The Wolf of Wall Street: Sales and persuasion techniques for modern marketers

“Sell me this pen,” challenges Jordan.

“Write me your name on this napkin,” replies Brad as he slides the paper serviette in front of his friend.

“I can’t, I don’t have a pen,” smiles Jordan.

“There you go, it’s a matter of supply and demand,” announces Brad triumphantly.


It is an iconic moment from The Wolf of Wall Street that shows the pure marketing genius behind many of Jordan Belfort’s schemes. The previous bumbling efforts of his friends simply show them extolling the virtues of the pen, but the real success came when Jordan was made to believe that he NEEDED the pen.



Offering temptation

One of the first rules of marketing is to make people feel that they need whatever you are selling in their lives, and so your whole strategy needs to be based around the idea of dangling something in front of your audience that they suddenly realise they cannot live without.

Jordan Belfort lived a life of fast cars and even faster women that came about as a result of putting into action some of the most basic marketing strategies to devastating effect. Much of his success came from identifying who his market needed to be. When he first began selling penny stocks, he knew that they were targeted at low earners, but Jordan dreamed bigger. He took the small fry of penny stocks and started selling them to bigger fish. By targeting the wealthier market as his own niche, he soon became the king of what he did. Not because he was the best, but because he knew who his market was.

Once he identified his market, he needed to create a plan to reach them. As he calls his first customer to demonstrate his sales prowess, he begins by earning their trust. He started selling stocks from reputable companies: “First we pitch ‘em Disney, AT&T, blue chip stocks exclusively. Companies these people know.”  Not everyone can use Disney in their sales techniques, but Jordan understood the importance of giving your brand credibility – make people who have never heard of you before trust you, and they are more likely to buy whatever it is that you are selling.

Trust me, I’m a marketeer

Of course, it’s very hard to reach a new customer and win any trust without understanding the voice that is needed to achieve that. As we survey the scene of an office hard at work selling, we can hear the repetitive voices who churn out the same script time and time again. There is a good reason for that. Belfort knew that he only had a very short amount of time to hook a potential new customer and so the wording had to be exactly right. By the time he had identified his ideal customer and found what they needed in their lives, he knew what he needed to say to them. A carefully crafted script was then put together to ensure that anyone who was making calls on his behalf was able to resonate with the person who answered in just the same way that he did.

“At a certain point, one of the questions I always ask is, ‘What is your greatest headache?’” Jordan explains as he imparts more wisdom. One of the best ways to sell something to somebody is to provide a solution to their problem. It is easy for people to dismiss things that they see as unimportant or unnecessary, but if fixes a gaping hole in their lives, then it becomes enticing – even if it was a hole they didn’t even know was there until you pointed it out to them. Identify what their issues are, or what they lack and then give them the solution they have been looking for. Often it was the promise of wealth. Sometimes it was just a pen.

Jordan Belfort’s success was part of a very rocky road, and whilst the life of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll might have been fun, his stay in prison seems less appealing, so we’re not advocating following in his footsteps entirely. However, the highs that he reached (and no, we’re not talking about the Quaaludes) are something that most of use aspire to, and he used some pretty reliable techniques to get himself there. The lesson here: understand what you want to sell and who you want to sell it to find the best way of actually selling it.

At Koobr, we are the experts in marketing a business, and we have loads of tools at our disposal to help your business get the attention that it deserves. Give us a call today on 01332 419803 or drop us an email for a chat about what works for you.

Images and video copyright Red Granite Pictures

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