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Phil Newton: unHustling - Work Less, Earn More

We are talking about getting unhustled. The art of unhustling, how to work less and earn more. If that sounds appealing to you, then you are going to love this episode.

It's contrarian in a world that tells us to grind and hustle and work even harder. Phil brings a different point of view that anyone can benefit even if you don't feel like you subscribe to this mindset. It’s a fascinating and interesting interview. We talk about working less to make more and a process that you can do that. We also get into how Phil is using a particular sales process to achieve his goal of working 60, at most 90 minutes per day while still running a few businesses. If you'd like to work smarter and make a little bit more money, then you're going to love this episode.

There's going to be a plot twist for you. Be sure to read on. With that said, let's get to it...

Dustin
Phil, you're lying on your deathbed when a priest comes in to give you your last rites. What goes through your head when you're being read rites?
Phil
I didn't know it was my deathbed bed until he came in. That was the shocker of it all. Unsurprisingly, I remember it quite vividly. It's one of those markers in life that you remember in absolute HD clarity. I was looking out the window, a typical British summer. Wimbledon was on the television. I was literally daydreaming. Maybe I was daydreaming. Maybe it was some medical drugs involved. It could have been the morphine. I had this knock on the door. I turned around and it was literally a man in black stood there. Up to that point, I knew I was ill, but you don't appreciate how ill you are until someone comes in says, “Do you want your last rites?” There was no hesitation for me. Looking back on this, if I’d said yes I feel that I would have been giving up on life. Immediately there was no hesitation in my mind. I said no so I didn't get the last rites. They were offered to me at that point. That was quite a pivotal turning point for me from a mindset point of view to not be someone who gives up or hits that first hurdle and goes, “It didn't work.”I’m not giving up and certainly not going to give up on life. I feel that if I’d said yes, I don't think I would have got through that experience.
Dustin
I’m hanging onto the edge of my seat. I know everyone in the audience will be hanging onto the edge of their seat. How in the heck did you get up to this point? What led you to be lying on a bed when the priest comes in? How did you get there?
Phil
It turns out that I had Crohn’s disease. For many years on and off through my early years and teens, I was on and off ill. It's one of those conditions if you’re not familiar with it, it’s an intestinal or digestive disorder. It causes inflammation. For me, I had constant problems. We didn't know what it was. It would flare up sporadically and then by the time you'd got to the doctor's it calmed down. They were never really able to identify it. Like most people, you work the 9 to 5 or the 8 to 8 as it's more probably commonly known these days. You work long, hard hours. This is the thing that we're told when we’re grown up. You buy into the fact that if you work, long hard hours you'll see success. However you measure success, it’s usually revolving around long, hard hours unnecessarily. That's what I did, probably like most people. I work and work hoping that someone sees me for what I’m worth. You get the promotion. You get all the things that go along with working hard. That literally ran me into the ground.
I had high-stress levels, high anxiety, longer hours traveling to and from on top of the long work hours and it ran my health into the ground. I was losing weight and constant stomach issues around the area. A friend of mine said, “You want to get that checked out. That could be an appendix,” because he had appendicitis and it burst on him, but he was lucky that it burst while he was getting it checked out and they could deal with it. He had his own near-miss experience. He said, “Do you want to get that checked out? It will kill you. It'd be serious.” We were talking about his experience and my symptoms are similar so I went to get it checked out.
By chance, the UK’s leading authority on Crohn's disease was in accident emergency. He was helping out because there was an elevated instance of emergencies and he'd come off his regular duties to come and help out in the accident emergency. He said, “I think I know what this is,” and ran a few tests, as simple as it was. He said, “We’re going to admit you. You've got Crohn’s disease. By the way, you were very close to dying.” I got a lot worse while I was in the hospital as evidenced by the last rites experience. It is serious. It can kill you. I came very close. I went from ridiculously overweight, weightlifting and all the rest of it, to almost skin and bones and skeleton over a period of several months. It's not a pleasant experience. I can assure you of that.
Dustin
You basically almost died. You get the wakeup call. Let's go first to what were you doing at the time? I know you were hustling and you were working the 8 to 8 and you were grinding.
Phil
The one job that you're looking for. The career job, not the stop gap that you hope you don't have to put on your CV or your resume. It was the great job. I was into investing in the stock market from an early age. I was hand-drawing charts. I was interested in that side of things. I’d got a job that allowed me to trade the markets with a software company. They had a trading room or a prop shop and I was trading company money. I didn't have to go to London or the big city to do this. It was a relatively local business, about 40 minutes to an hour away. From that perspective, I’d landed the dream job. I was trading the financial markets. I was doing it. That was high stress, high-pressure job plus all the travel. That's what I was doing from that perspective from a career point of view, following the dream, following the passion. That's where the long hard hours came into it. That came to a quick end.
