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I love Shark Tank.
And I love Barbara Corcoran on that show.
She’s feisty and a bootstrapped success story.
And she grew up in New York real estate at the same time Donald Trump did, and boy does she have some stories to tell!
While it wasn’t always roses between the two, listen to her describe Donald Trump’s singular biggest skill below:
The Observer had more on the video:
New York real estate mogul Barbara Corcoran, who is best known as one of the stars on the ABC reality show Shark Tank, has interviewed, recruited and rejected hundreds, if not thousands, of salesmen over her 40-plus-year career as an entrepreneur. But no one has impressed her as much as her old real estate frenemy-turned-leader of the U.S., President Donald Trump.
“[Trump] is a phenomenal salesman. He’s probably the best salesman I’ve ever been in the company of,” Corcoran said on stage Tuesday at Business Insider’s IGNITION 2018 in New York when asked about her old days working with Trump in the New York real estate scene.
“He is five years older than me, so he was raising his company very much in parallel to me raising mine. So I did a lot of work with Donald. And I can tell you, he is the best salesman I’ve ever met in my life,” she said.
Corcoran went on to fondly recall a historic deal in the 1990s in which Trump pivoted to selling the Plaza Hotel in a bid to save his then bankruptcy-embattled business empire. Corcoran was the broker in the deal and therefore was eager for Trump to make it.
“I watched him totally not pitch about the hotel but talked about the land masses and the Hudson River and all the buildings that would be there,” she recalled. “They [the buyers] were not the least bit interested; they just wanted to buy the Plaza Hotel. I watched him and thought he was so off. But he wasn’t. In the end, they bought the land and built all those towers on the west bank of the Hudson River that we know today.”
And Trump’s secret to deal-making isn’t that easy to copy.
“He is a genius at picking out the vulnerability in someone’s personality. He can smell it, sense it and trust it,” Corcoran said. “If you’d walk into a business meeting with Donald and you are saying whatever you are saying—and I’ve seen this time and time again—he could see what your weakness is and play into it. Not the nicest thing in the world, but it’s certainly a gift I’ve never seen in anyone else.”
“That was exactly what he did in the election. He could sell anything. And he did,” she added.
Business Insider recounts another famous story between the two powerhouses:
Corcoran, now best known as one of the stars of "Shark Tank," built her fortune and reputation with the Corcoran Group, which she established as one of New York's premiere real estate firms.
In 1983, Trump oversaw the completion of Trump Tower in Manhattan, and had established himself as a force in the industry. Corcoran, who was 34, was intimidated by him.
She recently stopped by Business Insider's New York office for a Facebook Live Q&A, and though she didn't want to get into politics, she brought up a story about the Republican presidential nominee when a viewer asked how to deal with fear of failure.
"I still doubt myself. I'm ashamed to admit that after all these years," Corcoran said. But when she's afraid, a "tape reel" starts playing in her head, drowning out a negative inner monologue. While she may be best known for the way she freely speaks her mind, she said that in her 20s and early 30s she was very insecure.
A turning point came in the early '80s, when Corcoran notified Trump that his Trump Tower residential properties, which he was advertising as the most expensive condominiums in the world (this was back when such a claim was appealing), were actually in the bottom tier of the top-10-most-expensive list she was about to publish. As soon as he got the message, he called her to his penthouse office.
"I was scared to death in that mirrored elevator going to the top floor of Trump Tower," Corcoran said. "Thinking that bad voice: 'Oh, my God, what did I do this for? I'm in hot water. What am I going to do?'"
She willed herself off the elevator and stepped into his office, into a small chair that seemed to shrink beneath his giant desk.
Trump was furious, she recalled, and he was yelling and gesturing wildly. Mid rant, "all of a sudden I got the first inkling of that tape: 'Oh, yeah? You're not talking to me like that,'" she said.
"One of the most memorable and treasured moments of my life — it sounds so stupid how you treasure these things — but was when I got up out of that mini chair he stuck me in, went over to his side of the desk and had the courage to put my hand on his shoulder and look over his shoulder."
Trump was thrown off, she remembered, and the power dynamic shifted into her favor. She presented an idea to him: If she changed the way she was measuring "most expensive" (she couldn't remember the specifics, but it was something like price-per-room versus price-per-square-foot), then Trump could rightfully take the No. 1 spot he so desperately wanted.
They agreed to a deal where Trump would be able to advertise his properties with this tagline as long as he included the Corcoran Group's branding on all advertising.
"I got paid very well for finding the voice and the courage within me that day, and I've been practicing it ever since," Corcoran said.