Chapter of “If you are not the first, you are the last”, the most recent book of the billionaire of the real estate industry and best-seller in sales strategies around the world. Now in Colombia.
Since I began my career in the early 1980s, I have built three companies and have weathered — and even thrived — through periods of economic downturn. Most of the people who read this book have also survived difficult times, but may forget that they managed to get out of them. For example, I was born during the 1958 recession, which lasted two years. I survived it. In fact, the truth is that I did not know that there was a recession.
I survived another from 1960 to 1961, when I was three years old. In 1973, there was an oil crisis that lasted two years and while I was studying I worked during the summer while others did not find employment. From the early 1980s to 1982, the Iranian revolution caused an increase in the price of oil around the world, leading the United States into another recession. I survived! (We recommend the El Espectador podcast: Learn from the leaders).
In the early 1990s, the country experienced another that lasted just over a year and included a real estate crisis, after which people said they would never get into real estate again. I survived it. The year 2000 saw the collapse of internet companies. One year later, on September 11, 2001, the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon caused enormous economic terror throughout the world, especially in the United States. I survived both events. This was followed by two years of accounting scandals and another contraction in our economy, which I also survived.
Then, in 2007, the world experienced the start of another major contraction, this time caused by the housing market, a crisis that extended until bank collapses in the United States and Europe. This resulted in bank failures, bankruptcies, foreclosures, and the consequent failure of entire industries. We will all survive. (It may interest you: Female leadership in times of pandemic).
The real question is: can we also thrive in these circumstances? By definition, a recession is basically a fall in the Gross Domestic Product of a country for two quarters or 180 days. In a strict sense, individuals and companies cannot experience a recession since they do not have Gross National Product. However, they do experience the effects of recessions, and their willingness or not to make adjustments will determine how well they weather the storm. I say all this to give you courage and to remind you that you have survived, can survive, and will survive any economic downturn. And I want to show you how to move forward, conquer, and gain a better market share during those times.
Of course, I prefer to experience economic expansion, but I do better in times of recession, incredible as that may sound. It is a somewhat strange phenomenon, but some people react better to adversity, because it activates the survival instinct and encourages higher-level performance. In turn, this causes people to become more creative and productive in the workplace, while others throw in the towel. So don’t lose hope. Economic crises are not the end of the world; you can be successful regardless of the state of the economy.
Also understand that economic downturns don’t last forever. Those who don’t give up and get more involved every day will come to the end of the crisis with a better work ethic, a larger customer base, and a larger market share. In addition, survivors are left with the confidence that they can prosper no matter the conditions in which they do business. So don’t throw in the towel. Understand that you have options to fight and take advantage. You don’t have to suffer the financial consequences that others will experience if you act smart.
I live by the following motto: “Problems are opportunities, and well-exploited opportunities equal money in your pocket.” Remember that when you face a problem, you are facing an opportunity in disguise. Do not get out of the game, keep going, never withdraw and seek creative solutions to your problems. A situation overcome is not even remembered as a problem; you will think that it was a situation that required proper handling and nothing more. But people who retire to the point of disappearing during a recession will not remember events in the same way. They tend to respond negatively and become overwhelmed, to the point of blinding themselves to possibilities and solutions.
When the market recovers, these individuals will have less money and customers, they will be forgotten by the market, damaging their business and identity. Your great advantage in this market is that less competition gives you the opportunity to stand out and gain greater market share. In this book you will find the tactics to make sure your business grows, survives and thrives in any age, but especially during economic downturns.
These are proven techniques that, when used as directed, will give you results. We are facing proven, proven and accurate formulas that will make your goals come true. I invite you to use them exactly as indicated and avoid being “reasonable” in doing so. The term “reason” implies the proper exercise of the mind, of sanity, the sum of intellectual powers, and the possession of sound judgment. In this context, being unreasonable means that you will not allow yourself to be ruled by reason. I don’t want you to use your intellectual faculties to make sense of this; after all, the world is full of smart people who never do anything meaningful.
Instead, I want you to operate as if you lack reason, lack of judgment; as if you were a madman whose only goal is to make things happen. You do not reason these actions; accept them. Don’t use common sense when putting them into practice. Use them exactly as they are told here. The worst thing about using these techniques is adapting them to your personality or mindset. Do not alter the actions in any way, as you will end up with a toned down version of what actually works.
Just last week I was working with a company and we identified a customer follow-up action that the competition would not employ. I suggested that the sales follow-up be started as soon as customers left the premises, and not later that day; I even suggested that salespeople follow customers home. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? The management of this company protested saying: “There is no way this technique will work with our product or with the geographic distribution of our customers.” I begged the managers to trust me and use the technique.
In less than 24 hours, they called my office saying, “Not only did it work, our clients loved it!” The company was revitalized by finding new ways to expand in the market. Now, before you dismiss my actions as inapplicable, understand that your answer denotes that others will not apply them either; This means that whoever performs these actions will not be competing but doing something completely different.
In times of crisis, you don’t want to compete. You want to win! These techniques should be applied to your marketing and sales efforts in any economic environment, but you will find that these strategies and thoughts will help you get through the recessive stages. Right now we must think in terms of expansion and be willing to try anything, even break accepted norms, to take over the market.
And before thinking that you affect customer satisfaction with these actions, let me tell you that the aforementioned company obtained the highest ratings in its history in terms of satisfied customers. They said, “We have never met another company that was willing to do so much to get our business.” This mindset and these actions are for those who refuse to risk their families, businesses, or financial futures. In addition, they are for those who are willing to do whatever it takes to be the first. Trust me and I assure you that you will be rewarded with success. I’m interested in learning about your journey to the first place and how successful you are after implementing these effective and powerful anti-recession techniques.
* Published courtesy of Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial, Aguilar label.