Get real about a slowdown!

I deal with the financial services sector in a major way. This means I deal with employees, trainers, vendors, owners of companies, etc. largely in the financial services sector. This sector over did everything from 2002 to 2007 – like all other sectors in the economy. Having seen salaries go up from Rs. 1.8L for a CA trainee (2005) to him becoming a ‘valuation expert’ on ‘media companies’ at Rs. 26 L p.a. Snr. Vee Pee or a Risk manager’s salary go from Rs. 9 lakhs to Rs. 84 lakhs from 2002 to 2007 there is not much to talk about wage inflation.

One big financial services company was paying a rent of 70k in a particular location. When it came up for renewal the company was not interested in renewing it at that rate. Immediately the landlord dropped it to Rs. 45000 – which was the rent in 2005 – without batting an eyelid. Absolutely similarly in another location the landlord dropped the rent from Rs. 55,000 a month to Rs. 25,000 a month (year 2005 rent). That was really a great and quick business decision!

However, when a friend was looking for a change of job – from Rs. 100 lakhs – he was wanting to relocate – and was willing to take a 5-10% cut. I almost shrieked. Today haircuts have to be substantial. Like a builder friend tells me – he was willing to give a 50% cut for a bulk deal of 10 flats. Simply saying “I will pay 2 EMIs” or “You can pay after 90 days” etc. are not enough.

So if you need to do a deal, get real, take big one-time cuts. If you have a flat which you bought for Rs. 22 lakhs, saw it go up to Rs. 44 lakhs in 2 years, and now you need money, get real. If the market price in that location is Rs. 35 lakhs, make an offer at Rs. 32 lakhs – do not just offer Rs. 34.5 or Rs. 34.45 – such tricks do not help. Take a deep cut, close the deal. Use the cash. As things get worse, you will be happy that you closed the deal.

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