In 1987, Donald Trump published a book called The Art of the Deal. The book explained Trump’s approach on how to do well in business and became a #1 bestseller. The Art of the Deal was instrumental in putting the Trump name in the public spotlight.
In light of Trump’s unorthodox run for the presidency, it may be worthwhile to review Trump’s key negotiating tactics and see how they apply to the 2016 campaign. Inc. magazine published a list of Trump’s eleven key points in The Art of the Deal, each accompanied by a quote from the book. Following each point is a summary of how each concept has been applied in the Trump’s campaign.
1. Think Big: "I like thinking big. I always have. To me it's very simple: if you're going to be thinking anyway, you might as well think big."
Trump has certainly followed his own advice in 2016. There’s nothing greater than being President.
2. Protect the downside and the upside will take care of itself: "I always go into the deal anticipating the worst. If you plan for the worst--if you can live with the worst--the good will always take care of itself."
It is unclear how well Donald has followed his own advice in this regard as he has seemingly failed to protect his downside with the Republican base.
3. Maximize the options: "I never get too attached to one deal or one approach...I keep a lot of balls in the air, because most deals fall out, no matter how promising they seem at first."
Again, Trump appears to be following his own advice as his campaign has floated numerous ideas and approaches. Trump is willing to change his mind on positions that don’t work.
4. Know your market: "I like to think that I have that instinct. That's why I don't hire a lot of number-crunchers, and I don't trust fancy marketing surveys. I do my own surveys and draw my own conclusions."
Many professional political consultants have criticized Trump for not doing more polling and focus groups. Much of Trump’s campaign is based on Trump being Trump.
5. Use your leverage: "The worst thing you can possibly do in a deal is seem desperate to make it. That makes the other guy smell blood, and then you're dead."
There’s no reason to disbelieve Donald Trump when he says that he’d be happy to go back to being a billionaire and running his business if he doesn’t win the presidency.
6. Enhance your location: “Perhaps the most misunderstood concept in all of real estate is that the key to success is location, location, location...First of all, you don't necessarily need the best location. What you need is the best deal." Trump has said that he intends to run a nationwide campaign that will not just focus on the so-called battleground states. Most professional political consultants think this is an impossibility.
7. Get the word out: "One thing I've learned about the press is that they're always hungry for a good story, and the more sensational the better...The point is that if you are a little different, a little outrageous, or if you do things that are bold or controversial, the press is going to write about you."
Donald Trump has relied on the media to act as his personal PR machine. Both during the primaries and in the general election, Trump has refused to spend much money on advertising. The word “outrageous” is one that is often used with Trump, but there’s no denying that he usually leads the news cycle.
8. Fight back: "In most cases I'm very easy to get along with. I'm very good to people who are good to me. But when people treat me badly or unfairly or try to take advantage of me, my general attitude, all my life, has been to fight back very hard."
Once again, Trump is following his own advice from nearly 30 years ago. His signature style in the campaign has been to strike back when he feels that someone is portraying him unfairly.
9. Deliver the goods: "You can't con people, at least not for long. You can create excitement, you can do wonderful promotion and get all kinds of press, and you can throw in a little hyperbole. But if you don't deliver the goods, people will eventually catch on.”
Some would argue that Trump has failed to deliver the goods consistently during the campaign, and that is the root of his campaign’s current problems.
10. Contain the costs: "I believe in spending what you have to. But I also believe in not spending more than you should."
By self-funding his primary campaign, Trump scored major political points with voters who have grown tired of the concept that the presidency can be bought by whoever spends the most.
11. Have fun: "Money was never a big motivation for me, except as a way to keep score. The real excitement is playing the game."
Watching Trump at rallies and news conferences, he does appear to be having a good time. There is no doubt that Trump would like to become President, but it’s also clear that he’s going to keep doing things his way.