My company requires me to read two developmental books as part of my performance goals so I picked up “The Way Of The Wolf” by Jordan Belfort. It’s supposed to be a look at his sales strategy on how to increase closing. At first I was thinking, I hope this is appropriate for work, Wolf of Wall Street wasn’t rated PG and it was basically a movie about how these sleazy stock broker salespeople screwed people out of money. I wondered whether the book would have legitimate sales advice or technique on how to scam. Then I thought, well, he went to federal prison and then came out and wrote a book on his experience, then made it a bestseller, then sold the rights to the film, sooooooo he might actually know a thing or two.
And he does. I would describe his selling technique as a bit old school but it definitely works. If you’re a seasoned salesperson, you might recognize some of these tricks and maybe pick up a few new ones. I definitely did.
I liked how he made references to the movie to help me conceptualize his technique because it kind of ties everything together.
The main takeaway is that he uses what he calls “The Straightline System” for selling. The Straightline System is basically getting people from being uncertain about the thing you’re selling to absolutely certain. He shows you how to get them there in the most efficient fashion.
Jordan Belfort says that people can be emotionally certain or logically certain, but unless you have both a sale isn’t made. Looking back at all the deals that fell through for me, I always missed either the emotional aspect or the logical. But Jordan explains that it’s actually quite easy to get people to feel 100% like their emotional and logical decision is to buy what you’re selling. In this way, I found Way Of The Wolf as very old school. A lot of these techniques I’ve seen from very seasoned salespeople who are successful in their field.
Some of the highlights that I found useful:
That selling is more of an art. It’s more than just saying “buy this because of reason’s X,Y and Z.” It’s actually a very complex process, which Jordan Belfort breaks down for you, one with many layers.
Here he teaches you how to make a good first impression and stresses the importance of respecting the first impression and giving it your all. I used to be the type of person who thought that first impressions were a myth and that initial impressions can change over time. That is true, but it requires a LOT of work. Way Of The Wolf makes it easy to give an amazing first impression.
Tonality and Body Language was an essential chapter. Personally, I think that’s how Jordan Belfort really persuaded people to buy into his penny stocks and business ideas. He truly is the master on how to give off the right tone coupled with perfect body language. The obvious truth is that a majority of our communication is in verbal tone and body language. So how do we tap into this incredible communication resource?
Jordan Belfort masters this with his concept of future pacing and establishing an empowered state. Basically imagining yourself as already achieving a certain outcome and getting in the state you feel when you’ve accomplished something incredible. Once you achieve that and are able to tap into those two things on demand, your tonality and body language will reflect the confidence you need to persuade people to do anything!
To be honest, I used this technique before so it was nice to see that Jordan knew this little trick. It’s more than a “just fake it till you make it” ideology. The core concept is that you truly believe you’ve made it so that others can believe in it too.
Then he goes into how to prospect properly and touches on the ONE mistake all sales novices make.
That is, trying to close anyone and everyone without knowing if they’re truly capable of closing, without screening or qualifying them.
Jordan Belfort goes into detail on how to properly qualify them so that you know exactly whether they’re a prospect worth pursuing or not.
Way Of The Wolf also stresses the importance of having a good script. At first I kind of scoffed at the idea. I mean, seriously, a script?!? When I think of a script I think of canned words from a cold calling salesperson that doesn’t know his hand from his foot. But Jordan Belfort convinced me. Here’s what he said about it, “Since the day you were old enough to talk, every single movie or TV show that made you scream, laugh, cry, or shout or got you so deeply invested in the characters that you ended up binge watching the entire series in a single weekend, every last one of them was scripted.”
And it’s true, movies can capture our hearts and yet they require scripts to do that. The actors put in hours and hours, days upon days to perfect their lines and create the perfect scene. Now imagine if as a salesperson you could be as persuasive as those actors selling you those scenes? That’s why I think it’s time for me to come up with a sales script and give it a second chance.
Overall I found Way Of The Wolf as an excellent guide on how to sell, especially for beginners just starting out. Being able to think back on certain scenes of The Wolf Of Wall Street and see how he used these techniques really helped put his sales tactics into perspective. Would recommend for all novice salespeople and veterans refreshing on their sales chops.
My favorite quotes:
“Every word, every phrase, every question you ask, every tonality you use; every single one of them should have the same ultimate goal in mind, which is to increase the prospect’s level of certainty as much as humanly possible so that by the time you get to the close he’s feeling so incredibly certain that he almost has to say yes. That’s the goal.” Quote from Inventing The Straightline
“Either you’re being judged as a person who is sharp, on the ball, someone they want to do business with or you’re being judged as someone they do not want to do business with.” Quote from Advanced Body Language.
“When I say, ‘extremely powerful,’ what I mean is that once you become even reasonably proficient with this strategy you can actually get people to buy things they shouldn’t buy, and do things they shouldn’t do, without them even realizing that an extraordinary amount of influence was brought to bear.” Quote from Advanced Tonality
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