13 Sales Lessons You Must Learn from The Wolf of Wall Street

Movie on Jordan Belfort’s life story shook us all. There are several sales lessons from The Wolf of Wall Street for every sales person to grasp & execute.

13 Sales Lessons You Must Learn from The Wolf of Wall Street


You can hear these words echoing in your head in Leonardo DiCaprio’s voice as we speak.

Jordan Belfort's Linkedin Post

Jordan Belfort, a young man hailing from a middle class family, filled with passion of becoming a millionaire, ends up on Wall Street. He then loses his job and resorts to selling penny stocks and builds his business out of it. A successful stock brokerage firm- Stratton Oakmont. From dreaming of becoming a millionaire to actually becoming one, Jordan Belfort witnessed it all. 

Jordan’s journey has been mapped in the iconic movie- The Wolf of Wall Street. This movie is not only the story of a young man achieving his dreams but also a movie that captures the rise of a sales leader. As a salesperson, `if you haven’t watched The Wolf of Wall Street then you have no idea what you are missing out on! But do not worry, I have watched it and have got you covered! Here are the sales lessons that you can learn from the movie The Wolf of Wall Street 👇

Movie Poster - The Wolf of Wall Street.

13 Sales lessons from The Wolf of Wall Street 

Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street left an impact on every sales person who ever watched it. I am happy to share all the sales learnings I got from watching this sales blockbuster 👇

“Winners use words that say 'must' and 'will'.” - Jordan Belfort

Have a simple sales strategy

Jordan Belfort's Linkedin Post

Never have I ever seen a sales team flourish without a sales strategy, and having a solid sales strategy was also one of the sales lessons from The Wolf of Wall Street. In the movie, Jordan lays it down step by step on how to close a client. 

Jordan knew his target audience well. He knew how to filter the leads by asking them the best qualifying questions for sales. He had a full-fledged plan for training his team. He knew what to say to the client. He had a cold call script written down on how to close a client. And finally, he had a plan on how to sell penny stocks.

Jordan’s sales strategy was simple- Make a list of prospects, start calling, and keep calling and follow-up until they are convinced to buy. That’s it. Simple, right?

Having a sales strategy ensured that Jordan’s team worked towards their final goal and carried out conversations with clients with the clear intention of getting results - that was to sell penny stocks! Similarly, you need a result-oriented strategy for your team as well. 

While curating your sales strategy, keep another sales lesson from The Wolf of Wall Street in mind- keep it simple. Your sales strategy does not have to be a 10-page-long thesis. And it is not supposed to have a fixed number of steps either. Instead, design a sales strategy that works for your business and different types of sales. Keep it simple and as precise as possible. If your sales strategy is just 4 steps long, so be it. You do not have to worry about having 7 steps or 11 steps. 

Jordan kept things simple both for himself and his team. The more easily understood things are, the easier to implement them. So do not get fooled by ten steps long sales strategies of other businesses. They may need an extended plan, but your business may not. Do what suits your business the best, and keep that simple! 

Focus on learning by doing

Jordan Belfort’s team started from scratch, with little to no experience in sales or stock markets! Most of the team members did not even have proper education. If you have watched the movie, you must be aware that the atmosphere of Jordan’s garage firm was far from the atmosphere in any office! But beyond all the partying and lavishly spending dollars, there was constant doing, training, and learning on the job.

The scene where Jordan pulls out a script to sell penny stocks to the ultra-rich is where it all started. He turned unqualified people who did not even know the ‘S’ of sales into well-performing individuals who started turning tables. Jordan’s training methods were ethically questionable, but they worked well because he talked to his team in a language they understood. Between all the fun and games, the result was growth! 

So invest your time in your people. Sales is an ever-evolving world. One day someone might tap into a novel way to convert a client, while someone else might find a way to motivate the team. All of it needs to be discussed and taught regularly to your team if you want to drive results. 

However, today is far apart from what Jordan’s days used to be. Today, you need automation so you do not have to tell the same things to your team members over and over or repeat them to anyone who joins you. It is nothing but sheer waste of time and also not the smart way. You need smart work and hard work together to succeed in sales in the 21st century. So how can you save time that you would otherwise spend in conveying the same thing over and over?

To automate your repeat sales tasks and make training easier, you can use a SalesOS that not only makes your sales efforts easier but also automates your learning. Record and upload videos,  share content that you find useful, and, if you are a bit funky, might even add evaluation modules. Also, do not underestimate what the right sales training can do for you and your team. Invest good resources in training your team well.  

Find your niche and master selling it

Who would have thought of making 70 grand a month by selling penny stocks? Jordan Belfort did. Not only did he sell the stocks, but he also enjoyed doing that. He had become passionate about it because of the hefty commission. It was about that time when he realized that it was his forte, and this was what he wanted to do. Lesson learned is to sell one thing but sell it well. 

