A road expedition, I took along with my friends early last year named fancily as The Great Indian Footprint made us realise one thing – random acts of kindness exist in this world abundantly. In the 41-day road trip, we met with hundreds of people, across 12000 kilometres of the journey across India, which is supposedly an unfriendly terrain for roadsters. It was a humbling experience. Strangers are beautiful people, they are purely unconditional and is willing to help. In India, you can treat your friend rudely but not your guest – in the name of Athithi Devo Bhava ethos. So being a weak acquaintance can get you far better hospitality than being a close friend (mostly you are taken for granted).
Coming to business, let me put a question to you: What percentage of your customers were strangers just before they paid for your product or service? How many of your acquaintances, friends or relatives gave business to you?
In business, trust is built through reviews, a good website or a word of mouth reference from someone who used our product or service. Their perception is sharpened by the value specific agenda not by who runs the business. That way, as Jack Ma of Alibaba, says, how much ever you sell your products to your friends or relatives, they feel you are earning from them, not transferring the value. More than strong ties, your weak tie matter. Because they are not biased. As the old adage says, familiarity breeds contempt. And our brain loves novelty, not necessarily loyalty all the time.