Do you know why Donald Trump is winning?
There are a lot of theories on why he’s leading.
One of the most insightful I’ve read is from Scott Adams.
Over the last few months, he’s been covering Trump’s use of persuasion and hypnosis.
Adam’s theory is that humans are moist robots that are programmable meat and that Trump is a master wizard operating in a 3-D world.
These master wizards have learned persuasion and hypnosis and are the ones that engineer the rules of society.
In simple terms:
Trump is a master of persuasion and his skills are so great that he’s directly talking to people’s subconscious and influencing their behavior.
In business, the most important skill you will ever learn is your ability to sell.
Most people are turned off by the idea of selling.
Even if your business or job has nothing to do with sales, your success will largely depend on your ability to sell.
Whether you are selling products or services, your marketing messages should be persuasive.
Very few people gave Donald Trump much of a chance of winning the presidential election.
In fact, most of the pundits don’t have much confidence in him to win the general election.
But Trump is a master of persuasion and according to Scott Adam’s, he’s going to win the general election in a landslide because of his persuasion skills.
Persuasion is Marketing and Selling
Whether you want to admit it or not, everybody is in sales.
We sell people on our ideas, our dreams, our hopes, and our business.
If you ask business owners what the most important thing in their business is, do you know what the two most common answers will be?
Sales and marketing.
Sales and marketing are both part of persuasion.
Over the last few decades, the science of persuasion and influence has come a long way.
Robert Cialdini’s landmark book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion kicked open the door of the new scientific field of influence and persuasion.
In this post, I’ll outline some of Trump’s persuasion techniques and tactics and see how you can use them in your business.
7 Ways Trump uses Persuasion
1 – Appeal To Emotion
“Make America Great Again.”
What exactly does this phrase mean?
It’s memorable and it conjures different thoughts for people.
This slogan appeals to many Americans who are nostalgic of America of the past.
Some Americans hear this and shutter.
Whatever your thoughts, this slogan is memorable and emotional.
People are emotional creatures.
Ideally, most business decisions will be made based on numbers and ROI, but this is simply not the case.
Emotion plays a huge role in persuasion and sales.
At the highest level, CEO’s of Fortune 100 companies, trust their guts much more often than anything else.
How can this help in your business?
Most people buy because of emotional reasons and then rationalize their decisions later.
By learning this concept, you’ll be able to break down your business to its essence.
Ask yourself what’s the core reason why a business or a person might buy your product/service?
Even if you are selling a commodity like tax service, you know businesses and people pay their taxes because it’s law.
However, it’s because people are afraid of the consequences of breaking the law.
Trump is using emotion to appeal to a large number of Americans.
Some of the emotions Trump is using are:
These emotions help him connect with people on a much deeper level.
He understands that most people don’t want intricate policy details.
They want strong leadership and competence.
This is the mistake a lot of business owners make.
They appeal to the logical side of their prospects instead of engaging on an emotional level.
They list the features of their product/service instead of the emotional benefits one receives from buying their product/service.
How can you appeal to emotion in your marketing?
A good way to do this is to create a highly targeted customer avatar.
By creating an avatar, you’ll have a target on which you can build all your marketing campaigns.
A good avatar tells a story of your prospects and their fears, hopes, and dreams.
Ryan Battles provides a template you can use to build your customer avatar:
- List out their demographic and psycho-graphic traits.
- Give the person a name, and grab a photo online.
- Design a dossier.
- Write a story as your ideal customer avatar.
Once you’ve defined your customer avatar you can appeal to their emotion and use that to connect with your prospects.
2 – The Use of Elementary Language
A lot of people make fun of Trump’s writing and speaking.
They think using simple elementary language is a sign of low intelligence.
Whatever you think, using elementary, clear, and concise language in your writing and speaking is one of the most important things you can do to be persuasive.
This technique is actually taught by all the copy-writing masters.
You have to be crystal clear in your communication.
The clearer your language is the easier you’ll be understood.
It’s wrong to think that using simple language is a sign of low intelligence.
In fact, explaining complicated things in a simple manner is a sign of high intelligence.
Good writing is clear.
It’s concise and cuts through the noise.
You can use the Hemingway editor to test how complicated your writing is. Be ruthless and cut unnecessary jargon from your writing.
3 – Use Visual Imagery To Sell
Trump is a master of this.
His language is loaded with visual imagery.
When he says he’s going to build a big beautiful wall this gives your brain a powerful image.
A good video that talks about how Trump uses imagery in his language is below:
The human brain processes an image up to 60,000 times faster than words.
Humans are visual creatures and one of the best persuasion and marketing techniques is visual marketing.
To give you an idea of how powerful visual images are to the brain take a look at the example below:
Your brain can process the first image a lot faster than the text which is describing the same thing.
Visual marketing is one of the most powerful ways to market your product/services.
When consumers buy a product, 67% of them think that a clear picture is more important than the description of the product itself.
Images also help you to gain more attention as it gets people increasingly more involved with what you’re saying.
This is one of the ways Trump gets his messages across effectively to masses of people on a regular basis.
