Blog post The Art of Listening Book Cover President Donald Trump The Art of the Deal

Much has been and will be written about Donald Trump’s rise to power. I will leave it to others to discuss the issues.

Right or wrong, whatever you may think, love him or hate him, you gotta hand it to Donald Trump. He played America like a fiddle.

When I was reflecting on how he achieved majority consensus from voters, it occurred to me that he is a good listener.

For a guy that never seems to shut up, he has done a remarkable job at listening to his customers. And, by “customers,” I mean the American public, or more specifically, the majority of the Amercian public. His target market.

The point of listening is to form hypothesis and strategy

The Art of Listening Book Cover President Donald Trump The Art of the Deal

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When he was at rallies and public events, he was doing customer research. On his twitter account, he was doing market research. He asked questions. Poked here. Poked there. Formulated hypothesis.

He tested his hypothesis to provide statistical validity. In front of big crowds. He asked questions. Big claps? Small claps? A/B testing: “You like that? You don’t like that?” He easily got his answers. He just listened to his crowd. He looked at his Retweets and his most engaging (and shared) social media commentary.

It honestly did not matter what the issues were. To Donald, he just wanted to find out WHAT they were so he could incorporate them into his ideologies.

After the primaries, he formed more hypothesis. Asked more questions. Got more answers. He listened. He didn’t listen to his campaign people to CTFD (calm-the-f*ck-down). He didn’t listen to the Republican party elders. He listened to his customers. He knew WHAT the big issues were.

Communication is a key part in listening

Customer listening is useless unless you can communicate what you’ve heard.

Donald “branded” the big issues with his catchphrases. He, his surrogates and supporters easily repeated them incessantly. “The System is Rigged.” “Crooked Hillary” “Nasty Woman” “You’re Fired” “Lock Her Up” “Build A Wall” “The Women’s Card” “Drain the Swamp.”

Each catchphrase is only two or three words long and each is charged with emotion — a perfect vehicle to create viral sharing.

So, in his own unrefined way, he refined his message. He refined his message that he thought would appeal to the largest target market.

“You know, it really doesn’t matter what the media write as long as you’ve got a young, and beautiful, piece of ass.” – Donald Trump

Again, it did not matter WHAT the message was. Just that it appealed to the largest target market and that it was easy to understand.

Be your brand

He defined himself as someone who he knew everyone wanted him to be. And by “everyone,” I mean his customers. The majority of American people. The voters that voted him President. Job done.

This is the way capitalism works. I guess that’s the way democracy works as well.

Your take-away’s for your daily business life

This does have relevance in our daily business lives. As you go through your days:

  1. Always take the opportunity to talk to customers directly. Face-to-face. Go to a trade show. Visit client sites. Pick up the phone. Do some Skype calls.
  2. Read online reviews. Participate in online discussions.
  3. From these, form hypothesis about what your customer wants.
  4. Use research methods like A/B testing and customer surveys to provide statistical validation your customer strategy is on target
  5. Break down your customer strategy into catchy, 3 word catchphrases that ring in the ear like a bumble bee. Put your customer benefit marketing statements into 3 word catchphrases that are charged with emotion.
  6. Repeat from step 1

Morphing your brand real-time

Donald Trump literally morphed in front of our eyes over the last 18 months; he was a sponge and he adapted his branding and positioning accordingly and in real-time. Again, right or wrong — whatever you think of him and his policies — it will be interesting to watch him continue to morph on a global stage.

Isn’t that what good reality T.V. is about?

Thanks for readin’ Be careful out there,

Stephen