Imagine that you do someone a favor, or you’re just generally helpful in some regard. They’re grateful, and they say “is there anything I can do for you?”
Most of the time, this question catches people off guard. They say “I’ll let you know,” or “oh, I’m fine but thank you!”
I get it. For one, you probably weren’t prepared for the question. And for two, you don’t want to seem like your only reason for doing the initial favor was the hope that you’d get something in return. As to that, just remember – people want to help you. It gives them a feeling of satisfaction when they get to be a hero, and it makes them feel less like they burdened you in asking you for a favor, and more like they had something worthwhile to trade. So you should accept those offers of help!
But to the first problem, preparation, how to do so?
Create an “evergreen favor.” A universal answer to the question of “is there anything I can do for you?” It should have a few criteria:
- Something that’s always useful to you, so you don’t need to evaluate circumstance.
- Something that is very easy for nearly anyone to do.
- Something that a person probably would have done anyway if you just asked them.
Here are a few examples:
“How kind of you to ask! Actually yes – I have a local charity that I support that means a lot to me. Would you just give their Facebook page a like? Every boost helps!”
“As a matter of fact, you could. Would you mind just throwing one of my business cards in your purse, so if you chat with anyone in my industry you could pass it along?”
These aren’t earth-shaking favors. By themselves, they won’t move mountains. But over time a lot them can be much more impactful than a lot of nothing, which is what you get if you don’t ask. And remember, asking these things generally strengthens relationships. It makes the other person feel equal and valued, and the more people who you connect with like that, the better your life will be.