Any time someone finds out I'm in real estate, they ask me the same question: "How's the market?" The way you answer this question will either make you stand out as a professional, or make you blend in with the rest of the agents out there.
We all have programmed responses for certain questions. When a store employee asks, "Can I help you?" you answer without thinking. If you answer this question about the market the same way, you will not stand out. Whether you say "the market is great" or "the market is dismal" will make no difference. They know it is a programmed response and will respond in kind.
Because we live and breathe real estate we have a clear picture of the status of the market. You need to paint this picture for others, so they can understand what you would say. Start with the most pertinent data which will draw the clearest conclusions. For Example: I just checked the real estate statistics for my area and inventory is down 25% from last January. Additionally, the number of homes under contract is 30% higher than last January. I paint this picture by demonstrating with my hands the rise in demand and decrease in supply.
If you say it, it's wrong!
After painting this picture you should ask them what it means. If you blurt out, "This mean's it is a great time to buy" they'll immediately question your interpretation. However, you should ask them what happens when demand goes up and supply goes down. Because they've evaluated the data personally, they'll be more inclined to agree with, and act upon, the news about the market. You should re-affirm their interpretation with supporting data if they are right. If they are wrong, paint another picture, and ask again. Help them see and understand the picture.
If they say it, it is right!
If someone asked you about the market, they have some interest in real estate (or it is a programmed response). Just as we know the market, people know themselves. After you've helped them see the state of the market, find a call to action. Ask them what they think they should do to capitalize on the opportunities of the market. Regardless of what they answer, ask questions to get a picture of their situation. Find out why they have that interest, and offer your services specifically for what they need. This will help you present yourself as a professional in real estate.