The cherry on top of what could have been a shit sandwich was my then employer came in a couple of weeks before I was released from the hospital on the road to recovery. He said, “When you get better, there's no job for you.”He fired me in hospital. I didn't even get the chance to quit. As it turned out, it was a blessing in disguise. I couldn't go and work a regular job. I couldn't go and do the things that conventional careers would have dictated. I had to find some other way essentially to pay the bills. For the next couple of years, I was housebound. I couldn't have gone back to work even if I’d wanted to. He firing me was another boot up the backside to say, “I’ve got to find alternatives here.” This was 2002, 2003 and the internet was the start of the thing. We know what it is now. It was becoming a more household thing and that for me was my window to the outside world. That's where trying to make something out of nothing, which is what I was doing. In my case, I was trading the markets. I thought, “I’ve got the skill sets. I’ll go and utilize it.” That led onto many other opportunities as it turns out over the next several years.
Dustin
Did you walk away from trading? How did you get to this point that you're at now? What are you up to now?
Phil
What I did then was I had this skillset. I’d already started trading my own accounts alongside the company accounts. I knew that I could do it. I thought, “What have I got to lose?” All the way through this, I thought all these hopes, dreams, wants and aspirations. These were the things that were going through my mind. It sounds silly and almost cliché, but the phrase that motivated me to go and do things is, “It's better to have tried and failed than to never have tried at all.”Like most people, you have this, “I wish that this would happen,” and you’re hoping that someone will not do it for you, but that's the mindset. You hope someone’s going to give you the opportunity and introduce you to the right person.
The reality is no one's going to do that for you. I started then to think firstly, I’ve got to do this. I don't have any choice. I couldn't go and get a job before wanted to. Secondly, I’ve got a skillset that I can utilize. I maxed out my credit card. I took£1,000 off my credit card to trade the financial markets. We took that £1,000 all the way to £92,500 and change. That was the first few months of my sitting at home. I’ve got nothing else to do. I’ve traded the financial markets. It turned out I was good at it, but then that leads on to other opportunities. I’m talking to people over the internet in message boards and forums, before Facebook groups and Twitter and all the rest of it. We were on message boards back then. People start asking you, “What are you doing?” I didn't think that other people weren't doing this. If they're doing it, they're seeing success. It was a weird situation. I didn't realize that people wanted to do this for themselves, but they either didn't know how to make it work or what do. I made the decision to go and do it. In my mind, I had no choice other than to be successful. That's when I started coaching people in the trading and the financial market side of things.
People start asking you and I thought, “I’ll create a website,” and then that starts to, “How did you create your website?”Someone else asks you how to do things and it's that sequence of events where, “How did you build the website? How did you do this? How did you grow a coaching business online?” You start coaching people on how to replicate that process. Maybe not in the same niche or industry, but people start to see that, “You're doing something different and you've been successful, how do I do that?”That happened to me over a period of five, six, eight, ten to twelve years later and then eventually to where we are right now is, “How did you do that?”That's where the unhustled attitude came from because I couldn't work the traditional long hours that most people associate with jobs or careers. I had to get what I needed doing done in a short space of time. A couple of years after the incident, the Crohn’s disease technically is inactive, but because of my unique situation, I’ve got scarring in my intestine which gives me permanent mild symptoms. I get a lot of fatigue and tiredness easily. I have to condense my working day down to as little as possible so that I can get the same amount of work done in a traditional 9 to 5 or 8 to 8 and condense that down into 30, 60 or 90 minutes window in my typical day.
That's what I did. It's to compress that time so that I’ve got the time to relax and not stress about slaving yourself time for money experience. People wanted to know how I did that and that's where the unhustled side of it came from. It was the development of several years for my own purposes. I needed to do it for myself first and then people started asking you, “How do you do it?” As I was coaching people for the trading side of what I’m doing, it turned out that there were a lot of successful business owners that wanted to generate extra revenues from the stock market, but the business side of their life wasn't in check. I needed to get them to free their time first selfishly so that I could then bring them on as a coaching client. That's where the unhustled side of things started.
It turns out that more people were working long, hard hours and not seeing any results. I can maintain my business in 30 minutes a day. Maybe answer a few support emails and all the rest of it. I’m not employing a team of people either. I’m doing what I need to do, focusing on the core components of my businesses. I’ve got three or four business interests, but I’m doing it all between 30and 90 minutes a day. This interview, for example, this is the only thing I’m doing now. This is my hour’s work. I’m not doing anything else, but it's easy to do when you focus on what is essential to seeing success. Robin defines success by long, hard hours. We start defining success by the result that we want and how can we get it fast and efficiently.
