"I have a friend in Florida who owns six Subway franchises," writes Barry Densa in an article at MarketingProfs. "He's rolling in dough, whole wheat, and greenbacks." Lucky guy.

But few businesses are so recession-friendly, we suspect. So, for the rest of us, Densa has a five-point strategy for helping our customers, both B2B and B2C, keep a positive perspective during the downturn. Here are some highlights:

Acknowledge and alleviate the fear felt by your customers. It doesn't matter if they haven't felt firsthand the negative effects of recessionary cutbacks: They're besieged with news about the troubled economy, they're watching unemployment rates rise and they're thinking they might be next. "Your job, then," Densa notes, "is to lift their heads, open their eyes, and sing 'The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow.' Help them understand that change is the only constant in life—and that this economic meltdown, this, too, shall pass."

Pat them on the back and point them in the right direction. Whether they simply failed to meet goals or made serious errors in judgment, offer constructive feedback. "Be a mentor," he suggests, and "help them see why they stumbled and fell and how they can pick themselves up and still reach the finish line."

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