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How’s Business? Please Don’t Snore Me!

When Scurrying…

Ever search high and low for your reading glasses. . . realizing your wearing them?

Ever scamper up and down the stairs, mumbling about your lost car keys. . . and you’re holding them?

Ever race to chase suspects masquerading as prospects. . . and discover a parade of prospects is chasing you?

My friends, I can’t help with your peepers or your keys, however, I do have a thought or two about opportunities that are hiding in plain sight.

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How’s Business?

How many times a day are you asked some variation of this question, “How’s business?”.

When I posed this question in a Sales Meeting, our icon team members reported being asked this question an average of 2 times a day. What’s your average?

Let’s say you’re asked 2 times per day, 5 times a week, 50 weeks a year. That’d be 500 times a year someone asks you about your business or your real estate market.

If you believe in the 3 People Principle, 500 question asking souls know 1500 people who are going to move within 12 months. You might be thinking that you talk to some of these folks over and over. So chop that number in half to 750. Still a big number eh? Hmmm.

Ponder the possibilities. People who ask you about your business know 750 people who will move in the next 365 days. That’s about 2 per day. Wow.

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Bonus: If people move an average of every 10 years, out of the 500 question askers, 50 will move in the next 12 months.

Add the 50 to the 750 and you have 800 possibilities to serve, list and sell.

To turn your opportunities into reality, I propose answering the question, “How’s business?” in memorable rather than forgettable snoredom fashion.


FORGETTABLE happens when the answer is unrehearsed and flaccid like the following;

“Business is great!” [Yawn.]

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“I’m really busy.” [Boooorrrriinnngggg! Yawn-Yawn.]

“The market’s picking up.” [Sure it is. Yawn-Yawn-Yawn.]

“Unbelievable.” [Whatever. Yawn to the 10th power.]

“It’s slow.” [Loser. Yawn-ZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzz]

Don’t hate. If you’re hyper rushed, these puny sound bites might be ok. Any other time, they’re lame. Sorry.

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Blurting FORGETTABLE is brain dead simple, bleat your answer like every other sheep and 800 opportunities implode into instant undone deals.


MEMORABLE flash flames your possibilities when the answer is artfully crafted, interesting and unexpected. MEMORABLE leads to Top Of Mind Awareness. Top Of Mind Awareness leads to getting hired and getting referred. When MEMORABLE happens 800 opportunities bon-fire into real possibilities. Creating MEMORABLE isn’t hard, it’s a simple matter of creating a habit of answering with an engaging story.

Super Short Story Telling

I see you scratching your head, thinking, I don’t have time to tell a big stupid long story. You don’t and you won’t. Your story will be super short. Short like a well told joke. Speaking of jokes, we know a good joke when we hear one, yet not everyone is a natural joke teller. I’m not. Tiny engaging stories work the same way. Everyone knows one when they hear one, not everyone is comfortable telling one.  Good news if this describes you.

First, your super short stories won’t be stupid, they’ll be cool like you, because they’ll revolve around personally familiar and fun events.

Second, there’s a simple proven formula for creating memorable stories. Let me share it with you.

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Engaging stories have 4 primary elements.

1. Exposition is the information needed to understand a story. Bottom line, exposition means include details like names, dates, addresses, locations, time frame, observations, color, sound, etc. Details add believability, character and interest to your story.

2. Complication is the catalyst that reveals a problem. Bottom line, complication means sharing a problem that needs solving. Paradoxically, your problem might also be something exciting and positive for you and that’s OK. For example, you have a new listing and you’re looking for a buyer. You’re sharing woot worthy news about the $8,000 First Time Home Buyer Credit and you’re looking for beneficiaries. You’re working with a cool qualified couple, you’ve shown everything and nothing on the market fits them.

3. Climax is the turning point in the story that occurs when you share how the complication/problem can be solved. Bottom line, you reveal how you will solve the complication/problem. Using examples in 2. above, you might share that you’re a whirling marketing dervish for your new listing. You’re burning up the cell waves calling all your friends about the Tax Credit and you’re showing your buyers new inventory this weekend.

