The Business Model of Certification with Phil M Jones

In this episode of The Widest Net Podcast, Pam is thrilled to have Phil M Jones, a true entrepreneurial powerhouse, join us! With an impressive track record of founding five multi-million dollar companies, Phil has proven himself as a strategic advisor to some of the biggest brands in the world. His expertise in sales, persuasion, and influence has propelled him to become a best-selling author, with over 2 million copies of his “Exactly” Book Series sold worldwide. 

 

Phil’s passion for helping others succeed is evident in his work, as he has impacted over 800 different industries across 59 countries. Now, he’s diving into the realm of certification programs and curriculum, empowering entrepreneurs and business owners to expand their reach and make a lasting impact. Prepare to be inspired and gain valuable insights from Phil’s wealth of knowledge and experience. Get ready to cast the widest net and achieve sustainable growth with your intellectual property.

 

Here’s what you can expect from this episode: 

  • Unlock the potential of certification programs and curriculum
  • Amplify sales through the power of word-of-mouth
  • Create effective distribution channels for intellectual property
  • Embrace long-term commitment and patience for sustainable growth

 

Here are the Show Notes:

Here’s the transcript:

00:00:03
            

Welcome to another episode of The Widest Net Podcast. I’m your host, Pamela Slim, and I am joined today by my guest, Phil Jones. An entrepreneurial success story and founder of five multi million dollar companies, Phil is a strategic advisor to pioneering leaders of the world’s biggest brands. The author of seven best selling books, including the Exactly book series with over 2 million copies sold, he’s the producer of the most listened to audiobook of all time, an innovator of the highly coveted How to Persuade Audible Production. To date, more than 800 different industries across 59 countries and five continents have benefited from his input.        

00:00:44
            

Phil recently joined a long list of global leaders who serve in residence at High Point University’s Access to Innovators Program. The program at HPU connects students with industry leaders for networking and mentorship opportunities. He joins Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, Netflix co-founder Marc Randolph and many others. Phil, welcome to the show. Hey, Pamela, it’s a delight to be here.        

00:01:07
            

Thank you for having me. Well, it’s so good to have you here. It’s been a long time since we have chatted, and I am very familiar with your books, having read them and being in close cahoots with Page Two. And I’ve loved really watching initially a really successful path for book marketing and speaking. And it’s been really interesting in the last couple of years to see how, from my outside perspective, you’ve really zeroed in on a certification business model.        

00:01:39
            

So I’d love for you to maybe paint the picture of kind of what has that journey been and why did you lean into building a certification? Yeah, for sure, this is a fabulous line of business to be in, right? Writing books and speaking and training and supporting others. And there are plenty of reasons to love this business, and there are a handful of reasons that make this type of business very, very difficult and very challenging. And one of those big ones is how lonely it is.        

00:02:06
            

And that many of the victories that you can create upon your journey is you tend to look around for others to high five with, and there isn’t necessarily the camaraderie that comes with it. What else that happens is as you grow a brand in this space, certainly through my experience, is you start to find examples of where your message can be ridiculously relevant into areas and avenues that aren’t necessarily where your expertise or your passion or your previous context comes from. And I started to learn that sometimes the message was relevant, but I was the wrong messenger or certainly not the best messenger. And then you start to look at all the other demands that you have for your work. Whether it’s either people wanting to go further with it through an education point of view, or whether it’s the realization that there is a need in the marketplace for things that were right for me to do ten years ago or seven years ago or five years ago that weren’t right for me today.        

00:03:06
            

And I didn’t have a way of being able to say yes to it. So either I would have to say no to it, ignore it, or I’d have to make compromises about where I’m looking for my own future to go, to be dragged back to something that was a great 2015 piece of business for me, but not a great 2025 piece of business for me. So this is what started the journey into certification, was trying to wrap my head around this puzzle in its entirety. And we also hit some milestones with exactly what to say as a book. We hit a million copies, and then we hit 2 million copies, and we’ve got all these different translations that are out in the world. And I’m like, I think this works really good.        

