Why Donald Trump is Right

No matter what you think of Donald Trump, a message he keeps repeating is one that successful direct marketer’s heed: to succeed in selling, you have to make great deals. More importantly: you must close them. If there is a component of marketing that often seems missing these days, in a sea of marketing messages pummeling consumers at every turn, it’s this: deals aren’t always clearly offered, and when they are, there is often a failure to close.

Direct marketers know that to survive in business, you have to close. When someone is looking at your direct mail, email, landing page, or other channels, and you don’t close the deal on the spot, you’ve probably lost the sale forever.

Successful salespeople know that to get their commission check, they have to close on the spot, or the prospect will walk away possibly buying from a competitor. 

So, why does so much marketing messaging fail to close?

A few observations:

  • Scarcity of big and bold ideas
  • Emotion missing or misdirected
  • Lack of persuasion 
  • Failure to offer proof and credibility
  • No engagement with storytelling
  • Focusing too much on logic when emotion usually prevails
  • Products or services not positioned as usual or unique
  • No urgency
  • Failure to anticipate and leverage a message of how the buyer will feel when accepting your deal

Instead, people are assaulted with triteness. Marketers blast away with the usual “Buy Now!” “Act Now!” or “But Wait…” and too often, they fail to sell before asking for, and closing the deal.

Clearly, in some channels you wouldn’t ask for the order and attempt to close the deal all in the initial contact. In those channels, you may be building trust and credibility, such as in mass media brand advertising or content marketing in social media. 

But after expending so much time and money to build trust and credibility in mass media, content marketing or social media, if there isn’t a plan to migrate the prospective customer to another channel where the opportunity to close is greater, it’s a lost opportunity.

That’s where direct mail and opt-in email can be highly effective, using physical space, or square inches in print, and the opt-in nature of email, to effectively persuade with the right copy and close the deal. Here are a few pointers:

  • When using direct mail, include a strong order device—even if a majority of orders come in electronically. These days, an order device is often missing in the interest of cutting production cost. But what too many marketers fail to see is that a printed order device is your closing piece.
  • Push—and possibly incent—the customer to close the deal online if you’re using direct mail. For email, a link to a landing page is expected. Take advantage of the opportunity to upsell or cross-sell other products.
  • State why the customer benefits by picking up a phone to interact with a live salesperson. This is important for older age individuals, or products whose sales process are more involved.
  • Motivate your prospect to go to a retail store to touch and see the product, and interact in person with a salesperson. When you do that, include mechanisms to help measure the impact on the direct mail and email campaign.

Closing a deal is tough—perhaps more so now that ever. 

With so many marketing messages around you, you have to get attention. That’s part of the art of the making the deal. Prospective customers will work hard to ignore your deal. So these days, you have to work harder to close your deal.


Gary Hennerberg

After a lot of years in marketing and sales, this is what I know works:

Stories sell. Think unique. Stimulate emotion. Close deals. And here are a few other gems from my new book, “Crack the Customer Mind Code.” Know the persona, interpret your offer and let your prospect give themselves permission to buy. That’s how the brain is wired. It’s how people think.

What else? When I’m not breaking down complex topics (or ones marketers over-complicate) into easy-to-grasp stories that sell, I crunch numbers. Manage projects. Write. Teach. Lead.