I want you to think about one or two of your closest friends. If you had to tell a story about how you first became friends, would you both tell the same stories?
It’s likely that the two of you shared an experience (attended the same school, worked at the same company, hung out at the same pub, etc.) which gave you something to bond over (had the same teachers, hated the same bosses, rooted for the same sports team).
Now think about a couple of your best clients.
Aside from the fact they agreed to do business with you — how did you first build personal rapport with them?
Again, it’s likely that you found something in common with each other. You grew up in the same city, are members or the same social club, your kids play on the same little league team, etc.
We all have our personal stories, but when we find that we share a story with another person it brings us closer.
We might be strangers sitting on an airplane, but if I learn that you grew up in Cleveland you can bet I’ll ask which neighborhood you grew up in and if you ever watched Hoolihan and Big Chuck (or Big Chuck and Little John).
Movie fans, book readers, music aficionados, and comic book geeks can all find something to connect on within a few minutes of identifying that common thread which leads to a shared story.
If I see you’re wearing a Batman t-shirt, I might ask who “your” Batman is.
Some people grew up with Adam West as their Batman, others recall Michael Keaton more fondly, and still others might be excited for Robert Pattinson’s version of the caped crusader. It doesn’t matter much which actor we individually prefer, just knowing we both like Batman will lead us to find other shared stories on this topic.
Stories connect us and turn strangers into friends, cold calls into clients, and casual encounters into life long romances.