Dustin
I want you first to define unHustling. We've been throwing it out there. You could get it by saying the word, but what is your definition of unHustling?
Phil
Understand that hustle and grind is one extreme of working long, hard hours selling time for money, grinding until your eyeballs bleed, as some of these leading or allegedly leading business coaches and gurus keep talking about. I’m the opposite. I am proof of the pudding that you don't need to work long, hard hours. If you can unhustle yourself that you're not slaving hours in exchange for some monetary reward. If you simply work smarter and creatively, then you can free yourself. You can free your time. For me, the single biggest thing that being unhustled gives me is time, the time to do whatever I want with whoever I want at any moment in time. That for me is what truly being unhustled is. It allowed me to, firstly, not to worry about working long, hard hours in the traditional sense while I was on my road to recovery. Later on, I don't want to spend all my day grinding in that traditional sense and selling your time for money.
Both my parents were in their old age getting ill and having things break on them through old age. I was able to go and care for them the last five years of their lives and they’ve' both passed away. For the last five years of their life, I was able to go and spend two or three hours every single day to go and care for them. They stopped being my parents and I stopped doing that dutiful son thing. I was able to go and spend time with two people who became my best friends and that's what unhustled gives me. It’s that time freedom to go and do the things that you want to do with whoever you want to do because you want to do them not because you have to do them. That for me is the passion behind unhustled because I would like to be able to give that to the world. If I could do something for somebody, it would be to give them that choice. That's what unhustle to me is.
Dustin
I want to get into your mindset. You had this life-crushing Crohn’s. You're about to die. You determine, “I’m not going to work that hard.”When you were in that moment, did you say, “I’m only going to work 60 minutes a day,” or did you say, “I should probably start at 8:00and then go to 6:00 and then go to 2:00.” How did that evolve in your head?
Phil
I physically couldn't do it. It was like, “I’m tired. I need to sleep. I’m not feeling well.” These days, I get no warning that I’m having a bad day. I need the flexibility to be able to, “I’m having a bad day. I’m going to take the morning off.” I can push whatever things that I needed to do to some other time. It's having the flexibility to move things around. That's what I want. I want the time to be able to do what I want when I want. That's the whole philosophy behind unHustled. I physically couldn't go and do the things that most people would want to do. I’m not going to start at 9:00 and finish at 5:00 or whatever your traditional days are like, “I’m feeling good. I’m going to do some work. What do we need to do to put food on the table?” That was what I was going to focus on. I’m not thinking about the traditional, “Let's fill my day with filler stuff.”
An exercise that I usually give people is let's think of it backward. My situation is quite unique. I don't think people are going to be able to replicate that to see the same successes. It's worth thinking it backward if you're in a situation where let's say it's 9 to 5 or you're working 8 to 8 or whatever your thing is. Your day's full and you never seem to be able to get what you want to be done. If you've got a piece of paper, for example, you're going to have to spend some time doing this. You're going to draw two lines on a landscape piece of paper, create three columns. You write a list of all the things that you love doing. The reason why you're in business in the first place, the things that get you out of bed in the morning, that's why you started a business. The thing that is your passion, write that down in the left-hand column, the love column. Next column, the things that you need to do for the business. You need to do accounting. You need to do certain things. Write those down. You might not like doing them, but they're essential for the business.
The big list of things is the right-hand column. Write a list of things that you're doing but you hate doing them. Do you need to be tweeting ten times a day or spending hours on social media? All those things you hate doing because someone said that you should do them for your business. You write that list down. I’m going to guarantee you can probably draw a line straight through them because you don't need to be doing them, they’re not essential to the business. More importantly, you hate them. Why are you doing them in the first place? If you hate writing 2,000-word articles, why are you writing 2,000-word articles? If you're doing videos every day because someone said, “You should be on YouTube. You should be doing videos to promote your business.”You hate doing it. Don't do it. Stop doing it because you probably spend two or three times as long doing the things that you hate because you hate them. Draw a line through them. Most people who do that exercise the first time, you can do it multiple times. The first time you do that you're probably going to free up between 40% and 60% of your time by stopping doing the things that you hate that are not essential to the business.
If they're essential, they’re going to be in the need to do a column. You need to do them, but you might not enjoy them. That is the process that I use when I’m working with people, but it's also what I did. Despite where I’m at with 60 minutes and also 30 to 90 minutes a day, I still ended up doing initially two hours to five hours. When I caught myself increasing the time that I was spending doing business-like activities, I could see myself getting ill and I feared a relapse. This was the process that I used. What is essential to the business? What's going to drive the business forward? What are revenue-generating activities? What things do I love? What’s essential for the business? All the things that I hate, I stopped doing them. I found I was spending hours on social media interacting with people unnecessarily and tweeting 1,000 times a day. All that hustle and grind stuff, put a line through it. I’ve done that multiple times and that's how I got down to the 30 to 60 minutes a day.
