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Do you remember the person Leonardo DiCaprio played in the Hollywood movie "The Wolf of Wall Street?" The one who helped thousands of young kids become world-class salespeople? In "Way of the Wolf," he reveals what his magical training system, The Straight Line, is all about and how it can bring you a massive fortune, as it did to any salesperson he taught. That’s right—Jordan Belfort is the wolf of Wall Street—and, if you are in sales, his book will be a total game-changer for you. So, get ready to discover the way of the wolf!
When, on a Tuesday evening in 1988, Belfort met with a roomful of salesmen struggling to close accounts over the past few months, he thought the most valuable thing he could teach them was that "every sale is the same." Of course, after he uttered these words, the group got even more desperate. How could every sale possibly be the same? First of all, there are countless amounts of different goods and services for sale in the global marketplace. Then, take the personal financial situations of prospects, the opinion they have about your product, about you, and the salespeople in general—they, too, are all different. As Belfort writes, "When you take all the apparent differences that can pop up in a sale at any time, it comes as no surprise that only a tiny percentage of the population feels comfortable at the thought of entering a situation that requires sales and influence."
Belfort says the idea that every sale is the same came to him that very same night when he was standing in front of dozens of salespeople desperate for a breakthrough. What he actually meant then is that despite all those aforementioned differences, your goal in every single sale is always the same—to make a prospect certain that the product you are selling makes sense to them, will suit their needs, eliminate any pain they might have, be a good value for the money, and so on. Therefore, the key objective of the Straight Line System is to enable you to increase the prospect’s level of certainty with remarkable ease.
What determines whether you will have success in making your prospect highly certain about your product? In other words, how will you know you have a shot at closing the sale? Belfort says only three elements determine your success whenever you are selling. They are:
Belfort calls the three core elements we listed in the previous section "The Three Tens," where "Tens" refers to the highest value on a prospect’s current state of certainty scale. Number one on this scale denotes the state of absolute uncertainty and, conversely, number 10 the state of absolute certainty.
The first of the Three Tens is your product. "In essence," Belfort writes, "your prospect must be absolutely certain that they love your product, or as we like to say with the Straight Line System, your prospect must think it’s the best thing since sliced bread!" If your prospect has an opposite opinion—if they despise your product—it will be difficult (almost impossible) to move from number 1 on a certainty scale to 10. Naturally, more often than not, you will find your prospect "sitting on a fence,"—that is, they will be in a state of "pure ambivalence," with the state of certainty at 5. "To a seasoned Straight Liner," Belfort writes, "a prospect who is at a 5 has a big sign on their chest, saying: I can’t make up my mind, so please help me!"
If your prospect is anywhere below 5, you have no chance of closing. People do not opt for products they think will make their lives worse—they buy things they believe will make their lives better—simple as that. However, even when the prospect is highly certain your product will serve them, it does not mean they will order it. Why? It is because they do not trust you. So, there you have it—the second of the Three Tens is you! If you want your prospect to say yes to your offer, you need to get them to like you. People prefer buying from sellers who are experts in the field, trustworthy, put their customers’ needs first, and are ready to solve any problems as they arise.
Finally, it does not matter if the prospect’s level of certainty about you and your product is high. If they do not trust the company you work for, your chances of closing get lower. For this reason, selling to old customers is much easier than to new ones because their existing relationship with your company leaves you with only the first and second Tens to address.
Every sale is the same. You probably memorized this. Therefore, every one of them can be represented in the same way graphically, which Belfort did when explaining the Straight Line System to his trainees for the first time. He drew a straight horizontal line with the words "open" on the left (marking the beginning of the sale) and "close" on the right (marking the end of the sale). In every sale, your goal is to move straight down this line to the point when you close the deal. In perfect, lay-down sales, reaching the end of the sale is easy because your prospects will listen to you, and everything you do or say will make them more sure they will buy from you. Unfortunately, more frequent are the situations when prospects try to divert you in another direction by, for instance, talking about personal issues or making objections, such as: “Let me call you back,” “I need to speak to my wife,” or “It’s a bad time of year.” As your goal is to slowly nudge them forward to the right end, you should not let them drag you into a conversation irrelevant to the sale because that will take you off the line, further away from its end. As Belfort says, “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."
So, remember—you shouldn’t let the prospects take control. Talking about matters not useful to you at the moment will not increase their level of certainty about you or the product. Instead, engage them in a conversation by asking questions that allow you to gather information about their needs, past experiences with similar products, their values, or financial standards.
Did you know it takes only a quarter of a second for someone to make a first impression of you? So, when you meet a prospect, you only have this little to get them to like you. Luckily, the situation is slightly different during a phone call where you have four seconds to leave a positive impression. During this period, Belfort says you need to be:
If in the first four seconds the prospect doesn’t perceive you as sharp as a tack, enthusiastic as hell, and an expert in your field, your chances of closing are pretty low. Why?
First of all, your customers need someone who can help them achieve their goals. Therefore, you need to come out as a born problem-solver worth listening to—to put it another way—you need to appear as sharp as a tack. This means you will demonstrate your mental speed and agility, fast decision-making, and a unique pace of delivery that immediately impresses the prospect and builds trust.
Apart from being sharp as a tack, you need to express enthusiasm for the product you are selling. It will make prospects believe you have something great to offer. Nevertheless, it can be hard to be enthusiastic about goods you doubt. For this reason, Belfort says nowadays, he only operates in sales situations where he believes in the value of the product or service he is offering.
Lastly, if you are not an expert in the field, prospects will not consider you trustworthy. Think for a second. If you have a problem—say you feel some pain—you go to a licensed doctor. If you want to have a perfect hairstyle—you seek a professional hairstylist. You do not go to someone fresh out of beauty school, right? The truth is, when we need a product or service, we all want professional help. Therefore, at the beginning of the sales talk, you need to find a way to demonstrate your extensive knowledge and understanding of the market, industry, product, prospects, and competitors.
The goal of each salesperson should be gathering intelligence from a prospect. For this purpose, Belfort created the following ten rules of Straight Line Prospecting that will help you create a "practical blueprint for gathering intelligence in your industry." Of course, you can adjust each one to your current prospecting methods if needed.
Written by one of the best salesmen of our time, "Way of the Wolf" is a guide to sales and salesmanship, equally valuable to those about to start their career in sales and those well experienced. And, the good part is—even if you are not at all interested in selling, Belfort’s book can be a purposeful read because it helps you improve your communication skills and master the art of persuasion.
Now that you finished reading this microbook, why don’t you watch the movie "Wolf of Wall Street," to see how Jordan Belfort is depicted on screen?
Jordan Belfort, also known as the Wolf of Wall Street, claims to have the ability to turn people from all walks of life into world-class salespeople in a matter of days. ‘’Way of the Wolf’’ reveals his powerful training system, The Straight... (Read more)
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