Sales Guys, Take a Cue from The Donald

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Adam Honig has a great post on Trump’s style and how you (as a salesperson) can borrow a couple of tips to close more deals.

Let me say unequivocally that I’m definitely NOT a Trump supporter nor will I be voting for him – even for dogcatcher. But there’s still something to be learned from his disruptive antics that every legendary sales guy/gal needs to recognize on his or her road to glory.

Source: Sales Guys, Take a Cue from The Donald

The Donald’s Art of Persuasion

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Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert has a fantastic post about the persuasive skills of The Donald. I’ve been watching his “campaign” with fascination the past few weeks – and especially extracting elements of his style that would be helpful in a sales or negotiation context (since that’s what this blog is about). 

Scott nails so many good points and I’ve included some of them here. You can read the whole post at the link below. Here’s what he says:

 
“Like many of you, I have been entertained by the unstoppable clown car that is Donald Trump. On the surface, and several layers deep as well, Trump appears to be a narcissistic blow-hard with inadequate credentials to lead a country. 

The only problem with my analysis is that there is an eerie consistency to his success so far. Is there a method to it? Is there some sort of system at work under the hood?Probably yes. Allow me to describe some of the hypnosis and persuasion methods Mr. Trump has employed on you. (Most of you know I am a trained hypnotist and this topic is a hobby of mine.)

For starters, Trump literally wrote the book on negotiating, called The Art of the Deal. So we know he is familiar with the finer points of persuasion. For our purposes today, persuasion, hypnosis, and negotiating all share a common set of tools, so I will conflate them. 

Would Trump use his negotiation and persuasion skills in the campaign? Of course he would. And we expect him to do just that. 

But where is the smoking gun of his persuasion? Where is his technique laid out for us to see.

Everywhere. 

As I said in my How to Fail book, if you are not familiar with the dozens of methods of persuasion that are science-tested, there’s a good chance someone is using those techniques against you.

For example, when Trump says he is worth $10 billion, which causes his critics to say he is worth far less (but still billions) he is making all of us “think past the sale.” The sale he wants to make is “Remember that Donald Trump is a successful business person managing a vast empire mostly of his own making.” The exact amount of his wealth is irrelevant. 

When a car salesperson trained in persuasion asks if you prefer the red Honda Civic or the Blue one, that is a trick called making you “think past the sale” and the idea is to make you engage on the question of color as if you have already decided to buy the car. That is Persuasion 101 and I have seen no one in the media point it out when Trump does it.

The $10 billion estimate Trump uses for his own net worth is also an “anchor” in your mind. That’s another classic negotiation/persuasion method. I remember the $10 billion estimate because it is big and round and a bit outrageous. And he keeps repeating it because repetition is persuasion too. 

I don’t remember the smaller estimates of Trump’s wealth that critics provided. But I certainly remember the $10 billion estimate from Trump himself. Thanks to this disparity in my memory, my mind automatically floats toward Trump’s anchor of $10 billion being my reality. That is classic persuasion. And I would be amazed if any of this is an accident. Remember, Trump literally wrote the book on this stuff.

You might be concerned that exaggerating ones net worth is like lying, and the public will not like a liar. But keep in mind that Trump’s value proposition is that he will “Make America Great.” In other words, he wants to bring the same sort of persuasion to the question of America’s reputation in the world. That concept sounds appealing to me. The nation needs good brand management, whether you think Trump is the right person or not. (Obviously we need good execution as well, not just brand illusion. But a strong brand gives you better leverage for getting what you want. It is all connected.)

And what did you think of Trump’s famous “Rosie O’Donnell” quip at the first debate when asked about his comments on women? The interviewer’s questions were intended to paint Trump forever as a sexist pig. But Trump quickly and cleverly set the “anchor” as Rosie O’Donnell, a name he could be sure was not popular with his core Republican crowd. And then he casually admitted, without hesitation, that he was sure he had said other bad things about other people as well.

Now do you see how the anchor works? If the idea of “Trump insults women” had been allowed to pair in your mind with the nice women you know and love, you would hate Trump. That jerk is insulting my sister, my mother, and my wife! But Trump never let that happen. At the first moment (and you have to admit he thinks fast) he inserted the Rosie O’Donnell anchor and owned the conversation from that point on. Now he’s not the sexist who sometimes insults women; he’s the straight-talker who won’t hesitate to insult someone who has it coming (in his view).

But it gets better. You probably cringed when Trump kept saying his appearance gave FOX its biggest audience rating. That seemed totally off point for a politician, right? But see what happened.

Apparently FOX chief Roger Ailes called Trump and made peace. And by that I mean Trump owns FOX for the rest of the campaign because his willingness to appear on their network will determine their financial fate. BAM, Trump owns FOX and paid no money for it. See how this works? That’s what a strong brand gives you.

