I hear this all the time in Boulder, too.
I love it because it lets you know what’s important to the person. There are countless ways you can offer help to someone, but by asking, you ensure you’re offering them something they actually value.
I know you were writing this as a person-to-person multiplier, but it’s what we all (hopefully) are doing as we build our companies/products too, right?
I was recently working for a software company on a proposed new feature, and the VP knew what problem he wanted to solve (leading with ‘cool tech’). We took the time to ask our customers how we could help, and it turned out they vehemently did NOT want the help he had envisioned. That was what they loved doing! They wanted some very different help. And because we asked, we could provide it. And they gave us great insights (and loyalty) in return.
It ended up being a great exchange all around: we could feel good solving a problem, and they appreciated it. Goodwill all around.