On this edition of Let’s Talk Marketing & Business IYAM Media brought on leading sales and communication expert Phil M Jones to talk about his book “Exactly What to Say: Magic Words for Influence and I”
Phil also answered other questions relating to marketing communication, sales and business.
The session was moderated by Daniel Iyam, the Creative Director of IYAM Media.
I am super excited to have Phil M Jones as our Lead Discussant as we review his book “Exactly What To Say: Magic Words for Influence and Impact.”
Hi Phil, great to have you!
Hello and great to be here!
Wonderful book. I loved every bit. Let’s begin with the whys and the hows. Why did you write the book and how long did it take you?
Something that I had always seen through working with over 2million sales professionals was that quite often the difference between those that win and those that do ok was that winners new exactly what to say, when to say it and how to make it count.
They knew that the right words at the right time would drive their success as much as their hard work, product knowledge and skill would.
Through the years I learned that certain words and phrases would allow us to communicate more effectively, ease the decision making process and allow others to make their mind up more freely.
I call these words, my “magic words”.
The book is full of them and my goal was to write the biggest – small book – that I could. Something easy to digest, instantly applicable and would drive real world results. I wanted a book that empowered the reader, not something that demonstrated my expertise.
How long did it take….
It took a lifetime of work to be able to write it.
It took 6 months to plan it.
2 days to write it.
Months to edit it.
More months to format and design it so that it was easy on the eye.
Yes – I wrote it in a weekend.
I actually spoke it first.
Talking about magic or power words, you highlighted 25 of them in the book. Let’s look a little deeper into some of those words/phrases.
The very first is “I’m not sure if it’s for you, but…”
Is this some sort of reverse psychology? And in what circumstance will this statement work perfectly in the sales process and why?
It’s not so much “reverse psychology” – it’s more about creating “movement” or “motivation” in the other person.
The biggest FEAR many face when introducing a new idea to a customer is the fear of rejection.
The words “I am not sure if it’s for you…” allows the recipient to respond without rejection – in fact it is completely rejection free.
When you say “I am not sure if it’s for you…”The recipient does 2 things:
1 – They take ownership and decide “I will be the judge of that?” And it makes them want the thing more.
2 – They are peaked with curiosity in anticipation of the “it”.
So the words “I am not sure if it’s for you…” provide a guaranteed, powerful and rejection free opening formulae to introduce just about anything to just about anybody!
Moving swiftly on to the next phrase “Just Imagine”. In the book you said “people make decisions based on the images they see in their minds.” You went further to say “Creating pictures in the minds of others is done by telling stories.” Could you tell us a bit more about using the “Just Imagine” phrase and how we can tie that to the essence of brand story telling?
As children we learned best from the story’s that were shared. Those stories advanced our experience because we could borrow the experience of the characters in the stories and reference them as our own.
We hold images in our minds and can reference those images to support future decisions. Children knew a story was coming, when they hear words like “once upon a time”.
Those words don’t work so well in a business context.
However, we can paint equally powerful stories with the words “just imagine” used as a preface.
In the area of brand storytelling, our goal is never to explain what we do. Instead we should look at sharing thoughts, feelings and beliefs about the OUTCOME of what we do and relate that to the consumer. The outcome can be something they want to move towards, or something they want to move away from.
If I was telling my brand story as an investment bank.
“Just imagine the feeling of being sat on the beach knowing that your investments are funding your lifestyle”.
I could say.
“Just imagine you fail to get started invested, or you choose the wrong partner to work with, what could the impact of that be for you and your family?”
See – one creates something to move towards.
The other, something to get away from.
Both create pictures.
Both create pictures.
So the end goal is to make your target take action.
The goal is always to help the other person to make a decision.
To choose to take an action.
Let’s move to the third I will like us to talk about, “When would be a good time?”
This one is particularly topical in the sales process.
Tell us a bit more about using this phrase and why it matters?
Gaining commitment from others can be tough.
To get a first appointment, for them to gain internal approval or even in follow up…
It’s all too easy for the other person to brush us off and say “not today”.