00:03:49
            

How do I know if it’s really good? Well, what would happen if other people could teach it that weren’t me? Would it still deliver tremendous results? That was the curiosity gap that existed in my mind where we started the certification. And I launched certified guides to a beta group of people that had been in my network for a long time.        

00:04:12
            

They were what we call experienced karaoke professionals of my work. I love that term. We’ve learned to love it here too as well, is like, where is it karaoke and where does it now step into licensing? Where is there an IP infringement and where is there a superfan like, I think treading that line carefully is important, and you need both. Elton John doesn’t get mad that somebody is butchering your song almost every day in a karaoke bar.        

00:04:38
            

Right? We need that to exist. And that first beta group were fun to work with because I brought them in as founders of our Certified Guides program, and they helped us evolve it over the now two and a bit years we’ve been in existence with this part of our program. It’s very different two and a bit years on than where it first started, and it’s come through that collaboration where we’re at today. We now have 37 certified guides.        

00:05:06
            

I’ve taken over 300 people through our deep dive certification program, and we’ve created a harsh line between personal certification and then certified guides that are licensed to train the work. So there are individuals that can pay to be certified for their own internal application and their own personal practical application, and then there are licensed partners that we have a closer relationship with that now train this work and are publicly allowed to profit from how they go about training this work. I love how you made that distinction. That certainly on our agency side, the way that we can look at different ways that people do it. Some people immediately assume when you talk about certification, that just it means that everybody can be out there essentially replicating you, which not everybody can do.        

00:05:51
            

Nor do you want that from a business side. Before we get deeper, which I can’t wait in just the design of the program for folks that are unfamiliar with exactly what to say, what’s the essence of the message? What is that thing which people are learning to do well? So Exactly What To Say is a tiny little book. It’s a book full of magic words that can help people have more ethical influence and impact in many of life’s conversations. We distill down 23 sequences of words that can help people have more confidence and competence in many high stakes conversations.        

00:06:22
            

Now, it’s a book that can be read cover to cover in 72 minutes. It’s a short little book. And it’s a book that’s traveled far and wide across multiple different industries. And I think it was Mark Twain that first said, “If I had more time, I’d have written a shorter letter”. And exactly what to say is the distillation of decades worth of my work around sales, persuasion and influence disguised as a tiny, little easy to read book.        

00:06:48
            

So when you bring something down to that level of distillation, you obviously leave a lot out. You leave huge amounts out. This isn’t everything, you know, on a subject. It’s all about giving people easy access to quickly implement things on a subject. So it leads itself quite nicely to potential certification and deeper dive because there is a huge body of this work that doesn’t live inside this body of work.        

00:07:13
            

It wasn’t documented. It was left out on purpose because I can either explain it this short or it needs, like, this huge length of time to be able to go deeper with it. So the book has grown from there. I’ve delivered hundreds of keynote presentations around this. I’ve done dozens of pieces of high level, constant consulting inside organizations to write programs and literature and script for refinements, et cetera, inside of businesses.        

00:07:41
            

But the book is almost the poster child. It’s the tip of the arrow that brings people into the ecosystem from a stranger’s point of view. And what’s interesting about the book is I have that kind of volume in a hybrid published book. So I have margin in the book, I have creative control in the book. I have the ability to be able to utilize it as a key part of my business ecosystem rather than something that was an idea I sold once to a publisher.        

00:08:06
            

So that’s what’s given it a lot of creative freedom and I could talk about this stuff for days because there are complexities and layers upon layers upon layers of how we’ve got to where we are today. For sure. And in the spirit, maybe, of the way that you have the high level you distilled in the book. I think that’s part of what I want to do here. I love the piece of how you deliberately have started with an extremely thoughtful book that you have chosen to publish in a way that gives you flexibility and you’ve been very deliberate the way that you’ve navigated, testing and trying right as one does. I know we’ve known each other and I love following your work.        

