Salesmanship Lessons From Donald Trump
Thursday, June 17, 2010; 12:00 AM
In his bestselling book The Art of the Deal, Donald Trump provided a unique perspective on constructing and negotiating business transactions. But as much as we know Trump as a deal-maker extraordinaire, his greatest skill is his salesmanship.
Think of The Donald as a salesman on steroids. And in this lesser-recognized role, Trump practices the art of the thrill.
Want to know what I mean by this and what we can learn from it for our own salesmanship?
Consider the following:
Never do things for your customers and prospects in a small way. Make it big and important or don't do it at all. I can assure you that when Trump takes a banker out to lunch to discuss a construction loan, he takes him out for a feast. He's not out to save money on the meal; he's determined to make money from it.
Now think of your own mental gymnastics when you invite a prospect out to dine. Chances are you think through the options, searching for a nice enough place but affordable.
Affordable?! If you've set aside $100 for dinner and drinks, push it to $200. If the prospect is big enough, consider $300 or even $500. Is it extravagant? Yes, but you're out to practice the art of the thrill. No one will remember another run-of-the-mill dinner, but an over-the-top feast will make you the thrill-maker they remember.
Everyone likes to do business with a winner. No matter what stage of your career, you need to look like you've made it.That means wearing a suit that will impress. As a universal rule, make it your business to be the best-dressed in the room. If you lack the fashion sense, a premier store will be more than happy to assign a knowledgeable salesperson to assist you.
And if you're thinking of the budget thing again, forget it. Put it this way; a smashing, well-tailored suit will last you for years. Allocate the upfront cost over dozens or possibly hundreds of business meetings and the investment becomes a mere pittance. Remember that your goal is not to save money; it's to make the sale--leave the penny pinching to others.
Bring your ego with you in full bloom. It's not enough to look successful; you need to act it as well. This demonstrates that you are alsoone of the smartest people in the room.
Again, take a page from Trump. Sure, he can be garish and way over the top, but no way is he going to check his ego at the door. Neither should you. So find a way to bring up your most significant achievements, tell an intriguing story and talk up your travels, discoveries and epiphanies.
The timid and the small thinkers will talk sports and weather. They will pale in comparison to the bold winners who regale their prospects and customers with compelling ideas and stories.
I'll never forget the afternoon I spent with legendary Washington attorney and presidential advisor Clark Clifford. He didn't just "meet" with me; he held court in a walnut-paneled office, wore a suit fit for a monarch and fascinated me with vividly colored stories that thrilled as much as educated and entertained. He established himself as one of the most important people in a town filled with big egos and left the impression that when it came to lawyers in the nation's capital, there could be only one choice.
This is the challenge and the opportunity before you--to make certain that of all the salespeople your customers and prospects come in contact with, you are the one indelibly imprinted on their brains. You don't sell. You thrill.
Mark Stevens is the CEO ofMSCO, a results-driven management and marketing firm, and the bestselling author ofYour Marketing SucksandGod Is a Salesman. He is a popular media commentator on a host of business matters including marketing, branding, management and sales. He is also the author of the popular marketing blog,Unconventional Thinking.