Working remotely - Business development you can easily do at home

“Never let a good crisis go to waste” is a famous quote from no less than Sir Winston Churchill. 

He knew quite a bit about how to keep morale going in times of despair and ensure there was sufficient activity to ensure an acceptable end result, following a period of enforced isolation. 

So, what can business development professionals and fee earners in professional services firms do in these most challenging of times.

WARNING! Don’t be a pest. This is a time to teach not sell. People and organisations are fearing loss and of making the right or wrong decisions in a time of crisis so there is no place for marketing a service they either don’t need or cannot afford at this time. However, the amount of time spent at home digesting information from the internet has never been higher, I should know, I have watched more webinars, listened to more podcasts and read more articles these last two weeks than I have in years.

I cannot pretend this is business as usual. It is not. However, huge numbers of clients across all professional services still need advice and assistance more than ever before. Now is not the time to go missing in action but to stay connected. Many professionals who use lack of time as an excuse to avoid doing business development activity, no longer have that excuse as even if you continue to work normally from home, you should be saving time as you are not commuting to the office every day. Some might say, there has never been a better time for self-improvement and communicating or renovating your personal brand.

For the sake of this written piece, I would like everybody to focus on what is possible whilst being mindful of our new reality. Remembering that business development starts as a defensive measure to ringfence your existing clients, the available time can be used to great use in cementing relationships, building community and making introductions for others and becoming a contributor of hope, resources and support by sharing ideas and providing useful content to your networks.

To quote another well-known world leader, one Nelson Mandela who said:

"Education is the most powerful weapon in the world".

Now might just be a great time to demonstrate how you can deliver measurable outcomes to client problems and evidence your credentials to clients, prospects and referrers alike. Remain visible and supportive without becoming annoying. We always remember fondly, those who helped us during difficult times.

This forced time at home, if used well, can be used to put an engine in place to provide a predictable, consistent and steady flow of profitable work, post pandemic restrictions. Whilst so many things are currently beyond our control, let’s at least manage two things we can control. Our activity and our relationship with time. So where should we start?

Existing clients:

  • Pick the phone up and ask them how the current situation is affecting them. They need to know you care. There has never been a more obvious ice breaker for a conversation. Become a connecter, a referrer or a center of influence. Which of your services or those of your colleagues might be most valuable right now? Maintain face to face contact through meeting software such as Zoom where possible. There will never be a better catalyst for becoming tech savvy.

Past clients:

  • How are you? It’s been a while since we spoke. How are you at this crazy time?
Unconverted leads:
  • Maybe via email or even video. Hope you are well at this difficult time. Was wondering if you are still looking to....


  • How are things with you? We have been particularly busy giving this type of advice to these types of clients. If you know of people and businesses facing similar challenges, we can help.

Content Marketing:

This is a huge opportunity for everybody right now. The list is far from exhaustive but provides some obvious places to start. In no particular order:
  • Review all your service offerings. Are you missing something? Where is the demand right now?
  • Update your website copy and biographies.
  • Update any capability statements you might have.
  • Write topical articles giving advice that will assist people through these extraordinary times. Try to avoid giving generic advice that can be sourced elsewhere. E.g.: law firms and accountants who just repeat the packages given daily at the Government press conferences.
  • Host online seminars, webinars, podcasts or virtual workshop training to offer help and value wherever you can. I managed four of these last week alone. If you can make these industry or sector specific even better. At times like these, everyone wants the expert not the generalist.
  • Share relevant content on social media platforms particularly LinkedIn and Twitter.

  • Start hosting a LinkedIn or Facebook group.

  • Compile a new eBook or some other signature piece of content to give away on your website in exchange for an email address.

  • Compile a Speaker Biography to assist you in getting public speaking opportunities.

  • Create a new slide deck for your conference speaking appointments.

  • Take the time to shoot the video you have promised yourself to do for so long. Upload it to your YouTube channel.

  • Put together a target list of potential clients that match your ideal client profile.

  • Create a new client satisfaction survey.

  • Compile a list of case studies and testimonials that confirm your value to clients.

  • Undertake a client review process of past projects with clients which can open the door to uncovering and exploring new opportunities.

Many of you will feel anxious during these dark times and so taking accountability for some actions such as these can help build confidence for when we escape our isolation and return back to normality. It may even provide you with a routine to progress your working day which will assist your productivity whist remote working. There is no point being busy but not effective. 

To finish on another quote, this time from a former boss of mine in the UK, “Winners make it happen, losers let it happen.” It is sometimes easy to feel like a victim during difficult times but those of us who put Darwinian theory into practice (adapt quickest to a changing situation to survive and thrive) are much likely to do better when we come out into the light. 

Wishing you continued health and prosperity.

This insight was published on March 31, 2020 by Alistair Marshall, Director of Professionals services and business development. ICON thanks him for his contribution. 

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