3 Letters That Will Help You Help Anyone
I’ve had the good fortune over the years to meet people in many different industries. Everything from movie producers to tech investors to doctors inventing new medicines and they all have one thing in common:
Every single person, no matter their profession or status, had a concern around time, connections, or money. On the time side they felt they had too little or too much, on the connections side they felt they didn’t know enough people or the right people, and on the money side they either wanted to make more of it or find something interesting to do with it. Each person had their own unique challenges and concerns for sure, but any time I boiled it down, it always came back to what I like to refer to as the T.C.M Index. Think of your life right now in this very moment. Is there something that is not working for you that is directly connected to your time, your connections, or your money? Chances are there is. Even if you feel that everything is perfectly fine right now, I’m willing to bet that you would love to have more of at least one of those things. When you’re meeting with someone and you want to help them, this is a great place to turn to if you get stuck on how you can help them.
Most people have a lot of trouble asking for help and many even if they are able to ask, have a hard time articulating what it is that they need. By keeping T.C.M. in mind, you can ask questions that get to the root of the problem faster. Now some people might say that it might be too invasive to talk about some of these things with people, but I would argue that it’s all in how you approach it. If you notice that someone is expressing one of these pain points, you don’t have to be over the top about it. You can simply ask leading questions that will get them to explain their situation more. Remember that most people have a need to talk about their challenges but very few people ask them about them. One thing I have found particularly effective in finding out the deficit in someone’s T.C.M index is asking them what their goals are and how close or far they feel from those goals. For the most part they open up pretty quickly and usually highlight where the challenge is. I like to think that you can help anyone that you meet if you ask enough questions. So let’s take a quick second to examine some of these pain points.
Time – It’s very rare you’ll meet someone who doesn’t have a time line for what they want to complete. If you meet someone who is raising money they almost certainly are working off a deadline. In other cases you might meet someone who wants more time for themselves. They may feel overworked and stressed. Think of instances in your own life when time has been an issue and what has worked for you. Just the other day I made someone aware of new scheduling software that virtually eliminates the need for back and forth emails and he was thrilled. In your conversation, listen for words and phrases that communicate a time pain point like “not enough hours in the day” or “crazy busy” or “hustling”. Each of these words and phrases give you clues as to what is stressing this person and how to help.
Connections – Almost anyone you meet who is running a business has someone that they want to reach. If you meet people who are looking for more speaking engagements, they may be looking to talk to the person in charge of training at a large company, if you meet someone who does taxes for not for profits they may be looking to meet more organizations that serve tons of non-profits. In most connection scenarios it comes down to either quantity or quality. They either want to meet more people who are doing a particular thing or they want to meet people at higher levels who will get them in front of larger audiences. In your conversation listen for words and phrases like “Get the word out”, “decision makers”, and “just get in front of”. Words and phrases like this communicate the connections pain point and give you the opportunity to add value quickly, especially if you know someone who can help them.
Money – It’s a rarity to meet someone who isn’t looking for money in some capacity. Most people either want to increase the revenue of their business, secure investment for a project, or find investment opportunities that will help them increase the money they currently have. In some cases, people are really struggling and looking for work or a few more clients so they can make enough to make rent. Listen for words and phrases like: “Revenue goals”, “make ends meet”, and “investment”. Words and phrases like this tip you off to a concern around money and you’ll know in what areas you can help.
In some cases you’ll have people you meet who need help with all three of these things and in some cases one or two, but it’s unlikely you’ll meet anyone who doesn’t have a concern around at least one of them. I certainly haven’t.
So the next time you’re sitting down with someone and you’re not sure how you can help them, think T.C.M.
The answers will be right there in the letters.