What I want for Christmas

Normally my approach is to try and ignore Christmas. I stay away from Malls. I studiously avoid Christmas parties. And I leave the gift buying to someone who has a better talent for it than I do.

And I hope that if someone decides to give me a gift, that it is not socks. I do have quite enough socks. Just saying.

But this year I am breaking with tradition. I am announcing what I would like to receive as a Christmas gift. Hopefully if I broadcast the message widely enough, then someone will oblige.

What I want for Christmas doesn’t need to be wrapped in gold paper with a large bow. It doesn’t even need to be left under the Christmas tree. And it is a gift that will benefit so many others.

So, in reality it is a gift to all of society – not just for me.

Because what I have logged in my wish list with the jolly fat man in red from the North Pole, is a big juicy recession. Now that may sound to some like a different, and very negative, type of gift to wish for. After all, normally we associate recessions with doom and gloom.

And usually they are. In fact they  almost always are. But, as the story goes, for every dark cloud there is a  silver lining. And at the last recession, the silver lining was that about half of all real estate agents decided that they were better suited to an alternative type of employment. And in general terms, those who decided they were better suited to some other type of employment were quite correct. And the 50% who stayed were able to enhance their skills by continuing to work in a tougher economic environment.

But it is not just the real estate industry that benefits from a periodic recession. Because when we experience a downturn in the economy, so many businesses re-discover the need for customer service. Even the need for some sales skills.

Perhaps it is already happening. Over the past month we have had numerous calls from companies asking if we had any projects coming up. And these are companies that a few months ago we couldn’t get them to even return our calls. Interesting how a slight slowdown in the business environment starts to change attitudes.

Many businesses, and that includes many in the real estate industry, have for a number of years now been able to be oblivious to the needs and requirements of the customer. They have been largely at capacity. Business has been easy to come by. The customer has been an annoyance, as there have been so many, that many enterprises have been able to cherry pick the most profitable.

But the advantage of a recession, and normally we see one about every 10 years, is that it acts in a similar way to a forest fire in nature. The undergrowth is decimated, but the strong and competent are left standing. In business that means those who have looked after their clients through good times and bad. And recognised that there are clients who remember who didn’t return calls.

So if my Christmas wish does come to pass, and an improvement in customer service levels is an indirect result, then at least there is a positive side to a recession.