What I Took From Trump’s Art of the Deal
Some solid tips that will give you the edge in business and negotiation.
First things first. Trump: The Art of the Deal is historical fiction. Doesn’t mean there aren’t a ton of goodies to take from it.
I didn’t know it was full of exaggeration when I read it in 2012. This was during the time when President Trump was known as the business magnate and star of The Apprentice. I knew he was a successful businessman. Heard a lot about The Art of the Deal — his best seller. I gobbled it up in a few days. It’s a solid read.
There is much value to take from this book when it comes to business. So let’s dive in.
Choose good people over good deals
Good deals will always be around. You have to find good people. And once you do, hold onto them.
Always answer your children’s phone calls
I recall several chapters where his children would call when he was smack-dab in the middle of closing a major deal worth tens of millions, and he would dismiss himself by getting up, walking over, and speaking with them. For as long as they needed their dad on the phone.
Prioritize your friends & family
Put those you love over making money. Money comes from service. If you live to serve money you shall be enslaved by it. You want money to work for you.
Make assholes wait until the last possible moment to close a deal
If they tell you this is a one-time offer, take it or leave it, now or never, and you know there is no other option, make them wait until the last possible minute, and watch them drop the price.
Never mention price first
The first person to mention price in a negotiation loses. You won’t feel happy with the outcome.
Never accept the first offer
Even if it’s way more money than you expected. Always ask if that’s the best they can do. If they say yes. Tell them they’ll have to do better. And wait. Don’t say another word, unless it’s to repeat — “You’ll have to do better than that.”
Never focus too much on the thing you want when negotiating
Talk about something else that means nothing to you, and make a big deal out of it. When the thing you want is spoken about, mention you wouldn’t mind having it come as part of the deal so long as this other thing is taken care of right away.
When you want to buy a property, tell the seller these words
Supposedly when Donald Trump bought the property where Trump Towers resides, he went to the owner and said ‘I want to buy this property.’ There was no tiptoeing around it. It was put out there so that the owner knew Trump was serious. This leaves an impact.
Always be the one who drafts the contract
If you draft the contract, the contract is in your control.
If you cannot draft the contract, insist on making amendments during its review, and do not sign it until the changes have been put in place and a new copy is printed and on the table.
Eliminate squeaky wheels from your portfolio
Did you know that 1% of customers cause most of a business’s headaches? Well, this continues until you tell the annoying customer that you will no longer be working with them.
It doesn’t matter if there’s backlash. It doesn’t matter if you’re called an asshole, hotshot, or a bigot. You were called worse by this client behind your back. So tell them adios, which is literally offering a blessing — wishing for them to return to god.
And if adios doesn’t help, you can simply tell them that you are no longer working with them, the decision is final, and you are within your rights to not provide a reason or explanation. You end the conversation there, and no longer provide services.
I suppose if none of that works you could simply tell them you’re fired.
Or, No soup for you!
No more and then!
Speaking of soup
The best restaurant I ever went to was strict like that. It’s earned one Michelin star, which is an incredible achievement.
Part of this involved explaining to the customer, whenever they asked for salt, that the food was perfect. And it was salted perfect, and there was nothing wrong with it at all. And deny them salt. And that this was the way the food needed to be served, and eaten, if they wished to have the best experience at this restaurant, as the night is totally booked by people who only wish to have a thrill. To have something totally new. Something never done before. But done to perfection, all the same.
This is what earned that restaurant its Michelin star. The fact that the owners didn’t care at all when the customer complained. It didn’t matter if you were offended by something, or didn’t like the way something was prepared. The restaurant was on the first floor, and their home was on the second. It was their home.
You should only invite people with good intentions into your gig
Those who wish to receive your art for what it is — a divine expression. Straight from the source of infinite creation.
Of course, Trump doesn’t go into this hippie shit in The Art of the Deal. Hippie shit is my territory, baby.
Reminder: Don’t sign deals with assholes
No matter how rich and powerful they are. No matter what they promise. They are assholes because they see money as a priority over having a positive experience with you. That’s it. Chances are these folks are living off of their parent’s money, with a terrible attitude, not doing a single bit of good for the world. So do not sign a deal with an asshole. Or a braggart.
Close Deals with Good Human Beings
Sign a deal with the most humble individuals, the ones that display the best attitude, and create all the time. These are the folks you want to deal with. Because they are consistent and you can count on them. You will want to place new tools in their hands that allow them to fully express their art. You will want to give them resources and tell them to go for it. Because they have the Midas Touch. This happens when you trust and support the creatives of the world. They end up doing incredible things because of your support.
And so…while you’re being a free-loving hippie conquering the world — just remember Trump’s words:
Always prepare for the worst-case scenario
This is how Trump rebounds from everything. He’s got his emergency kit in order, ready to deploy at any time.
