Art of the Deal by Donald Trump

I read Art of the Deal by Donald Trump just after becoming a professional sales person over 25 years ago. I see Mr. Trump using the strategies from his book in his run in the GOP race. And I must say it is quite refreshing to see an author actually doing what he writes.

Trump says in the book, “My style of deal-making is quite simple and straightforward,” he writes. “I aim very high, and then I just keep pushing and pushing to get what I’m after. Sometimes I settle for less than I sought, but in most cases I still end up with what I want.”

Keep in mind, this is Trump talking about how he works a deal. The guy literally writes the way he talks — reminds me of someone I know. Aim very high and keep pushing sounds simple but it requires that you are able to handle the emotional whiplash that comes with you pushing for more (what others will consider unreasonable). I assure you the other parties will push back when you continue to push, but the real pro knows they will run out of gas. This latter lesson is not included in the book and is the one you must master in order to execute “aim high and just keep pushing.”

Again here is a summary of just a few of the key take-aways from Trump’s “Art of the Deal.”

1) Again “Aim High — Think Big on Every Deal.” Get the best deal you can in every deal, even when the marketplace has tightened up — continue to push for a great deal. I personally try to make a market when I am in a deal. “Most people think small, because most people are afraid of success, afraid of making decisions, afraid of winning,” he writes. “And that gives people like me a great advantage.”

2) “Protect the Downside and the Upside will take care of itself.” “I always go into the deal anticipating the worst,” he writes. “If you plan for the worst — if you can live with the worst — the good will always take care of itself.” I have done this with my real estate portfolio. I never expect the best when I buy a deal or start a company. I assume everything will be terrible and then get surprised by the upside. This has benefitted me greatly throughout my career.

3) “Maximize your options.” Know every option available to you and be willing to use them all. “I never get too attached to one deal or one approach,” Trump writes. “For starters, I keep a lot of balls in the air, because most deals fall out, no matter how promising they seem at first.”

3) “Know your market for yourself.” Trump says that he likes to rely on his own research rather than the work of consultants, statisticians, or critics. I agree with this. While I will take information from the experts I have to personally know the markets so I can access the information for myself. Consider the recent fall in oil prices. Not one expert on the planet predicted this.

4) “Create and Use Your Leverage.” The only way you’re going to make the deal you want, he says, is if you’re coming from a position of strength and can convince the other side that you have something they need. The way I have used this is when I start a real estate deal I tell the seller or the broker, “I want to buy your deal — I want to be able to make sense of your pricing and am trying to do everything I can to get there.” In this case I am using my weakness as strength.

5) Promote Yourself — Like Trump or hate Trump at least you know him. Since 2009 I have been working on this aspect of my career. By creating a public persona I am able to see more deals. Trump says, “I play to people’s fantasies,” he writes. People may not always think big themselves, but they can still get very excited by those who do. People want to believe that something is the biggest and the greatest and the most spectacular.”

Again whether you like Trump or not the reality is you can learn something from him. While you may not like him in your career hopefully you will become successful and when you do you will have to fight back and hopefully be in a position to speak your mind. When that happens you will attract your share of critics too. Trump says, “I prefer to be cooperative and positive, but sometimes it’s necessary to be confrontational when the other side is treating me unfairly or trying to take advantage of me.”

I know in my case the best deals I have made required almost no negotiating. They were good deals because they were good deals. But the others one’s for whatever reasons required me understanding The Art of Deal. This is also the reason I created CardoneU and created over 200 segments just on this topic of negotiating and closing the deal.

Hope this helps you,

GC

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