Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Trump: Closing the Sale

I have spent a lot of time over the last decade of my career trying to understand the most effective means to market and sell products and services.

There has been a lot of interesting research work done in this field in recent years showing the best means and methods of selling success by influencing and persuading the human brain to buy what you are selling.

A few of the better books on the subject include Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini, Neuromarketing by Patrick Renvoise and Christopher Morin, Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath , The Challenger Sale by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson and Conversations That Win The Complex Sale by Erik Peterson and Tim Riesterer.

Marketing and selling a political candidate is a lot like selling a product. In fact, many of Cialdini's principles of influence and persuasion were used successfully by the Obama campaign in 2012, particularly in making sure their core voters followed through and went to the polls. Casting their vote at the ballot box determines whether people were convinced to buy your product versus the competition.

At the beginning of August, when Trump's campaign looked to be sinking fast, I wrote that Hillary Clinton could not beat Donald Trump. The only one that could beat Donald Trump...was Donald Trump.

People are looking for exactly what Donald Trump is selling. They want someone to shake up Washington. However, they don't want him to shake them up personally.
At their core, human beings are risk adverse. We prefer not to try new things or new places unless we have to. If we move it is usually because the pain we feel in our current situation forces our hand. In effect, we ultimately determine that the current pain outweighs the risk and uncertainty of doing something different.
When I was in marketing one of the key metrics that always fascinated me was the fact that research showed that almost half of all potential sales were not lost to a competitor, they were lost to the status quo. In effect, the customer simply did nothing. In the end, they determined it was better to do nothing and feel some pain, than the pain of changing to something else.

My advice to Trump at that time was that he should only have one goal going forward in the campaign. He had to remove all doubt about the wisdom of staying with the status quo. He already had convinced people he would bring change. However, he now had to convince voters that it was not too risky to make that change. To do that, he would have to convince voters that was a reasonable man and a reasonable choice for change. If he was to win, he could not allow himself to get off message and he had to tame the tempest that seemed to always swirl around him.

Since that time, Trump has followed that path pretty well and he now has the momentum with him based on recent polling.

However, can he close the sale?

The upcoming debates will probably determine that question. It is expected that 100 million people will be watching the first debate on Monday night. You don't get a much better sales opportunity than that.

How does Trump close the sale with the voters?

These four steps of successful selling that Renvoise and Morin cite in their book would be useful for Trump to keep in mind in the debates and in the closing days of the campaign.

  • Diagnose the Pain (what is the problem that you are trying to solve?)
  • Differentiate your Claims (how are you going to be different than the status quo?)
  • Demonstrate the Gain (how will the customer benefit from the change?)
  • Deliver to the Old Brain (play to the emotional side of the brain where decisions are made)

To that end I have prepared a five minute closing sales statement that I would urge Trump to use if he asked for my advice on what he should be saying to the voters.

I would deliver it a calm, confident, business-like demeanor. I would make no direct reference to Hillary or Obama. I would not refer to her as Crooked Hillary. It is not necessary. The people know the record. Most don't trust her and question her honesty. Trump needs to sell himself. The entire goal is to make sure that he hits all four of those critical selling steps.

Here is a statement that I think does all those things in being as faithful to Trump's style (brought down to the reasonable and measured way I think he needs to present himself) as I can be. Trump will not have the time to deliver the whole statement at one time but he should make sure he gets all of these elements in his answers or statements during the debate and in his media appearances and stump speeches leading up to Election Day.
Closing the Sale
by Donald J. Trump

Our nation has serious problems. Our economy has struggled over the last decade. There are not enough good paying jobs. Our borders are not secure and we see increasing terror threats in our homeland. We have racial division the likes we have not seen in a generation. The United States has lost respect with our allies…and our enemies.

We need change. We can’t afford to maintain the status quo with an Establishment Elite that always thinks they know what’s best and you don’t know anything.

We can’t afford letting the same people who have been given the opportunity to fix the same problems for the last 30 years be given yet another chance.

I don’t need this job. I spent my lifetime building an enormously successful business while creating jobs for thousands of people.  I don’t need this office to live in a palatial house and have access to aircraft dedicated for my use 24/7.  I already have all of that. I am not running to provide something for myself.

I am running because I sincerely love this country and its people. I am tired of America losing. Losing jobs. Losing in trade deals. And losing respect around the world. I am running to make America great again...for all of us.

I am a winner. I have won all my life.

I have won because I have worked hard. I have won because I refuse to settle for second best.  I have won because I don’t quit even when the odds are stacked against me. That is one of the reasons I am standing here tonight.  Many have learned over the years that you don’t bet against Donald Trump. In business…or politics. And no one should bet against the United States once I become President. With your help, we will make America great again.

Some say they don’t like my style. They don’t like my straight talk or my refusal to play the game of political correctness. I understand the criticism. However, if you want to get something done it does no good to ignore the obvious. If you want to change things you have to confront the issues head on. We have been ignoring too many things for too many years.

There is one thing I know about my style. It has gotten me results over my lifetime. Isn’t it time you had someone getting results for you?  Isn’t it time you had someone that was willing to fight for you? Someone who is not afraid to fight for what is right whether you are a farmer in Iowa, a single mother in inner-city Detroit, an iron worker in Pittsburgh or the owner of a bar in Orlando.

It is no secret that the political and media establishment elite will do almost anything to keep me from being elected your President. Have you asked yourself why that is? They act as if they are protecting you. Let me tell you something---they are only interested in protecting themselves.

Do you realize that the average per capita personal income in the District of Columbia is almost $25,000 higher than the nation at large? This is despite the fact that the inner city in Washington still has enormous poverty. Think about that for a second. There are all of these poor people but DC still has more per capita income than anywhere else. Where does all that money come from and what are they doing to really earn it? That special interest gravy train has to stop.

Washington, DC has no manufacturing base. It does not grow crops. It has no oil well or coal mines. It does not produce computer chips or other high tech items. It produces almost nothing that creates value in a traditional economy. What more is needed to know that something is seriously wrong in our nation. What more is needed to know why the Establishment does not want Donald Trump in The White House?

It is simple. I am not in their pocket. And if you are not in their pocket, their pocketbook is at risk.

If you want more of the same special interest gravy train, I am not your man.

If you want real change and real hope this time, I would sincerely appreciate your vote on November 8.

Together, I know that we can make America great again.

God bless you and may God continue to bless the United States of America.

Are you buying?

Or are you more content with the devil you know?


  1. I have heard the line about being independently wealthy and not needing the job but I will do it for the country before. Australia's PM said something similar. And has gone on to do bugger all except protect his job. Had he and now if, Trump, said, I will do the job without drawing a salary, I might be more inclined to believe.

    Add that to your closing sale speech and I would vote from here.

  2. I absolutely agree that Trump should say he will not take the salary. I think it is the single biggest thing he could do to show his sincerity. He is making a mistake if he does not add this to his closing statement.

  3. I think it would be enough for him to cut the salary by a big percentage, in the same way that many Americans have had to do. Lead by example!

  4. Hilary will just say the same and decline the salary. Then once one of them does it will become the norm.