Jim Cramer's motto in a downturn is to buy broken stocks, not broken companies.
When there are huge losses on the market, he said, investors have the opportunity to buy good companies with stocks that have taken a beating because of the market.
There is a huge difference between a broken company and a broken stock, and being able to thrive in a sell-off requires knowing the difference.
That is why Cramer said the first thing to do amid a market-wide sell-off is look at the companies that caused it. They are probably broken.
"If you're looking at a company that is part of the reason for a correction, you're looking at a broken company. Those are directly in the blast zone and certain to be obliterated," the "Mad Money" host said.