How Are You Doing?

How are you doing?

When I ask that question most people reply, “great,” even if they’re not great. “How are you doing?” does little to connect with people.

We use this phrase because it’s been said to us. We’ve been conditioned to believe that saying, “How are you doing?” creates a social bond.

The receiver knows the asker isn’t really curious about their life, so they give a short one-word answer. “Great.” “Fine.” “Okay.”

Here are some phrases that form stronger connections.

“I feel so embarrassed.”

Studies show admitting your embarrassment lowers resistance.


Prospect: “I’m not responsible for that.”

Salesperson:” “I feel so embarrassed even to ask, but do you know who handles X?”

“It sounds like it’s inappropriate.”

According to FBI hostage negotiator Chris Voss, labeling negatives defused negatives.


Prospect: “How did you get my cell number?!?!?”

Salesperson: I got your contact info from ZoomInfo, which is a service that provides access to business contacts. It sounds like it’s inappropriate for me to have called your private number.”

Prospect: “We have a vendor for that.”

Salesperson: “Is it inappropriate for me to ask who your current vendor is?”

“I’m curious.”

Curiosity and bias cannot coexist in your brain at the same time. The minute you say ‘I am curious about,’ your brain halts putting a bias in there.” — Arin N. Reeves, Ph.D.

Example for CaptivateIQ:

“I’m curious, what are your thoughts on using automation to decrease the amount of time you spend on routine calculations?”

“If you don’t mind me asking.”

Giving people an easy way out lowers resistance.


“If you don’t mind me asking, are you using spreadsheets to calculate and run commission statements, or is it automated?”

“I’m sorry.”

When you take ownership of your mistake, you have an opportunity to rebuild trust.

Prospect: “Why are you calling me?!? I have nothing to do with that.”

Salesperson: “I’m sorry, I thought I was calling the person who handles X.”

“I don’t know.”

Saying you don’t know subconsciously tells prospects you’re an honest person.

Prospect: “Can you explain the Snowflake architecture?”

Salesperson: “I don’t know. Let me check and get back to you by the end of the day.”

“What’s your opinion?”

Studies show that when you ask for advice, people do not think less of you, they actually think you’re smarter.


“What’s your opinion about warming up inboxes to increase cold email deliverability?’

“As someone with a long and successful career.”

Everyone likes a sincere compliment.

Example during a cold call:

“As someone with a long and successful career in Rev Ops, you probably get dozens of calls offering solutions to your commission problems.”