Phil M Jones’s Advice on Exactly Where To Start in 2021

Written by Claire Dowdall

On January 14th, our ‘Inner Circle’ members were joined by our very own Phil M Jones as the first ‘Expert Guest’ of 2021 to discuss how we can drive referrals, drive change and kick off the year in style.

As Co-Founder and Chairman of Orange & Gray, Phil has worked with hearing care practitioners across the globe for close to a decade. Having now also worked closely with Inner Circle members since 2018, he has seen close up how the words we choose are critical to making conversations count when we communicate with patients and potential patients.

With a special edition of Exactly What To Say for hearing care on its way, this interview hones in on specific examples of how his “Magic Words” can be applied to your practice, including some new sets of words to apply straight away.

In this interview, Oli asked Phil some really in depth questions and got to the heart of what will make a real impact in 2021.

Here are some key highlights:

The best way to start something new – how do you drive a change in pricing structure?

Phil starts by getting us to think about the potential pay-off of making a change. Get complete clarity in your mind of “why am I doing it?” and get as many reasons as you can to help you communicate and push through when motivation wanes.

Then give yourself 3 levels of success that you can plan action towards – worst case, uniformed approach and utopia. Starting small also enables you to get momentum, test concepts and be more likely to go the distance.

Turning resistance to change into enjoyment of the process

The key to approaching a team of providers who are resistant to change and enjoy it as opposed to resist it, is to talk to their interests and present the benefit to them. This can impact on the likelihood of people following through on actions, especially around examples like asking for reviews.

How can you as a leader best tackle complex conversations?

The 3 ingredients you need to tackle difficult conversations was illustrated by Phil in the form of a diagram.

Curiosity – Turning up to a conversation with a “telling” mentality instantly creates friction. Curiosity creates clarity and the ability to see the world through their eyes. “Just out of curiosity, what’s happening in your daily routine that means you’re unable to add a simple ask to your conversations?”

Empathy – A definition of empathy from Jon Acuff is “Caring about what the people you care about, care about.” If you want to someone to become better at asking for reviews, you’ve got to be able to see the world through their lens.

Courage – The courage to ask the powerful questions – if you do not ask you do not get. Having the courage to ask someone to take action is key. “How many conversations have you had this week where you’ve asked for a review?”

When you tackle these in order, in a cyclical fashion, you do everything from a position of trust, which is what you want to earn if you want to change the behavior of others.

Helping your team to have better conversations by keeping it simple

The ask isn’t the hard part. The permission to ask is the hard part. So there is a simple set of words that Phil shares to almost guarantee that somebody will give you a review.

“Could you do me a small favor?”

But when can you ask this question? At the point at which the other person is grateful. The trigger words here are “thank you”. When they feel indebted, this is the best time to ask. You have earned your window to ask for the referral.

Encouraging people to follow through on their promise to refer

What you want to ensure is that people actually now follow through on the favor. Most often this comes in the form of a shared frustration or “elevator rant” to create some common ground. For example:

“One of the things I find really frustrating in this world right now is that people are regularly checking their blood pressure, their eyesight, their cholesterol, but they fail to regularly check their hearing. Resulting in people coming to me only when it’s too late.”

“Could you maybe think of one or two people you care about?”

“Yes” (that part is easy)

“Are there any of those folks you care about that maybe haven’t had a regular hearing test? Will you ask them a simple question for me?”

“Sure”

“Will you simply ask them when was the last time they had a hearing evaluation? And if they answer with anything other than within the last 12 months, will you hand them one of these cards?”

Magic Words for front office staff

Phil introduces a set of words that are being added to the new edition of Exactly What To Say. Here’s a set of words that helps approach the “how much” question:

What do you understand about…?

“What do you understand about the difference of working with a professional hearing care clinic as opposed to just buying hearing aids?”

“What do you understand about our comprehensive testing process?”

More often than not you will get a response of “I don’t know much”.

This leads to a second set of words where you’re asking permission again:

Would it help if…?

“Would it help if I walked you through some of those differences so that you could make a more informed decision?”

“Would it help if I walked you through some of that information so that you came to your appointment better prepared?”