00:08:42
            

So it’s not that every day you wake up and everything works exactly as you think.        

00:08:48
            

I messed a few things up on the way I tell you. But I do see that there is a deliberate focus of ways that you do have an alignment, so that as you see the focus and the purpose of the book and ways in which that can introduce people to work, that there are ways that you can also deepen it and then for practitioners be able to take that, as you said, in. And I love the distinction that you make of things. I found with my own work sometimes, is there are people who actually within their own fields of influence, within their own communities, that can do a much better job than the author can of contextualizing that message, which can be a really deliberate reason why you want to create things like certification and licensing, actually for the work itself to make bigger impact in the world.        

00:09:35
            

Right? How do you think about audience? We’re talking now about the certification and I know that you have some deliberate, specific audiences that you work with. Maybe walk us through. Did those come from audiences that you developed with the book and like particular vertical audiences or how do you think about the audience?        

00:10:00
            

My thought has always been twofold on this one is always ride the horse the way it’s facing. By which I mean that if you’ve got momentum in a particular type of direction, don’t try and go against it. And an example of which is the real estate industry has a significant interest in my body of work. It’s an industry that loves training, has the opportunity to be able to have high income potential. Training at scale is not particularly done to a high level or a high standard.        

00:10:30
            

The barrier to entry to that industry is ridiculously low. The potential to be able to make mega money is high. And the thing that differentiates one versus the other is the fact of how they show up to life’s critical conversations as an agent. Layup layup layup layup layup layup layup is this industry is hungry and it has the means of being able to invest in it. So I’d be daft to not explore that potential further.        

00:10:55
            

We also have a derivative book in the real estate industry. I’ve sold over 150,000 copies of exactly what to say for real estate agents. So there is wind at our back. That’s one way we think of audiences. The other is audiences that I have passion around, that I know that I’m definitely not the right messenger.        

00:11:15
            

So through the years people have said things like you should write exactly what to say for parenting. You should write exactly what to say in marriage. You should write exactly what to say for financial services. You should write exactly what to say for leadership. I’ve had all of these different versions of what people have said to me, and what I’ve learned that they really meant is, I would like there to be some work around how this work could help in that area.        

00:11:40
            

Not, I should write that book. So I don’t take their comment literally to an action for me, but I do, having heard those requests on numerous occasions, and then you kind of wrap with it. So could this work be used for parenting? Yes.        

00:12:05
            

Am I a standard bearer for parenting that wants to stand in front of this work in an environment? From a parenting expert point of view, no. Like, I don’t want to put my credentials as a parent alongside the work, but I tell you what…Dr. Jen Forrester, who’s now inside of our community that’s dedicated her career to be a child psychologist and understanding the mechanics of the parent child relationship and is committed to that being her life work, her having the framework of exactly what to say principles would create.        

00:12:42
            

Two plus two equals five. So that’s where I start thinking about alternative verticals, is where is there an area that I know could be served by this? And another example is the legal profession, like my work is to design, to better negotiate and influence in high stake environments, to create environments where both parties feel like they win. Hang on. Isn’t that mediation?        

00:13:07
            

Isn’t that the courtroom? Isn’t that social justice system, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. I don’t know enough to be the expert in that space, but I know that my work can be a tool in that space. Let me find somebody who can represent our work into the legal field. So it’s twofold.        

00:13:23
            

It’s ride the horse the way it’s facing, and then it’s strategically looking to pluck the gaps of where this could show up in areas that allow me to grow strength to the market as a brand as a whole. And also fill some curiosity gaps in my own belief and application of the work of what happens in that environment there and what can be learned by somebody else taking my ingredients. Pam, what I’ve learned to be able to think about is I’ve learned to think about my work as, like, a beautiful distillation, like it’s a great whiskey or a great spirit that if you give it to highly skilled bartenders, they create magic that you couldn’t have even imagined. And I’ve learned to really enjoy people breathing life into my work that I didn’t even imagine to be mine. So I’m quite loose on IP within our certification on purpose, because I will only entrust people into our certified guides community that can stand in front of the brand.        

