Tuesday, January 12, 2016

January 12, 2016--The Art of the Deal

I didn't catch her name. On Morning Joe last week a Republican pollster, not well predisposed to Donald TRUMP, said she had spent the weekend reading Donald TRUMP's Art of the Deal.

"It was all there," she said, "Back in 1987, when it was published, he laid it all out."

"What out?" one of Joe Scarborough's other guests asked.

"How he operates. How he does his thing. To use one of his favorite words, how he wins."

"I'm not sure if I ever read it," Joe confessed.

"Well, you should," she said. "In fact, everyone in the media covering the election should. This may sound harsh, but any major media person who hasn't read it should be fired. I mean, taken off the campaign trail."

This seemed harsh, but when I related it to Rona, she said, "She was right. If you're a serious journalist, or pretending to be, you should do your homework. If not, you should be fired."

"I guess that pertains to me too," I said, not the least bit modestly. "But in my case I would have to fire myself."

"Rather than do that why don't you get the book and read it?"

Well, I did, and sure enough it's all there. What TRUMP's been up to and why he thus far has been successful beyond anyone's expectations. Except his own, of course.

To prevent nausea, I suggest reading only chapter 2, "Trump Cards: The Elements of the Deal." The rest, about his growing up and details of some of his biggest deals, do not add much insight.

And of course, in The Art he is talking primarily about real estate deals, but it's obvious that some of his maxims, insights, and urgings are applicable to other situations--such as running for president!

Since I know most of you are unlikely to read even that, here are some of the highlights that pertain to what he has been doing as candidate TRUMP since I suspect that he is playing things as if he wants to strike a deal with Americans--for them to make a deal with him to be their president.

The chapter is subdivided into 10 or so parts--

Think Big--This one goes without saying. In this case thinking big means thinking about winning the presidency.

Protect the Downside and the Upside Will Take Care of Itself--Here he reveals that he believes in the power of negative thinking. He represents himself as the opposite of a gambler, very conservative in practice, always being prepared with options and fallback positions if he can't get exactly what he wants.

Early last week, for example, when asked about the extravagance of some of his claims, he revealed with self-insight--"I can tone it down." And note that recently he has. He's even released a few position papers and promised that if he's elected he'd change his hairdo since he would not have time to tend to it since he'd be "working his ass off as president."

Maximize Your Options--This is related to the previous point. Never get painted into a corner by not having alternatives to propose. The bottom line it to get what you want directly or indirectly.

Know Your Market--Now we're getting closer to the heart of the TRUMP approach. You need to "know what the public wants and deliver it." Few would argue that he hasn't figured out what much of the voting public wants.

Use Your Leverage--Know you strengths and vulnerabilities. Use your strengths to overcome your vulnerabilities. Most important, "The worst thing you can possibly do in a deal is seem desperate to make it . . . . Leverage is having something the other guy wants."

Enhance Your Location--The ultimate cliché about real estate is that it's all about location, location, location. For TRUMP this is only partly true. Locations can be enhanced by the right kind of marketing and branding. TRUMP's name on something makes up for a less than ideal location.

A cousin of mine couldn't by a place in TRUMP Tower--the best location of all of The Donald's buildings at Fifth Avenue and 57th Street--because all the apartments were sold. But he was willing to pay the same top-dollar per-squre-foot price at TRUMP Plaza, "all the way over" on Third Avenue. A TRUMP name and amenities trumped sacrosanct physical location.

Get the Word Out--The TRUMP heart of the matter. See if any of this sounds familiar:
You need to generate interest, and you need to create excitement. . . . One thing I've learned about the press is that they're always hungry for a good story, and the more sensational the better. It's in the nature of the job, and I understand that. The point is that if you are a little different, or a little outrageous, or if you do things that are bold or controversial, the press is going to write about you. I've always done things a little differently, I don't mind controversy. . . . 
The funny thing is that even a critical story, which may be hurtful personally, can be very valuable to your business. . . .
Pay close attention to this--
The final key to the way I promote is bravado. I play to people's fantasies. People may not always think big themselves, but they can still get very excited by those who do. That's why a little hyperbole never hurts. People want to believe that something is the biggest and the greatest and the most spectacular. 
I call it truthful hyperbole. It's an innocent form of exaggeration--and a very effective form of [self] promotion.
There you have it. Direct from the source. Put out there nearly 30 years ago.

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