Perspectives: Why Clients Need Us Now More Than Ever

 

If you have raised more than one child, there’s a good chance you’ll relate to this story.

I am a proud father of three children, ages 15, 11 and nine. Raising children is an amazing yet incredibly humbling experience. A dozen years ago, as I was preparing for the arrival of our second child and already feeling overwhelmed with one child (how naïve), I wondered how I would ever cope by adding another member to our family, so I asked a father of seven children, Scott Seele, to offer his best advice. After all, anyone with seven kids surely has this parenting thing figured out. Right? 

Scott, who is also a coworker, told me, “Your children will need you at different times.” 

I thought to myself, is that it? Seriously? Of course, they will need me at different times! What kind of answer is that? 

Only later, after time and experience, did I learn to understand this sage advice. What I think Scott intended to teach me is that all children will have different battles to fight, and some of these will be profound. To this day, I repeat this statement as a reminder to help me focus my time and energy but also to be mindful of what’s most important.

In my role here at Quality Resource Group, I find that Scott’s principle plays out in the workplace, too. It happens with employees, departments and company initiatives often needing attention at different times. 

As we mark the one-year anniversary this month of the COVID-19 lockdowns, I have witnessed the ongoing negative impact on people everywhere. Seemingly, most people are fighting their own battles with health concerns, economic impact, distance learning, socially-distant relationships and much, much more. Everyone could use a break these days.  

Fortunately, life is improving slowly, and fewer areas need the same level of intense attention as they once did. 

Overall, our industry is optimistic about the future. Most industry practitioners whom I have spoken to forecast a slow start, but many are bullish on the second half of 2021, and for many good reasons.  

At this writing in mid-January, vaccination rates are slowly improving. Increased vaccinations will eventually lead to improved health and the easing of government orders and restrictions. It is not unrealistic to think that event planning will begin to recover in Q3, which will drive the demand for events and promotional products to support them in Q4. 

Also, as I write this, Goldman Sachs has ratcheted up their GDP forecast to a 6.6-percent lift following a dismal 3.5-percent drop in 2020. This is a 10-percent swing. Positive GDP growth will breed certainty, increased economic output and productivity, which generally means more money to go around. I am no economist, but I can positively tell you that more money is better than less money. Clients of all types and sizes will look to our industry to help them capitalize on the upswing. 

Craig Fehr with Edward Jones delivered an awesome session at the PPAI Expo Direct-2-You in January supporting similar predictions while also providing a positive outlook for economic expansion as the service industry comes back online by mid-2021. If you didn’t have a chance to watch his session, check it out through PPAI education at onlineeducation.ppai.org/on-demand-webinars. It’s a worthwhile investment of your time.  

As a parent and a businessowner who has been focused on many different issues throughout the past year, I am thankful for the experience and perspective I have gained, but I am also keenly aware that my attention will be shifting somewhat in light of these positive economic signals. Now is the time to focus more attention on helping clients. This is when our expertise and responsiveness will be most needed. 

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Todd Pottebaum, MAS+, is chair of the PPAI Board of Directors and president of distributor Quality Resource Group.

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