Hi. I'm Chris.

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How Are You? How is Business?

How Are You? How is Business?

What message are you giving your prospective clients?

In business development, we have a tendency to overcomplicate things and, in the process, miss much of the low-hanging fruit. Let me explain.


If after reading this article you conclude that you found it helpful, please feel free to share it with your network. Perhaps we can all learn from each other. Thanks!


A few weeks ago, I attended a networking event. In the hours just before the event, I had been reading an article about how people are busier than they ever have been. However, that busy is not a productive busy. It is what I would like to call a clickety-click busy—the person’s subconscious mind associates clicking around on a computer with doing productive activities.

Are you productive busy, or clickety-click "busy"? http://bit.ly/1sDNad1 @chrisspurvey

The article got me thinking about how we portray ourselves when we meet someone new or someone we have not seen in a while, about the images we plant in their minds about whether we are open for business. At that very moment, I formed the hypothesis that, without realizing that we are doing so, most of us are planting the image that we are too busy for new business—even though we may be starved for new business. I decided to use the networking event as an opportunity to test this hypothesis.

Without realizing that we are doing so, most of us are planting the image that we are too busy for new business

During the event I made it a point to talk to ten people with whom I had never spoken before. In each interaction, after handshakes and smiles I asked the fairly common question “How are you? How is business?” The answers I received were exactly what I had expected, consistent with my hypothesis:

  • Five people said they were “busy”
  • Three people said they were “stressed”
  • Two people said they were “fine”

During the most monumental moment for us as business people, when we are planting our brands on the screens of other people’s minds, at no point do we give the impression that we are open for business!

Now, you may be saying, “Yeah, those are just easy answers that we get accustomed to giving. The answers have no real bearing on business.” I would like to suggest that we look at it a bit differently.

The subconscious mind is powerful beyond belief. Our subconscious minds (and those of our prospective clients) are working 24/7 on solving problems.

However, the subconscious mind does not have the ability to reason. It is entirely deductive in nature. In other words, it accepts as true what it is told. In contrast, the conscious mind is both deductive and inductive. It has the ability to reason.

Given this distinction between the conscious and the subconscious minds, the fact that most of us are going around giving the impression to people’s subconscious minds that we are busy, stressed, or simply good is more than unfortunate. It stifles our pipelines. What is a better way for us to be perceived?

Imagine if everyone in our organizations focused on giving the impression that our organization is open for business? Imagine if people in marketing, sales, human resources, operations, support, and so on were out there in the market planting the impression that business is great but we are always looking for more clients to serve. Do you at least agree that the approach could add a few percentage points of growth to the revenue line?

I think it can add more than just a few percentage points!

I am interested in your thoughts. What are some better responses to the question “How are you? How is business?” I welcome them in the comments below.


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