A Distributor Asks: It’s been a bit tough to stay positive and upbeat about the future prospects for business. With COVID-19-related changes, I’ve been getting discouraged from the lack of sales coming in. Can other distributors share their tips and tricks to help me be more optimistic—both in my personal and professional life? 

Although these uncertain times are scary and can be challenging, there are lots of useful ways to stay productive and keep a positive outlook. By continuing to work on your business, we can come out stronger from this.

Below are some of our useful tips:

  • Send check-in emails to your clients to see how they are doing. Connect on a personal level outside of regular business communications.
  • Let them know you are offering personal protection equipment (PPE) and work-from-home kits and are here to support their needs when they are ready.
  • Review/evaluate operations and internal processes. What are the areas in your business that can use improvement for when we return to normalcy?
  • Keep your pipeline filled with prospects.
  • Give back to your community.
  • Stay connected with family, friends and industry colleagues.
  • Take an online course, learn to play an instrument or pick up a new hobby.

Daniel Siegel
Account executive
Industrial Contacts Associates
Westbury, New York
PPAI 105898, D5

It’s definitely been very tough since COVID-19 and the restrictions have come in. What I have been doing and recommend is to listen to podcasts from those like Bill Petrie, Danny Rosin [and] Kirby Hasseman. I find it so much more fun when I’m engaging and hearing from my peers. They uplift us all, [and] it’s also great to stay connected on a business and on a personal level. I’ve been working on plans for the future. New systems to make things easier, cleaning up samples, cleaning up processes and procedures to make things smoother on the other side; forecasting what new industries I want to target [and] how I want to go about it. [I’m] working on new sales packs and Facebook or social media posts. I’ve also been doing a 90-day goal-setting cycle, finding that doing it in [90-day increments] is easier, as we can work on what’s in front of us rather than, say, a year or five years in advance. I’m finding that working on me and my business has been very invigorating and more positive. Now is the time to prepare for a much better future.

Robert Williams, MAS
Your Brand Unleashed
Bayswater, Victoria, Australia
PPAI 740353


A Distributor Asks: Since the start of coronavirus, I feel like my old approaches of communicating with clients are no longer working, and all that’s left is to market on social media and send e-blasts, which normally doesn’t move the needle for me. Any suggestions on what I can do to continue moving forward?

My advice? Use promo to sell promo. Social media is my world, and even still the only thing better than social media is a tangible product—especially now. Social media, webinars, phone calls and email inboxes are all flooded with noise. What’s not flooded are people’s mailboxes with care packages wishing them well and inviting them to reach out so you can help them deliver the same warm, fuzzy feeling to their clients that they just got from you.

Create a sweet merch box, target your top prospects in industries where people are spending money, and then send, follow up, build relationships and create new business. 

It’s not your client’s job to be in the marketing mindset, it’s yours. Show them what your medium can do and how it can help them solve the problems of no new business, tons of new business, boosting morale of people working from home, needing to thank hard-working employees, thank loyal customers and more.

Charity Gibson
National account coordinator
Peerless Umbrella Co.
Newark, New Jersey
PPAI 112666, S10 

Who has money to spend? The commercials that got their message out fast … insurance companies are spending. All big-name grocery stores are buying. I have turned hand-sanitizer business into much more profitable items. I still believe that the easiest new business to generate is from old business. They were with you for a reason to start. Remind them why.

Gregg Prins
Account executive
Sharp Ideas, Inc.
Fresno, California
PPAI 108483, D4 

Make hand-written notes for your top prospects to go with your self-promo. Everyone is trying to use Zoom. Why not try standing out in a classic way?

Jessica Gibbons-Rauch, CAS
Director of marketing
Bish Creative Display
Lake Zurich, Illinois
PPAI 725364, D4

I’ve been sending my clients little notes/texts just to let them know I am thinking of them and looking forward to getting together once the pandemic is behind us, and it is safe to go back to work.

Karen Thieken
Forte Promotional Marketing
Dacula, Georgia
PPAI 601066, D1

Working-from-home gifts are popular. Companies that are buying these are rich tech. The people who are buying from me are service companies, tech and cancelled event coordinators. Offer free drop shipping. One thing, I am not giving anyone terms. Pay before it ships. Think of what you’re seeing during commercials. Can’t figure out who to call? Start with human resources.

Penny Fleming
Newport Beach, California  


A Distributor Asks: Now that businesses are reopening, I’m eager to reconnect with my clients and jumpstart sales for the rest of the year. What approaches are other distributors taking in conversations with clients and what kind of marketing outreach are they using to restart their businesses?

What’s Your Answer?

Email your answers to Question@ ppai. org for the chance to be featured in a future issue of PPB.


Danielle Renda is associate editor of PPB.