One of the top candidates to be the next president of the United States, Donald Trump, is a very successful real estate guy.

This, we know.

Lately though, Trump is facing accusations that his University’s attempt to help others recreate this success is fraudulent and sleazy.

At the center of the controversy is Trump University’s Sales Playbook. This is the guide for those in sales to do what it takes to sell the University’s courses.

In the playbook the University is described as providing the “gold standard in Real Estate Education.” It also offers 5 power phrases sales people should use and makes eight sales promises.

While the former is the subject of derisive press surrounding the University as is this “silly” chart, where is the proof this is anything more than your typical, capitalistic commission-driven sales behavior?

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is pursuing fraud charges against Trump for pocketing millions from the defunct University. He must know something we don’t, because it’s not a crime to run a dodgy real estate education course — I see them all the time.

Trump, for his part, announced via Twitter today he plans to reopen the University once litigation ends.


If anything, the Trump University sales playbook appears to hold sales staff to a higher standard of “promises.”

Promise #1: Serve as Trump stewards and don’t badmouth TrumpU. Fine.

Promise #8: To empower our students in setting realistic goals and achieving success through the use of our training and education. Wait, what?

OK, there is not a sales person alive who is the least bit interested in the empowerment of their client base. Nope, their job is to sell, sell, sell.

If anything, the Trump sales playbook set unrealistic expectations on staffers.

The playbook tells sales staff to make a minimum of 80 calls a day; while trying to sell to college-educated male head of households making more than $90k/year.

That’s a hard nut to crack. The head of household is notoriously stingy and not the most vulnerable of victims. A real scam would pick easier marks.

But make no mistake, in the real estate business, the sales playbooks of other so-called education businesses are no less greed-driven.

It may be easy to label Trump University a sleazy fraud, it’s an easy target. But from a sales perspective, this is top-notch guidance, and yes, quite possibly the gold standard, from a real estate perspective.

FYI, here's a decent counterpoint from the HuffPo: Trump University, A Scam, but a Familiar One.