Firstly, I have to do things that were essential to revenue-generating activities. That was where I started out through necessity because of health. I couldn't do it. When my health got better, you started doing those other things. It's to prevent me from filling my day with unnecessary activities that weren't productive and for me and for me, they're not healthy. I don't want to increase my workload because I can make myself ill because of it. That's the process that I use for myself, but also to get people to free up their time so that they can start to focus on other things that are more important. Maybe living life and spending time with your family like what I did for a few years. What do you want to do with that extra time? You can free up your time quickly and easily with that simple exercise. Stop doing the things that you hate doing. You spend far too long doing the things that you hate because you hate them.
Dustin
I got to ask this as a follow-up because they say that nature abhors a vacuum. Basically, this idea that when you free up time, you're going to find other tasks to do it with. Especially entrepreneurs who love to build, who love to create. In your sense you had your body tell you to stop. Other people have that luxury. If I free up all this time and I’m doing it, they're going to have this task. How often do you recommend checking in with yourself for folks that experience that?
Phil
I personally do it every day. After you've got rid of the things you hate, you can start to systematize the things you need to do and map them out. You can start to free up more time with that or start hiring people to do the things that you need to do but you don't need to do them yourself. Someone else can do it. You're going to end up with a lot of free time, but how do you not start doing other things? Personally, I want to focus on free time. I would say if you're not going to the gym, get yourself to the gym. There's one to two hours because your health is important. It's the thing that keeps you alive. You're going to have a longer life because you're healthier. I would start using some of that time to work out certainly two or three times a week, at least once a week so you can check that box of, “I’m doing something healthy.”
Spend time with your family. If you imagine yourself at the end of your life and you're looking back on it and you hear a lot of people, it's the same story. “I wish I’d spent more time with the family. I wish I’d done this.” They've got a list of regrets. Imagine that you’re in the future looking back on your life and because you were doing a 60, 70, 80-hour work week, filling your time with work activities. What's the sacrifice? Family? Are you spending time with family, loved ones and friends? Maybe there's a sports activity. Maybe you've always wanted to learn how to play the guitar. Do leisure activities because you need downtime to relax, to recharge the batteries. There have been many studies over the years by many different sources that prove that you need downtime. You need relaxation time, non-business or work-related activities to recharge your batteries. You become more productive by working less.
There are several experiments going on in the world moment about going down to four-day work week. Some countries in Europe already do four-hour workdays. That's leeching over into the US where it’s like, “Let's experiment with four-hour work weeks.” Working less, you can be more productive. I’m an extreme example of that. It is possible. Work less. Fill times with the things that you want to do. Stop doing that same activity. What are the things that you love doing, but in your personal life? Maybe you want to learn something, learn a language, and learn a musical instrument or the things that you hate doing in your personal life. I hate gardening. Hire a gardener. You can do the same exercise in your personal life, but you definitely want to be writing a list of things that you love from your personal life. The things that you want to do and start filling the excess or the free time that you've got from not working and the long, hard hours. You can start transferring those things in the left column for your personal life. That's what I would suggest.
Dustin
When you first got into trading and you started making money or when you get excited about a work project, are you breaking the rule where you're putting some research in? You're not working, but you're reading about it. You're watching videos. You're doing things to get some background.
Phil
If we break it down, that would be in the love column. The phrase that I’m using is, “Will this unHustle me?” You might temporarily increase some of your hours because you've got to do a little bit of research. You've got this great idea. You're going to research it. There might be some upfront timing costs that you're spending. Is it going to be a permanent thing? The thing that I’m doing, can I do it once and sell it twice? In my primary business, I’m trading in the financial markets. I’m doing that. It doesn’t take me that long to do it. I can quickly send out an alert. I can send out an email. I can send that over to a finance manager. I can sell it in multiple different ways. I can sell the strategy of how I’m doing that and people can teach themselves. I’m doing it once and I’m selling it two to five different ways. That's the power of leverage. I’m not selling something that takes my time. It's my expertise, but I can sell it in multiple different ways.
Another thing that I can do is I can license it out. Someone else can put their logo on it and they can sell it like it's their product. I don't have to worry about the customer service and all the other nonsense that's going to take my time up. Initially, I might have to tell them what answers because you pretty much get the same questions over and over again with most requests. There are initially some time investments as I bring them up to standards, but then I’ve done it once and I’m selling it thousands of times and someone else is taking care of it. That's the key there. You don't have to be the person to do the thing in the first place. Do you think Richard Branson's writing blog posts? I don't even think he's signing off on the ideas these days, but you get the principle. You can have the idea, go and find someone who's an expert at the thing that you've had the idea about and get them to do it.
