Some people would answer, “Always! He’s gotten some great deals.”

Other people would insist, “Never! He’s made so many enemies that he should be impeached!”

Both answers are emotional, and anyone who says them is ignoring facts that conflict with their emotional reactions.

He has unquestionably:
• Gotten many great deals
• Created many enemies

I recently published an online course at Udemy.com titled: “Is Trump’s Negotiating Strategy Right For YOU?”

It provides the only rational answer to that question: You should use Trump’s strategy ONLY in certain situations.

If you always use his strategy, you will:

  • Create lots of enemies
  • Miss many good deals.

If you never use his strategy, you will:

  • Leave lots of money on the table
  • Get some terrible deals, especially when you negotiate with someone like Trump.

This site will tell you when you should use his strategy.

My next post will tell you when you shouldn’t use it.

Your Interests Clearly Conflict.

Price negotiations are the most obvious example. If you’re buying, you want the lowest price. If you’re selling, you want the highest one. Since every dollar you get costs the other party one dollar, you have what game theorists call a zero-sum game.

Those games have often been compared to cutting up the pie. The more you get, the less they get. You should obviously try to get as much as possible for yourself.

You Don’t Care About the Relationship.

The less you care about the relationship, the harder you should push for the best deal. If they don’t like it, so what? For example, when you’re buying a car from a stranger, you shouldn’t care whether he likes you.

You Are More Powerful.

Since you have the power, use it to get the best deal possible. On this point I must praise President Trump. Many previous presidents made terrible deals because they wouldn’t use America’s extraordinary power. Trump knows he is the most powerful man in the world, the leader of the largest economy and the strongest military. He loves renegotiating those deals, and he has often, but not always, done it exceptionally well.

Many people intensely dislike the way he uses his power, and they constantly criticize him, but he doesn’t care. He just wants to win. And although I detest him as a person, I want him to win.

You Don’t Trust Them.

If you don’t trust someone, you must bargain hard. Some people are much too trusting, and others – especially ones like Trump – take advantage of their gullibility. If you’re too trusting, you’ll make too many concessions. If you openly share information, it will probably be used against you.

It’s Easy to Evaluate Implementation.


If the deal is easy to implement and evaluate, bargain hard. For example, if you’re buying a child’s chair, all you have to do is give them the money and take it home. So try to get the lowest possible price.

They Are Bargaining Hard.

If they are aggressive and you’re passive, you will almost always lose

American diplomats have often made that mistake. For example, after World War II we were extraordinarily powerful, and the Russians were desperately weak. Millions of Russians had died, and their economy was devastated.

The Americans called Molotov, the Russians’ chief negotiator, “Old Stone Ass.” He just sat there refusing to budge, while the Americans made one concession after another, hoping he would “be reasonable.”

Of course, since he was winning, he had no desire to “be reasonable.” We essentially rewarded his stonewalling by giving away Eastern Europe and making many other extremely costly concessions. You can read all about this idiocy in my book, Negotiate to Win: Gaining The Psychological Edge, 2nd Edition.


Good negotiators adjust their strategy to fit the situation. Fools always negotiate the same way. You should use Trump’s strategy only when you have all these conditions.

  1. Your interests clearly conflict.
  2. You don’t care about the relationship.
  3. You are more powerful.
  4. You don’t trust them.
  5. It’s easy to evaluate implementation.
  6. They are bargaining hard.

My next post will describe the conditions that shout, “Don’t use his strategy!”

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