Trump and the Two Pillars of Persuasion

“I’ve done well writing landing pages and emails marketing campaigns in the health, B2B and self-help market.

But my marketing hero – Drayton Bird – has successfully helped everything from:

Airbus planes to Peppa Pig. Not forgetting insurance, hotels in Paris, machinery for filling pork pies, online legal services and Mercedes cars. 

And worked with many of the world’s leading brands. 

People like American Express, British Airways, Deutsche Post, Ford, Microsoft, Nestlé, Procter & Gamble, Philips, The Royal Mail, Unilever and Visa. 

So when he writes something – I pay attention.

And this piece of copy – Trump and the Two Pillars of Persuasion – I found delightful.

I hope you enjoy and profit from it, as much as I did.


Trump and the Two Pillars of Persuasion

I hate to bore you with yet more guff about Donald Trump … but you really can learn a lot from him.

The reason why he’s done so well is that – unlike most politicians – he really understands the art of persuasion.

Here’s what he told people selling the Trump University – currently under legal investigation:

The first thing you really need to know about persuasion is that people make decisions on emotional grounds.

That is the first pillar of persuasion. We are driven by emotion, not logic. This applies to all our decisions – including business ones.

Almost everyone selling to businesses starts off thinking decisions are made for logical reasons. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Many of us spend more waking time at work than at home.

Many of us work with people  we don’t like, even hate.  Look at the following research I found a few years ago:

%age of people wanting to physically assault a work colleague in 2008: 

  • 41% in Wales
  • 38% in London 
  • 38% in the North East 
  • 16% in the South East 
  • 50% of over 65’s 

And of course business is about money, and although much financial marketing is dull please don’t imagine money is dull: People kill for money.

The second pillar of persuasion is gaining agreement. 

If I say something to you that you agree with, I’ve got you taking the first step way towards agreeing to buy something or do something.

All I then have to do is take you step by step to the order form.

Let’s look at Donald Trump’s appeal to voters.

Let’s assume you are in America today.

Let’s assume that you are out of work or you don’t have a job you like.

Let’s assume you see other people doing extremely well whilst you do badly.

Or let’s just assume you think the whole system is rotten.

This is bound to arouse deep emotions.

You look around for someone to blame, which isn’t hard because you will see others doing far better than you.

You may think they are doing unreasonably, unfairly well compared to you. You certainly won’t think it’s your own fault. It’s the system

You see top executives are making millions, even billions – no matter how they perform. You think they are not working as hard as you. You may conclude the system is rigged (and you’d be right).

Who is at fault? Who can you blame?

If someone can tell you who to blame they will gain your agreement.

You see the tide of immigration.

There are people prepared to come into your country and work for less money. I need hardly explain to you how that works.

Trump tells you you’re getting a raw deal, and the Mexicans are to blame. You can see how there seems a lot of logic to that.

Suddenly Trump’s got you to agree to something you feel very emotional about.

So there you are – two pillars of persuasion.

Exploit people’s emotions and start by saying something that seems true to your prospect.

It doesn’t have to be true at all, it just has to be what people want to believe.

I don’t know how interesting you found this, but I do know that very few people really understand the power of emotion and the power of gaining agreement.

My colleagues and I do.

That is why we get some pretty remarkable results.

If you don’t believe that we get pretty remarkable results here are six examples.

   1. A 551% increase in sales value for Stroll language courses in the U.S. (A ferociously competitive field).

   2. Doubled salesfor Tarsan Apparel in Canada – compared St Patrick’s Day sale 2016 (our copy) against 2015 (their copy).

   3. Email for Minor Entertainment in the U.K. selling tickets for a show: In the Night Garden Live.

There were two campaigns where our copy was split tested against theirs.


       – IncreasedAverage Order Value by 27.4% and 34.9%.

       – IncreasedROI by 64.4% and 73.1%

   4. Adwords work and marketing emails gave MIB in the U.K.25% morenew business in January. They‘re also in a fearfully competitive field – supplying data.

   5. An ROI of 11875.5:1for Ken Duncan – one of Australia’s most acclaimed photographers – selling his Workshops.

We then created material that sold over $30,000 worth of a $19.97 eBook.

   6. $30,000 in a 3-day promotionfor Josef Rakich Fitness in New Zealand.

As you can see, these examples are for wildly different businesses in wildly different countries.

The principles of persuasion do not change. What works for Mr. Trump now, worked when we wrote copy for a politician in Finland

If you are serious about investing in marketing rather than one of those people who will get round to it one day, talk to Gerald now.

Just send him an email with a subject line of ‘Trump’ – he’ll get straight back to you.