Regardless of political affiliation, I think we can all agree that the methods of Donald Trump are producing some positive results. In today’s post, I want to share five lessons you can apply to your sales efforts in the field from “Trump for President.”
Lesson #1 – Don’t be afraid to make a big move into a new arena. Trump’s campaign started off as a joke to just about everyone except himself. The easy decision would have been for him to continue building his multi-billion dollar business, but he decided it was time to try something new. And he went for it!
Is there a prospecting method or industry type you know should be a focus for you in 2016? But are you willing to step outside your comfort zone? Maybe you have been thinking about taking the leap from a stable W2 sales job to an independent sales opportunity, but you just can’t talk yourself into making the leap. My guess is that you either love or hate Donald Trump. But either way, look at his example and try something new this year!
Lesson #2 – Work like a crazy person. Many people don’t know this, but Donald Trump is somewhat of a scientific anomaly when it comes to his sleep habits. For years he slept three hours per night and is still seemingly in excellent health. Today he needs a little more than three hours, but he still sleeps far less than his competitors in the race and outworks everyone else in the field by a big margin. Now I am not suggesting you sleep three hours per night as this is dangerous and unhealthy for most people. I personally need at least seven hours a night. However, don’t ever discount the value of hard work.
In several of Trump’s books on business, he outlines a typical schedule for himself. How much he is able to accomplish in a day is amazing. Too often we get stuck in routines that make hard work impossible. With the advent of social media and services like Netflix, we can spend hours per day busily doing things that have no positive impact on success. Ask yourself these questions: “If I spent two or three more hours per day working, how would I do that without damaging my family relationships or other commitments? And how much more successful would I be?”
My wife will tell you one of my favorite times to work is after my family has gone to bed. Many times I will sit up in bed and type out blog articles or answer emails from 10 p.m. to midnight. This works well for me and allows me to get a fresh start to the next day. To recognize which work should be done at which times of the day is also important. For me to shoot a video or do prospecting at 10 p.m., wouldn’t make sense. That is obviously work I need to do during daytime hours. Try to save certain work for either the early morning or late evening, depending on whether you are a night owl or an early bird. If you are like Donald Trump in that you are both a night owl and an early bird, I am very jealous! I don’t know how you do it. You better be making those hours count because this is a huuuuge advantage (as Donald would say.)
Lesson #3 – Channel the anger of others. Without any doubt, the success of Donald Trump for President has been helped by the dissatisfaction of the American electorate with government in general and with “establishment” politicians in particular. Although you may debate the ideology of this, the point is Trump found something that is making a majority of republicans angry. And he has become the champion of their cause.
What is making your target market angry? Is there a certain deficiency in your industry that seems to make customers upset? Highlight that issue and find a way to create specific brand promises to fix it. Does your industry provide bad customer service? Channel that anger by telling prospects, “Most business owners with whom I speak are upset about the poor customer services in our industry. That’s why we make a commitment to always resolve your issues the same business day.” (Or make some other specific promise.)
A perfect example of this is Trump’s wall. The first time Donald Trump said he was going to build a wall between Mexico and the U.S., he was uniformly derided as a “fluff” politician with ideas that could never be executed. However, he recognized that the primary voters were angry about illegal immigration. He found a way to channel this anger into one meaningful symbol and brand promise that was clearly unique to his campaign. Donald Trump is the candidate who is going to build a wall – that is something he stands for which works with his target audience. What angers your prospects? How can you channel their anger into the push needed to consider your products and services?
Lesson #4 – Don’t be afraid to throw an elbow every once in a while. This is probably the toughest lesson for me because it is not in my nature, but I am going to work on it. Through the lens of Trump’s campaign, I realize a large percentage of Americans are obviously no longer as concerned with civility as they once were. When someone challenges Donald Trump, he takes them on and does his dead level best to destroy them. Again, this is contrary to my nature. But I have to recognize this reality in our culture.
In every industry (even in every market), there are some bad apples. In the past we independent sales professionals believed it was in our best interest to stay positive all the time. There is some merit to this approach. However, maybe the time has come to share that news clipping about your competitor’s data breach with their client and your prospect. Perhaps we are not obligated to keep a competitor’s D- rating with the BBB a secret from their clients. When a sales rep in your market is ripping people off, it might be time to tell others to watch out!
I don’t think Donald’s attitude towards his competition would completely translate to sales. One way I know this is from Donald’s own books where he talks about his business dealings. Politics is a ruthless game in 2016, and he has adjusted his style accordingly. But I do think we all need to examine our approach to business and ask if we are pulling our punches? This is a courtesy that your competitors will probably not reciprocate moving forward.
Lesson #5 – Confidence sells, and people want to support winners. If you were ever on the fence about using assumptive sales techniques for closing deals, look no further than Donald Trump for President. He is the master of positioning his personal brand as a confident winner. Obviously, people want to support someone who is a confident winner.
This is probably my favorite personal insight from the Trump campaign, so I am excited to share it with you. Political pundits from the beginning of Trump’s campaign have been baffled by his rise to dominance because they don’t understand sales. They were looking at the logic of republicans choosing Trump rather than the emotions behind supporting him. Even in the last week Donald came out in support of certain portions of Obamacare which is anathema to republicans. He called for a boycott of Apple, one of the most popular brands in the world. He pushed back hard against the Pope; he supported some elements of Planned Parenthood in a debate. And while the pundits were baffled as to why his support did not erode, I think it makes perfect sense.
Republican primary voters are tired of losing; they want a winner. Donald Trump’s supporters have an emotional tie to him that cannot be shaken with logic. Every time the news media attacks him, he channels this anger into his image as the “underdog fighting the media and political establishment.” Every time his opponents attempt to discredit him based on his record as a lifelong democrat, he channels their anger as one more example that he is a winner – thus, the reason everyone is attacking him.
If you want to win the sale, you must understand it will be won based on emotion, not based on logic. Some of you are stuck in the old way of selling where you have a 43 slide power point outlining every detail of your product or service for the client. This is boring, and decision makers are not willing to sit through these types of presentations anymore. What is your prospects feeling? What core uncertainty are you removing from their business? How are you going to make them feel like switching to you would make them a winner? Who is the enemy you are fighting for the benefit of your prospects and clients, and how are you communicating that to them? Sales has always been an emotions over logic game. Viewing Donald Trump’s campaign, we can truly watch a master of emotions at work.
Regardless of personal affection or hatred for Donald Trump, I believe every man is my teacher. So I hope you have enjoyed reading my thoughts about how we can apply some lessons from Trump’s campaign to accelerate our path to success.
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