The combination of those sets of words will put your front desk staff into a position of strength when faced with this type of question.

Making stronger recommendations by understanding patients better

The more about your patients’ circumstances you can understand, the easier it is to make better recommendations. The context comes from their case history and background, so Phil recommends a set up of words:

“Help me understand…”

“When was the last time…”

“How often…”

“For how long has this existed?”

This sets you up to find a real problem to solve and your solution becomes much more powerful, plus the permission to deliver a treatment plan. Staying curious at the front end, earns us the tight to make the recommendation later in the conversation.

Dealing with cancellations – a role play

In this part of the interview, Oli plays the role of a patient who calls to change their appointment due to their Grandson recommending that it’s currently unsafe. Phil answers the phone. The key sets of words we hear are:

“Why do you say that?” (when they say they feel it’s unsafe to visit their practice)

“What difference would it make if…” (when addressing their worries about safety)

“If a concern comes up, here’s what we would do” (if they say they have no immediate issues)

The key here is to create confidence and reassurance, but show empathy towards their concerns.

(If you want to see why Oli never made it as an actor, listen to the full recording…)

How do you make this stick?

Creating a graphic as a formula for people to refer to is a great idea, but the best approach is through repetition. And Phil recommends that the best way to do this as a leader is to say “let me show you” and show some vulnerability. Why not have a go at the next few calls? Why not run a micro session before you open and demonstrate and make a game of it, but by leading it by example.

If you show enough people that an improved result is possible, they will figure out a way of achieving that improved result using any resources you make available. If you push them using processes, they’ll push back and find reasons why it won’t work.

The key changes you will see in the new edition of Exactly What To Say

Phil announced that Exactly What To Say for Hearing Care will be available by the end of March 2021. This is a fully customized version for all front desk and providers in all areas of hearing care conversations, with scenarios directly from the hearing care world.

The business you’re running and the business you’re growing

Phil tells us how his 20 years in business has been a permanent process of reinvention. He encourages us to see ourselves as having 2 businesses – the business you are running and the business you are growing.

What happens if you dedicate 20% of your time and resources to a new area of business? Once that area grows to become the main area of business, you repeat the process of finding a new business to grow. This is where you achieve continual reinvention and have permission to play.

It could be as simple as the business you are running is your current body of patients. The business you are growing is the potential patients who don’t yet know you exist.

Building your success squad (see page 66 of Exactly Where To Start)

Phil talks about how having the right people around you in the right roles is a real key to success. In Exactly Where To Start he shares a list of roles you should seek to fill or define who fits where:

Cheerleaders – people who want to see you win
Role Models – people ahead of you on the journey
Mentors – people who help you make better decisions
Coaches – people who ask the questions you haven’t yet asked yourself
Trainers – people who teach you what you need to know
Resources – people with the skills you don’t have
Advisors – people to talk over ideas with
Aspirational Peers – people on a similar journey

Completing a life laundry to eliminate the wrong people from your life is a powerful activity to ensure you have only positive influences in your life.

A powerful formula for making better decisions for how you spend your time

Phil’s final piece of advice gets us to look how we spend and prioritise our time. This comes down to a formula that ends up with giving us a figure for what an hour of our time is worth. The formula is:

How much do you want to earn personally over the next 12 months? (Divide by)
How many weeks of the year would you be happy to work? (Divide by)
How many hours do you want to work in those weeks?

Divide the first number by the second number and then by the third number, you have your hourly rate. And now you can make more informed decisions about whether your activities are high pay off or not. You can then apply this approach to your pricing.

These are just some of the key notes from a 60-minute interview with Phil M Jones. The full interview is only available to “Inner Circle” members, but you can view the highlights below.

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AlexCopywriter

Describe your role with Orange & Gray in 25 words or less

Helping write, plan and publish content.

What do you love most about working with clients?

The variety! There are always new and interesting projects and angles to work on.

What has been your favourite moment so far working in the O&G team?

The support from the amazing team!

Tell us a random fact about you in a short sentence - keep it clean ;)

I use to live in Switzerland!

If you could travel anywhere in the world for free, where would you go?

