Lessons from the Wolf of Wall Street

by MPA13 Feb 2014
Putting aside the more outlandish aspects of his life, Jordan Belfort successfully developed and implemented a sales technique for his business to build one of the fastest growing brokerage firms in Wall Street history.

The ‘Straight Line’ sales technique is a structured set of guidelines used to help salespeople navigate their way around the sales conversation, says Chantel Lord, consulting director at Sales Acuity.

A major part of this technique is creating certainty in a prospect’s mind about three things – the product, the salesperson and the company, she adds. This is on both an emotional and logical level.

“I think the reason why it’s been so successful is because it can apply to just about any sales role or industry,” says Lord.

Having the right traits

Crucial to being a top-notch salesperson is having the right ‘Inner World’, says Lord. This refers to the ability to manage your emotions and state.

“You can do every training course and have all the techniques, tools and systems you like, but if you do not have the right things going on inside your head, then you’re never going to reach your potential,” she says.

“It’s very much like sport – you can execute all the skills and drills in training, but if you choke at the last minute psychologically then that can be what really lets you down.”

One of the main characteristics that separate the good salespeople from the great is the extent to which they are hungry for success, says Lord.

“It’s hard to teach, but unless you have got people who have a really strong desire to succeed, then it’s difficult to get much out of them.”

Lord also cites resilience as another key trait.

“Getting knocked back time and time again, being able to get back up, knock on the next door, pick up the phone and go to that next meeting – that’s obviously a strong one too,” she adds.

How a deal can go awry

Misunderstanding the concept of rapport is one area where brokers can get it wrong, says Lord.

“We are often taught that rapport is about finding a commonality around social aspects, for example, about what they did on the weekend, or the kids, etc.,” she says.

“But in reality, people are busy and they don’t want their time wasted. So being able to develop rapport in a way that is still relevant to the sale I think is critical.”

Another way a deal can go pear-shaped is through the broker sacrificing preparation and just relying on winging it, adds Lord.

“I think to a certain extent if you can rely on your experience then that’s great, but I think being underprepared is a big one too,” she adds.

“Not knowing what you are going to say or how to deal with different situations because of lack of preparation can really make salespeople less successful than they could be.”


  • by John | 2/13/2014 11:58:08 AM

    I have a good technique: Return you phone calls, e-mails and text - simple

  • by Peter F | 2/13/2014 12:05:48 PM

    I actually had these guys call me regularly. It wasn't so much a sales technique as it was lies and intimidation. The core of it was persistence and attempts to lure you in by using a series of small steps of agreement. Once you agreed to open an account and sent them even a small amount of money you were a goner. The guy I talked to would never hang up the phone first. So I would say, "Fred, I know you're not allowed to hang up first, so I'm hanging up on you, goodbye. He was relying on the fact that most people are too polite to hang up the phone.

    I'm not sure this "technique" really has any application in honest business.

  • by Ed | 2/13/2014 12:49:31 PM

    Let's stop glorifying criminals in what is supposed to be a legitimate industry focused publication. 2 many good honest people out there that do the right things to be giving a pat on the back to yet another financial fraud. And stop using terms like "deal can go pear-shaped". Its the most ridiculous phrase I've heard in a long time.


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