The words “when would be a good time to…?” Mean that we now eliminate the choice that there is no time to talk. It allows us to lock in something specific and to progress the conversation.
“When would be a good time for us to come in and demonstrate the product to you and your team?”
“When would be a good time for us to get started on the project?”
“When would be a good time to call and find out the boards thoughts on our ideas?”
Again we make progress in the conversation, keeping control and growing towards honest decisions.
But let me play the devil’s advocate just for a sec.
Let’s say the person has failed in keeping with the time they have fixed twice or thrice. What will be your advice to the person initiating the conversation?
Firstly – ensure your agreed meets are at fixed times and not “next week” or “later today”.
We want “10.15 on Thursday”.
Assuming that is true – my call is possibly going to a voicemail.
It may go something like this..
“Hi! It’s Phil Jones calling, we had a call schedule for 10.15 today and we have failed to connect for some reason. I am concerned that either I have made a mistake on the time we agreed or worse than that something bad has happened in your world. Please drop me a call back on….. , if I don’t hear from you I will try you again on Monday at 10am. Speak soon”.
Ok. You win!!
I will like to create a scenario for the next question.
Company A is a furniture company and will be attending a populated exhibition where two other competitors will also be showcasing their products.
What should guide the sales staff introductory ‘speech’ to visitors who come to their booth?
This is an easy one.
Remember that you are in the business of “people” and not “products”.
My first question would be about them and something easy to answer something like, where abouts have you travelled from.
Upon receiving their answer we would talk about that spot for a second , I would then share with them a useful fact or two to allow them to know more about our offering and feel comfortable.
“We have a full range of products at the showroom and everything is made to order to your unique specifications – you can choose all the colors including the wood on the feet, when you have questions, please ask for me, my name is Phil and I would be delighted to assist you”
My next question would be, “which ones have caught your eye?”
Then “have you had a chance to sit on it and try out properly?”
What after several attempts to meet the customer still do not turn up? What will be the best course of action at that point?
If a customer is trying too hard to not be a customer, I would possibly direct that attention to more willing and able customers. An annoying prospect is easily fixed with 2 brand new customers!
My question is in a scenario where maybe your organization through another sale person has dealt wrongly with a client in time past, how do you suggest starting a conversation with such clients.
With a huge, honest and sincere apology, acknowledging all your mistakes and asking politely for a second chance.
Please can you talk about cold calling / prospecting.
My advice here would be to avoid it. In my new book Exactly How to Sell, I share 2 important formulas to help move cold calling into warm contact. The first is about creating a genuine warm list of prospects and the second is a 3. Step inviting formulae to open any challenging conversation – grab yourself a copy.
How do you initiate a relationship with a company you got their details off the internet? B2B.
Find a real person that works there, understand about their challenges, get close enough to them, and then help them discover your brilliance.
So at what point can you give up on a difficult Customer?
When you are too busy with those that value you.
John C Maxwell said “say no to the good so that you can say yes to the best”.
How about when product price might become a stumbling block… How do you still keep control and create a buying action?
It’s a big question that really needs a longer answer. What you do need to do those is to learn the difference between price and value – you can do this by when the customer says “that sounds expensive” you can say “really? – what makes you say that?”
In the book you talked about the subconscious brain and magic words. Could you expatiate on this correlation?
The subconscious brain is like a human autopilot, it makes decisions on reflex and has no “maybe”. The words in “exactly what to say” are all tried and tested sequences that talk straight to the subconscious and trigger reflex or habitual type responses..
Thanks a lot for your time Phil.
Phil M Jones is an international best-selling author and multiple award-winner highly regarded as one of the world’s leading sales trainers and one of the most in-demand assets to companies worldwide.
Phil M. Jones has made it his life’s work to demystify the sales process, reframe what it means to “sell” and help his audiences to learn new skills that empower confidence, overcome fears and instantaneously impact bottom line results.
He is the youngest ever winner of coveted “British Excellence in Sales and Marketing Award”.
Exactly What to Say and other titles from Phil M Jones are available on Amazon and Audiable.