The Maldives

AlexandraTechnical Account Manager

Describe your role with Orange & Gray in 25 words or less

I make sure that the websites are up to date, functioning well and looking good.

What do you love most about working with clients?

I love being a part of a team that helps our clients to further help more people with hearing loss, tinnitus etc live rich, fulfilling lives. 

What has been your favourite moment so far working in the O&G team?

There is always a huge sense of achievement whenever we put a site live - we know at that point that the client is happy with the work we have produced and is ready to show it to the world.

Tell us a random fact about you in a short sentence - keep it clean ;)

Before joining Orange & Gray I was a classically trained chef and have also studied hypnosis and psychotherapy.

If you could travel anywhere in the world for free, where would you go?

India

AntonWeb Designer

Describe your role with Orange & Gray in 25 words or less

I am responsible for creating the look and feel of the websites that we build.

What do you love most about working with clients?

Understanding the personality of the individual brand and their people and translating it into a unique web user experience.

What has been your favourite moment so far working in the O&G team?

I really enjoy how everyone takes ownership of their roles thus creating a well-oiled machine.

Tell us a random fact about you in a short sentence - keep it clean ;)

I played Ice Hockey for South Africa ;)

If you could travel anywhere in the world for free, where would you go?

Maldives. Cliche but hey, it's for free!

BilCopywriter

Describe your role with Orange & Gray in 25 words or less

I provide content with an American style and the unique point of view from different regions of the U.S. to improve local SEO.

What do you love most about working with clients?

Because I have struggled with hearing issues, my passion is not only focused on the client, but also communicating hope to the people they serve.

What has been your favourite moment so far working in the O&G team?

O&G's team approach, which combines the unique talents of each individual to create top-level service to our clients, is our most impressive feature.

Tell us a random fact about you in a short sentence - keep it clean ;)

Away from my keyboard, my wife and I spend our time delivering food and basic household supplies to the less fortunate.

If you could travel anywhere in the world for free, where would you go?

Back to my family roots in England and the Scottish Highlands.

ClaireBrand Manager

Describe your role with Orange & Gray in 25 words or less

Ensuring that Orange & Gray is presented as an industry-leading brand, creating resources and experiences that make becoming an Inner Circle member something to aspire to.

What do you love most about working with clients?

I don't work directly with clients, but I do love seeing the wider team bring ideas and campaigns to life and how it helps them.

What has been your favourite moment so far working in the O&G team?

Being part of such a great team with a family feel to it really has been refreshing and it feels like a privelege to work alongside such great people.

Tell us a random fact about you in a short sentence - keep it clean ;)

I've been singing on stage since I was 6 and my mum is an opera singer

If you could travel anywhere in the world for free, where would you go?

I'd love to visit Singapore and Japan

Clive MargettsCEO

Describe your role with Orange & Gray in 25 words or less

I see it as a team builder and facilitator. Making sure the right people occupy the right roles.

What do you love most about working with clients?

I don't too often, but when I do it's the people interaction. Getting to know our clients' interests, approach to business, motivations and dreams.

What has been your favourite moment so far working in the O&G team?

It may sound a bit twee, but I'm so proud of what we have achieved in building such a talented team and by their resulting impact in an industry that needs a service like ours.

Tell us a random fact about you in a short sentence - keep it clean ;)

I love classic cars and plan to travel widely in years to come in an old Classic Campervan!

If you could travel anywhere in the world for free, where would you go?

The Amazon Rainforest

Daniel WatersChief Technical Officer

Describe your role with Orange & Gray in 25 words or less

I take charge of the technical team and make sure that all of our technical systems run smoothly. If it's tech, I've got it.

What do you love most about working with clients?

I love interacting with people who are all in the same boat but all face different challenges but most of all I love it when something I do makes them happier or their life easier.

What has been your favourite moment so far working in the O&G team?

There is no favourite moment as such as it is all one favourite moment being able to work with a wonderful team of talented and varied individuals. Apart from driving amazing results for clients, getting to face challenges and build solutions with this growing team is reason alone to wake up each morning.

Tell us a random fact about you in a short sentence - keep it clean ;)

I started my first business when I was 12 years old.