An analogy I like is you want to be the captain of the ship. You don't want to be working in the engine room shoveling coal in the steam engine, whatever picture you want to paint there. You want to be the captain of the ship saying, “People, we're going this way. This is the plan. Navigator, go and sort the route out.” I’m not even worried about how we get there. I’m coming to America. That's the destination. “Navigator, what's the best way to get us there? You're the expert. You know how to read the maps. You know how to navigate. You go and sort that. Engineer, you go and sort out the engine. You’re the expert at that. I don't want to shovel the coal. You shovel the coal in that steam engine.”
That's what we want. You can have the idea, but get a team of people around to help you with it. I’m not saying you should go out and hire 50 people. There are great services and tools that will do almost like this micro gig culture. If you've got a simple one-time task, you can inexpensively get someone to tell you how to do that or do it for you in an inexpensive way as a one-time temporary project and you can get it done. We've got this wonderful thing called the internet. We can connect with everyone else on the planet if they're all connected on the internet. There's someone that can probably do the thing that you want better than you ever could.
Dustin
Your team isn't super big. Give me an understanding of what does your team look like? What's the makeup of your biz?
Phil
You’d be surprised that I’ve got very few people. I do the thing that I’m an expert at. What I typically do is the way that I’ve promoted the financial trading side of what I do is I’ve licensed it out. I can do the thing that I’m going to do. I can create an email alert essentially. I’ve got my own clients under my own brand, but the majority of the time is I’m going to upload the blog post. I’m going to send that out to my existing database of people and then I’m going to send it over to someone else, on someone else's team. I have not employed them. Someone else's team is then going to make it look pretty and put their logo and all the other stuff on it. I’ve already done the work once and I’m giving it to someone else and they can make it look pretty for their customers, their business, and their clients. Someone else can deal with that and then I can send it to someone else who has also licensed it out to.
Other people’s teams are doing the work for me because of the way that I’ve set my business up. I don't necessarily need to hire people. If I do, I can get two or three people. I’ve got a list of people who I can trust and know the processes that I use so I can hire them on a temporary basis to do what’s essentially a one-time project or a temporary project. “Can you do this for me? It's going to take this much. It's going to take that long. Go and do it for me.” They know how I want it done. I’ve not got anyone employed in that regard because I don't need to employ full-time people or even part-time people all the time. I can do it once myself because part of what I do is quite an expert's knowledge thing. I can sell it multiple times. I don't need to hire people all the time.
I appreciate that might be a unique situation, but there's plenty of services and businesses out there that specialize in supporting. It's called outsourcing these days, but you're essentially hiring on a temporary basis. This gig economy is based like five. If you need sound editing or video production or something else, you can go and find people. If you're not happy with them, you can go to someone else and find someone that you're happy with that will do it at the standard that you want. When you need that task doing, you can say, “Can you do this for me?” They'll say, “It's going to be ready in three days,” and they'll come back to you. From that perspective, I’m not hiring anyone.
Dustin
Let's say you've got someone that's leaving corporate and they want to start their business. They've always had this dream and they're getting started. Maybe they have a few funds but not a lot, especially for this business because they got to maintain and support the family. They want to start something. How do they take this idea of unHustling, especially when they’re at the start of building something and apply it? What are the most critical things you want them to know about the build?
Phil
There are two ways that it could be done. You've either got skillsets from your corporate gig that you can sell under your own name, your own brand, your own thing. You already are proficient at something. You can do that for other people or consult with them. I’m a big advocate of consulting because then it means that you can leverage in knowledge and get results as opposed to selling time. I don’t want to sell time for money.I’m quite against that.You can do that and sell your knowledge and consulting for people under that side of things. What if you don't have knowledge? Everyone's got a skillset, but what if you don't think you've got a sellable skill or sellable asset?You've got this idea. Maybe you want to work in accounting, but you've not got the accounting qualifications.
Why don't you partner up with someone who's got the relevant skill sets and you find the work and you've hired that person to do the job for you. You're not employing them. You're using their skillsets. Almost like a license or white labels is another way of phrasing this. I’m a big fan of that. You don't have to be the person that's doing the job. You can partner with people who can do it and say, “If I find you customers, do you mind if I put my logo on it and I get you to the job. Will you give me a discount on it?” That can be your markup or you can put your own. Plus, you've got a little bit of a discount. You don't have to be the person doing the thing. You may be needed to go and be the person that goes and talks to potential clients or prospects in that regard.