I would argue that President Trump enjoys the challenge of having to start over again. So when the shit hits the fan, Trump has a team of specialists that specialize in disaster recovery. They get paid when the job gets done.
Be good with your promises
Trump tells the story of how Rockefeller Plaza was getting a new ice rink and the construction crew hired by New York City was poorly organized and so they poured the concrete in patches, and this led to cracks, and pretty soon the entire foundation was botched and the skating rink was kaput.
NYC spent a lot of money on this, and it was a massive failure. (Jesus I feel like I’m channeling Trump right now — how about some more?)
The following is a dramatization in which I shall be attempting to channel Donald Trump.
Yeah Trump here. So like I was saying — the City of New York had incompetent fools running the show, my guys knew it, and a bunch of the guys that I know in construction were pointing out all the mistakes, and how the concrete pouring had to be continuous. Well everybody knew it wasn’t continuous, and it was a disaster. The City of New York made a big mess over there at Rockefeller Plaza, and people weren’t able to skate. Folks were upset. I was too.
I love New York. Grew up in this city. Great city. People like to skate at Rockefeller Plaza, and so what I did was I called up the Mayor, or whoever was in charge at the time — I don’t remember as it was like, ages ago, but the fact of the matter is I got the guy on the line, and told him that I would do the job right. And that I didn’t want to get paid for it. I only wanted to have the cost of materials and construction covered, and I didn’t want to see a single penny beyond that.
You wouldn’t believe what the Mayor said to me. He was upset that I wanted to build the rink for free.
This was the one thing that got him mad, and no matter how many times I tried to explain to him that this would save him money, and make him the hero of New York, and get him votes — he got all upset because he must have felt it was like me giving him a handout, you know? It’s just plain dumb. He couldn’t accept the fact that I’m someone who runs private companies. He doesn’t understand the pressures I face on a day-to-day basis.
Look… I know you have to stay on top of construction crews or they will mess up. You’ve got to rip into the foreman, specially on the days they pour concrete.
I get on the foreman’s ass. Anytime a crew pours cement. I don’t care if I get caught by the paparazzi while yelling in his face. If he stops that cement flow for a single moment, that foundation will not settle right, and it will crack. Especially underneath an ice rink. We’re talking about millions of dollars of damage potentially for one single mistake.
Well these fools at the City Department didn’t mix the concrete thoroughly. I mean, the whole damn thing was broken. It was obvious that it was a total waste of money. Total incompetence. Just plain old stupidity.
I hired specialists go to the construction site and assess how the cement was poured. I hired them out of curiosity, and they showed me how mistakes were everywhere. The City tried to do some sort of copper cooling system that cost a fortune. It was a huge mess. Way too expensive. To make matters worse, when the job failed, and no one wanted to deal with the disaster of cleaning it up — there was all this copper piping down below, and so the homeless just started hopping fences, stealing and squatting, doing whatever the hell they wanted — this was New York in the early 80s and it was dangerous.
You didn’t want to go out at night unless the streets were well lit. There was prostitution, drug dealing, porn theaters, all this disgusting crap — and so these homeless, they go running through the site with metal cutters, stealing all the copper they can, selling it to buy booze and crack and whatever the hell else they wanted — they had it all — it was free copper. And this went on for weeks until the City of New York finally got a clue and put security there, so they could get whatever copper piping they had left out of there, to start counting their losses. We’re talking TOTAL INCOMPETENT FOOLS.
I tell you this story because as you know, I have to deal with incompetent people from time to time. I don’t work with them because I like to. I do it because I have to. I have to speak with people that have no idea what they are talking about, and I have to nod like I care. Even if I’m bored out of my mind, I have to nod — when all I want is to have a cheeseburger at my restaurant and be left alone. I don’t even have to leave Trump Plaza — just a cheeseburger and maybe a glass of wine and I’m good. Anything but having to deal with incompetence.
That said, after I showed the Mayor all the mistakes his team made with the ice rink, I showed him the system I wished to use, which was cheaper to upkeep and more practical, lower carbon imprint, and easier to install.
I showed him how it would last a whole lot longer — and he finally was convinced. So I promised the rink would be done by a certain date that was after the New Year, and we got it finished before Thanksgiving.
Whoever was in charge of the money at the time insisted on giving me a cut of the ticket sales beyond the cost of construction. I refused. We kept arguing about it, until I wished him happy holidays and ended the call. No sense in dealing with people like that.
You never want to make deals with bad people or people you don’t get along with.
And you also want to prepare for the worst.
I had a backup plan the day we poured concrete. Glad I did, because it would have been a total disaster. Of course I never mentioned anything to anyone, just get that truck over here, and in line to keep pouring, and get me a new one after emptying this one, and that was it. Problem solved.
If you prepare for the worst — everything becomes easy over time.
End of channel.
(You can purchase Trump: The Art of the Deal here. If you click through and buy, I may receive a commission.)