If you could travel anywhere in the world for free, where would you go?

This is so hard but I think Thailand or South Korea or China - basically East Asia for amazing food and diverse culture.

DonnaSEO Expert

Describe your role with Orange & Gray in 25 words or less

It is my responsibility to optimise websites so they rank well on Google search pages and are recognised as trust worthy and reliable websites.

What do you love most about working with clients?

I love working with clients because of how much I've learned from them and what they do, and being part of making their business grow.

What has been your favourite moment so far working in the O&G team?

Other than winning my "most improved" award in 2020, my favourite moments of working with this amazing team is when we meet up in person for a weekend packed full of laughs and great memories.

Tell us a random fact about you in a short sentence - keep it clean ;)

I'm a crazy dog lady. I have 4 rescue dogs and couldn't imagine what life would be like without a furry friend.

If you could travel anywhere in the world for free, where would you go?

The Maldives - the fresh food, drink, beaches and sunsets looks like paradise. What's not to love?

EmmaTechnical Account Manager

Describe your role with Orange & Gray in 25 words or less

I am a Technical Account Manager, working on everything from new websites to creating forms and landing pages

What do you love most about working with clients?

I like making a connection with our clients, listening to their ideas and feedback, and using this to make sure they are really happy with what we are working on for them, whether that be a new website build, a new webpage, creating online forms, or any other technical job.

What has been your favourite moment so far working in the O&G team?

There have been lots of wonderful moments so far. Highlights definitely include winning Best Newcomer in March 2020 and Star of The Year in December 2020. I love my job and the O&G team, I am really lucky to be a part of it. Another highlight for me is each time a new client's website goes live. It is really rewarding to see the web build process through from start to finish and then to look after the sites and work closely with the clients thereafter.

Tell us a random fact about you in a short sentence - keep it clean ;)

I used to teach Forensic Science and Psychology.

If you could travel anywhere in the world for free, where would you go?

The Maldives or Iceland depending on if I was in the mood for sun or snow.

HusainWebsite Developer

Describe your role with Orange & Gray in 25 words or less

I am a Web Developer, working on making client websites work perfectly every time.

What do you love most about working with clients?

I love challenges and learning new things while working with complex projects.

What has been your favourite moment so far working in the O&G team?

My always favorite moments are group discussions with the team, discussion about how we can grow our working, our products and many more.

Tell us a random fact about you in a short sentence - keep it clean ;)

I am a very religious person and love to travel countries.

If you could travel anywhere in the world for free, where would you go?

I would go to the USA, London and Paris.

JenniferCampaign and Project Manager

Describe your role with Orange & Gray in 25 words or less

Campaign and Project Manager. I manage monthly marketing campaigns for Inner Circle clients.

What do you love most about working with clients?

The variety of different people I get to speak to on a daily basis.

What has been your favourite moment so far working in the O&G team?

More than just one moment - but watching the Hear for the Holidays winners videos.

Tell us a random fact about you in a short sentence - keep it clean ;)

I have skydived from 10,000 feet.

If you could travel anywhere in the world for free, where would you go?

Australia

JodieGraphic Designer

Describe your role with Orange & Gray in 25 words or less

I design logos, printed materials, online social assets and websites adding consistency across everything as well as ensuring the graphic design looks professional and engaging.

What do you love most about working with clients?

I love helping to bring the clients' visions to life and exceeding their expectations.

What has been your favourite moment so far working in the O&G team?

I have really enjoyed seeing how O&G have grown over the time I have worked with them and the difference they have made to businesses

Tell us a random fact about you in a short sentence - keep it clean ;)

I'm a bit clumsy, I even managed to break my wrist snowboarding on the first run 5 minutes into my holiday... Surely a record!

If you could travel anywhere in the world for free, where would you go?

I would love to go back to Hawaii and see all the Islands!

KathrynWriter

Describe your role with Orange & Gray in 25 words or less

Editing, proofreading & copywriting, with a special eye for ensuring anything is not too UK-ish!

What do you love most about working with clients?

Witnessing the life-changing results their services provide.

What has been your favourite moment so far working in the O&G team?

