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The Art of the Deal | Donald Trump

The Art of the Deal | Donald Trump

The best thing you can do is deal from strength, and leverage is the biggest strength you can have. Leverage is having something the other guy wants. Or better yet, needs. Or best of all, simply can’t do without.

For example, in the face of a sales drop, most companies cut back on their advertising budgets. But in fact, you need advertising the most when people aren’t buying.

good publicity is preferable to bad, but from a bottom-line perspective, bad publicity is sometimes better than no publicity at all. Controversy, in short, sells.

Most people are surprised by the way I work. I play it very loose. I don’t carry a briefcase. I try not to schedule too many meetings. I leave my door open. You can’t be imaginative or entrepreneurial if you’ve got too much structure. I prefer to come to work each day and just see what develops.

It never stops, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I try to learn from the past, but I plan for the future by focusing exclusively on the present. That’s where the fun is. And if it can’t be fun, what’s the point?

That experience taught me a few things. One is to listen to your gut, no matter how good something sounds on paper. The second is that you’re generally better off sticking with what you know. And the third is that sometimes your best investments are the ones you don’t make.

I like thinking big. I always have. To me it’s very simple: if you’re going to be thinking anyway, you might as well think big. Most people think small, because most people are afraid of success, afraid of making decisions, afraid of winning. And that gives people like me a great advantage.

The worst thing you can possibly do in a deal is seem desperate to make it. That makes the other guy smell blood, and then you’re dead. The best thing you can do is deal from strength, and leverage is the biggest strength you can have. Leverage is having something the other guy wants. Or better yet, needs. Or best of all, simply can’t do without.

Perhaps the most misunderstood concept in all of real estate is that the key to success is location, location, location. Usually, that’s said by people who don’t know what they’re talking about. First of all, you don’t necessarily need the best location. What you need is the best deal. Just as you can create leverage, you can enhance a location, through promotion and through psychology.

You can have the most wonderful product in the world, but if people don’t know about it, it’s not going to be worth much. There are singers in the world with voices as good as Frank Sinatra’s, but they’re singing in their garages because no one has ever heard of them. You need to generate interest, and you need to create excitement. One way is to hire public relations people and pay them a lot of money to sell whatever you’ve got. But to me, that’s like hiring outside consultants to study a market. It’s never as good as doing it yourself.

THE MOST IMPORTANT INFLUENCE on me, growing up, was my father, Fred Trump. I learned a lot from him. I learned about toughness in a very tough business, I learned about motivating people, and I learned about competence and efficiency: get in, get it done, get it done right, and get out.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from dealing with politicians over the years, it’s that the only thing guaranteed to force them into action is the press—or, more specifically, fear of the press. You can apply all kinds of pressure, make all sorts of pleas and threats, contribute large sums of money to their campaigns, and generally it gets you nothing. But raise the possibility of bad press, even in an obscure publication, and most politicians will jump. Bad press translates into potential lost votes, and if a politician loses enough votes, he won’t get reelected. If that happens, he might have to go out and take a 9 to 5 job. That’s the last thing most politicians want to do.

Leadership is perhaps the key to getting any job done. There wasn’t a single day when I didn’t check on the progress we were making on the rink. Most days, I visited the site personally. I’d given myself six months to finish, and based on the city’s record, meeting that deadline would be a minor miracle. By my own calculations, however, six months actually left me a cushion of a month, in case anything significant did go wrong. If absolutely everything went right, I felt it was possible we’d finish the job in four months.

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