One chilly November day at a real estate and wealth building convention in New York City I had an opportunity to learn the secrets of success from Presidential hopeful Donald Trump. Mr. Trump was the feature speaker, so the venue was packed with thousands of people eager to hear words of wisdom from The Donald. Seating was unassigned and an announcer admonished the crowd, “Do not save seats for people who have not arrived.”
We were sitting next to a friendly couple from Ohio with whom we hit it off. During a break in the program, the couple went to get some food and asked us to save their seats.
In one of those New York minutes, a middle-aged woman who seemed to have appeared out of nowhere had plunked herself down in one of the Ohio couple’s seats. She was clutching in her lap a goodie bag full of real estate literature. She shot us a scowling glare, like a cat guarding its food bowl, saying without words, “I just dare you to try and get me out of this chair. Don’t even think about it!”
We started to explain but she cut us off.
“They SAID you aren’t allowed to save seats! So I’m not moving!” She settled triumphantly into the chair.
My mind ran through a vocabulary of short words I would have loved to have used at that moment, but before I could think of something more helpful or convincing, the Ohio couple returned. The wife, Janelle, was all Midwestern smiles and graciousness as she listened to the interloper laying down the law.
“Well, you know what?” Janelle said, “Since you’re by yourself, I’ll just bet that I can find you an even better seat, up closer. There are a few single seats I can see from here. Let’s go find you one.”
As the woman tentatively got up, maybe a little skeptical, Janelle asked her, “So what do you do? ... A teacher! Well, that’s interesting. What’s it like being a teacher? I’m a real estate agent myself.”
Right before our eyes she had converted that woman into a newfound friend.
And off Janelle went, down the aisle, her hand on the arm of a person who was about to become a story we’d tell back home about how rude New Yorkers are. Right before our eyes she had converted that woman into a newfound friend. Janelle found her a better seat and when she returned I was in awe.
“THAT was amazing!”
She gave a little shrug. “I just think it was the first time anybody ever asked her what it was like to be a teacher.”
To this day that has become one of my favorite networking questions. I've found that people love to talk about what they do, what they are working on and what they have accomplished.
Another favorite is, "What can I do to help your business grow?" While many entrepreneurs are surprised to be asked this questions, what baffles me more is that they often don't have a ready answer. However, the look on their face is priceless and the feeling they get is one of true caring. I have been remembered more for that question than any other I've asked. I think it's because I truly mean it. It also shows that I really want to learn about what they are most passionate about.
I was at that real estate and wealth building expo because I wanted to learn. Donald Trump, in his book Think Like a Champion states, “Never think of learning as being a burden or studying as being boring. It may take some discipline, but it can be an adventure. It can prepare you for a new beginning.”
No matter how you feel about Donald Trump, he certainly has distinguished himself as one of the most successful entrepreneurs of our time. Below are Mr. Trumps's 10 secrets of success.
- Love what you do. When you love what you do you work harder.
- Never ever give up. The people at the top weren't smarter, they were tougher.
- Be totally focused.
- Work hard. "The harder I work, the luckier I get." - Gary Player
- Trust your instincts.
- Hire great people.
- Get even. Fight back. Earn respect.
- Momentum. Never let anything that happens to you make you lose your momentum.
- Market yourself. Don't be afraid to brag about your accomplishments. If you don't promote yourself, no one else will.
- Believe in yourself. To be a winner, you have to think like a winner.
Check out John's latest book Deciding to Thrive. Now available on Amazon.