Remember the last time someone did something nice and unexpected for you? Maybe they sent you a gift or referred you to a new client, or perhaps they performed a task to help you out so that you didn’t have to do it. Favors in advance are favors that you do for people regardless of your status with them or the desired outcome. Instead of doing favors because you expect something in return, develop an attitude of paying it forward and giving value in advance.
I have seen numerous people over the years who are hesitant to do something for others unless they think it will pay off in business or the person will do something for them in return. Doing favors in advance is more than just a way to get favors in return – it’s really about helping others win. It’s truly a way of loving others by serving and giving.
I do favors in advance because I love to help people win—not necessarily to get something in return. But it’s amazing—almost like magic—to see that people almost always want to give back in some way. It may be in the form of taking your phone call, helping you connect with someone, or sending business your way, but it’s their way of saying, “I want to give something of value back to you.” Most of us are trained from birth that when someone does us a favor, we want to give back.
Think of the people who are in your inner circle in business, and continually do favors in advance for them. Find out what they need and, if it’s within your power, do it for them. This is also a great practice for clients, friends, family, and prospects. People like to do business with people who do things for them and who work to build a platform of trust. Why not be a giver?
I keep an arsenal of things I enjoy giving to people. For example, I collect URLs of great websites and have a list of really cool vendors that I constantly share with people. I have read hundreds of great books over the years and have prepared summaries of those books that I give out. Or often when I read a great book, I’ll actually buy 20 or 30 copies of the book and keep them on hand to give out when someone comes into my life. And as an author, I give away thousands of books that I have written. I have built an incredible arsenal, both electronic and hard copy, of really great material that can enhance the lives of others and help them be successful, and I love sharing it!
I’ve found it helpful to keep a lot of these tools on hand to give to others. I have them in the trunk of my car and I carry them in my briefcase for chance meetings. I encourage you to have a bookshelf of giveaways. It’s about being prepared with an arsenal of information so you can do favors in advance. Help people win, and be generous.