“Help” is probably a word you don’t typically associate with business. Maybe you think in terms of customer service, transactions, customer acquisition, or CRM. Maybe it’s employee engagement, staff retention or culture as the words that you conjure up first when you think inside your business. The most powerful word in any business is Help. It is the human driver that you need to focus on and celebrate in order to drive growth, innovation and stability. The ability to help is a significant part of strong leadership too. Let’s go through some of the many ways that Help is THE driving force to your success, as an entrepreneur and for your company: I Can Help: People don’t realize that customers and prospective customers alike are constantly striving to find people and companies that are in their corner. They are desperate to hear someone say, “I can help you”. So much of our business communication today is “that’s not part of your service plan”, “we’d need to charge extra for that”, or my favourite, “that’s not really our job”. All people are desperate for solid, reliable vendors and partners that start the conversation out with a commitment to help, regardless of the costs. How Can I Help? Offering assistance can often go beyond your current service packages or your existing products. Nordstrom’s is famous for its stories of doing things to help customers even if it has nothing to do with selling more product. Their people are empowered to help customers in any way necessary to create an outstanding brand synonymous with service. So how often do you start a conversation with clients, and even just people in your network, asking, How can I help? The long term results will astound you. Help us Make Company ABC Better: Too often we try to create a masterful compensation program and some bonus methodology to really engage our staff and teams. We look to policy and some once-a-year culture exercise to get them pumped about our business. One of the most profound and effective ways to get more from people, is to ask them. Ask them to help create the culture they want. Ask them to help be more responsible to costs. Ask for their help AND give them the information and room to contribute beyond their job description. Help Versus Sell: As we consistently state in our Leadership Selling program, give up the word Sell from your vocabulary. Replace it, and all of its poor intentions, with the word Help. Vocally let people know that your efforts and plan is to help them – even if it means they don’t buy from you. Remarkably, as you remove the idea of sell from the conversation, you open the relationship up to more business likely being done. We buy from those we trust and the people that start from Help create trust quickly in a relationship. From your front line retail sales people to your seasoned sales professional, a return to a ‘Help First’ philosophy will drive business. We Help our Community: Companies that look beyond their front door to find ways to be Helping in their local (or even international) communities consistently reap a far greater reward business wise. Given the choice between two suppliers that offer a similar product with a comparable price, people always choose the one that clearly provides more Help. Are Toms Shoes the best made shoe? No. They are a comparable product that offers a method to Help others and because of that, it is wildly successful. That effort to Help also strengthens morale and culture internally too. A past client sends people with Habitat for Humanity every year to build housing for the underprivileged. Their staff have said they remain with the business, in part, so they can participate in these trips every year. The power of Help inspires people. People support you back when you inspire them. Remember in all of this, people are afraid to say they need help. It is difficult for customers, staff and even supplier to ask for help. Knowing this, the courageous thing to do is initiate these conversations of Help. Your recognition of a situation, and taking the lead to offer help, means so much to people. Business people are people first. Every, single, day presents opportunities to Help, if you focus on it. How are you incorporating Help into your daily focus? Do you start the week looking at how you can Help clients? Do you start each meeting looking to Help the other participants? Are you meeting with your team members regularly and finding out what Help they need? Make your intention to Help everyone in and connected to your business. Watch the transformation it creates in the people and in your business results.