Hitting Clichéd Questions Out of the Park


You always hear the question, “How’s business?” So, be ready with a succinct answer that showcases who and how you help and emphasizes you care about the person asking the question.

  • You know the question is coming, so be prepared to take advantage of it.
  • Use words that leave a clear picture in your listener’s mind.
  • After effectively communicating how you’re helping, sincerely redirect the conversation to genuinely see how the other person and their loved ones are doing.

Related: Don’t Open the Door to Strangers


Take every opportunity to showcase how you help.

The “So-how’s-business-going?” question is an ideal question that you should be ready to hit out of the park. This is a gift question! You have just received permission to describe exactly how you work, who you help, and how you do that. And so, anticipate getting this question and have a couple of very succinct responses ready. . .

You might want to say something like, “We kind of decided calm and crazy. Last Friday at our team breakfast, we were thinking about what’s going on, and we said, ‘You know what? We’d label it as calm and crazy.’ Absolutely calm⁠ in that our clients have financial plans, they know exactly where they’re heading, and they’re totally calm. Crazy as far as meeting a lot of new people who are not hearing from their financial advisors. Can you believe that? We’re actually having our existing clients refer friends and family who are just not hearing a word from their financial advisors. So calm on the one hand from our clients, crazy regarding getting into some fun conversations with people who are desperately looking for suggestions regarding retirement, college education, and what have you. So yeah, ‘calm but crazy’ is what we’ve decided to label what we’re going through. Fortunately….”

Now you can carry on, depending on the person and if continuing the conversation is appropriate, with something like, “Yeah, it was interesting because at the start of this year we sat down for another team meeting, and we decided we’ve got a little more capacity, so this ‘craziness’ came at the perfect time; we have room to accommodate these new people. So yeah, there’s a real good feeling about what we’re doing right now and who were helping. Tell me, with all we’ve got going on, how are you and Sally and the kids doing?” And that’s it.

You want to get comfortable with answering this question super succinctly because you want to land a couple of major points with the person you’re speaking with: your clients are doing great, people who aren’t working with you are perplexed. That’s where you’re starting from. Then you’re going to redirect the conversation away from what you do. Have language ready to roll when you get this opportunity because you’re going to get it regularly, even when you’re talking with an existing client whom you’ve worked with for 10 years. The default question is, “So, how’ve you guys been? How are you doing? What’s been happening?” We know we’re going to get this question, yet it amazes me the number of advisors who aren’t ready with a tight, succinct response to simply showcase who and how they help.

To make sure you do this most effectively,

  1. Don’t waste the opportunity.You know you’re getting it, so you have no excuse not to be prepared for it.

  2. Be succinct. You can have three or four versions of your response, but ensure that each one minimizes the words and paints a clear picture in the listener’s mind of who you are helping and how.

  3. Redirect sincerely. Don’t just reflexively ask them, “How are you doing in your business?” Genuinely asked them, “Hey, so with all we’ve got going on, how are you, and Sally, and the kids doing?” Don’t just ask, “How are you doing?” Let them know you understand there is a lot going on, and many people are feeling anxious, pressured and stressed. Ask in a way that shows you really care about them, such as, “With all that’s going on, how are you and Sally and the children doing?” and leave it at that and listen to their response.

Instead of treating, the “How’s business going?” question like a throwaway line, take the opportunity to make an impression on the people asking you this. Let them know business is going great: you’re seeing people who need your help, you have the capacity to help them, but most importantly, you are aware of the stress current life circumstances may be causing and value them as a person and want to make sure they are OK.

I look forward to bringing you another Distraction-Proof Advisor Idea next week.