There are two ways of doing it. You've got the skill set. You're going to promote your own skillsets. I would advocate more of a consultancy-type of road versus hiring people to do the job to work in the industry that you wanted. They’re typically the people that I like to help because that's where I’ve got knowledge and experience with. I’m staying within my own skillset as well. I’m not telling people to go and stop physical business. I’ve got zero experience in the physical business. The same principles can still apply, but I’ve not got direct experience. I don't feel comfortable helping people with manufacturing or an engineering factory. I have done in the past, but I’ve not done my best work for those people if we’re going to be truthful because I’ve not got the knowledge base to draw on from that.
Dustin
We talk about consulting or even coaching. I love processes and systems and that's what you're all about is designing systems for your life. My understanding is that you have a system or a processor methodology for closing sales. Will you share what that looks like?
Phil
One of my first jobs was in telesales and it was the ‘90s and it was smile with a dial. Don't let them get off the phone until they say yes. It's cliché and high pressure, boiler room tactics. It's not a good experience. We don't want to do that. What I wanted to do first of all was I didn't like that selling type of mindset. I didn't want to do that because, firstly, I hated doing it and I hated being on the receiving end of it. What I would prefer to do was to have a conversation. I like to be myself so I want to be my quirky weird, say ahoy there. I like doing that and I like to have a laugh and a joke. That is always high up on my priorities. I want to have a conversation with people who are fun and interesting. They like to have a laugh. They like to have a joke. If they're not there then I’m not going to have a long conversation with them and I’m probably not going to work with them.
If you're going to work with someone, I’m typically going to be spending a lot of time. You're always going to get more than you paid for with me because I’m completely invested in the thing that you want to do and help you because I get a buzz out of it. At the same time, if you're working with someone who's negative and depressing and pushing against your ideas and the methodology that you have, you don't want to work with those people. That's the first part of this nine-step process. It’s to build rapport and very quickly you're going to find out whether you like that person or you don't like that person. If they sound like someone you don't want to work with, then you don't have to work with them. That’s good to know straight away.
Build rapport. Set the agenda. Let the other person know that you're going to ask some questions like, “I need to understand your situation a little bit more. I’m going to ask you some questions to figure out if what I do is right for you. If you're okay with that, let's get going.” You're setting the agenda, but you don't truly know if you can help someone until you understand their situation better. The whole process behind a sales conversation for me is to try and figure out, “Do I like them? Can I help them? If I can't, then I’ll try and point you in the right direction,” and I tell people that. That’s one of the first things I say to people like, “I don't know if I can help you. If I can, that’s great. If I can't, I’ll point in the right direction. For us to be able to make that conclusion, I need to ask you a few questions. Are you okay with that?”
You’re involving them in the process by saying us and we because you are. You're letting them know that you're going to ask some questions because you are. You're asking their permission if it’s okay. If they're not happy with that, hopefully, they should tell you. It's a quick opener, but it sets the tone. You're asking their permission to say, “I need to ask you some questions.” Ultimately, you want to ask about their business. I always think about the first date. If you take an absolute interest in them, their business, their situation, what problems they're experiencing, the challenges that they're having. If you ask them that and they've agreed to be open with you to see if you can help them, then they should be honest and forthcoming.
From that point, I can take an interest, like you've been doing with me. “Let's pause there. I want to get some more insight on this particular thing that I’ve mentioned.” You did that. You go a little bit deeper. If you don't understand something you ask for clarification, but you're on that first date experience. The roles are reversed in this case because you're the interviewer. It's the same type of principle. You're doing less of the talking, but you're pausing there asking for clarification, guiding the conversation, and that's the discovery elements. You want to understand what their current situation is because if you don't know that, you won't be able to offer a possible solution and whether you're the person for that solution in the first place.
The important part of it as well is it’s a conversation. It's not an interrogation. I always imagine it like you've bumped into an old friend at the coffee shop and say, “Bob, how are you doing?” They say, “I’m great.” I’m like, “You've already started your own business. Tell me a little about it. Do you work in engineering? Tell me about it.” They’re like, “You do the Six Sigma thing. What’s Six Sigma?” That's a conversation that you would naturally have with an old friend because you’re interested in finding out what they’re up to. I don't care about engineering and Six Sigma personally. I know nothing about it, but I’ve had those conversations before because it's new. Take an interest and you generally want to find out. That's the first part of the process.
Ultimately, what we're trying to figure out is can we help them? If you can help them, you want to figure out, “What results are they looking for?” You know the current situation. You want to work out where you go. You want to be the captain of the ship. Where's the destination? What are you trying to achieve? Where are you going? What are you aiming towards? You're trying to figure out where they want to be. You know the current state of the situation they‘re in. Probably a bad situation might be why they're talking to you in the first place. Where’d you want to go? What's the future look like? If we could help you not just in business, but what would your personal life look like?
