During the 2008 crisis, nearly every get rich in real estate guru went out of business…

These were people who were THRIVING up until 2007.

They were helping people who were NEW to real estate learn how to make money in real estate.

And because there was so much interest in real estate, it was easy.

Before the crisis, there were maybe 50 separate gurus running TV infomercials that all basically said the same thing…

“It’s never been a better time to get rich in real estate — let me show you how!”

Including Dean Graziosi.

Then, the bottom fell out of the housing market.

Home price plummeted.

Homes were going into foreclosure.

And sure-thing bets like flipping houses were suddenly sure-losers.

Get rich in real estate was dead.

Or so you’d think.

But Dean decided to switch his message.

From the classic “get rich in real estate” pitches to things like…

— You can still make money in real estate today…

— There are still opportunities to get income from real estate…

— Here’s a different way to get cash from the real estate market…

And so on…

The difference, Dean realized, was that the market needed a different message.

Aspirational vs. Life Preserver…

Dean was quick to recognize that there was a big perspective shift around real estate.

Before the crisis, everyone was thinking “aspirational” — of all the things they aspired to be, do, and have.

This is natural in a bull market.

We see riches going up around us, and we want our part of that action.

We’re thinking about our wildest dreams, our biggest desires, our grandest destiny — and every 10X opportunity that comes our way only whets our appetite.

And as long as it seems like the market will go up forever (and there’s always a point where it feels that way), this is what we respond to.

It’s easy for marketers to tap into that.  It doesn’t require much thought.  “You want that? I can give you that.”

But then something happens.

The bull market ends.

There’s a crash, and a bear market begins.

And suddenly we’re all in crisis mode, and panic.

It seems like the market will go down forever (there’s always a point where it feels that way)…

And many marketers who are suddenly seeing their response rates evaporate believe the same thing.

The opportunity’s gone.  The market’s dead.

And so, like in the case of real estate, they pack up shop and move on.

But it’s not that the market is gone.  At least, not in many cases.

In many cases, the market is just too preoccupied with survival NOW to focus on those dreams, desires, and destinies that caught their fancy before the crash.

Now our focus has shifted to our growing fears, our present frustrations, our recent failures — our urgent problems are so preoccupying it’s hard to think of anything else.

Future focus vs. Now focus…

One way to consider this is the timelines we focus on.

During a long bull market (and we just went through the longest in modern history) our timelines start to stretch.

We start to imagine further into the future.  Imagining a big, bright, shiny future for ourselves.

Imagining how great things will be when the current trajectory stretches to infinity.

Then, when crisis hits, our timeline focus is slammed back to JUST focusing on the now.

— How am I going to get toilet paper?

— Is it safe to go grocery shopping?

— How are we going to manage kids at home and work?

— Do I even have work?

— What’s even happening out there?

There’s no more dreams of thriving in the future, it’s about surviving in the now.

Sure, we still want to thrive. But those aspirations are pushed aside, for the more pressing need to ensure we survive this crisis.

Which points to different marketing messages…

10X Opportunity vs. Urgent Problem…

And here I’ll do the quick reminder: this isn’t just about shifting your marketing message to exploit people in crisis.  I’m assuming you have products and services that can actually help people, now.  Or that you’re shifting your offers to focus on solving problems now, in light of the current situation around coronavirus.

In my High-Velocity Copywriting training, I talk about the 3 Big Idea Types.  These are the categories that every great big idea I’ve seen in direct response ads fall under.

— A 10X Opportunity

— An Urgent Problem

— An Imminent Prediction (that leads to opportunity or problem)

During the peak of the bull market, the pitches that work best are 10X Opportunity pitches.  “I’ll show you an opportunity that’s dramatically (10X) better than what you’re doing now.”  Faster, easier, more profitable.

That’s aspirational.

But in a crisis or crash, we’re not thinking opportunity.  We’re thinking problems.  And so that’s the messages that work.  “I understand this is hard, and you’re facing some tough challenges — this could help, it could even be your way out.”

That’s life preserver.

Here are some ideas to help cement this concept…


“I can show you how to get rich.” >> “I can point you to income opportunities today.”

“Here’s how to build massive business.” >> “Here’s how to make your business resilient, fast.”

“This investment has 1,000% upside.” >> “This is an unstoppable investment, that doesn’t depend on the broader market.”


“I can help you get in the best shape of your life.” >> “I can help you fix bad health habits.”

“These are peak performance secrets.” >> “Here’s how to make your body strong and resilient.”

“I’ll show you the best workouts.” >> “I’ll show you home workouts you can do while your gym is shut down.”

[Note: Even though the coronavirus crisis started around a health issue, the health market is not seeing quite the same shift.  There are plenty of health-related offers that are doing just as well today as before the crisis.  If your service required in-person interaction, the problem people are trying to solve is how to ensure continuity while not coming in.]


“Find the perfect partner.” >> “Stay connected now.”

“Help your kids achieve in school.” >> “Help your kids keep learning from home.”

“Make your world a better place through your leadership.” >> “Lead your community through this crisis.”

Personal development:

“Live your best life.” >> “Manage your reaction to this situation.”

“Optimize your performance.” >> “Respond effectively to stress.”


“Come out and have fun!” >> “How to bring the fun we provide to your home.”

“Enjoy life!” >> “Escape the outside world for a minute.”

A few closing thoughts…

I have a note to talk more about escape and escapism.

Because that’s what a lot of us want right now.

And some ways of seeking that escape will be really detrimental in the long run.  Whereas other ways of seeking escape are incredibly healthy things to do.

That definitely plays into this shift of messaging — and also how you are leading in your business and your marketing right now.

Also, the above ideas and examples are purposefully a little generic.

They’re meant to stimulate ideas, rather than give you specific words that work in your business.

If you get the strategy of shifting from big future opportunity and aspirational focused to present problem and life-preserver focused you can find the right messaging and positioning for your offer now.

And honestly, this applies whether you’re actively selling anything right now or not.

What many businesses are being forced to do by this crisis is to become media companies.  Livestreaming.  Video.  Guides and articles and resources.  And more.  Creating media to serve in a way they wouldn’t outside of the crisis.

Staying in communication.  Maintaining and building relationships with their customers and prospects.  Helping to solve the problem now, in whatever way they can.

Knowing that “this too shall pass,” and when it does that will all lead to a deeper and more mutually-valuable relationship later.

When Dean Graziosi shifted his message in response to the real estate crisis, two big things happened…

First, all his competition disappeared from TV, while he was able to stay on and become the ONLY real estate guru the audience knew well.

Second, his business grew dramatically during and after the crisis, because he found new ways of helping people while others just disappeared.

The best is yet to come.

Yours for bigger breakthroughs,

Roy Furr

PS: This article was written in response to a member request on the Strategic Thinking in a Time of Crisis Insiders Call.  I shared that recording last week.  If you haven’t watched it yet, I strongly recommend you do so.  And please share it if you know others who it may help.  Thank you.