When it comes to sales, you cannot do everything. Of course, you can always learn everything the sales world has to offer, but in the end, you need to find your niche and be proficient in it. Be so good at it that no one can even come close to what you do!

Once you know where you perform best, you will then be able to grow in all spectrums of your personal and professional life. Most of all, you will enjoy doing it! 

Have clear goals and targets

If you are rowing without directions, then eventually, you’ll be lost in the sea. Jordan knew it, and that was exactly why he always had a clear direction to reach the shore. On his day of selling penny stocks, he knew what he wanted in life, his passion was making money, and he worked in that direction every single day, making an astonishing amount of money. 

Every sales team needs to set goals for themselves. If they do not know how many clients they need to close or how much revenue they need to generate, then things will go haywire, threatening the survival of the company. Having the targets and goals ensure that your team is working in the right direction. 

So make your targets crystal clear along with a solid inbound and outbound sales strategy plan to ensure that your sales team never lags behind. 

Look for potential more than experience 

At first glance, Jordan’s team looked like a joke. But who would have thought that the same team would take Stratton Oakmont from a garage to a huge office with all luxuries? Jordan picked up the potential for his team instead of experience. 

Jordan Belfort’s team on the first day of Stratton Oakmont.

Jordan looked for people who shared the same passion as him, who were willing to put in the work. Who were ready to learn and who did not mind going above and beyond. Jordan was referred to as ‘lower than pond scum’ on his first day; he had potential which was not well recognized, so he understood the importance of potential over experience and never disrespected it. 

Not even once he made his team feel incompetent; rather, he did the opposite. He told his team what they were capable of doing. He trusted his team, and most importantly, he trusted his training and rest, as we know is history. That’s why today, Jordan is so well regarded as one of the best sales influencers in the world, making a permanent mark on the sales world. 

Never let your team’s motivation die 

One sales lesson from The Wolf Of Wall Street you learn throughout the movie is how important it is to motivate your team. Jordan Belfort was a prodigy when it came to motivational speeches. His speeches were extreme, loud, and ethically repulsive at times, but they always hit his employees at the right spot. He did not hold back when it came to instilling motivation in his team. One of my favorite examples is when Stratton Oakmont had to take the shoe giant ‘Steve Madden’ public.

Jordan starts off by telling how important Steve Madden is and the place and power it holds in the market. He further adds how big of a moment it is for Stratton Oakmont since everyone was pining for Steve Madden, and they are the ones who finally bagged it as a client. Without wasting much time, he then emphasizes the role they have to play.

Jordan: “You see those little black boxes? They are telephones. Now I am gonna let you in on a little secret about these telephones. They are not gonna dial themselves, Okay!? Without you, they are just worthless hunks of plastic.” 

“Like a loaded M16 without a trained marine to pull the trigger. And in the case of telephone, it’s up to each and every one of you.” 

“My Highly trained strata nights. My Killers who will not take no for an answer. My warriors who will not hang up the phone until their client either buys or dies!”  

These words of his followed by loud applause and cheering. While watching the movie, you can feel how pumped his team gets. You can feel the energy flowing in every single team member, and you can feel that they are ready to give it their all. Which they give and get tremendous results. 

Find a problem and offer a solution

“Sell me this pen”- The Wolf of Wall Street

Jordan: “Brad, show ‘em how it’s done. Sell me that pen.” 

Brad: “Why don’t you do me a favor and write your name down on that napkin for me.”

Jordan: “I don’t have a pen.”

Brad: “Exactly! Supply and demand, my friend!”  

This is an iconic scene from the movie that has been picked up over time by sales professionals, and there is a solid reason behind that. You cannot sell something unless it is solving a problem. 

For instance, a car solves the problem of mobility, a house resolves the problem of living, groceries resolve the problem of hunger, and so on. 

So my question to you is, would you first tell the customer about the problem that your product is solving for them or the features of the product?

The former, of course! 

Features are secondary, and they come into the picture once the customer has found the right solution to their problem. For example, if I would pitch Zixflow to a sales professional, then I would not be sharing its features that it is an AI-powered solution or it is easy to use; rather, I would pitch how it will resolve the problem for the sales professionals.

I would share that they can automate sales workflows, and their mundane tasks will be taken care of. 

Further, I will add that the lead generation can be handled by the Leadbot, and not only that but generated leads would also be added to the pipeline. I will emphasize how the sales team would be able to save time by automating redundant tasks. 

Lack of time is a problem faced by every salesperson, and Zixflow helps in resolving that. Similarly, you find the problems that your product is solving for your customers, and instead of selling features, sell the solution and watch your revenue peak. 

Do not quit during a hard time

Jordan was ready to put in the effort and work as a stock boy at an electronics store.

