Should You Be Busy Or Available?

By Mo Bunnell

What's On My Mind

Just got this question this week, and it's a good one.

Wow, what a busy week.

We're sure in high demand.

We had dozens of sessions going on, and I personally had three days of training from around 8 am till midnight my time.

​Europe in the morning, Americas in the afternoon, AsiaPac at night.

​It was honestly a bit too much, but I enjoyed the impact we had on all the engaged participants. And, I met some amazing people from all over the world.

​One of my favorite people all week, Anita from Australia, asked a killer question.

Should we be busy or available to our clients?

​She mentioned she has gotten advice on both sides.

What's the best answer?

​I'll tell you below!

What We Just Created

It's been an amazing couple of weeks over at the podcast.

​One of my early mentors at Hewitt Associates was on the show, Brian Cafferelli.

​Brian's a gem of a guy, one of the best trusted advisors ever. And I mean ever.

(Any old-timer Hewitt Associates reading this? Ping me if so!)

I just LOVED Brian's definition of business development HERE. 

SO GOOD, maybe the best BD metaphor I've ever heard.

And I was blown away by the message Brian would send back to his younger self (and the practical things we talk about because of it) HERE.

Then, one of the best professionals I've ever hired myself was on the show, Andrew Cogar.

Andrew is CEO of Historical Concepts, an amazing architectural and design firm I hired to create a 1930s era tavern in our basement. (And oh man, has that been fun.)

Later on, Andrew came through our training and loved it.​

Andrew's story of a business development pursuit he's most proud of was inspirational, HERE.

Any story combining chicken coops with BD is a winner with me!

​​And his version of how he and his partners create demand using Give-to-Gets is super practical HERE.

Their demand creation approach and results are impressive, and you'll get great ideas to apply to your profession.

​(Side note, Andrew's book Visions Of Home is fantastic.)

​I loved creating all this value with Brian and Andrew!

What's Worth Lingering On

So what's the best to be? Busy or available?


​Busy first.

Being busy says you're valuable.

​The principle of Scarcity says we want more of what there is less of.

​Being busy means your time is scarce.

​But being available is important too.

Being available says you care. You're committed to the client.

Here's the good news.

You can have it both ways.

​You knew it was alert!

​​Dr. Robert Cialdini has popularized the idea of Scarcity in his book, Influence.

​In his words:

Whatever is rare, uncommon or dwindling in availability — this idea of scarcity — confers value on objects, or even relationships.

And Dr. Michael Lynn looked at the impact of scarcity on the pricing of a product or experience.

​​From the abstract:

This research has found that scarcity enhances the desirability of experiences and objects. Two studies were conducted to test the possibility that these scarcity effects on desirability are due to a tendency for people to assume that scarce things cost more.

To go deeper, countless studies have correlated higher prices to the perception of higher value. HERE'S my favorite by Dr. Maria Cronley.

Fun: this is the science behind why we say ... you get what you pay for!

So to pull this pricing idea all the way through...

Scarcity implies a higher price, and a higher price implies higher value.

Let's step back and see what this all means.

We want things that are scarce.


We assume that things that are scarce cost more.


We assume things that cost more are better.


If you're busy, you should let people know.

People will want you more.

And they'll assume you're a high-value expert.

​Most professionals hold back on this like they need to be either scarce or available.

​That's the wrong mindset.

You can have it both ways.

Here's a simple example:

I and the team are in high demand right now, but I'd be happy to move some things around to be available at 4.

​Let's deconstruct the two key parts of this message.

Part One.

​I like the phrasing "we're in high demand" much more than "we're busy," which is what most people say.

​Everyone's busy, but it doesn't mean they're in high demand. You can be busy doing lots of unimportant things.

But being in high demand screams scarcity.

Part Two.

​I like the phrasing "I'd be happy to move some things around to be available at 4" more than "I'm available at 4."

​If you're moving things around, get credit for it!

Moving things for the client shows how committed you are.

Pro tip: Add specifics to either part if you can. Adding specifics of why you're in demand and/or what you're moving around add oomph to your message.

So let me close with this.

You've worked hard to get where you're at.

​You've worked hard to be in demand.

​Sharing this authentically helps your prospects and clients know you're in high demand.

​And if you're in high demand, they'll want you more.

​And if they want you more, you'll get chosen more.

And if you get chosen more, you'll be able to have the impact you want to have on the world.

​I hope you liked this little piece.​

Ping me with your thoughts.

​We're in high demand right now, but I'll move something around to reply.