The Way of The Wolf Book Review & Key Takeaways
Way of The Wolf: Straight Line Selling is a book by Jordan Belfort, the main character played by Leonardo DiCaprio in the movie The Wolf of Wall Street. Regardless of whether you have seen the movie or read the book Way of The Wolf, there are some key takeaways. These are based on what happened to Belfort and his investment company, Stratton Oakmont.
What they say about Jordan Belfort in The Wolf Of Wall Street is True.
He is one of those natural-born salesman who can sell ice to an Eskimo, oil to an Arab or port to a Rabbi. If you’ve seen The Wolf of Wall Street, you may remember the scene of how Jordan took thousands of kids who could barely string a sentence together and turned them into world class closers using his magical system called The Straight Line. This book Way of The Wolf is the same turnkey solution as shown in the movie. It can be applied to any business or industry. Selling is everything in life. Either you’re selling, or you’re failing.
In Way of The Wolf, Jordan Belfort, shares step-by-step instructions on using his very successful Straight Line System for any business, industry and even your personal life.
This book gives you power so you might as well use it responsibly. Jordan is gifted as he claims, gifted with the ability to sell anything to anyone. If he were a superhero, training salespeople would be his superpower, and there’s not a soul on the planet who does it better than him. He notes that you do not have to be in sales to use this system. You can use it from selling your great qualities in a job interview to selling anyone on a great idea.
In his book Way of The Wolf, Jordan promises to shorten your sales cycle, increase your closing rate, develop a steady stream of customer referrals, and create customers for life.
That’s good news because you’ve certainly been told that one of the most important skills that any entrepreneur can have is the ability to sell. The skill of selling is highly valuable because it transferable to any industry and is needed by every business. I blazed through the entire book in 3 days and discovered key lessons that every salesperson, entrepreneur, and business owner should learn if they are serious about increasing their sales.
Here are five takeaways from Way of The Wolf to help your sales team win more!
Read on for some great insight into this motivated business man that will show you how Jordan Belfort was able to build a super pumped organization. Find out the surefire method of sales, based on the art of persuasion and influence, that led the wolf of Wall Street to success!
Takeaway #1: Every Sale is The Same
Every sale is the same. While many people would disagree with this bold statement, Jordan Belfort affirms with absolute certainty that every sale is the same. To him, three key elements must line up in a prospect’s mind before you have a shot at closing them. That’s why he says that every sale is the same.
Jordan Belfort calls the three core elements the three tens — with the context being a prospect’s current state of certainty on a scale from one to ten.
These elements are your product: the customer must believe the product will fix their problems. Then you: the customer must believe you are a trustworthy person. And your company: the customer must believe your company is trustworthy. Your job as a salesperson is to maximize the trust that your prospect feels towards these three elements. You do so by building massive certainties. First, logical certainty are facts and numbers proving your product and company are the best for your customers. Emotional certainty is the gut feeling your prospect has. You can influence it using future pacing, which is painting a picture of how wonderful the future will be once your customer acquires the product.
In essence, your prospect must be absolutely certain that they love your product.
This includes both tangible things like boats, houses, foods, clothing, consumer products, and all the various services people perform and also intangible products, like ideas, concepts, values and beliefs, or any vision you might have for the future. Over the years, the simplest and most effective way to explain the three tens is to imagine a continuum of certainty. At 10, the prospect is in a state of absolute certainty about the value and efficacy of your product. At 1, this as absolute uncertainty, they think your product is a piece of shit. And 5 is sitting on the fence. The same way, if you are a likeable, trustworthy person, who is not only an expert in your field but also prides yourself on putting your customer’s needs first and making sure that if any problems arise you’ll be right their on the spot to help. That is a 10 on the certainty scale. A snake in the grass would be a 1.
Moreover, your prospect must trust and connect with the company.
A company with a questionable reputation is likely to lose customers in the same way that it won’t attract new ones. In fact, this is why it’s so much easier to sell to existing customers than to new ones, even if you don’t have a personal relationship with them. The fact that they have an existing relationship with your company means that the third Ten has already been established, leaving you with only the first and the second Tens to address.
Keep in mind that your customer won’t explicitly tell you.
They will throw in a random excuse like “I need to talk about it with my partner”. These are often smoke screens. The problem isn’t the partner or the time of the year. At the end of the day, it’s nothing but you, your product, or your company. So, how do you handle these kind of objections? You don’t, because objections are smoke screens. They are not concerned with the underlying problem. As such, your job is to focus on the three key elements and keep on reinforcing all of them until you close.
Takeaway #2: Your Body Speaks Your Mind
Since a substantial portion of communication takes place over the phone nowadays, how do you ensure that you’re being perceived the right way when your prospects can’t even see you? The answer is your tone of voice. On the flip side, if a sales encounter takes place in person, then a second communication modality comes into play, working hand-in-hand with tonality to help us get our point across. We call this second modality body language.
Jordan Belfort talks about using your tone of voice as a method of selling.
