Business relationships are all about talking to strangers (people you do not know personally) and using your product or service to create a connection with them. However, this pure thought is a tough thing to achieve for many. Why is that?

At the fundamental level – all humans share a simple set of interests, beliefs and concerns. However, most of us are so isolated and alienated from each other, that we don’t know this. The cult of individuality makes us think that we are unique and special (which we are also in another way) because it is easier for companies to sell us a product/service when we think it is tailored/designed/customised for us. This individualistic thinking makes us believe that “we know nothing about” a “random person on the street” when in fact we are all made of “pieces of each other.”

Recognising the familiar “pieces” that we share with those around us (yes, even our potential customers) is an essential part of any conversational marketing exercise.

The movie ‘Code 46’ ( along with the other issues that it triggers also talks about an “empathy virus” that “which allows him to gain information from people if they voluntarily reveal something about themselves” (from the above Wikipedia page).

This idea obliquely refers to what conversational marketers always have to do:

1. identify commonalities,
2. establish a connection,
3. hold a conversation,
4. engage in an exchange,
5. understand the context

Points 4 and 5 are the “empathy-facilitated exchange” that the above movie mentions. Except that unlike the movie which we cite above, instead of offering some telepathic power to us, these methods provide us with a way to produce insight through careful analysis.

Here, we will share helpful strategies to develop conversations with strangers and take them across the five stages we mention above.