When things are not easy, it is a natural response for us to give up. And that is exactly what we are not supposed to do. When Jordan lost his job on Wall Street, a job where he was hurting a hefty amount every day, he still did not give up. He was ready to work even as a stock boy to survive and yet did not give up on his dream of becoming a millionaire. 

Having that kind of dedication and positivity when you are at your absolute low is not easy, but it is what you need. Quoting the cliche here- “Brightest diamonds are built under pressure.” Embrace your adversity and keep going. 

The Wolf of Wall Street clearly conveys that most entrepreneurs start with nothing but only those who find success and do not surrender to adversity. Ups and downs are a part of the journey; you should be willing to enjoy the highs and work through the lows. 

Build and foster customer relationships 

Jordan never lets a client go without fighting hard for them. He would do everything in his power until he converted the client. He would have planned conversations, he would say the things exactly the client wanted to hear, and he would end on a healthy note by building the relationship with the client. Even though Jordan was taking advantage of his client, he still found relationship selling as the best method of succeeding at sales

An equivalent of relationship selling in modern times is the sales cadence. Instead of sitting with the client on call to make them trust you, you go behind the screen and make them recognize you by connecting with them on multiple platforms. 

Sales Cadence by Zixflow with up to two-third automated tasks to help you scale up building relationships.

Sales cadence is the sales activities you take up to engage with your prospects to make them trust you. For instance, first, you will engage with your prospect through an email. Then two days later, you will comment on their social media page, then 5 days later, you will reach out to them through a call, and so on. With a sales cadence, you follow up with your customer in a fixed pattern that has proven to be most result oriented. 

The best thing about a sales cadence software is that you do not have to keep track of things yourself. You can automate sales cadence activities and save manual effort. 

So put your relationship building on autopilot.

A good salesperson can sell anything

As a salesperson, you need to be willing to sell anything. Jordan understood this, and without too much contemplation, he went from selling huge renowned stocks to penny stocks. And he still gave his 100% to it. Not only that, he also found his niche in penny stocks, and pink sheets became his favorite because of the profit they gave him. 

He made an entire company stand on selling penny stocks. If he had been reluctant about selling through pink sheets, we would have never got an iconic movie like The Wolf of Wall Street. 

Take risks, be willing to go above and beyond, experiment in sales, and never refrain from selling anything.  

Incentivize your staff

Belfort loved spoiling his staff. He loved making them feel valuable and used to incentivize them for their efforts. You and I might not agree with his ways of incentivizing the staff, but we sure have to agree that it is important to incentivize your team. 

Sales is a spine-breaking industry, and if someone has put in the work, they need to be rewarded for the same. Words of encouragement and a huge round of applause make for a good reward, but increasing the commission percentage or a few days of paid leave makes a better one. You cannot expect your sales team to function at their maximum efficiency without showing what is in it for them. Why should they put so much effort into driving results? You need to give them reasons. 

Incentives also act as motivation for your team and make them feel further appreciated for their continuous hard work. So do not hold back on rewarding your team when they deserve it. 

Know your team like family 

The movie The Wolf of Wall Street is full of nuances as well as sales lessons. While looking from the surface, you might have missed a few sales lessons it had to offer, but we did not. One of the lessons being- to know your team, know their struggles, know where they come from, and know what they are putting online. Once you know these details about your team, you will be able to tap into their strengths and also help them in any way possible. 

Stratton Oakmont was a closely knit team because Jordan knew every single of his team members, and without judgments, he trained them to become the best version of themselves. Jordan’s ‘Not Leaving’ speech was full of instances that showcased how well aware he was of his team members.

One of my favorite moments from that speech was when Jordan shared about Kimmy, how she was struggling in the beginning, how she found her home at Stratton Oakmont, and how she is now winning in life and at work. He mapped her journey in a way that he even got Kimmy to shed a tear or two. 

Knowing your team better will only help you get closer and understand each other better. Eventually, you reach a point of understanding where you are well aware of your team’s strengths and weaknesses, and you can work around them accordingly. In sales, your team’s support matters a lot, especially during hard days, and knowing your team will help you extend that support at the right time. 

Confidence is the key 

At last, the entire movie conveys one thing, and that is- Confidence is what you need to succeed. You need to be confident in your skills. You need to be confident in your product. You need to be confident about what you are selling. When you are confident, your customers are aware that you know what you are doing, and it pushes them to trust you. 

Customer trust has to be earned, and once you are confident, your customers gain confidence in you. 

Watch, learn, and nail your sales goals

Now that you know what sales lessons you can get from The Wolf of Wall Street, go and watch the movie again with a different perspective. Watch and learn what the movie has to offer and implement. Also, tweet to us any new findings the movie has to offer to the sales world and we will ensure to share the best ones in our sales newsletter. 

Sale is a playground where you have the freedom to play according to your rules, and there is no limit to securing goals. So, start hacking your sales right away with the right mindset, great sales motivation, and since we live in the tech world, with the best-in-class SalesOS!

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