Asking for Help and Reframing Issues to Build Rapport

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Three of the hardest phrases for people to say are: “I love you;” “I’m sorry;” and “I need help.”  It’s sad really, because I’m sure that if we could express our dependence on others, humble our pride, and admit our insufficiency they world would be a happier place.  “I love you,” tells other people that they’re important, “I’m sorry,” lets people know that you know you’re not perfect (they already know it’s true), and “I need help,” makes it easier to get things done in a far more timely and effective way.

“I Need Help” Doesn’t Sound Needy, it Sounds Wise

Most people don’t like asking for help.  Why is this?  Well, it’s because they think they’re going to be a burden or they’re going to inconvenience people. 

In a business situation people are afraid that if they ask for help their colleagues (or their boss) will think they are incompetent. But the reality is, that when you ask someone to help you understand a situation or complete a task you give them a chance to feel important – to feel good about themselves – and you often also complete your task sooner, and get a better result.

I had a situation a few years ago, when a team member really needed my help and they didn’t ask me for it.  By the time I found out about the situation it was too late in the piece to change anything and I was really, really disappointed because I could have saved that person a great deal of trouble and anxiety with the situation.  Had they come to me, I wouldn’t have felt superior – I would just have been really pleased to help, he would have been saved some stress, and we would all have ended up with a better result.

Everyone likes it when they can help or support someone else. It feels good – and it also means that you have what you need.

In a sales situation, you don’t want to sound needy – but you do need to communicate the fact that you recognise the expertise and knowledge they bring to the table.  It doesn’t matter how much you know about your own product or service, or how much you know about the other person’s industry.  No-one likes to feel unnecessary and unappreciated so one of the most effective things you can do when you are trying to build rapport is to make the other person feel important – after all, it is their business you are trying to attract.

Reframing to Build Rapport

Reframing is a method of changing the meaning of something, and therefore changing how people think about it.  In a sales or business situation reframing is a very useful tool that you can use to check that you’ve understood the situation and ask for their help without sounding ignorant.  Your client knows that you’ve been listening and that you are keen to understand exactly what he needs, but he also has a chance to correct any misunderstanding.  They might even end up with some insights that help them to see your value in a new (even more positive) light. 

As you reframe, you don’t just clarify the situation and cast a new light on it, you also have the opportunity to share your particular expertise in a way that will benefit the client and help them understand what you bring to the table.  There are a lot of techniques for reframing, but saying “I need help,” is a very powerful one. 

Think about it for a moment … you can say: –

  • I need help … understanding how this is a problem for you;
  • I need help … seeing your perspective on this;
  • I need help … knowing why you are dissatisfied with your current solution;
  • I need help … grasping what you are really want;

– and the list goes on.  Your prospect will feel good because he is helping you, and you will be getting valuable information that helps you understand the prospect better, and ultimately deliver exactly what he wants.  That’s a win-win situation

Meta Description:  “I need help,” may be one of the hardest phrases to say, but it is a fantastic way of inspiring confidence and reframing situations.

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