7 Sales Takeaways from “Wolf of Wall Street”

April 18, 2019

While the 2014 film Wolf of Wall Street may not be a totally realistic depiction of the business world, there are valuable sales and management lessons to be learned (once you sift through the ridiculousness of Jordan Belfort). Through the rise and fall of the stockbroker’s career, there are lessons for every salesperson. Although many of Belfort’s actions were absurd, he was a leader with a vision who created a high standard for success.

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Here are seven takeaways to help your sales team win more:

1)  Establish a need for your product

In the movie, Belfort asks one of his team members to sell him a pen, a common sales interview question. The salesperson asks Belfort to hand him the pen, then to write. Supply and demand sells products. Customers only purchase something if they see a need for it and are shown how it will help their business.

2)  Incentivize your team

Throughout Wolf of Wall Street, Belfort recognized achievement in a very public manner, promoting a healthy competitive spirit. 90% of top-performing companies offer recognition and rewards to inspire their sales teams, it is proven that incentives can positively impact your team in several areas:

  • Sales is naturally competitive, so incentives keep everyone engaged.
  • Not only is everyone driving towards a common goal, but focused to win the prize.
  • Team members easily recognize who wins consistently and want to learn from them.

3)  Focus on training

Belfort didn’t hire the most educated or experienced employees, but trained them to be knowledgeable stockbrokers. Instead of doing all the work himself, Belfort’s employees always knew what was expected of them. With proper training, everyone can be on the same page about sales strategy and company goals. It’s a valuable investment that will eventually contribute to the ultimate success of your sales team.

4) Set expectations

According to Forbes, roughly one-third of CFOs feel employees aren’t aware aware of strategic objectives. Success is built on a foundation of clarity and mutual understanding of company goals. To take it even further, high expectations motivate employees. Belfort pushed his sales team because he knew they could achieve greatness. 

5)  Cold call

Belfort began his career strictly cold calling because he understood that to create a sale, he needed to pursue his customers and seek out opportunities. Cold calling also humanizes your brand. It’s easy to say no to an email. In fact, 57% of C-level buyers prefer that salespeople call them, proving it as one of the most effective ways to gain new customers.

6)  Build company culture

While we don’t suggest the illegal activity and excessiveness of the Stratton Oakmont work gatherings, it does send a message that company culture is important. More than 50% of executives say corporate culture influences productivity, creativity, profitability, firm value, and growth rates. If employees are happy while working, they are likely to be more productive as well. A strong office culture creates a sense of support and a group effort mentality for any challenges.

7)  Enjoy success

Although the pace of a salesperson’s day can be overwhelmingly busy, it’s crucial to celebrate achievements. Take the time to bask in the glow of your hard work and, if you are a manager, encourage your team to share their achievements. Acknowledgement is good for moral and keeps your team striving to accomplish more. 

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If you liked this blog post, check out:

  1. Emerging Industries Report: Q1 2021
  2. How Winmo Launches Publishing Giant Into New Verticals: Q&A with Future’s Jason Webby
  3. How I Applied WinmoEdge Insights as an Agency Client


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