?

As a young man and when I first entered this world, I thought one day, when I’m old and grey, I’d love to be able to speak, write books, and be an educator on stage. These were goals that I set but that I thought would be in my 50s, 60s, or 70s when I finally achieved them.

I found myself being in the business of a professional speaker in my late 20s and wrote my first book at this age too.

I’m now 40 years old and an experienced veteran in the world of professional speakers. The challenge is that every goal I set for myself as a young man is a goal I’ve now surpassed.

There are so many joys that come from saying everything that I wanted to do professionally, I’ve ticked the box. But now, my goals have become a lot more altruistic.

Through what we do with EWTS Certified Guides, I can focus on helping others fast-track their experience. I’m on a bigger mission.

I’ve grown up in sales roles such as sales trainer, sales coach, and sales consultant, and sadly the marketplace still looks down on sales as a profession.

My goals are about shifting the perspective. Being great at sales doesn’t mean you’re slimy, sleazy, or pushy.

My goals are primarily to change that opinion of the industry and, secondly, to help other people rise up.

How can somebody best get started in the speaking world?

I get asked this question a lot, and I think what people are really asking is how they can successfully get into a position of speaking on big stages and getting paid big money.

But in terms of answering your question directly, remember that speakers speak.

Everyone can get an opportunity to speak, and there are many platforms available, like Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube, to enable this. You can find an audience overnight.

Any speaker I know that’s operating at an exceptional level with experience had a very first audience, and that audience might have only been 2 people. Their next audience might have had 3.

But they loved it when their audience grew to 12 and loved it even more when they first got paid.

What this means is that if you really want to be a speaker, you have to be able to excel at every level.

You have to be brilliant when there are 2 people and when there are 122.

And you always have to perform better than your fee. You’ve got to have certainty that you can deliver the objective of the client, the audience, and the brief.

Start somewhere and be better than your fee.

Your first fee is likely going to be zero, you should be better than nothing right?

Show up and master your craft in an environment without a huge audience. Get ready for the bigger stages.

One of the biggest mistakes I see is when speakers push for the stage before they’re ready. Taking their shot too soon and getting remembered for all the wrong reasons.

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