For me, I’m helping people free up their time, work less, and earn more money. That's what I’m trying to do. What does the future look like for them? Are they trying to free up the time? They want to spend time with the family, the kids? Maybe similar to me they've got a health situation that they're trying to control. That might be the future. What are the desired end results that they're aiming towards? That's going to help you figure out, “That's not something I’d do,” or maybe it is something that you do. You can quickly decide to have a short conversation and point them off in the right directions and, “I don't think I’m the right person for you,” but that's cool. That's an okay decision to make. You want to know that right now rather than a few months’ time.
If you cannot, then you start to make those suggestions like, “Have you thought about this? Have you tried that?” It's this conversation that you want to try and have with them. There are multiple steps, but ultimately you want to be saying, “What do you want to do next?” That is the magic question for me. It's like you're having a conversation, “If we could help you achieve that future state, would you want to work? What do you want to do next?” There are problems with objections like, “I don’t have the money. I don’t have the time.” Whatever the reason, whatever the excuses, the way that I circumvent that is to get them to present the objection that they might have if I try and sell them in that traditional sense to bring it up as a question early on. What do you want to do next? What's the pricing like? You're going to get the objection as a question.
By asking and continuing to ask, “What do you want to do next?” I’m like, “Can you tell me a little bit more about the process?” They’re like, “We do this, this, and this.”I’m like, “Does that make sense? What do you want to do next?” They’re like, “Could you tell me a little bit about that process? I didn't quite get it the first time.”It brings those traditional objections when you're trying to sell somebody something but they're not quite ready for. It brings them up as a question that you can discuss sensibly as mature adults. These things are okay to ask, but eventually what's going to happen is they've posted all their questions, you've not got any objections, and eventually what'll happen is when you start simple, “Bob, what you want to do next?” They’re like, “How do we work together? What's the next step?” They're going to ask you to work and that’s what I want. That's the expense. I want them to be invested in working with me, not for me to try and force them into a decision that they're not comfortable with or they're not ready with because they've got these questions that are unanswered. You bring them up as a part of the conversation.
By doing that, everyone is happy. It still might be that, “I’m not ready for this.” That needs to be an okay decision as well. It might not be a yes now. It's definitely not a no, but it could be a yes next time. I want to leave that door open if they're still not comfortable with making any type of commitments. I’m okay with that. That needs to be okay when you're having any type of sales conversation. You want a quick no or a slow yes. If it’s a quick no, that should be an okay decision, an okay conclusion. By asking, “What do you want to do next?” at the appropriate points of the conversation, they're going to bring all those objections. That for me is the way that I like to conduct sales calls in a nontraditional way because it makes me feel better. I know that the other person's not being pressured into a decision that they might not have been comfortable with.
Dustin
It's organic. It's natural. It flows. When you get them to ask that question, “How do we work together? What’s the next step?” That's like landing the plane, I feel.
Phil
It sounds such a simplistic thing. For me personally, it works. It means that you're the person that can never ever at any point feel they'd been pressured into a decision because they've specifically asked me, “I’m ready. How do we work together?” That's a great place to be because you're paying full attention to them, their needs, their requirements and their concerns. It's all about them by asking that question. I’m excited about this. I am a product of my own system. It makes me feel good for doing it.
Dustin
People or businesses need a sales prevention department, what do you mean by that?
Phil
What we've spoken on is the bit after the sales prevention. You need to think about your avatar. What type of person do you want to work with, but most people don't know who they want to work with. If they do, it's loose like, “I want to work with this type of person,” the usual demographics. They're between 40 and 50,their male or female or whatever. They drink white wine. That's what most people think as thinking about their avatar. What's easier to think about most times is who do you not want to work with? Those people are obvious like, “I don't want to work with jerks.” Let's define what a jerk is to me. I want to know who that person is so that I can exclude them from my process. If they still slip through the nets, then by having that conversation like, “You're a jerk. Yes, I am.” It's going to be a short conversation that builds rapport. If you can't build rapport, it’s high on my priority list, then I don't want to work with that person. It's nothing personal. I want to enjoy the time I spend with you.
That's what I mean by the sales prevention department. You want to put obstacles in people's way that prevents the people that are less desirable for you to work with. I want to work with happy, smiley people. I don't want to work with people who are resistant to change and improvements and they are out there. They say that they want to improve then they don't want to follow your process that you've figured out over many years. You want to exclude them by having the sales prevention department. There are lots of ways of doing this. In internet jargon, it's referred to as a sales funnel. If you think about the ‘50s and ‘60s, they used to talk about it as a customer walk, referencing when someone’s going around a supermarket or a shopping mall. What's the journey that you want to take them? They want to go here. I want bread. I’ve got to go all the way down to the other side of the supermarket because they always put it at the farthest end. Bread and milk, the most common things people buy. They make you walk past everything else before you get there.
