Dig beneath the sales schtick

It was Bill Maher who mentioned this first, but the words aligns well with what Donald Trump does. Maher, being from New Jersey, said he grew up hearing this kind of talk, so he recognized it early on. Donald Trump is all about “New Jersey schtick.” In his mind, it is a constant banter to make truths better and tell lies to sell anything, including your reputation. In all fairness to folks from New Jersey, this kind of “schtick” can be found everywhere.

From the Free dictionary, the word schtick, which is also spelled shtick, means: A characteristic attribute, talent, or trait that is helpful in securing recognition or attention Salespeople use schtick, but it is unfair to paint all salespeople with this brush. The ones who focus on relationship selling will tend to use less of it, while those who focus on transactional sales, will tend to use more of it. What do I mean by that?

Relationship sellers want to work with you long term, building a relationship. Transactional sellers want to get a sale to maximize profit in short order. The latter represents Trump’s approach, which is one reason he is less concerned with long relationships with other countries. And, since he does not care to be a student of history, he does not place a value on the relationship. So, he focuses on transactions.

To do that, he looks for props to sell from. He needs a very short, bumper sticker solution to a problem. The fact the problem is more complex or the solution won’t really solve it is irrelevant. His transactional focus is to win. It is a zero-sum game – I must win, you must lose. “Build the wall” fit nicely on a bumper sticker. Getting folks to chant it and the response to who is going to pay for it is all about sales schtick. The fact immigration is down the list for why folks are disenfranchised matters not – technology gains and offshoring jobs were the main culprits.

Props work best when they can be used to placate fears that are stoked. The Black Lives Matter movement gave Trump two props that he is using today. The handful of folks who are creating violence is one prop. The “defund the police” is the other. Now, defunding the police does not mean take all of their money away. That would be ludicrous. But, repurposing funding to hire licensed social workers and train police to deescalate crises is important. So, Trump and his sycophants are playing this up just as Richard Nixon did in 1968, the year MLK and RFK were assassinated that led to rioting and violence.

Let’s be clear. Donald Trump will say anything to get elected and to be liked by his base of followers. This is a key reason he does not know where the truth stops and the lies begin. Paula Reid of CBS News noted to Trump at a press conference after he just repeated what he has often said that he signed the VA Healthcare Protection Act, that was not a true statement. He likely had no idea he was lying. The act was signed in 2014. He just signed an amendment to it.

Financial reporters, who have covered Trump for decades, note he is not the best of managers. He does not have the emosthy, patience, temperament or time for it. What he is good at is selling. Make the deal and leave a way to get out when the cookie crumbles. He started selling his name for building developments, but he left himself an out when problems surfaced and he could bail. This was a transactional sales person’s dream – get your revenue without any responsibility.

Unfortunately, this is how he approaches the White House. Get the accolades, take credit for all things good regardless of your role and blame others for any problems, even if your failures contributed to them. He and his sycophants spend a lot of tax payer dollars trying to erase or re-write history to absolve him of any accountability.

So, the way to beat Trump is to define truthful props that can be pounded like a drumbeat.

– Trump admitted to lying about the pandemic and now 200,000 (and growing) Americans have died
– America is less trusted because its president is untrustworthy
– Trump does not even try to unite Americans
– It is hard to put out racial fires when the president is carrying a gas can
– Trump is making it easier for China to ascend to number one in economic clout
– Trump is making it easier companies to pee in your water supply
– America is only one of three nations to not support the Paris Climate Change Accord
– The ACA may be ruled unconstitutional after the election by SCOTUS due to changes made by Republicans
– How does a president take credit for building an economy with 7 plus years of growth when he took office?

There is little hope of changing the mindset of someone wearing a t-shirt that says “Jesus died for you – Trump lives for you.” That is just a load of BS. But, that is the base’s mindset. His one genius is to get people to buy his schtick and not believe anyone else. And, he knows they won’t as, if they start to question him and heed the uncomfortable truths, the cognitive dissonance would be overwhelming. This is why the words of Michael Cohen, Trump’s attorney and fixer fell on deaf ears, when under oath he said “Donald Trump is a racist, he is a con-artist and he is a cheat.”

9 thoughts on “Dig beneath the sales schtick

  1. How somebody so dishonest, cruel, and without values ascended to the highest office in the land is still a mystery to me. Yes, I understand some were feeling that government wasn’t working for them, was populated by elitists, but to elect ‘man’ with no conscience and very little education/experience/intellect … was the wrong answer to the problem. And it appears those same people are poised to ignore all his crimes against the people of this nation and elect him for a lifetime term! Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

    • Jill, the only explanation is tribal thinking – it is OK for my tribe to lie and cheat as long as we win. Cognitive dissonance goes hand in hand. If the tribe recognizes inconvenient truths, the uncomfortable disharmony sheds a light on their poor decision to support a corrupt and deceitful person. Keith

      • I’m coming to absolutely hate the concept of ‘tribalism’. It seems to be an ever-expanding concept, or perhaps it’s just more noticeable now, with a president who encourages such limited thinking.

      • Jill, I do too. It is very similar to sports rivalries – Red Sox v Yankees, Alabama v Auburn, UNC v Duke, etc. Trump did not invent tribalism, but he has exploited it. I also believe this life long Democrat, realized he could ride a wave of anti-Obama sentiment and Roger Ailes’ greasing the skids with Fox to the White House. Keith

  2. The most ironic thing about him, perhaps, is the fact that he basically despises his base. He literally doesn’t want to touch them with a 10 foot pole. But, he needs them for his narcissistic personality–to win at all costs. So, he placates them and says what they all want to hear. A true snake oil salesman in every sense of the word.

    • Jeff, when asked about the lack of social distancing at a pep rally, he personalized it saying he was 30 feet away. Howard Stern, who interviewed him several times, said the same thing about him not liking his base. Keith

    • David, many thanks. After his horrible debate behavior, defense of white supremacist and inability to keep his staff safe from the virus, his stock has fallen. Let’s hope we can send this person packing. Keith

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