Those of us who have been in sales know when to recognize a good sales pitch. The tricky part is recognizing a great sales pitch because one of the attributes of a great pitch is that it doesn’t sound like a pitch. It sounds like the truth, shrouded in sincerity and seemingly off the cuff. When it comes to selling a vision of a Presidency that people want, Donald Trump might as well be Donald Draper.
It’s within his deep understanding of what the consumer (aka Republican voters) want to hear that Trump has expanded the political sphere beyond policy, doctrine, or reality. He’s treating his Presidential campaign the way that he would treat any great sales pitch, only he’s catering it to a larger audience and the price is very low. He’s not asking for money. He’s not asking for time. He’s asking for support and many Republicans are lining up to give it to him.
For the most part, politicians and pundits simply don’t get it. They hear him say taboos like illegal immigrants are rapists or Muslims should be halted from entering the country and they think that he’s signing his own political death warrant. What they don’t realize is that he’s making a common sense play that is alien to the world of politics but well known in the world of sales. He’s shooting for the low hanging fruit, the largest portion of market share, and the greatest return on investment as it pertains to Republican voters.
The most amazing thing that he’s done is that he’s been able to craft a very carefully planned and executed series of statements to keep him at the top of mind and in every news agency’s crosshairs. Then, he’s delivered it all in a tidy package that makes it seem like he’s just being Donald Trump saying whatever he wants without thinking about it. This is the part that his competitors, the mainstream media, and the voters do not recognize and likely will never recognize if they’ve never been at a table selling a product and a dream to powerful people.
It’s misdirection, redirection, and salesmanship all wrapped up in an incredibly complex package. Everything has to do with timing. For example, a few analysts reported today that the timing of his statements regarding the banning of Muslim immigrants was in response to Ted Cruz moving ahead of him in an Iowa poll. This is partially correct, but they have to look deeper. This wasn’t a gut response to draw attention. It’s a card he’s been planning on playing for a little while now. The rise of Cruz was one trigger, but the one that most are missing is his gaffe on Twitter regarding Amazon, the Washington Post, and Jeff Bezos. This was picking up steam and rightfully so considering that his tax plan was getting questioned based upon his lack of understanding of tax laws pertaining to Amazon.
— Jesseb Shiloh (@jessebshiloh) December 7, 2015
Anyone who thinks it was a miscalculation to play to the crowd by saying what others are unwilling to say don’t really understand the consumers in this scenario. There’s a reason that Trump is polling fourth among Republicans with college degrees. He’s not trying to appeal to those with educations. He’s going after the people who hear words they can cheer without having to think about mundane topics like policy implications or long-term effects.
— Sal McCloskey (@SalMcCloskey) December 5, 2015
Trump is selling his ideas to those who don’t understand how American politics work.
This is the grandest primary strategy anyone has ever seen. It’s why pundits don’t understand him. It’s why he has a chance of winning the nomination. Unfortunately, it’s also why he is incapable of winning the general election. The pitch works on the simplest of Republican minds, but it won’t work on thoughtful Republicans nor will it appeal to any Democrats and most Independents.