That's what supermarkets want. That's all we mean by a sales process or sales funnel because you might pick other things up along the way. That's what a sales funnel or a sales process is. Your sales process, if you're not entirely crystal clear on who you want to work with, it's easy to figure out who you don't want to work with. I’ll guarantee anyone who's done any type of or had any type of experience with people, which we all have. You know the type of people that you don't like. Not even necessarily that you don't want to work with. I don't like this type of people. It's nothing personal. It's the way it is. We don't get along with everyone sadly. You can clearly identify who you don't want to work with and put little blocks of little sales prevention things. I like to think I’m a happy, bubbly person so I don't attract people who are miserable. You can do this in lots of little ways and that's what I mean by the sales prevention department.
The way that I experienced this, first of all, is when I first started the coaching and consulting for the stock markets and financial trading stuff. I had this idea like most people, “I’ll pile it high and sell it cheap. What a great idea. Who wouldn't want what I’ve got to buy?”Like most people who start their business, the idealist in them has these thoughts. The reality is you start getting problems. A quick way to put a sales prevention system in place is to put your prices up. Most people are undercharging anyway. The more you put your price up and do it incrementally if you're a little bit nervous about it. You're going to start working with fewer people, which is a good thing but your price is going to be higher and you'll start earning more money by working with fewer people when you put your prices up.
That's a simple way that everyone can do straight away to have a sales prevention department. People will naturally price themselves out. They're not buying the price shopper. You're getting rid of those people who are looking for a bargain like, “It's the cheapest. It was the best. It was on sale. I’ve got a discount.” You've got rid of all those people by putting your price up because it's a different mentality, a different mindset that you work with. What you'll find is when you start putting prices up and you start getting into the thousands type of level, you get a different caliber of person. It was certainly my experience if you can justify what you've got, let's say 2,000, 3,000, 4,000 pounds, dollars, insert the currency of your choice.
When you start doing that, you get a different type of person. You get someone who wants to work with you because they're completely invested. They're not buying a commodity. They're not buying a thing, what the price shoppers are doing like, “I got a bargain. Cheap as chips.” When you get people who are spending money, they’re invested. They've crossed the line in their mind that says, “Phil can give me these results. I’m prepared to pay whatever it takes because I know I’m going to get a multiple of that,” and that's the difference. You want someone who's invested in working with you versus someone who's a price shopper. That's a simple way to put a sales prevention department and/or sales prevention thing in place.
Dustin
I appreciate you sharing a lot of the ideas. I love how they're contrarian, not to you, but to what everything else is being preached out there. It forces us to slow down, question and analyze our lives. That's always good to do.
Phil
My default position most of the time is to look the other way. My first experience of it was I remember going into a bar when I was out in mobile before. I’d go into the local bar pub with three, four friends. Most people will make a beeline straight to the nearest point from the door to the bar. That's most people will do. Personally, I would step to one side and go, “Where's the gap in the bar?” Usually, you've got to walk down to the far ends of the establishments. Chances are there was someone there that wasn't serving anyone because there was no one there because the crowds, the herd, the group minds, the hive mind has gone from the door to the straightest line to the bar to get served next. Whereas I’m looking for the opportunity. I could often go and get my drink and then come back and wait in line with the other people while they're foolishly waiting with the herd.
That was my first experience eighteen, nineteen, twenty. I realized that mindset everywhere, not just with the crowd at the bar, do the opposite or step to one side and observe the situation first then make sensible adjustments. Most people don't do that. Most people follow the herd, follow the crowds and make a beeline from the door to the bar because they want to be next in line. Why don't you go to the place where no one's waiting? You can get served straight away with exactly what you want with a happy smile and then enjoy the evening. You do not have to queue and wait unnecessarily. That was my first experience of it. A random story there from my drinking days.
Dustin
Phil, thank you big time for sharing your ideas. I love this idea of the unHustle and I want the WealthFit Nation to think about it and see if it's for them. Any aspect of it could be for anybody in our audience. Thanks for sharing that. If folks want to keep tabs on what you're up to and follow the unHustle movement, how can they best do that?
Phil
It is at unHustled.com. If you want to get to me directly, I’m an open person. You can get to meet at Phil@unHustled.com.If you want to talk about business or finance, whatever floats your boat, I’m happy to have a conversation. If I can point you off in the right direction, great. If you want to figure something out with us, that's great. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this. Hopefully, your loving audience has enjoyed them as well.
Dustin
Thanks, Phil. I appreciate you being on the show.
Phil
Thanks for having me. It's been an absolute pleasure.

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