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Want to be really helpful during challenging times? Here’s how…

May 15, 2020

We had a very interesting experience the other day. We went for a family walk and just a few minutes into the walk we came across a disheveled older guy hanging on the corner near our house. As we approached, he walked toward us and let out a string of obscenities that would have shocked Tony Soprano. Sadly, I think he was dealing with some kind of mental baggage. When it happened, my wife met his advance, held up her hand and told him to turn and go away. She said it as loud and forcefully as he had been. Mumbling a few more obscenities, he turned and walked down the hill. What happened next was a great lesson for my kids. At least three people that had been in their yards and had heard the ruckus asked if we were ok and checked to see if we needed help. When we reviewed the events with the family, that was our focus. We assured our youngest daughter that if or when something happens out there in the world, there will always be someone that offers to help. 

One thing I love about times where the proverbial crap hits the fan is to see how helpful people react. People generally want to be helpful and when times have been tough for me or when I’ve been faced with adversity, I am always impressed, humbled and appreciative of the number of people who have offered help and support. I’m sure you have many similar stories, right?

Well, here we are in some unprecedented times and as we continue to conduct business in an ever evolving environment one of the phrases I hear regularly is: “Please let me know if I can do anything to help”. Have you heard that phrase? Have you used it? I’m sure you have. 

I had an epiphany about this phrase. After a lifetime of hearing it and saying it to people I realized that very, very few people had actually taken me up on it. In the same way, I rarely actually ask people for help in crisis, even when its offered in this way. Why is that? Here’s my thought. When people are under stress of any kind thinking can get cloudy. So, when someone says “Please let me know if I can help” the cloudiness takes over, they smile and nod and miss an opportunity to get help. Think about the last times you went through a tough situation. How much help was offered vs. how much did you actually take? 

Now think about this…a friend of yours hears about your (fill in the blank with unpleasant things ex. layoff, business decline, family illness, etc.) Your friend, wanting to cheer you up stops by on Saturday morning. She has a pan of brownies for you and then proceeds to ask you if you’d like her to take care of your yard maintenance this weekend so you can attend to whatever issue you may be having. A second friend tells you they are making a run to Costco and Target and asks you if they can pick some things up for you. 

These gestures are very kind and very specific. A person wouldn’t have to put much thought into whether they’d like that help. It’s a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ decision. It’s also very memorable. When your crisis is over, I have no doubt that you would remember that helpful moment whether you took full advantage of it or not. The other great thing about this scenario is that as helper, when you offer specific things you know you can do, you will be more effective and get more enjoyment out of the helping hand you are offering. 

Here’s the challenge to you: If you want to be really helpful during challenging times, assess what needs to be done, tell people specifically what you can do to help and offer to do it. Break the habit of generic offers of support. Sure, there are probably many things you could do, but it will make things so much easier if you start with something specific that will be relevant to their situation. 

One thing that I love about the job I do is that I get to help people on a regular basis. Though we don’t focus on personal crisis, we are often able to help people and their companies through tough business challenges. 

When this virus began and businesses were not able to operate like they once did we looked ahead at the impact on sales teams. We quickly realized that teams were going to have communication challenges, outside reps were going to be working in remote environments, in person training was coming to a halt, and investments in employee development was likely going to take a back seat for a while. So, our team put our heads together and came up with some things we knew we could we could do to help sales organizations through these challenging times. 

1) Micro-Trainings – We outlined over 20 courses that encompass best practices that salespeople and sales leaders should be doing every day. These micro trainings are designed to bring teams together face to face, give clear, actionable things to apply right away, and to help fill a void that may be left by this new work environment- all in less than 60 min. Courses can be found here.

2) Coaches helping coaches – We can sit in on team meetings, funnel coaching, sales meetings, 1-2-1’s and other meetings to help offer advice and coaching ensuring phone or virtual meetings don’t become stale and unproductive. Online meetings and conference calls can be really clunky if not managed well. Content can get dry and over time some teams will meet less and less and meetings will become a burden. Sales leaders need coaching and tips to keep the team engaged to and to ensure meetings are productive. We can help sales leaders keep their teams on-point and engaged. You can start the scheduling conversation here

We are offering these services at no cost because we want to help. WinSource is ready and willing to do either of these two things for you or anyone you think may need the help. Please reach out to us or forward this article to anyone you think needs it.  

If you are a person that is looking for the best way to plug in and help, spend some time today assessing where help is needed. Pick one or two things that you think would be helpful  and start reaching out to do those specific things. People will appreciate the gesture, they will be more likely to accept your offer, they will remember it for years to come, and you will feel great for doing it. 

Please feel free to share your helper stories with me, I’d love to hear them. You can connect with me here , email me at, or reach out to me on LinkedIn

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