You probably also cringed when you heard Trump say Mexico was sending us their rapists and bad people. But if you have read this far, you now recognize that intentional exaggeration as an anchor, and a standard method of persuasion. 

Trump also said he thinks Mexico should pay for the fence, which made most people scoff. But if your neighbor’s pit bull keeps escaping and eating your rosebushes, you tell the neighbor to pay for his own fence or you will shoot his dog next time you see it. Telling a neighbor to build his own wall for your benefit is not crazy talk. And I actually think Trump could pull it off. 

On a recent TV interview, the host (I forget who) tried to label Trump a “whiner.” But instead of denying the label, Trump embraced it and said was the best whiner of all time, and the country needs just that. That’s a psychological trick I call “taking the high ground” and I wrote about it in a recent blog post. The low ground in this case is the unimportant question of whether “whiner” is a fair label for Trump. But Trump cleverly took the high ground, embraced the label, and used it to set an anchor in your mind that he is the loudest voice for change. That’s some clown genius for you. 

Update: When Trump raised his hand at the debate as the only person who would not pledge to back the eventual Republican candidate, he sent a message to the party that the only way they can win is by nominating him. And people like to win. It is in their nature. And they sure don’t want to see a Clinton presidency.

Update 2: And what about Trump’s habit of bluster and self-complimenting? Every time he opens his mouth he is saying something about the Trump brand being fabulous or amazing or great. The rational part of your brain thinks this guy is an obnoxious, exaggerating braggart. But the subconscious parts of your brain (the parts that make most of your decisions) only remember that something about that guy was fabulous, amazing and great.

If you’re keeping score, in the past month Trump has bitch-slapped the entire Republican Party, redefined our expectations of politics, focused the national discussion on immigration, proposed the only new idea for handling ISIS, and taken functional control of FOX News. And I don’t think he put much effort into it. Imagine what he could do if he gave up golf.

As far as I can tell, Trump’s “crazy talk” is always in the correct direction for a skilled persuader. When Trump sets an “anchor” in your mind, it is never random. And it seems to work every time.

Now that Trump owns FOX, and I see how well his anchor trick works with the public, I’m going to predict he will be our next president. I think he will move to the center on social issues (already happening) and win against Clinton in a tight election.

I also saw some Internet chatter about the idea of picking Mark Cuban as Vice Presidential running mate. If that happens, Republicans win. And I think they like to win. There is no way Trump picks some desiccated Governor from an important state as his running mate. I think Cuban is a realistic possibility.

I don’t mean this post to look like support for a Trump presidency. I’m more interested in his methods. I’m not smart enough to know who would do the best job as president. There are a lot of capable people in the game.

Update: Now that you have read my explanation of Trump’s three-dimensional chess, read this article and chuckle at how he is operating on an entirely different level from the TV host, Chuck Todd, and even the author of the article I’m linking to. It is literally hilarious.

Read the original post HERE.

Why Your Target Market Is Not, That’s Right, Not Important

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Entrepreneur Magazine posted this article earlier today and it’s 100% spot on. Post your feedback below.

Every business growth program on the market begins the same way: In Chapter One, Module One or Video One, you’re told to “figure out your target market.” You’re given examples. Then your business manual moves on to the next step — leaving you with a gaping hole in your business.

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The reason: A “target market” is not necessarily that important. If you’re gasping at that sentence, keeping reading:

The reason a target market is not that important is that when you have clarity (I mean real clarity), you are positioned to help your ideal clients achieve their goals and overcome their problems. Clarity creates impact for your clients and more value. And it starts with knowing the answers to these two questions:

Whom you serve — Knowing that you are here to serve a specific segment gives you the clarity to reach that segment’s customers and make compelling offers. 

What problems you solve – There is no business unless you generate results for your clients. But first, you have to understand the specific problem your clients have in order to create the solution.

In general, the world of business is an endless struggle due to three kinds of pressure:

Competitiveness. There are so many providers and little-to-no distinction made about the product from the perspective of the buyer.

Information overload. 
So much content (written, audio and video) is being developed, and aims to get your attention, that we (as consumers) train ourselves to ignore what does not appeal directly to us.

Doing what everyone else does.
When businesses struggle to get leads and new business (apart from referrals), their problem is likely due to their being a “jack of all trades” or in the business of being “all things to all people.” Yet those characteristics make for a trap that only leads to more struggle and stress.

Established businesses see the signs when they have a stressed cash flow, when they’re not closing more profitable work, when they’re not attracting the right customers. These problems are all connected, if you think about it. And there is a way to shift this in your favor.

In fact, the first step in developing your marketing (and your brand) is to define your specific audience. This word “specific” is the key word. It’s the slice of the market that is ready for your offer. Its members understand the benefits of what you sell. They are ready to make a decision.

And this gets us back to “target market,” because your specific audience is a segment inside your target market, or as many call it, your “niche.” Most people stop at the “target market,” however, and just hope to find the right prospectsthere.

