Three things I learned from Donald Trump

Donald Trump

Love him or hate him – he’s here to stay.  And while all over the world, people continue to scratch their heads and say WTF? – one thing’s undeniable, Trump’s pitch for the Presidency drew people in and resonated powerfully – here’s why: 

1. Keep it simple

Trump’s natural style is to use plain language and to talk in a way people understand.  His use of short sentences and of metaphors struck a chord and ordinary Americans got it.  They weren’t interested in listening to elaborate details about economic policies they couldn’t possibly understand – he kept it simple and painted a picture.  A picture of the America he used to know vs the America of today and people could relate.  Also to use an Australian vernacular – Trump’s got a bit of mongrel in him and people are ok with that.

Think about three things you want people to know about your product or service.  Figure out what they are, tell your audience and sell them the benefits.  This is the core of effective messaging and this is what Trump did.  He kept it simple, repeated his mantra and sold the message of change.  People bought it.

Don’t over think it – simple works.

2. Throw away the rule book

Trump doesn’t follow rules – he re-writes them or bends them to his advantage.  Political hopefuls beating a path to high office, generally actively court the media – Trump shunned them.  He literally kept them behind a rope line at many of his appearances and limited their access – at the same time telling his audience why they couldn’t be trusted.  This anti-media narrative worked and broke with convention.  Trump re-wrote the political rules to suit him and it worked.  His election win to date, has not changed his treatment of the media as Trump continues to keep the media at arms-length.   Not only that, Trump also pitched himself as the voice for ordinary Americans when it is clear he has never lived an ordinary life.  None of this mattered because when he spoke voters were convinced.

So in your own business, know who your competition is and know their weaknesses but also know what makes you better – don’t follow the herd especially if they’re all galloping off in the wrong direction.  To quote Steve Jobs ‘think different’ – be different.  Don’t be afraid to re-write the rules and don’t die wondering.  And don’t worry – Trump’s success doesn’t mean you should rush out and get an orange spray tan and a comb-over.

3. ‘We’ not ‘me’

When we genuinely believe in something, it’s natural to want to share it.  Trump did this often in his speeches when he used the word ‘we’ to show what the country could achieve together.  ‘We the people’ – the foundation stone of the American Constitution.  There are many reasons people voted for Trump but the one most often cited, is that people felt there was  finally a politician who listened and who heard them.  When people feel heard and more importantly, understood, then the sky’s the limit.  Trump’s acceptance speech made a point of saying “this is about us” repeating what he consistently said on the campaign trail.  People backed him because they felt he backed them.

And not only did the public buy the message but they also bought the t-shirts, the flyers, the bumper stickers and whatever else they could get their hands on – Trump himself generated a mini economic boom in Trump paraphernalia.   So while the rest of the world were slapping their foreheads in despair and reaching for the aspirin – printers and t-shirt makers in every state were working overtime to meet demand.

Of course the world is agog with Trump’s every move and are waiting to see if his vision is the real deal or whether it’s a crock of s*it.  Tune back in in six month’s time when I update Trump’s scorecard.   His strategy, his key messages and his power to influence have been a global game-changer .  The maverick President might turn out to be more conventional than his persona suggests.  Time will tell but I wouldn’t be too quick to write him off.

Now coming back down to earth again – think about your own product or service.  When people hear about your business or  visit your website – what do you want them to do?   If you want them to call, place an order, or ask for a quote – then make it clear what’s in it for them and sell them the benefits.  If it worked for the President-Elect then why not you?

So how about you?  Any favourite tips and tricks you’d like to share and especially the ones they don’t see coming…

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