It's hard to say. Everyone is so lovely and a joy to work with. So much so that "work" doesn't feel like work but something special to be a part of.

Tell us a random fact about you in a short sentence - keep it clean ;)

If you love cats and hot chocolate, then we'll be friends for life!

If you could travel anywhere in the world for free, where would you go?

On an Alaskan cruise

KerrinContent Executive

Describe your role with Orange & Gray in 25 words or less

I keep the client's content consumable. Using insights, ideas, and strategies to keep their socials, newsletters and blogs fresh, flavourful, and flowing.

What do you love most about working with clients?

Using their unique stories, experiences and insights to shape and create engaging and targeted content.

What has been your favourite moment so far working in the O&G team?

Seeing the team go from strength to strength as we develop and grow alongside our clients.

Tell us a random fact about you in a short sentence - keep it clean ;)

I'm a half & half South African-Brit who speaks Norwegian, because hvorfor ikke?

If you could travel anywhere in the world for free, where would you go?

I'd love to visit the Serengeti in Tanzania

LaurenCopywriter

Describe your role with Orange & Gray in 25 words or less

I write engaging blog posts that are full of clients' unique personalities.

What do you love most about working with clients?

I love the opportunity to learn more about their field and opinions as physicians.

What has been your favourite moment so far working in the O&G team?

I've loved getting the opportunity to write for so many interesting clients.

Tell us a random fact about you in a short sentence - keep it clean ;)

I'm also a graphic designer and love creating digital art.

If you could travel anywhere in the world for free, where would you go?

I would love to visit Korea!

LucyCopywriter

Describe your role with Orange & Gray in 25 words or less

I'm a copywriter, writing words in the unique voice of clients and create a real connection with their patients.

What do you love most about working with clients?

Being trusted to put their unique personalities (both as businesses and individuals) into their copy, so it speaks directly to their patients

What has been your favourite moment so far working in the O&G team?

Personally, it's been a privilege to have worked with O&G from the near beginning, and seeing the team and client base grow is quite something.

Tell us a random fact about you in a short sentence - keep it clean ;)

(aww clean? really?) I'm a karaoke try-hard

If you could travel anywhere in the world for free, where would you go?

Norway

ManpreetWebsite Developer

Describe your role with Orange & Gray in 25 words or less

I am a Web developer, making sure that client websites function correctly and reliably.

What do you love most about working with clients?

I love using my creativity to build and style their websites.

What has been your favourite moment so far working in the O&G team?

All moments are my favourite. I am enjoying every moment with O&G but I want to share one moment that, during the COVID-19 when Clive Margetts ( The Boss ) organized a meeting with all team members and gave us motivation to fight with that along with work assurance.

Tell us a random fact about you in a short sentence - keep it clean ;)

I believe in humanity first, country second and religion at last.

If you could travel anywhere in the world for free, where would you go?

I want to go Paris once in my life.

MeganCopywriter and Marketing Assistant

Describe your role with Orange & Gray in 25 words or less

My role involves driving the monthly newsletters and writing engaging copy for our clients - ensuring my words are both sensitive and impactful.

What do you love most about working with clients?

Building up a relationship with the clients and getting to know the personalities behind them is my favourite part as it allows me to create something unique that we're both proud of.

What has been your favourite moment so far working in the O&G team?

It's really fantastic to see the whole team working together on the 2021 Planning Meeting call. It shows how much collective ideas and team work can make a difference.

Tell us a random fact about you in a short sentence - keep it clean ;)

No one in my family knows how to pronounce my last name - we all say it differently!

If you could travel anywhere in the world for free, where would you go?

India - the country fascinates me and it's one place that's always been on my bucket list.

MikeMarketing Executive

Describe your role with Orange & Gray in 25 words or less

Marketing, Design and Content Creation

What do you love most about working with clients?

Bringing their ideas to life.

What has been your favourite moment so far working in the O&G team?

Creating stunning content and seeing results

Tell us a random fact about you in a short sentence - keep it clean ;)

I play 4 musical instruments!

If you could travel anywhere in the world for free, where would you go?

