If you are a serious real estate investor or realty sales agent, reading and applying “Trump-Style Negotiation” by George H. Ross will pay handsome dividends in the form of more successful real estate transactions. This new book offers an insight into the negotiation strategies of both Donald Trump and his trusted longtime adviser and attorney, George H. Ross.
This extremely well-written book reveals Trump’s big thinking negotiation strategies. He focuses on the real estate goal. However, Ross reveals, Trump has little patience for details of the transaction, and he leaves those to trusted associates such as Ross who has worked with Trump for more than 30 years.
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But this book isn’t just about Donald Trump’s negotiation tactics. It is primarily George Ross’s negotiation strategy playbook. He emphasizes how he tries to establish rapport with the other party to the negotiation before moving on to the actual transaction.
This is a book serious real estate entrepreneurs will want to read several times to fully absorb the author’s valuable negotiation strategies. Having taught a negotiation course at New York University for many years, Ross has highly organized his negotiation thinking so he knows what works and what doesn’t.
Along the way, he shares how he reluctantly met Trump (as a courtesy to Trump’s father, Fred), how he worked out the very complicated details of Trump’s first transaction (the Grand Hyatt Hotel on 42nd Street in New York), and how Trump came to rely on Ross to handle the details of Trump’s complex transactions.
The book is filled with real-life negotiation examples that work. It reads almost like a novel because it is packed with suspense, as each transaction works its way to a usually successful conclusion. If the book has a weakness, it doesn’t provide enough details.
For example, Ross shares how a Minneapolis entrepreneur wanted the local franchise for Trump Ice bottled water. When he learned Ross was coming to Minneapolis on a book tour, he phoned Ross, arranged to pick him up at the airport, and had a police escort take them to a Minnesota Twins baseball game where Ross, at age 76, threw the ceremonial first ball and got it across home plate for a “strike.” The entrepreneur even gave Ross a Twins uniform with his favorite number 16 and name on it. After that, negotiating the franchise was easy. But readers never learn that entrepreneur’s name.
The keys of Trump’s real estate negotiation success, according to Ross, are: build trust, build rapport, and create satisfaction. He emphasizes how important it is to find a common ground with the negotiation opponent. Then take time to establish rapport by talking and listening. Finally, create satisfaction so each party involved in the transaction gets everything he/she wants.
A good example of that is the negotiation where Trump assembled the land where the famous Trump Tower is now located on New York’s Fifth Avenue. Ross says, “Donald Trump rarely starts off any negotiation by telling the other side exactly what he really has in mind.”
Then he explains how Trump and the late Leonard Kandell negotiated a land lease under Kandell’s building on 57th Street and unused excess air rights, which could be used to increase the height of Trump Tower. Ross next reveals the intricate negotiation details of how both parties got what they wanted. To this day, Ross is an adviser to the Kandell heirs.
This is the best real estate negotiation book I’ve ever read (and I’ve read quite a few). Not only does it organize and explain negotiation principles, but it provides abundant real-life examples.
Chapter topics include “How I Became Donald Trump’s Negotiator”; “What is Negotiation Really?” “Build Trust, Friendship, and Satisfaction with the Other Side”; “Probe to Learn What the Other Side Wants”; “Be a Master Salesman”; “Control the Pace of the Negotiation”; “Psychological Negotiating Tactics”; “Information is Power: Become the Expert on the Topic You’re Negotiating”; “Keep Multiple Solutions in Mind”; “Win Through Discipline”; “Power Negotiating Tactics and Countermeasures”; “Negotiating with Difficult People”; “Get Tough Strategies and When to Use Them”; and “The Most Intricate Deal I Ever Negotiated.”
This real estate book is so valuable it should be read only one or two chapters at a time. I plan to re-read it because I’m sure I missed some key tactics in the first reading. This book is so well written it should become the textbook for college real estate negotiation courses. On my scale of one to 10, this great book, which cannot be recommended too highly, rates an off-the-chart 12.
“Trump-Style Negotiation,” by George H. Ross (John Wiley and Sons, Hoboken, NJ), 2006, $24.95, 259 pages; Available in stock or by special order at local bookstores, public libraries, and www.Amazon.com.
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