June 2020 Reviewed by Momizat on . Seven Things You Can Do When You Have Nothing To Do You were humming along nicely … until the shelter-in-place orders hit. All cylinders were firing. You were b Seven Things You Can Do When You Have Nothing To Do You were humming along nicely … until the shelter-in-place orders hit. All cylinders were firing. You were b Rating: 0
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June 2020

Seven Things You Can Do When You Have Nothing To Do

You were humming along nicely … until the shelter-in-place orders hit. All cylinders were firing. You were busy! And now you are not … or not as. What do you do with the (hopefully temporary) lull? Panic? Or use the opportunity to systematically find more work?

You were humming along nicely … until the shelter-in-place orders hit. All cylinders were firing. You were busy! And now you are not … or not as. What do you do with the (hopefully temporary) lull? Panic? Or use the opportunity to systematically find more work?

No Matter How Busy We Are, We All Run into Down Time Sometime

Initially, that down time may be a welcome relief. So, take a break. I can’t tell you how many times in my years of practice that I wished the down time would go away so I could be busy making money … and then I got so busy I wished I had taken the time off!

But when down time lasts too long, we imagine the phone will never ring again. So when we get to that point, we might start considering some tasks that will make us feel productive and bring new work in the door. (Here’s a test from Tim Ferriss: will what I am working on now bring in more money?) What might those tasks be?

  1. Update Your Website and LinkedIn Profile

This is an easy one. Review your website and LinkedIn profile for completeness and accuracy. Do you still offer all of the services that you say you do? Can you add resources, case studies, and testimonials that prove to leads and prospects you can do the things you say you can do?

Sidebar: Going online is the most popular way buyers of professional services find experts like you. Even if a prospect or a referral source knows you, they are most likely to check you out online before taking any further steps.

  1. Sell to Existing Clients

Before you start looking for new work from new clients, mine your existing clients first. David Maister, author of The Trusted Advisor, says: “Invest heavily in your existing clients by demonstrating an interest in their affairs. Don’t invest anything at all in winning new clients until you’re sure you’ve captured all the best opportunities in your existing client base!”

Sidebar: This can be a challenge if your practice is geared towards one-and-done valuation services. But you can certainly go back to your client and say, “while I was doing this valuation, I noticed several things we could work on to improve the value of the business over time.” This is the strategy you might try to gain exit planning clients.

  1. Ask What Else Existing Clients Need

This is the flip side of the previous point. Rather than listing the services you offer that existing clients might need (buy), you find out what services existing clients need that you might offer (sell). You uncover this information by asking your clients … call them … survey them … whatever it takes. Remember, you’re in down time so you have the time to do this.

Sidebar: David Maister again: “Too many professionals demonstrate no interest in the client beyond the details of the current matter. They’ve never discussed the client’s strategic plan, they have never sat in on a client’s internal meeting, they don’t read the client’s trade rags—and then they expect the client to give them more business.”

  1. Identify Your Ideal Clients

While you are figuring out which services you are selling/offering to which clients, you might also want to know which clients are the best. And by best, I mean some combination of which clients generate the highest fees, have intellectually challenging projects, and are fun to work with. Use that information to create your ideal client profile. When you get busy again, prune the ones that no longer fit.

Sidebar: I have a tool that can help uncover this information. It’s called the “File Autopsy,” and you can download it at my website.

  1. Go Where Your Ideal Clients Are

Once you know your ideal client, start finding out as much as you can about them—both as a group and as individual prospects. Social media, in general, and LinkedIn, in particular, have made this easier than ever. By actively working the platform where your ideal clients hang out, you can research potential prospects in no time.

Sidebar: Don’t fall in love with one social media platform. Fall in love with your clients and go with the platform that lets you reach them. That said, I still think LinkedIn is the place to start, but don’t overlook what some appraisers are doing with YouTube (go to YouTube.com and type “business valuation” in the search box).

  1. Ask for Referrals

Research shows that referrals are the most important source of new work in the professional services industry. Yet, few professionals ask for them. So, make sure your current clients know that you want referrals. Create a tagline on your invoices or e-mail trailer saying so. Or, heaven forbid, call your best clients and ask them if they know of anyone like them who they might be willing to refer to you. You don’t get what you do not ask for.

Sidebar: If you really have your act together, provide your clients with a short script of talking points they can use in recommending you. Ask if you can send something to them. This is one of the tactics that Derek Coburn writes about in Networking Is Not Working.

  1. Track It

Peter Drucker said what gets measured, gets managed. So whether you use a notebook, a spreadsheet, or a full-on CRM package track your list of prospects, clients, and referral sources. It’s the key to an efficient, effective, and repeatable practice-building effort.

Sidebar: Take heart. The phone will ring again. You will get more work. And you will wish you relaxed more when you had the opportunity.


I help BVFLS practitioners focus on the art and science of practice development in order to break through their time and income barriers so they can build authority, land clients, and improve profitability. If you’ve hit those barriers and are looking for help to grow faster and more effectively, e-mail me at rod@rodburkert.com.

The National Association of Certified Valuators and Analysts (NACVA) supports the users of business and intangible asset valuation services and financial forensic services, including damages determinations of all kinds and fraud detection and prevention, by training and certifying financial professionals in these disciplines.

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