A Friendly Anchor

“Relationships are relationships.”

That’s from a fascinating NPR news article, Life Kit: How to keep long-distance friendships strong, by Kavitha George.

According to relationship expert Marissa G. Franco, who was interviewed for the article, she’s learned from studying friendship, that there’s not really hard lines.

I agree with her.

Whether you’re talking about friendships, romantic relationships, or even the relationship you have with your customers, there’s something universal about two humans interacting.

So then, what nugget on customer relations can we glean from advice on long-distance friendships?

Use common interests to stay connected…This shared interest is called an anchor, and it doesn’t really matter what it is, as long as it helps you initiate a connection.” – Marissa G. Franco

You remember the kind of questions you used to ask as a kid to make new friends?

  • What’s your favorite color?
  • What music do you like?
  • What games do you play?
  • Do you have siblings?
  • What’s your favorite subject?
  • Do you like to play sports?
  • What’s your favorite food?

You would roll through your list of questions until finally you found a topic you both agreed on.

Bam! New best friend.

A slight overstatement, but not by much. Common interest is a powerful connector.

And yet, once we grow up and have to create messaging to connect with our customers, we tend to keep the focus of topic narrow. Usually, just to where the customer’s life overlaps with our business category.

But here’s the thing, “Relationships are relationships.”

Be ye bold enough to venture outside your comfort zone and share a personal interest? Even if it has nothing to do with your business?

You might just be surprised at how much connection you’ll find.

Which raises the question, what kind of shared interests are the most profitable?

We’ll explore that next week.

– Zac Smith, VC