00:14:30
            

So if they need our certification to win clients, win the business, win opportunities, they’re the wrong people. I’m looking for people that can win clients have their own area of expertise that when somebody meets them, they fall in love with them, they’re the right person for the job and they can access the materials they’ve learned from us as a tool in terms of delivering upon their promise as opposed to being a puppet for my work. That’s a really powerful distinction.        

00:15:02
            

And that’s a distinction you make between your certified guides and individuals who just want to deepen their understanding of the individual. They come through a three day curriculum that is taught in person here by me in New York City. We create an experience, we follow a full curriculum. And I know that we’re primarily podcast here, but there will be some video, some and I will explain what I’m holding up for those that are only listening, like this is the workbook. The workbook turns the little book into a big book.        

00:15:31
            

Instead of it being 23 sequences of words in a random order, it’s 32 sequences of words in a very precise order. There’s the thinking frameworks behind all of the word choices in here is people can learn that every set of words is built on one of four principles. Like there’s a method in this workbook. But the thing is, you cannot buy this workbook without a workshop and you cannot buy this workbook without a workshop from either me or from a certified guide. The only way you can get a personal certification is you come here to New York City and you do it with me or you do it with a certified guide in one of the ways that they choose to deliver it.        

00:16:06
            

And the criteria that I allow this work to be delivered via is it has to be a minimum of a 16 hours experience. It has to be a minimum of $1,000 paid per head and there has to be a maximum of 30 people in that experience. Interesting. I like that. Yeah.        

00:16:31
            

And it’s because of a belief that I have that this is a learning experience that should be done live, should be done in a collaborative fashion. And it needs that amount of time and that amount of financial commitment coming towards it for it to have the right level of intent. And it’s almost counterproductive from a scale model point of view because it’s very difficult to scale with that credential around it, but I think it provides sustainable scale. I think I can ride this horse for a decade with this methodology as opposed to let’s run as quick as we can to get people through our online certification program to watch this series of videos, to get a digital badge to tell them they’re qualified.        

00:17:18
            

That was something I definitely didn’t want to do. I didn’t want this to be a positioning for an online course with a perceived certification. I wanted it to be an experience that created a series of moments that meant that we would know that when people left that experience, they are forever changed for it. And it was an experience that had other grown ups accompany them through it. And if they couldn’t live in that experience with other people at the same time, they didn’t complete personal certification.        

00:17:50
            

So we can’t deliver personal certification one on one, has to be in a group environment. I love that from design principles.        

00:18:00
            

It does speak to the dark side, should we say sometimes the shadow side of certification, where I always get and I know I can be persnickety sometimes, but where I often say people make business model choices that’s really just based on marketing tactics, where people are like, oh, you want to be rich? Just create an online course. And the 30 year instructional designer in me is like, but what is the course about? And does it actually make a meaningful change? And are people truly transformed?        

00:18:31
            

And is this work really unique? I love how you link. I’d call it a YouTube playlist, right?        

00:18:41
            

And sometimes you have done very well for yourself. I can tell financially the way that you approach your work and as you’re saying, you are deliberately maybe deferring the immediate flood of just tons of $100 bills falling on your head all at once, which is more of a flash in the pan. Rather than creating this very deliberate path, as you said, where you’re making very conscious choices about having people who in their own right have this area expertise. I love that so much. I think that is a critical factor in really allowing this work to thrive because many people can feel awkward where they’re just trying to pretend to be the person.        

00:19:25
            

Like, let me pretend to be Phil, and how can I possibly represent the materials if I’m pretending to be you? It never works. Clients often feel like they’re getting less of an experience, and it does beg the question, like, why would I actually go to this person if I could just train directly with Phil? And you can deal with that. I mean, there is a market for cover bands, right?        

