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Trump University’s ‘playbooks’ show aggressive tactics to sell its seminars

Donald Trump at a news conference in New York in 2005 announcing the establishment of Trump University. A class-action suit filed by former students is set to go to trial this month.
(Bebeto Matthews / Associated Press)

Trump University instructed employees on how to play on people’s emotions to get them to buy more expensive seminars for succeeding in real estate, according to nearly 400 pages of court documents unsealed Tuesday.

The “playbooks” for the now-defunct business owned by Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, offer detailed sales scripts and tell employees how to overcome obstacles such as potential customers who have reached their credit card limits or want to check with a spouse before buying.

The documents unsealed in San Diego were part of a lawsuit by customers who say they were defrauded. Last Friday, a judge agreed with attorneys for the Washington Post that the public had a right to know what was previously confidential.

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The documents outline how employees should guide customers through “the roller coaster of emotions” once they have expressed interest.

“The motivation that they experienced can die quickly as the realities of their daily lives take over. It is our job to rekindle that motivation to make them once again see the potential of achieving their dream,” according to a Trump University “sales playbook.”

Trump University’s core customers are identified in the documents as male heads of households 40 to 54 years old with annual household incomes of at least $90,000, a college education and a net worth of more than $200,000.

The documents show meticulous attention to details such as seating at seminars. Room temperature should be set no higher than 68 degrees and music should be the O’Jays’ “For the Love of Money.”

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Trump has maintained that customers were overwhelmingly satisfied with the offerings. His attorneys didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

The 6-year-old case in San Diego is scheduled to go to trial shortly after the November presidential election.

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