Rent a camper and drive across the US :)

NathanTechnical Advisor

Describe your role with Orange & Gray in 25 words or less

Helping with all things technical, including creating the Inner Circle members area

What do you love most about working with clients?

Seeing the results they're getting from our marketing campaigns!

What has been your favourite moment so far working in the O&G team?

After much hard work and a huge team effort, the launch of the Inner Circle members area was hugely rewarding.

Tell us a random fact about you in a short sentence - keep it clean ;)

My eyes changed colour from brown to green in my teens

If you could travel anywhere in the world for free, where would you go?

The Amazon, but maybe in some kind of pod, protected from anything too bitey.

Oli LukeCo-Founder

Describe your role with Orange & Gray in 25 words or less

I drive the marketing strategy on behalf of 'Inner Circle' members and develop cutting-edge campaigns that see them lead the industry

What do you love most about working with clients?

Helping them to understand what modern marketing really is, and helping them to dispel the "silver bullet" myths

What has been your favourite moment so far working in the O&G team?

It's spending time with members, although the challenges of the pandemic have restricted travel, my fondest memories are being in clients' offices, understanding the inner workings of their businesses, and bringing new ideas

Tell us a random fact about you in a short sentence - keep it clean ;)

I fractured my skull when I was 14 trying to impress some girls at school. It didn't work, and resulted in two months in hospital. Not my proudest moment.

If you could travel anywhere in the world for free, where would you go?

I really fancy Rio de Janeiro

PaulWebsite Developer

Describe your role with Orange & Gray in 25 words or less

I am a Web Developer, helping to build, debug and fix websites

What do you love most about working with clients?

I know it's a bit of a cliche to say it's because every one is different, but that's really what it is. Dealing with different people who all bring different approaches keeps everything fresh and exciting

What has been your favourite moment so far working in the O&G team?

Receiving my first task as part of the team. It was exciting and terrifying in equal measure!

Tell us a random fact about you in a short sentence - keep it clean ;)

I have appeared on backing vocals for folk legend Pete Seeger

If you could travel anywhere in the world for free, where would you go?

The Maldives

Phil M JonesCo-Founder

Describe your role with Orange & Gray in 25 words or less

Building a vision for the industry, the amazing people we partner with and the entire O&G team that creates sustainable and profitable growth.

What do you love most about working with clients?

I love that these are real people, with amazing stories and skills and together we can create 2+2 =5

What has been your favourite moment so far working in the O&G team?

The pride of helping many who we partner with THRIVE through the challenges of 2020

Tell us a random fact about you in a short sentence - keep it clean ;)

One day I will find the time to learn to play a musical instrument

If you could travel anywhere in the world for free, where would you go?

Still looking to find a paid gig in Antarctica!!

SamairaContent Manager

Describe your role with Orange & Gray in 25 words or less

I manage the process involved in ensuring the monthly content is delivered each month including newsletters, blogs and social media.

What do you love most about working with clients?

Their knowledge and expertise in their area. Also, I like hearing about how their lifestyles differ from ours in the UK.

What has been your favourite moment so far working in the O&G team?

I really enjoyed our team trip to Orlando to attend a talk by Phil and meet some of our potential future clients. It gave insight into the current status of the hearing industry and what we at Orange & Gray can do to help support and grow our clients' businesses.

Tell us a random fact about you in a short sentence - keep it clean ;)

I have a huge documentation of my dreams which I analyse in my spare time.

If you could travel anywhere in the world for free, where would you go?

Japan - I would love to see Mount Fuji and experience the real life Mario Kart in Tokyo!

SophieSocial Media Executive

Describe your role with Orange & Gray in 25 words or less

I'm a Social Media Executive, creating content that puts clients in front of existing and prospective clients on a regular basis

What do you love most about working with clients?

I love getting to know interesting things about the people we provide content for day in and day out.

What has been your favourite moment so far working in the O&G team?

It's great when we can all get together! It's not happened much due to the current circumstances but it's good fun when we do!

Tell us a random fact about you in a short sentence - keep it clean ;)

I lived in Australia for a year when I was 18.

If you could travel anywhere in the world for free, where would you go?

New York or Las Vegas!