00:19:53
            

And you know what you’re getting, and I think that that’s okay if you’re going to position a certification offering as I’m empowering people to be a cover band of lead star. That just was a model that felt very uncomfortable to me. And we’re building things out within our ecosystem here. Like, we’re going to build a mini speaker bureau, mini management company for our certified guides community.        

00:20:19
            

And I want three title topics and descriptions from each of them that not one of them mentions the words exactly. What to say if they cannot deliver a “this is me, these are the problems I solve, this is the support that I can bring towards you”, then it may as well have been a virtual presentation from me. Whereas what I want and I keep turning to look at my wall I have the 37 faces of our certified guides on my wall here in my office. And I’m looking at it and I can look at it and go, well, Tanis Roeder, is a public speaking skills coach. She helps people find confidence and competence when standing up in front of an audience.        

00:21:02
            

Works with a lot of CEOs. Works with a lot of execs at helping them find more executive presence and gravitas. When addressing an audience in a room and a highly competent keynote speaker, Tanis doesn’t need to say “let me deliver on exactly what to say” keynote speech. But Tanis can deliver a speech around influence and persuasion when communicating to an audience and she can reference EWTS principles on our slide decks, et cetera, inside her body of work.        

00:21:29
            

And we got two plus two equals five. Again, maybe that will come true in our interview discussion here in its entirety, but that’s how I always think. If I can make two plus two add up to five, it’s a good idea. But if two and two equals four or less, we probably shouldn’t do it. And an example of where two plus two could equal four or less is me having somebody be an understudy to my work at a discounted price.        

00:21:57
            

Sure that’s viable, but shouldn’t like, if they want me delivering my work with a different mouthpiece, shouldn’t my responsibility to be find a way within our ecosystem that if they haven’t got my speaking fee, they’ve got a 10th of that that I can provide them a way to get what they actually asked for within a different delivery mechanism? I’d rather think of it that way: our certified guides community are people that should be able to add value to the essence of the material, not be good at replicating it. It’s a great way of looking at it. I just interviewed Mike Michalowicz for the podcast and we were talking about a model that he has not within one particular book, but for each book where he finds his partner, his operator partner. I’m envious of Mike’s model and the simplicity of it in a number of ways.        

00:22:50
            

I’m like, yes, good for you, buddy. And the difference is, and I think that I know Mike well, so I can talk about this well, and we’re in some groups together is Mike has this breadth of work in all of these different sectors, which is super impressive with huge credibility at the top end, and he’s a rainmaker for those things and isn’t looking to build the operation that sits behind it. Where my model is different and I think people could potentially learn from I take a lot of clues from the music industry. I think they’re all there if we’re to look for them and if you’ve been fortunate enough to have a one hit wonder and you think you can do it again, that’s winning the lottery twice. And what we’ve achieved with exactly what to say and the uniqueness of the fact that I didn’t sell this to a publisher.        

00:23:47
            

So I have ongoing, recurring revenue of royalties from this book that are significant. I’m going to ride this horse like Rick Astley rides Never Going To Give You Up. That’s where I’m going with this. And I’m okay with the fact that I can be the guy that wrote exactly what to say and anything else in my body of work is irrelevant to most people.        

00:24:10
            

I’m very okay with where that is, and I feel a duty of care to keep doing so. And that’s funny, the comment I just made about Rick Astley, but in the last twelve months, Rick Astley headlined Glastonbury, was on stage with Dave Grohl at a Foo Fighters concert, is being recognized as an incredibly talented and gifted musician, all because he’s been a one hit wonder for 30, 40 years. Right. The commitment to stay true to what the marketplace wants to know you as is a level of discipline that doesn’t exist in many in this industry yet. But like U2 are headlining The Sphere right now, not because they’ve got new music, but because The Sphere in Las Vegas wants to be seen as an iconic venue.        