4. Resolution is the event that brings the story to a close. Bottom line, you’ve shared how you can solve the problem, now you share how they can “help” you solve the problem faster. In this instance, “help” is event of asking for a referral. Using examples in 2. above, you might ask for a referral like so, “Do you know anyone at the country club who’s shared they’re looking for a home on the golf course?” or “This Tax Credit is like free money, do you have any friends that have kids who might be thinking about buying their first home?”

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Can you see yourself weaving short stories instead of bleating forgettable? Try it.

Getting Real

Creating new habits takes 21 repetitions. Be prepared to feel awkward and uncomfortable at first. Uncomfortable is a natural feeling when shoving yourself beyond the fringes of your old comfort zone.

For best results, when you and the sun rise, before you leave the house, practice what you’re going to say when asked “How’s business?”. Consider doing what the best story tellers do, write it out first, then story tell.

Lastly, remind yourself, if you always answer the way you’ve always answered, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten…which is forgotten. Rise up.

Let me know how it goes. Thanks.

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Photo Credit: Complicated by ~Emindeath on deviantART

Written By

Ken Brand - Prudential Gary Greene, Realtors. I’ve proudly worn a Realtor tattoo for over 10,957+ days, practicing our craft in San Diego, Austin, Aspen and now, The Woodlands, TX. As a life long learner, I’ve studied, read, written, taught, observed and participated in spectacular face plant failures and giddy inducing triumphs. I invite you to read my blog posts here at Agent Genius and On the lighter side, you can follow my folly on Twitter and Facebook. Of course, you’re always to welcome to take the shortcut and call: 832-797-1779.



  1. Austin Smith -

    March 23, 2009 at 8:52 am

    Interesting points, Ken. Funnily enough I asked my dad how business was going the other day, and he responded “I’m really Busy!!”

    Luckily I had shades on or he probably would have detected my eyelids being closed. 🙂

    I like your idea of responding with a story, rather than the usual, canned response. I will try it next time someone asks me about work.

  2. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    March 23, 2009 at 11:46 am

    Damn Ken – I was just thinking about this telling myself that I need to change my ways. I get the question at least twice a day and try to be sharp each time….although sometimes I am not in the mood.

    My fave is when I am snarky (I know you are wondering “snarky? you? nah?”) – yesterday’s answer was

    “business? what business? I sell real estate for fun, not business!!” …(I’m thinking that person will not contact me) 😉

  3. Matt Stigliano

    March 23, 2009 at 7:18 pm

    Ken – As one one of the most long-winded writers of all time (just wait until I write the real estate industry’s “Atlas Shrugged”) you’ve just given me both an exciting and dreaded challenge. I accept and will see what I can come up with. If you don’t hear from me for a few days, you can call the authorities as I have probably gone mad.

  4. Missy Caulk

    March 23, 2009 at 8:41 pm

    Nice to meet you Ken.

    Gosh, I need to quit giving folks a yawn. Great thoughts, now what should I say?

  5. Ken Brand

    March 24, 2009 at 10:17 am

    Austin – Good luck with your story telling, I know it will make a difference. Who doesn’t like a good story?

    Ines – Snarky…oh yeah, I know what snarkey looks and sounds like. I hear you, you can create sharp memorable without telling a story. Thanks for reading.

    Matt – I’ll be looking for your tome and I know I’ll enjoy reading. Unleash your flaming pen…or keyboard.

    Missy – Thanks reading and good luck with your story telling too. I’m sure you have some doozies.

  6. Mark Eckenrode

    March 24, 2009 at 7:13 pm

    my favorite way to reply when asked “how’s business?”


    whether business is great or dismal, it still makes sense 🙂

  7. Susie Blackmon

    February 1, 2010 at 8:52 am

    I give them the numbers and the truth. And I don’t think we have bottomed out yet either.

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