When you’re speaking with someone, it’s not the choice of words you use, it’s your tone of voice that conveys the message. He gives a great examples on a typical sentence and then how different it is after you say it in a different tone of voice. For example, if you were to say your name in a serious tone of voice, it sounds like you’re in trouble. However if you were to raise your tone of voice and say your name like you’re singing it, it sounds like everything is all peachy. The book covers a great deal in handling your tone of voice.
Get good body language or people won’t like you. Dress in a style congruent with your job.
Don’t get more than a beard, and don’t wear too much perfume. A (wo)man should not stand in front of another (wo)man, but corner them off. It comes off as aggressive otherwise. However, when the genders differ, they should definitely stand in front of each other (man facing off woman and the other way around). You should not invade other people’s space. You should make eye contact at least 70% of the time. No more, no less. Crossing your arms makes you look like you are closed to new ideas.
In unconscious communication, tonality and body language play major roles in how we get our point across — both while we’re talking and as we’re listening.
In the book, Jordan Belfort outlines 10 core tonality patterns that you can use to build rapport with your prospect and increase their trust in you. Amongst them, phrasing a statement as a question taps into people’s agreeableness, and is especially useful when introducing yourself and asking for permission to sell. Using mystery and intrigue to justify your sales pitch like using the words “because”, “so”, “reason” has an effect on people to agree with a request. Pair this with a low voice, just barely above a whisper, to create mystery, intrigue, and scarcity. Last but not least, close the sale with a reasonable tone. Everyone hates being pressured into a sale. Use a reasonable tone and ask “Sound fair enough?” at the end of your presentation and your prospect will reciprocate by being reasonable with you.
We are not won by arguments that we can analyze, but by the tone and temper, by the manner which is the man himself.
Nonverbal communication often referred to as body language is very important in getting what you want in life, especially in selling. The message you convey in a sales conversation is 55% body language and nonverbal communication, 38% tone of voice, and only 7% in the words that you use. Because people are highly visual, they are most affected by the predominant message that you convey, and this is usually communicated by the way you hold and use your body. In addition, being attentive to a customer’s body language and vocal cues will produce valuable insights for the salesperson. A shift in body language or behavior and vocal patterns often signals an interruption in thought processes or a change in attitude.
Takeaway #3: Manage Your Emotional State
Jordan Belfort refers to state management as a way to temporarily block out any troubling thoughts or emotions that might normally make you feel negative — thereby allowing yourself to maintain a positive state of mind. When you’re in an empowered state — like “certainty,” for instance — then you’re able to access your internal resources, which then sets you up for massive success. Conversely, when you’re in a disempowered state, you’re blocked from accessing your internal resources, and you’ve set yourself up for massive failure.
Throughout the book, Jordan Belfort talks about the importance of Neuro Linguistic Programming or NLP for short.
NLP is a way in which we can manage the state of our bodies to get the result we want. For example, if you were feeling depressed and noticed your body language, you would see that you would slouch a certain way. In order to get that depressed emotion, you would need to behave a certain way. This is where NLP comes in, by managing your state, you get different results, often instantly. For example, whenever you’re feeling depressed, try standing upright, raising your tone of voice, focusing on the positive things that’s happened in your life and smile. You will find that you’re no longer depressed. This is the hallmark of Jordan Belfort’s sales techniques.
Your sales success relies on your ability to maintain an emotional state that blocks troubling thoughts and emotions, allowing you to achieve your goals more easily.
Jordan Belfort calls this ability of state management. To succeed in this approach, there are four essential foundations: certainty, clarity, confidence and courage. He uses Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) to achieve these elements. This programming considers the human brain as a computer, so it can be programmed to make changes according to the circumstances. Specifically, NLP anchoring means that humans can choose how they want to feel at a particular moment. The two core elements, both of which are under a person’s conscious control. What you choose to focus on and your current physiology.
The ability to manage your emotional state of mind drives everything you do.
There are certain states you want to be able to trigger in yourself before you begin any sale and there are also certain states you want to be able to avoid, like the feeling of massive uncertainty, when you’re about to close a sale. Once you master your own states, you will be able to use this same concept to influence other people. Your state dictates how you operate in the moment. There are a number of ‘positive’ states that lead to wealth and success, and then there are ‘negative’ states that are disempowering and will undermine your success as a salesperson. If you choose to focus on positive aspects of your life, and match your physiology (e.g. smiling), you will feel more empowered and certain about yourself, and ultimately attract positive things into your life.
For instance, future pacing entails running an imaginary movie through your mind where you get to see yourself in the future having already achieved a certain outcome.
The result is that positive feeling starts running in your mind and you already feel that future achievement. When he took over Stratton Oakmont, Jordan Belfort knew that his sales staff would do a better job of selling if they acted and felt confident. He regularly urged them to manifest success, or to act “as if” (as if they were rich, supremely confident, and knowledgeable) because when they acted that way, people would treat them that way — and eventually they’d achieve the status because their actions changed their state of mind to one conducive to success. Then he took the idea a step further and taught his salespeople future pacing, not only as a sales technique (in which you paint a picture for the prospect of a better life with the product), but also as a personal visualization practice. He said that within a few months, he could see a transformation in the way his salespeople dressed, carried themselves, and interacted with prospects.