00:25:02
            

So they book an iconic act. And when people show up to see that iconic act at what’s going to become an iconic venue, they want U2 to play greatest hits. There not I hope Bono’s got something new for us. Yeah. And as we’re in this IP space, if the marketplace has told us that we really like something you’ve produced a commitment to be able to say there’s more of this, there’s refined of this, there’s different flavors of this is great.        

00:25:33
            

And my heroes in this space, Jack Daniels. If I can chase what Jack Daniels have done from a licensing and a brand point of view, that’ll keep me busy all the time. I’ve got air in my lungs, I know for certain I’ll never get there. But this is the heroism that I take and Pam, I come from a background here as well that many people miss in the personal brand space is I was head of retail commercial director for two Premier League football clubs, so I understand what you can do with a single brand logo and how many different ways you can slice and dice it.        

00:26:08
            

I mean, we put the Birmingham City Football Club logo on anything anybody was willing to pay us for and to produce to a decent standard, so I was happy to be able to do it. And we’re now doing this with exactly what to say, is we are looking to create something. The brand is big enough, and we just launched roleplay cards within the brand, and we’re going to launch desk planners, and we’re going to keep innovating products that teach the principles of the work and help people have learned experiences through the way that they touch it. And I got 20 years worth of ideas ahead of me in this. That’s so exciting.        

00:26:50
            

I love the focus. I think it is so intelligent. And the way I heard you describe the connection that you have on one hand, as you’ve just said, sharing different ways in which you can take those ideas and create different forms of IP, useful tools to really bring it in a deeper way is powerful, but also the way that you’re learning from your certified folks about the application of the ideas in their own areas. I think another critique I’m Miss Cranky Pants today sometimes for the market is where we do think for authors like, well, what have you done lately? Maybe you had that one book that came out, but there’s so much of a focus on what’s next.        

00:27:33
            

And I know because I work with and know so many authors, some of whom have had gigantic hits in books, that there can be a personal dissatisfaction where it’s never enough. You never are allowed the opportunity to really be leaning in and digging deep with that work, which you did spend so much time creating. So I love that. I imagine that it’s very enjoyable for you to be able to dig deep with it. Yeah.        

00:27:59
            

And you don’t get to sidestep when you’ve built a big piece of IP the way that people think you can.        

00:28:07
            

Mutual friend of both of ours in Todd Herman, we did an event together with Todd and he’s done the Alter Ego Effect, and he can write another book about mentions of his body of work and different areas from coaching, et cetera. But the Alter Ego Effect is such an impressive and powerful message and concise body of work, it’s almost always going to be the thing that people know Tod Herman for. And if we’re looking for clues around this, if I say the word Brene Brown, try to not respond with the word vulnerability. If I say the name Simon Sinek, try to not respond and mention the why thing. If I mention the word Mel Robbins, the name Mel Robbins, try not to think about the five second rule.        

00:28:54
            

Right.        

00:28:58
            

People that have reached levels of iconic status generally never get to be able to repeat that iconic status with anything else that they go on to better do, unless it’s to a different group of people. And then that can blend out over a period of time and can merge those edges, but there’s still narrow lanes to be able to get there. And I really believe that if we’ve been gifted with something that the marketplace has said, you’ve produced a piece of IP that we really, really enjoy, that we really take value from, just like we’re not looking for Bono to reproduce new music. Keep playing the songs. Jon Bon Jovi give me Living on a Prayer again, I’ll take it acoustic.        

00:29:47
            

You can do a mashup with Beyonce if you like. You can perform it in. A rock concert. You could put it in a disco track, you can put a techno beat underneath it if you like, but give me Living on a Prayer.        

00:30:03
            

And this is where the creativity for me starts to get more exciting, is how do you then find new levels of creativity within a tighter box?        