This is why your target market is not as important as your niche. Think of the latter as the most important 20 percent of your entire target market.

Think, too, about the difference between the two — though many people use the terms interchangeably. Once you know what customers are in your niche, you can create a strong business to support their specific problems. You can create more depth than width in your impact. 

To grasp the importance of “depth,” check out this video by Gary Vaynerchuk. Says Vaynerchuk: “The world is about depth, not width.” He refers to social interaction, but social interaction also works when you focus on the customers who gain the most from your work.

The more clarity you have for your “specific” audience, the more likely you are to have a profitable and impactful business. I think it can go even further. I refer to the segment of your target market gaining the highest value from your work as the “profitable niche,” those all-important 20 percent.

The benefits of clearly understanding your profitable niche are abundant:

1. Clear direction for your businessMarketing that attracts the right clients (not just any client)
2. Stacks and stacks of references in one area that position you as the authority
3. Exceptional pricing based on the value you create for your clients
4. Attraction of more quality clients
5. Greater impact with every client

Putting the effort into finding your own profitable niche is an important decision that should not be taken lightly. If you want to build a business, you must be certain how to solve the problems of the people you work with.

But if your understanding of your clients’ problems is weak or unclear, you will continue to struggle regardless of your strategy. 

Door-to-Door Selling as the First Step to Billions

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This article is by Gillian Zoe Segal, the author of Getting There: A Book of Mentors.

Before you shell out $160,000 on a business school education, you might want to consider spending a couple of years as a door-to-door salesman instead. That’s what I learned as I researched and wrote my new book, Getting There: A Book of Mentors, in which 30 leaders in a broad range of fields tell about their rocky road to the top. I was surprised to find out how many of them credited early shoe-leather sales jobs for equipping them with the skills they needed for their ultimate success.

 John Paul DeJoria (Photo by Mark Davis/Getty Images)

John Paul DeJoria, co-founder of the Patrón Spirits Company and John Paul Mitchell Systems, called his three-year stint selling Collier’s Encyclopedia one of the most formative experiences of his life. “If that job existed today,” he says, “I would make every one of my kids do it.” DeJoria went door-to-door persuading strangers to buy a set of encyclopedias. This forced him to both hone his powers of persuasion and overcome rejection. “After you’ve had 15 doors slammed in your face,” he explained, “you need to be as enthusiastic at door number 16 as you were at the first door, if you want to make a sale.”  When DeJoria launched John Paul Mitchell Systems, he relied on the same skills, going from beauty salon to beauty salon getting people to purchase his hair care products. He recounts that at least four out of every five salons turned him downbut he knew better than to let that discourage him.

Sara Blakely, the billionaire founder of the shapewear company Spanx, had a similar experience in her eight years working for a company that sold fax machines door-to-door. She recalled, “I would wake up in the morning and drive around cold-calling from eight until five. Most doors were slammed in my face. I saw my business card ripped up at least once a week, and I even had a few police escorts out of buildings. It wasn’t long before I grew immune to the word ‘no.’” When she started Spanx, she needed to find someone to make a prototype of her product, and she began by telephoning local hosiery mills. Without exception, they turned her down. So she drew on a lesson she had learned from cold-calling: Face-to-face makes a huge difference. She took a week off of work and drove around North Carolina, popping by many of the same mills that had already rejected her on the phone. She sat in the lobby and waited to speak to the founder or owner. It eventually worked, and the Spanx prototype was born.

From cold-calling, Blakely also learned that you have about 15 seconds to capture someone’s attention—but if you can make them smile or laugh, you get an extra 15 to 30. With no money to grab people’s attention the conventional way, through advertising, she decided to infuse her product with humor wherever she could, from naming it Spanx to writing “We’ve got your butt covered!” on the package. She ended up turning Spanx into something people love to joke about. Her product has been mentioned everywhere from The Oprah Winfrey Show to Gleefor free.

The artist Jeff Koons cut his teeth selling candy door-to-door and then moved on to hawking everything from soft drinks on a local golf course to memberships at the Museum of Modern Art, and mutual funds. “Selling is kind of like fishing” he explained. “To be successful, you have to be persistent and patient.” He is now the most commercially successful artist alive, but it took him nine years after graduating from art school to make enough money from his art to give up having a second job.  Calling on the persistence and patience he had perfected as a salesman, he slowly broke into the art scene by saying yes to any invitation that might give him the opportunity to network, showing his work to anyone who would look, and never refusing an opportunity to exhibit.

