What Donald Trump understands that the others – including Hillary – don’t

You’re probably just about Trumped out … but you really can learn a lot from him

The reason why he’s done so well is that – unlike most politicians – he really understands people and the art of persuasion.

Here’s something he said :

“I play to people’s fantasies. People may not always think big themselves but they can still get very excited by those who do.  That’s why a little hyperbole never hurts. People want to believe that something is the biggest and the greatest and the most spectacular. I call it truthful hyperbole. It’s an innocent form of exaggeration and a very effective form of promotion.”

 And here’s what he told people selling the Trump University – currently under legal investigation:

The first thing you really need to know about persuasion is that people make decisions on emotional grounds.

That is the first pillar of persuasion. We are driven not by logic but emotion. This applies to all our decisions, but those who find it hardest to understand often sell to businesses.

Almost everyone selling to businesses starts off thinking decisions are made for logical reasons. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Many of us spend more waking time at work than at home.

Many of us work with people we don’t like, sometimes even hate.  Look at the following research I found a few years ago:

%age of UK people wanting to physically assault a work colleague in 2008:

–  41% in Wales

–  38% in London

–  38% in the North East

–  16% in the South East

–  50% of over 65’s

When you get down to it business is about money, and people kill for money every day. Right now people are being slaughtered in the Middle East not just because of religion but because of oil money.

The second pillar of persuasion is gaining agreement.

In the quote at the top Trump explains how he tells people something they want to agree with whether it’s true or not.

If I say something to you that you want to agree with, I’ve got you taking the first step way towards agreeing to buy something or do something.

All I then have to do is take you step by step to the order form.

Let’s look at Donald Trump’s appeal to voters.

Let’s assume you are in America today.

Let’s assume that you are out of work or you don’t have a job you like.

Let’s assume you see other people doing extremely well whilst you do badly.

Or let’s just assume you think the whole system is rotten.

This is bound to arouse deep emotions.

You look around for someone to blame, which isn’t hard because you will see others doing far better than you.

You see top executives are making millions, even billions – no matter how they perform. You think they are not working as hard as you. You may conclude the system is rigged (and you’d be right).

You may think they are doing unreasonably, unfairly well compared to you. You certainly won’t think it’s your own fault. It’s the system

Who is at fault? Who can you blame?

If someone can tell you who to blame they will gain your agreement.

You see the tide of immigration.

There are people prepared to come into your country and work for less money. I need hardly explain to you how that works.

Trump tells you you’re getting a raw deal, and the Mexicans are to blame. You can see how there seems a lot of logic to that.

Suddenly Trump’s got you to agree to something you feel very emotional about.

So there you are – two pillars of persuasion.

(And I might add that when Trump starts pointing out that Hillary – who seems to be evading the truth at every turn – is part of the system, things could get very interesting).

Appeal to people’s emotions and start by saying something that seems true to your prospect and you cannot fail.

It doesn’t have to be true at all, it just has to be what people want to believe.

I don’t know how interesting you found this, but I do know that very few people really understand the power of emotion and the power of gaining agreement.

I have found it infallible. If you’d like to put it to work for you, drop me a line.

About the Author


In 2003, the Chartered Institute of Marketing named Drayton one of 50 living individuals who have shaped today’s marketing.

He has worked in 55 countries with many of the world’s greatest brands. These include American Express, Audi, Bentley, British Airways, Cisco, Columbia Business School, Deutsche Post, Ford, IBM, McKinsey, Mercedes, Microsoft, Nestle, Philips, Procter & Gamble, Toyota, Unilever, Visa and Volkswagen.

Drayton has helped sell everything from Airbus planes to Peppa Pig. His book, Commonsense Direct and Digital Marketing, out in 17 languages, has been the UK’s best seller on the subject every year since 1982. He has also run his own businesses in the U.K., Portugal and Malaysia.

He was a main board member of the Ogilvy Group, a founding member of the Superbrands Organisation, one of the first eight Honorary Fellows of the Institute of Direct Marketing and one of the first three people named to the Hall of Fame of the Direct Marketing Association of India. He has also been given Lifetime Achievement Awards by the Caples Organisation in New York and Early To Rise in Florida.

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