00:30:17
            

Design parameters can be very helpful, I think, for innovation, which is modeled so well. As a last question, I could talk to you for 13 hours, but I know you have other things to do. I’m curious in your role as evangelist, kind of chief marketer for this idea, without giving away, of course, anything proprietary, but what are the ways that you drive business for both the certification for your books, for this message in an ongoing way? What are the different slices of marketing that you actively and by you, I mean, I can mean you personally, but also your company drives, because that’s always a big question for folks. They might say, I have the greatest thing in the world, but just nobody knows about it.        

00:31:02
            

Again, there could be a three hour conversation about that one thing alone.        

00:31:10
            

To me, one of the easiest ways for you to be able to maximize sales of anything in the IP space is to never get caught trying to sell the thing that lives in your IP. And what you’re looking to be able to do is to empower a sales force to be able to talk about it. So I’m always looking to get to the next ring of people. Take for the fact we’ve sold 2.7 million copies of Exactly What To Say. My email list is 65,000 people.        

00:31:42
            

My social following is 100,000. If I was to be lucky and adding all the numbers up and believing that they’re all different people, I don’t have 3 million people in a customer base that I can pitch towards. The reason we have 3 million people that have consumed the book is because somebody else has said, you should read this. Everything I’m looking to be able to do is to create distribution channels to access my material. So I’m never the one that says, you should buy this thing.        

00:32:15
            

I’m looking to empower other people to say, could we buy this thing? I’m looking to be pully and not pushy. And these have been all of the marketing ads. We’ve never run a Facebook ad, never done anything paid on Google, never done any affiliate marketing. Everything is through strategic, accelerated word of mouth.        

00:32:37
            

And the same is true. Like if I deliver a speech in a speech, I might seed a tiny micro story about something that happened with one of our certified guides. I might talk about something that then says, well, we take this a stage further. And when I say a stage further, I mean significantly deeper with huge levels of practical application in our two day certification program. And then I move on.        

00:33:03
            

And then at the end of a speech to 2000 people. Seven people say, what’s this two day certification program?        

00:33:12
            

Say, what makes you ask? They say, well, we love what you’re about today. We’ve been a big fan of the book. We didn’t know a certification program exists. I say, yeah, they’re pretty secretive.        

00:33:22
            

They’re only 16 people. I do five a year. They say, how do I get in? You see, the approach is very different to I’ve got a workshop. And even to our certified guides community, I’m like the worst thing you can do once you come out of your certified guide induction is to run out into the world and say, hey, I’ve just completed a certification, hire me.        

00:33:47
            

And the answer to every question is I’ve got a workshop, I’ve got a workshop, I’ve got a workshop. We have to care about the problems that this content solves, not the solution of which it delivers for. So we teach people to ask different series of questions and our exactly what to say. Certified community are called certified guides. Not master practitioners, not expert trainers, not licensed practitioners.        

00:34:17
            

They’re certified guides and their job is to guide people through the work, which means that they have to be a product of the product themselves, which means they have to use the principles of the work to win clients for the work. And that’s what we live through on this is they cannot be trained to follow the train, the train, your manual. They have to have been able to develop their own stories. And they’re going to do that through using the work to win more work with the work. Which is as meta as meta can be.        

00:34:48
            

Isn’t that what it should be? Yes, I work with everybody from data, scientists, medical doctors, people with all different practice areas. I always say the answer to whatever is the biggest pressing problem you have is in the heart of your own IP. And the more that you and your certified guides are practicing that, as you said, looking to the IP itself for the hard task of finding an audience, it’s going to make them so much more experienced and practiced in it. And I love how it can be a business case that people say where when they’re trying to sell a certification that you can be bouncing off this well known brand that people admire. And I think in some cases it can be something.        

00:35:31
            

There’s no harm in having things on your LinkedIn profile that increase people’s confidence of the fact that you have trained and certified with smart people and you know your stuff, that you care about continued education and personal development, that you’re committed to be able to keep refined and sharpen your skills. Just don’t expect it to be a slam dunk. Yes, right is where it can be, and is people think that people pay for content. I don’t believe that people will pay you for your content.        

