Sales Training Article: What Salespeople Can Learn from Donald Trump

By Marie Warner, Certified Business Partner, CustomerCentric Selling® – The Sales Training Company

No matter what your political persuasion (and mine has nothing to do with this post!) there are sales lessons to be learned from ‘The Donald’ as well as from the field of candidates who have suspended their quest for the 2016 nomination. These lessons echo several “Core Concepts” integral to the sales training methodology CustomerCentric Selling®.

1. Make yourself equal, then make yourself different – otherwise you’ll just be different. The other 16 Republican contenders for the candidacy (and many in the Republican “establishment”) spent millions of dollars and hours of air-time defining how they were “Anybody but Trump.” In doing so, they not only failed to articulate their own capabilities, but also alienated the growing number of voters supporting Trump.

This relates to the common sales error of highlighting only how your offering is different – nothing like the competition. If the competitor’s features are part of your buyer’s vision of the solution needed, you have just taken yourself out of the running – and quite likely have offended your buyer.

2. You get delegated to the people you sound like. Trump spoke contemporaneously throughout the primaries – without the aid of teleprompters. His unpolished style and message echoed the voice of the voting public, and this billionaire businessman became “one of the people”.

When you are selling to the CEO, you must be able to engage in a C-level dialogue to diagnose C-level issues, and to position your capabilities to address those issues. This “solution development” conversation takes place at all levels when selling to a company, each conversation tailored to the appropriate challenges of these different buying influences.

3. Emotional decisions are justified by value and logic. This primary season highlights our nation’s extreme unhappiness with “business as usual” in both political parties. Votes for Beltway “outsiders” – whether Trump or Sanders – reflect this emotional decision, although voters may cite ‘logic’ in their decision to support either outsider candidate.

This is certainly the most interesting presidential primary in my memory. Who knows what other lessons we’ll learn through November?

Marie Warner, President of Warner Professional Sales, is a certified Objective Management Group® Consultant and a licensed Business Partner for CustomerCentric Selling®.

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