Whether you’re eating at a restaurant, grabbing a drink at a bar, or checking in at a hotel, chances are, you’ll hear some variation of the phrase, “Hi, how may I help you?”.
This phrase is heard everywhere and second nature for anyone in the service industry, but have you ever stopped and wondered why people say it in the first place?
Of course, Jake. It’s because I can’t get my food if they don’t ask me what I want, right?
This may be true, but answers like these are completely missing the point here. So before we go any further, let’s take a second and dissect the phrase.
Hi, how may I help you? = [Hi] + [how may I help you?]
Or in other words:
Hi, how may I help you? = [Attention grabber] + [value proposition.]
This simple sentence highlights one of the key principles in getting what you want out of life.
To get what you want, first help others get what they want.
It’s that simple. If you can add enough value to people’s lives, you’ll have no trouble getting what you want.
Waiters, bartenders, and other people in the service industry understand that their tips depend on providing good service. But this principle applies to much larger aspects of life too.
The Law of Reciprocity states that if you continually do nice things for someone, it’s only human nature for them to feel inclined to return the favor.
But keep in mind, you should do nice things because you genuinely want to help people. If you’re only doing something nice in hopes of later receiving a favor, it will come off as fake and sleazy, setting you back further than if you did no favors at all.
So if you’re set on helping people and feeling all warm and tingly inside, there are a few things to think about that will make your help 10 times more valuable.
The only thing better than someone helping you is someone helping you without you having to ask.
It feels amazing and shows a lot of forethought when someone goes out of their way to figure out what you need and then taking initiative to help you without even asking.
This is especially true when working with successful people. Successful people are busy, and they usually don’t have time to find work for you to do. Stepping away from their busy day to find you work is actually creating MORE WORK for them.
Show that you respect their time by researching what’s important to them and being proactive.
Once you figure out what they’d find useful, either do that task and let them know afterward or message them with a layout of your game plan and tell them all you need is a simple yes or no before you proceed.
When in doubt, just make it as easy as possible for them to let you help.
If you’ve thought of someone to help, but nothing comes to mind for how you can help them, try one of these approaches:
Introduce them to someone else who can help them – You might not be able to help them directly, but chances are, you know someone who might be able to. Think of people in your network who might be able to help or who might know someone that can.
But keep in mind, getting no introduction is better than getting an introduction to someone you don’t have time to help. This catches you off guard and makes you look bad.
If you think you’ve found a fit, then you can go ahead and play matchmaker. BUT, do so using the double opt-in introduction. Only introduce them to each other if they’ve both already expressed interested in the introduction.
You can even use this double opt-in email template to make things quick and easy.
Be their biggest fan – Share their content. Provide useful comments and feedback on their work. Stay engaged with what they’re up to. But do so effectively. Putting forethought into what you write can be the difference between crucial asset and crazy stalker.
If you take the time to add your opinions and feedback on their work, but only do so when you have something valuable to say, they’ll start to recognize you and you’ll become a positive blip on their radar.
Help them learn something useful – Recommend a good book and tell them why they’d enjoy it. Send them an article on a topic they’re really involved in. Let them know about interesting events they might want to attend.
But at the end of the day, the truth is…
The way you provide value isn’t as important as the fact that you’re actually doing it. Start small, but start today.
If you liked this article, take 5 seconds and share it with a friend who would also enjoy it. Let them know you’re there to help and start building up those law of reciprocity brownie points.