00:36:00
            

I believe that they’ll pay you for your understanding of their context and then they’ll pay you for how you can organize the content that you understand that fits their context. So understanding context is more important than understanding content. And even in today’s discussion, what were the questions I asked you before we hit record? Tell me about the audience. Like, who are they?        

00:36:25
            

What stage of business are they in to help you? Yes, it’s so helpful and I so appreciate being able to touch on a number of areas which I know I’ll be continuing to do a deep dive. And don’t be shocked one day when I show up as one of the 16 sometime in New York. For others who are interested in connecting with you, Phil, and your work, where should we direct them? Sure.        

00:36:51
            

And I’m relatively open book about this, so if people are exploring what it is that they’re trying to do and they want to ping me, questions about my experience in the certification program is either come find me on LinkedIn or on Instagram. On Instagram, I’m at Phil M Jones UK, that is me as a person. It’s a great place for chatter around any of these contexts. If you’re looking to be able to learn more about these things, maybe come to a National Speakers Association influence event, et cetera. You’ll find me there and we can grab cocktail or coffee and chat.        

00:37:21
            

Some ideas on this too. Phil M Jones UK. Sorry. Philmjones.com is my speaker brand website, exactlywhatosay.com is an interesting site to go and prod and poke around to see what we’ve done to build a body of work around the brand as opposed to me. And we’re looking to do more work to make Exactly What To Say famous.        

00:37:40
            

So we done the trademarks, done the IPs, et cetera. So we’re really leaning into all of that. And one sort of final comment I would say to anybody looking to go down this path is if you are looking to bring people into your world from a certification point of view, two things to be fully aware of is one is you’ve got to know your work well enough to know that you can give it away and feel at peace with that. Like very much to be that you are comfortable that other people aren’t going to do it your way and that’s okay. And two is please don’t think about this as a short term success story because the rewards don’t come till way later.        

00:38:31
            

And if you cannot take at least a ten year view on this, it probably isn’t the right decision to take based on my opinion. I’m sure there are other opinions, but I think if you’re going to go the certification, licensing, sharing your body of work with others and expecting them to carry the message, you owe them at least a ten year commitment to it from your point of view, if you’re asking for them to give a decent sized commitment of this to their life, because, remember, there are people that are discovering disk for the first time today. I’m telling you here. I so appreciate it.        

00:39:05
            

And that is really it’s very much in alignment with what it is that I share with others. One of the things we talk about in the agency is what we call your thumbprint, where you have to have that market fit. Like, will it sell? You have the method, will it work and you have the model, will it stick? Right?        

00:39:22
            

Having something that endures the test of time right over a long period of time is actually some of the most sophisticated kind of strategic work you can do. So I, so, appreciate your generosity. In the years that I’ve known you, you’ve always been so generous and I appreciate the example. I think it’s going to be really helpful for people who do get overwhelmed by the messaging about you’re constantly having to create new things or just immediately sell gigantic volumes at scale. It’s a long term play.        

00:39:52
            

It’s a mature business strategy play, and it has to be contextualized in a strong marketing and sales system. So thank you for sharing time with us, Phil. My pleasure, Pam. Always a delight to chat with you. I admire your wisdom and your heart and what you’ve been able to do to help many of us navigate some of the complexities of building real intelligent systemized businesses around something that otherwise could have us filling up on candy, which is easy to be able to do in this space.        

00:40:20
            

So appreciate what you bring to this world, too. I appreciate that. Well, for those listening, we will put all the links at PamelaSlim.com under the podcast link for where it is that you can connect with Phil, learn more about his programs. I want to thank my 31 Marketplace team, La’Vista Jones, Tanika Lothery, Jose Arboleda, and our award winning narrator Andia Winslow.        

00:40:42
            

Until next time, please subscribe rate the show and continue getting inspiration to help grow your world changing work at scale.     

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