Let’s Get A Puppy (Issue 943)

In which we are reminded that, when our clients go “short-term”, we should ask, “What if…?”.

 “Let’s get a puppy.” Several friends have indicated that they are planning to welcome new puppies or cats into their households during their “stay at home” COVID-19 experiences. What a great idea! New energy in the house, something to focus on besides the four walls, something to keep the kids busy, a great bundle of joy.

It’s an interesting moment. The “sales people” on the other side of the transaction have enormous incentives to place the animals into loving homes. Good for the dogs, good for the cats, good for the receiving families while they are stuck in their houses.

And then what? Two weeks from now, four weeks from now, eight weeks from now… when we go back to whatever the new normal is following our working from home/schooling from home hiatus…. what happens to the dogs then? Or the cats? (I grew up with cats, I know they can happily entertain themselves, shredding the odd bit of furniture, but puppies…?)

I hope that the animal shelter representatives or breeders would ask about the long-term goals of the families now interested in welcoming puppies or cats or birds into their houses. The families’ short-term goals are clear and the shelters and breeders can satisfy those short-term goals handsomely.

But, at what sacrifice to the animals’ welfare, the families’ long-term goals, and household adults’ peace of mind when they now have to deal with “the puppy problem.” [You know this one: “I said we could get a puppy if you and your brother took care of it. Who’s taking care of it? ME, I am! And, I am NOT happy about it.”]

When our clients show up, eager to buy this or do that – you know, they say, “I’m just disgusted by the losses in my retirement account, I’m going to sell everything now” or “If we go big now, we can get a great price…” or whatever – we are tempted to help them reach those short-term goals, and why not? We have goals to reach as well. And they’re adults, right?

However, and this is a big “however,” we can help our clients even more when we ask them look beyond the short-term, to ask “what if…?” so they can see what they, in the heat of their moments, may have not have seen. “What if… you buy this additional truck and demand declines later in the year?”  “What if… you sell now and the market recovers in the next 12 – 18 months?” “What if… you buy this puppy now and then you all go back to work and school, nobody’s home all day, how will that work?”

It’s not pretty when you leave a puppy by itself all day.

Nick Miller  trains banks and bankers to attract and expand relationships with business clients. More profitable relationships, faster. He is President of Clarity Advantage based in Concord, MA. Additional articles on Clarity’s web site.

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