The other day, I had the pleasure of hanging out with a new friend, Ramit Sethi, the author of New York Times bestselling book, I Will Teach You To Be Rich and founder of the wildly popular blog, IWillTeachYouToBeRich.com.
We were spinning on all sorts of topics, from personal finance to behavioral change, the psychology of persuasion, marketing, strategy, media, publishing. All common interests we’re both passionate about. It was a bit like a Vulcan mind meld.
As we wrapped up our convo, I was about to open my mouth to ask Ramit a very specific question. One I try to end every conversation with. And, mean it.
But, I was too slow.
He beat me to the punch and asked me the very same question first. It was seven simple words, but those words have been responsible for so much serendipity, good will, impact, connection and, yes, business and money in both my pocket and the pocket of many who’ve been on the other side of the question.
The 7 words Ramit asked me were…
“What can I do to help you?”
And, here’s the thing. when he asked it, he meant it.
If you’re in business, you’ve probably gotten into the habit of asking this question or some variation to customers or prospects. That’s cool.
But, what’s not so obvious is that you should be asking this question to everyone, all the time.
Not just the people who might buy from you, but the people around you. The people you’re in a position to do something nice for, even if they’ve got no ability to reciprocate. Today, tomorrow, ever.
Because, it’s a way of planting Karmic seeds. Because, maybe one day your kindness will come back to you. And, because even if it doesn’t it makes you feel great for having helped. And…it’s just the right thing to do.
I don’t start every day on twitter asking, “who can I help today?” because I’m looking for something in return. I do it because it feels good to ask and to help. What better way is there to start your day than by helping someone, often a total stranger, with some small deed?
So, as you explore building your own professional path, think about ending as many conversations as possible not asking for a favor, but with those 7 simple words…
What can I do to help you?
Then, do one more thing…stand behind your offer.
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