This is week twenty-three of a series where I'll be sharing a chapter from my book (Stop Selling Start Helping) each week. If you missed the previous weeks, click here to view all chapters. To learn more about Stop Selling Start Helping, click here.

CH 23 H is for Holy $@!%

I'm not much of a cussing kind of guy. In fact, when I was a kid, any time I had to spell my name out loud, I would say "M – A – double T" because I thought "tee-tee" (otherwise known as "pee-pee") was a bad word. Now, with kids of my own, I do my best to explain that "words are just words. It's all in how you use those words that makes the difference." And, I think it's working, as Ian (10) loves singing with Zac Brown Band: "I got my toes in the water, ASS in the sand..." and he's thrilled that he can say the word "ass" without getting in trouble!

(One caveat – you'll notice I still steered away from using the actual word "shit" in the title of this chapter...that would take things one step too far, in my opinion. Plus, my mom, who is proofreading this book along the way, would probably kill over right on the spot! Sorry mom. I'll be sure to wash my own mouth out with soap when I get home tonight.)

While I still believe it's mostly not necessary, I agree with Guy Kawasaki (in his book Enchantment) when he says there's a time and place for strong language...mostly when it's related to making a point or showing emotion or passion about something.

And THIS is where I circle back to what this chapter is all about. H is the first letter in the word HELP. It's also the first letter of the H.E.L.P. acronym that explains the process one goes through when he first begins to open his eyes to the idea of helping versus selling.

H is for Holy #@!%

I've experienced it myself, and I've seen it happen with my clients. Once you begin to look at your business (and life, in general) as a means of helping people, there's this a-ha moment when it clicks – and you really have that feeling of "Holy #@!%, this makes sense."

  • You start to see opportunity where you hadn't seen it before.
  • You begin to recognize that some of the brands you love the most are doing this same thing – and that's why you love them so much.
  • It's like you had blinders on – blinders that only allowed you to focus on "selling" something...seeking out a few more dollars per sale, getting a new customer at all costs, selling another product, upselling current clients, etc.
  • And you start to wonder how in the world you missed this. How could such a simple concept go unnoticed for so long?

E is for Everywhere

I recently bought a Ram 1500 Big Horn truck. It’s a massive thing; and I never pictured myself as a “truck guy,” but now I love it. And, you know what kind of vehicle I see EVERYWHERE now? Ram 1500 Big Horns! There’s actually a “phenomenon” for this. It’s called the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon, and it’s defined by Wikipedia as “the illusion in which a word, a name, or other thing that has recently come to one's attention suddenly seems to appear with improbable frequency shortly afterwards.” This same phenomenon happens when your mindset changes to one of helping from one of selling.

Helping in a Meeting...

Now, when you walk into a meeting with a first-time prospect, your mindset is completely different. You're there to help that person, not sell them something. So, the conversation goes in a completely different direction than it would have in the past. You're asking questions, good questions, to find out if you can help. And, if you can't, that's okay; you'll find someone else to help. But, if you can, all the better.

Helping Online...

Now, when you go to write a blog, you write in such a way that offers helpful information for your customers and prospects, not another sales pitch about another feature of your product. You create content with the reader in mind, rather than your company in mind. Instead of posting a link to your website from Twitter, you share a link to another website that you think might help your audience (yes, maybe even competitor's website!).

Helping in Person...

Now, when you have lunch with a friend or co-worker or client, you find yourself genuinely interested in what's going on in their life or business situation. You don't jump in with a quick solution, because you're listening well. You have the other person's interests in mind. Maybe there's a way you can help; and maybe there's not. Helping may just come in the form of listening.

L is for Listening & Responding

When you change from an attitude of A.B.C. (Always Be Closing) to an attitude of H.E.L.P., you start listening more. You begin to listen and look for ways to help your prospect, your co-worker, your neighbor, your friend. Your respond with genuine compassion and a desire to see the other person succeed, instead of doing everything you can to turn it into a “win” for yourself.

P is for Profit

I’ve said it time and time again throughout this book: the bottom line is still part of the equation. And the last letter in the H.E.L.P. acronym is a P for PROFIT. People recognize that you’re actually there to help them, and not just trying to push your product or service on them. This establishes credibility and increased trust among your peers, your clients, and your prospects. And that ultimately turns into better relationships, stronger connections, and more business.

Simple, Yet Powerful

The concept of helping isn't a difficult one. It's just often overlooked. But, once employed, it can be one of the most powerful concepts in your arsenal.

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