Way of The Wolf By Jordan Belfort ~Full Book Review

Way Of The Wolf Jordan Belfort Book Review
Way Of The Wolf Jordan Belfort Book Review

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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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Businessman talking on cell phone and writing in office

I came across this post years ago on LinkedIn. I found that it really helped me to get a sense of where I was going and how I could make better sales. This was definitely something I needed during my brokering years, when I was only making commissions as my source of income.

Those were the good old days.  Nothing makes you a better sales person than when you’re forced to sell or not eat.  It’s a hard knock life out there and honestly most jobs require that you know how to sell, at least in some capacity.  The key is to be persistent, use follow-up, be creative and use all avenues to generate income.

So whether you are a novice, or are a seasoned sales person, this is a good cheat sheet to help you keep your priorities in line.

I’m leaving the link at the bottom, but here it is summed up:

  • 92% of all customer interactions happen over the phone.
    • Yes, making phone calls is probably the best and most efficient way to get new business.  I make an effort to call all my clients.
    • If I have bad news or if I have something urgent, I’ll make sure to do it over the phone.
    • I’m not sure if this includes text messages, but I’ve found text messages to be highly efficient for an immediate response.
  • It takes an average of 8 cold call attempts to reach a prospect.
    • Follow up, follow-up, follow up.
    • I take it a step further and follow-up via text, phone and email.
    • If someone isn’t ready to buy now, I always ask, “when will you foresee that you’ll be ready.”  I don’t let people go without a timeline of when to call next.
  • The best time to cold call is between 4:00 and 5:00 pm.
    • I personally find, 5:00pm-7:00pm is also pretty productive.  People are done with work or are finishing up and are more likely available to take calls.
  • 35-50% of sales go to the vendor that responds first
    • OMG, yes! This is probably the most annoying thing about sales.  When people are shopping to buy something, it’s usually very urgent, so they call everyone who sells what they’re looking for.  Being the first person contacted and responding WILL help your closing ratio.
    • My issue is that you always have to be available to cater to clients that need immediate attention.  Don’t forget about work-life balance.
  • 80% of sales require 5 follow-up calls after the meeting 44% of sales reps give up after 1 follow up.
    • If you were able to get a meeting, you should be able to do 5 follow ups minimum.  The effort to get a meeting is hard enough, quitting after 1 followup makes the meeting wasteful.
  • Thursday is the best day to prospect, Wednesday is the second best day.

 

  • Nearly 13% of all the jobs in the U.S are full-time sales positions.
    • Pretty much all the work I’ve ever done has been sales. Perfume sales, product sales, real estate sales.  Sales isn’t for the faint of heart.
  • Over one trillion dollars are spent annually on sales forces.

 

  • In a typical firm with 100-500 employees, an average of 7 people are involved in most buying decisions

 

  • 78% of salespeople using social media outsell their peers.

 

  • Email is almost 40X better at acquiring new customers than Facebook and Twitter.
    • Email is king in terms of converting sales.
    • Don’t forget the power of an email newsletter or subscription list.  I’ve gotten some really great clients from my subscription list.
    • Just remember you need a large email list before you can see it work its magic.  I think I had 1000 emails before I started getting people reaching out from the list.
  • Salespeople who actively seek out and exploit referrals earn 4 to 5 times more than those who don’t.
    • Hell, some of my best opportunities have been from referrals.
    • Don’t underestimate the power of “word of mouth”
  • 91% of customers say they’d give referrals.  Only 11% of sales people ask for referrals.
    • Referral clients are king!  It’s a free way to grow your business, I say why not!\
  • Only 13% of customers believe a sales person can understand their needs.
    • The client always thinks they know better. It’s our job to manage expectations and explain what we are selling.
  • 55% of the people making their living in sales don’t have the right skills to be successful
    • A lot of people do it part-time!  A lot of people don’t treat it like a job or assume they have the right personality.  You have to learn the skills first!
  • Continuous training gives 50% higher net sales per employee

 

  • The average company spending $10K-$15K hiring an individual and only $2K a year in sales training

 

  • It takes 10 months or more for a new sales rep to be fully productive.
    • So don’t change companies every time you go through a downturn, it just hinders you from being productive.  You need to work through it and find out how to make your business work for you.
  • Retaining current customers is 6-7X less costly than acquiring new ones.
    • Maybe you’re current customers are needy and time-consuming.  Giving them up, would mean putting 6-7X more effort to finding new ones.  Stay the course!
  • The average company loses between 10% and $30% of its customers each year.
    • Losing customers is normal.  That’s why it’s important to keep building your customer base through different avenues.
  • After a presentation, 63% of attendees remember stories. Only 5% remember statistics.

Here’s the link to the original website I found.  The general gist is that you have to be persistent as hell when you’re in sales.  Your sole job is to sell people products or services that they need or might not even realize they need yet.

Happy Selling!

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