We’re getting ready for a driving trip. This trip requires that we transport “stuff” that we typically wouldn’t transport – stuff that’s going one way.

The solution as how to do that came in the form of a rooftop carrier for the car. My friend Gary Anzalone was gracious enough to loan me a “black box” that rides on top of the car. But the black box requires a special type of crossbar to connect the two side rails.

So, with the black box stuffed inside our station wagon (yes, it fit, but barely), off I go in search of a pair of crossbars. And I found a store not far from home.

One of the team members in the store started to write up the sale. Another, with crossbars and tools in hand, started to head for the door and to my car.

With receipt in hand I went outside to see how the guys would install the crossbars. They made it look very easy.

When they were nearing completion, I asked if they could attach Gary’s rooftop carrier and they did that. They finished that task in about 12 minutes and I asked them if there was a charge for installing the black box. Without hesitating, one of the guys said, “No. Happy to help.”

They did me a favor by not charging and I expressed by appreciation.

But whether planned or not as a part of the store’s sales process and culture, that favor will pay for itself many times over. They made a client for life because with some other accessories that fit on those crossbars, I can use the roof of the car for many more things – from bike rack to kayak. And even if I don’t personally add those gadgets to my car, you can bet that when someone asks, “Gil, where did you get those great cross bars?” I’ll tell them the story and send them to my favorite store.

One little favor that takes about 12-minutes can leverage a single sale of several hundred dollars into transactions that reach into the thousands. That’s the potential of lifetime value.

I know that every business can find a way to extend little favors that pay for themselves many times over.