4 – Court Controversy and Don’t Back Down
“One thing I’ve learned about the press is that they’re always hungry for a good story, and the more sensational the better. It’s in the nature of the job, and I understand that. The point is that if you are a little different, or a little outrageous, or if you do things that are bold or controversial, the press is going to write about you. I’ve always done things a little differently, I don’t mind controversy, and my deals tend to be somewhat ambitious.”- Trump: The Art of The Deal
Trump has never been afraid of controversy.
He knows that by saying controversial things, the press will spread his message for him.
Trump knows that controversy equals more attention.
When Trump states something controversial, the press usually tries to shame him on his statement right?
But Trump never apologizes and instead doubles down.
This renders the press powerless and makes him look strong.
In Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) circles, this is called frame control.
The idea behind this is whoever has the strongest frame controls reality.
If you believe something strongly people, will buy into your frame and start believing you.
Here’s an example of doing something controversial and re-framing it into your advantage.
Do you remember this campaign from Protein World last year?
This campaign from Protein World was very controversial. There was a petition to ban the ad that collected over 70,000 signatures.
There was also a mass demonstration called “Take Back the Beach.” This campaign would have been extremely negative for a lot of companies…
Instead, the CEO Arjun Seth did not apologize and doubled down on his message.
Here’s what he told the press:
“It’s good – we gained about 20,000 followers in the last few days. Sales have gone up significantly. What people like is we are standing up for our brand.”
He continued to say:
“It is not a problem as long as our customer base keeps on growing. We are a small British manufacturer. We don’t like backing down to a few people”.
Mr. Seth said the campaign was the result of sending out ads to their customer base, and that this one came back as the most popular one.
The campaign was eventually taken down by Britain’s independent advertising authority.
However, the fact that he did not back down strengthened their brand.
This campaign was specifically targeted to their audience.
They never tried to appeal to everyone.
In marketing if you are trying to appeal to everyone then you are not appealing to anyone.
Add slight hints of controversy in your statements and don’t back down, this will make you look strong.
5 – Repeat Your Message
When you watch Trump give interviews or speeches you’ll notice how often he repeats the same message.
He is constantly on TV giving interviews and has events throughout the country.
This gives him top of mind awareness.
In today’s world, people have short attention spans and they need to be constantly reminded of your message.
Recent research has shown that people now have 18 frames of reference before they make a purchase decision.
When you are constantly advertising and marketing your business in different channels you’ll remind people of your business and who you are.
This is why businesses with the deepest pockets win in the advertising world.
They outspend their competitors and remain top of mind.
Remember to be consistent.
6 – Trump Brand
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Trump and his brand?
Whatever it is you might think, the common answer is that he’s bold and direct.
Trump’s brand hasn’t changed much over the last 30 years.
He’s always been bold in his dealings and he’s used this to his advantage in the presidential race.
In the “Art of the Deal“, you’ll find that he constantly asks for 3 times as much in his real estate offers.
This gives him leverage in business deals.
In the race for GOP, all his proposals have been bold; they include some of the following:
- Build a wall that Mexico will pay for.
- Deport all illegal immigrants.
- Temporarily stop Muslim immigration.
Making a bold first offer gives him leverage to negotiate.
You’ll also notice that Trump attacks a lot of his opponents that attack him. If you cared about your brand and know Trump’s mindset you’ll understand why he does this.
He’s constantly on the offensive and never backs down.
If you want to read more on how Trump’s brand is helping him, check out William Arruda’s post on Forbes.
Whether you think he lies or not, the perception of Trump is that he is authentic.
In today’s world, authenticity is extremely important in developing your brand.
Once you’ve developed your brand, it’s very important to be consistent.
It’s very difficult to build an authentic brand in today’s world but very easy to destroy it.
Develop your brand and be consistent.
7 – Use Power Words
Trump uses power words to persuade.
In his social media posts, you’ll notice how often Trump uses words like vigilant, strength, and stamina.
Weak & ineffective @JebBush is doing ads where he shows his statement in the debate but not my response. False advertising!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 7, 2016
Hillary Clinton doesn’t have the strength or stamina to be president. Jeb Bush is a low energy individual, but Hillary is not much better!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 2, 2016
Like Scott Adam says, most people think in the 2-D world and see these attacks as crude.
However, in the persuasion world, these attacks are extremely effective.
They are already things we take into consideration when we think about these people.
When you use power words in your marketing, you’ll convert at a much higher level.
A good example of this is was a study that replaced one word in describing a car accident.
When they replaced the word “contact” vs. “smashed” people’s perceptions of their own eyewitness accounts changed.
David Ogilvy, the advertising legend published a list of the 20 most persuasive words in the English language:
A good video on how Trump uses power words is below:
Power words can make a huge impact on your business.
Use them in your marketing campaigns and in your sales presentations.
If you want to see a huge list of power words, you can check out Buffer’s blog post.
Whatever your political beliefs, Trump’s persuasion skills are worth studying.
If you are a business owner and want to make an impact, you need to start using persuasion in your marketing.
Most marketing and advertising today do not have these elements.