During her early modeling years, Kathy Ireland sold herself door-to-door. She explained, “Back then, agencies would send models on ‘go-sees’ to get jobs. The people in charge of hiring would look us up and down and dissect us right in front of our faces. I was rejected a lot. It hurt at first, but I soon learned that it was just part of the process.” She eventually became a successful Sports Illustrated swimsuit model, but as she got older she wanted to pursue a career that was not dependent on her looks. After years of failing with various start-ups (a microbrewery, a skin-care line, and several art projects), she finally launched her own brand, kathy ireland Wordlwide, with a line of socks. It is now a $2 billion enterprise with its name on more than 15,000 products. Ireland frequently advises others, “If you never fail, it means you are not trying hard enough.”

Writing my book, I learned how much success in any field depends on persistence, not fearing failure, and getting others to follow your ideas. What better way could there be to acquire these essential traits than by actually hitting the street?

Why You Don’t Hit Your Goals

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James Clear has a great article up today that my friend Robin Stemberg just shared with me. It’s amazing timing, really – since I just finished laying out my goals for this next quarter!

His point is excellent and I’ll let his words speak for themselves:

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Imagine, for a moment, that your life is like a treasure hunt.

It’s not much of a leap, really. Like any good treasure hunt, you have a map to guide you. In life, the map is your corner of the universe. Some of the areas on the map you know quite well. These areas are the places and people and things that you’re familiar with and that are part of your daily life.

Other areas of the map are foreign to you. These yet-to-be-explored regions are home to the milestones in life that you can imagine reaching, but that have eluded you thus far. This undiscovered portion of the map is where your hopes and goals and dreams live. These goals are like little pieces of buried treasure that are hidden somewhere out on the map, somewhere that you hope to get to soon.

One day, a particular goal grabs your attention and you decide to set out on a treasure hunt.

Searching for Buried Treasure

You begin the long hike toward your treasure and encounter a challenge or two along the way. Already the actual path is starting to look different than the buried treasure that you had been imagining. Things get worse when you finally arrive to the spot of the treasure.

This whole time, you had been imagining a chest filled with gold. After uncovering the treasure, however, all you can find are a few scraps of silver and some antique relics. These items are valuable in their own right, for sure, but they were not what you were thinking about this whole time.

You say to yourself, “This doesn’t look like the treasure I was envisioning! I must be on the wrong path. I wasted all this time!”

After thinking for a few moments, you wonder, “Hmm… maybe I should switch goals? I bet there is bigger treasure elsewhere.”

Theory vs. Practice

I’ve certainly experienced situations similar to the treasure hunt described above. Perhaps you have too.

I’m talking about situations where the goal we were excited to pursue—getting a degree, starting a new exercise routine, making a career change—turns out to look very different in practice than in theory.

It’s natural to feel a sense of disappointment or confusion or frustration when this occurs, but I think the deeper problem is rooted in how we approached the treasure hunt in the first place.

Goals as a Compass

The problem with a treasure hunt is that most people spend all of their time thinking about the treasure. The fastest way to get to a particular spot, however, is to set your compass and start walking.

The idea here is to commit to your goal with the utmost conviction. Develop a clear, single-minded focus for where you are headed. Then, however, you do something strange. You release the desire to achieve a particular outcome and focus instead on the slow march forward.

Pour all of your energy into the journey, be present in the moment, be committed to the path you are walking. Know that you are moving unwaveringly in one clear direction and that this direction is right for you, but never get wrapped up in a particular result or achieving a certain goal by a specific time.

In other words, your goal becomes your compass, not your buried treasure. The goal is your direction, not your destination. The goal is a mission that you are on, a path that you follow. Whatever comes from that path—whatever treasure you happen to find along this journey—well, that’s just fine. It is the commitment to walking the path that matters.

“Letting go of how it might come to pass.”

As far as I can tell, [success] is just about letting the universe know what you want and working toward it, while letting go of how it might come to pass. Your job is not to figure out how it’s going to happen for you, but to open the door in your head and when the doors open in real life, just walk through it. Don’t worry if you miss your cue. There will always be another door opening.
–Jim Carrey 

Choose your goals and then forget them. Set them on a shelf. Trust that your direction is true and pour your energy into walking the path. Good goals provide direction to your life. They allow you to commit to a journey. They are like a rudder on a boat, directing your energy and attention in specific direction as you move downstream.

We all have a map to explore. Choose a path and then walk it. 

JAMES CLEAR writes about science-based ideas for building habits that stick and mastering your craft. If you enjoyed this article, then join his free newsletter.

Eat Dessert First

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I begin to close the sale within 10 seconds of entering a prospect’s office. I state my objective of the meeting, and I tell him or her what I would like to do. I tell them my three strategies of business:

1. I’m here to help
2. I seek to establish a long-term relationship
3. I’m going to have fun

Stating your objective and philosophy at the outset puts the prospect at ease. It gets the meeting off to a great start. It establishes credibility and respect. And it clears the way for meaningful information exchange and rapport building.

Tell the prospect what you want when you walk in the door. Then, ask for the sale as soon as you hear the first buying signal.