Donald Trump has become the presumptive GOP nominee. How did he get there? Well, he used my sales and business principles—and I can prove it. Donald is a great businessman and he didn’t get where he is today by accident. The guy is ruthless, has tremendous energy, and is willing to do whatever it takes. Like him or hate him he knows how to win. And he also knows how to use great sales strategies and negotiates to win.
When Mr. Trump started running nine months ago I sent him a copy of my books, Sell or Be Sold, The Closers Survival Guide, If You're Not First You're Last, and The 10X Rule. While I don’t know if he read the books, anyone that knows what I teach can see unbelievable similarity with what I teach and what he does. Or maybe it just a big coincidence. Constantly my wife will watch some of the strategies Donald employs and say, “That is straight out of your book.”
Here are a few things I teach which anyone can see Donald Trump employing as he trounced experienced governors, senators, congressman and career politicians. Just goes to show you, great techniques employed with enthusiasm wins over experience.
1) Always – Always - Always Agree.
From Sell or Be Sold there is an entire chapter dedicated to the most important rule of selling, "Always, Always, Always Agree." I have watched Donald Trump do this repeatedly. When Governor Nikki Haley accused Donald of being angry, he agreed with her and said, “I am angry, the American people are angry and you should be angry – politicians have taken advantage of the American people for too long and that is why I am running!”
Why defend something when you can simply agree with it and use it? This vital sales strategy is straight out of Sell or Be Sold which goes into detail about how most objections are unnecessary to defend and instead should be used. “The price is too high”, “The terms are too long”, or “You are calling me too much” can all be agreed with and may not be objections at all.
2) Get massive attention.
Trump is a master at attention and I must admit has been using this strategy for years to blow up his brand. He wrote about this in detail in his book, Art of the Deal. However in the The 10X Rule, which has become an international phenomenon amongst entrepreneurs, I write over and over: “Attention is the most important asset of any business and in fact, more important than money. Whether the audience likes you or hates you, they must know you.” Notice how Trump used Twitter, Facebook, and controversy. To pull this off you must be interesting, transparent, opinionated and you better have some serious self-esteem or be a little crazy. Some estimates suggest Donald Trump was outspent by the other candidates by 10X yet received almost $2b worth of unpaid coverage taking more interviews than all the other candidates combined.
3) Dominate the competition.
In my first NY Times best seller, If You’re Not First You’re Last I tried to convince the reader that competition was an old outdated and misunderstood business concept. I made a case that the most successful never compete but instead dominate and own their space creating unfair situations making success almost certain. Jack Welch, former CEO of GE said, “Never do business in a space where you must compete.” The concept is to own the space – be a bully. Dominate and choke the life out of anything and everything in the room. Great deal makers and business people stay on the offensive and refuse to retreat exhausting anyone in their space making it impossible to win at the game. Donald Trump never backs down – ever! When hit he attacks with such relentless ferociousness it becomes painful for anyone to attack. This is NOT a sales strategy, it is a negotiating strategy and business mantra. I never want to compete I want to dominate.
4) Do what others refuse to do.
A simple strategy to eliminate competition is by identifying what your competition is unwilling to do and exploit that. For instance, politicians for years call one another friends and give nice flowery adjectives during debates. Trump knows this and so he exploited it. Instead, he branded the other candidates with nicknames and negative values. Little Marco, Low Energy Jeb, Lying Ted. Like it or not he broke the rules doing what other refused to do. By the time they finally tried to make the shift they were unable to pull it off because each had spent a lifetime being the ‘nice’ politician who we’ve all come to disdain.
How many of us in sales has said, “never talk negatively about the competition.” I was negotiating against multiple groups on a real estate deal. It was down to five groups including me and I knew they wouldn’t talk negatively about me so I exploited what I knew they wouldn’t do. I spent a little more on information and destroyed every other buyer on the list and put so much doubt in the sellers mind about the other four I was awarded the deal. “You guys know the first two groups are having serious financial troubles and groups 3 & 4 have both bailed on deals with me.” Make a list of all the things your competition will not do and do it. Most sales organizations don’t call their customers back. We call them back every day. Some people don't like that – I don’t care!
5) Use what is available.
From Closers Survival Guide in The Theory of Closing I constantly tell the reader, “Use what you are given.” Every objection the customer offers as a problem is an opportunity – not an objection – use it. Trump does this constantly and is willing to brand the competition negatively while doing so.
When Jeb Bush told Trump, “Donald is a nice guy, but he doesn’t have the experience in foreign affairs…,” he replied with, "Jeb, your brother got us into this. We wasted 4 trillion dollars in the desert we could have spent at home on our own infrastructure and we get nothing from them – experience got us into this.” Trump dealt Bush a devastating blow by using what Jeb gave him and knocked him out cold, probably ended his career even though Jeb had more experience, was better connected and better funded.
Look maybe Trump never opened my books, regardless, there is a parallel between what he is doing and what I teach. The bottom line is if you want to be successful you have to learn how to get attention, sell your proposal, take advantage of the overlooked, use what you are given, dominate your space and stay on attack always doing whatever it takes to win.
Trump plays to win! Winners play to win. Like him or not take the time to learn something from him. I believe success is my duty and I show up every day in the marketplace to win. I want to be a treat in the marketplace. I want my competition to feel my presence. I want to be the king of my space. I have to be bold. I have to take chances. I must have an opinion. And guess what – I believe you must too. But then again, I wrote, Sell or Be Sold!