Takeaway #4: Follow The Straight Line
You can have a prospect that trusts you, your company, and your product, and still won’t buy because they haven’t crossed the action threshold, the fourth core element of the Straight Line System. The higher the action threshold of someone is, the more difficult it is to sell them, and inversely. Everyone has different action thresholds. The good news is that an action threshold is malleable.
Jordan Belfort highlights two more elements that constitute the Straight Line System: lower the action threshold and raise the pain threshold.
Action threshold is a threshold the prospect must cross over before he or she feels comfortable enough to buy. In other words, the action threshold is the collective level of certainty that a person needs to be at before they feel comfortable enough to buy. Prospects have beliefs, experiences that create a threshold of certainty. We refer to people who are very easy to sell to as having a low action threshold; and we refer to people who are very difficult to sell to as having a high action threshold. Most importantly, a prospect’s action threshold is malleable; it is not set in stone. This implies that if you can lower a person’s action threshold, then you can turn some of the toughest buyers into easy buyers.
Then, you use the pain threshold by quickly identifying what the pain of your customer is and paint a picture of their life without that pain (it’s called future pacing).
The pain threshold is the last core element of the straight line system and it’s for the toughest customers who’re not inclined to buy, even after you lowered their action threshold. Pain is the most powerful motivator of all. Pain creates urgency. The Straight Line System aims to conduct the negotiation to close the agreement in a more assertive way, just as a straight line connects two points through the shortest possible distance. Therefore, it is important that every action, every response and every attitude of the salesperson is made with one goal in mind: to lead the customer through the straight line until closure. According to the author, the differential of this system is to use the objections presented by the buyer as an opportunity to increase their degree of certainty about the sale, walking naturally to the closing.
It takes only a quarter of a second for a prospect to make an initial decision about you when you meet them in person.
Actually, it happens in less than four seconds over the phone, and in only a quarter of a second when you’re in person. That’s how fast the brain reacts. To be clear, though, even when you’re in person, it still takes four seconds before a final judgment gets made. The difference is that the process starts sooner when you’re in person — literally from the first moment the prospect lays eyes on you. How you are perceived will carry through to every part of the sale, but it starts in the first four seconds. If you screw that up and make a negative first impression, then you basically have no chance of closing the deal.
The real skill in the Straight Line System begins by looking at all the possible negative outcomes and then addressing each of those concerns.
Prospects are weighing the risk and reward of the decision during your sales pitch. So you are actually making the case that the gains of the product or service works, far outweigh the potential risk of the product or service not working. In addition, you got to make sure to start the conversation with a firm tonality which makes your prospects think that you’re sharp, empathetic and knowledgeable. Everyone has a certain threshold before they make a buying decision. The goal is to make use of language pattern and tonality to help your prospect overcome their limiting beliefs and choose to buy right now.
Takeaway #5: Prospecting Like a King
Jordan Belfort relates a story in which a novice tried to sell a pen. The problem was that the prospect didn’t even need it. Trying to sell something to someone who doesn’t need it or want it is a fool’s errand and a total waste of time. Any professional salesperson would sift through their prospects as quickly and efficiently as possible, separating out the ones who are interested from the ones who aren’t.
To sift through their prospects, there are 4 buying archetypes as proposed in the Way of the Wolf.
Buyers in heat — These are basically your best, most motivated buyers. They’ve already made the decision to do something about it now. Buyers in power — These are your second best group of buyers. The primary difference between the first two archetypes is that buyers in power aren’t consciously feeling any major pain from their unfilled need, which causes them to lack the same level of urgency as buyers in heat. Lookie-loos — weed these out because they are acting as if they’re genuinely interested in buying your product — while they actually have no intention of doing so. The lookie-loos are the most dangerous prospects that will enter your sales funnel. And mistakes — they never belonged in your sales funnel in the first place; remove them.
Remember: Before you sell anyone anything, you must know whether they need it or want it. It’s a waste of time otherwise.
As such, the three main goals of prospecting comes down to identify the lookie-loos and remove them ASAP, gather necessary intelligence from buyers in heat and power and move them down the straight line and turn buyers in power to buyers in heat by amplifying their pain. You must identify prospecting errors and those just curious and pull them out of your sales funnel as quickly as possible. You should also collect as much information as possible about your buyers if you want to lead them straight into the agreement. By increasing your discomfort with the current situation, you turn your potential buyers into hot buyers (those who are ready to take action).
You are a sifter, not an alchemist. You don’t turn water into gold, any more than you convert lookie-loos and mistakes into buyers in heat or buyers in power.
To do that, you must always use a script because each industry has its own unique set of questions that need to be asked in a certain order. You should also go from less invasive questions to more invasive questions. By asking non-invasive questions first, you give yourself the opportunity to start building rapport by actively listening to your prospect’s answers. Ask each question using the right tonality. Each prospecting question will have its own best tonality. And please: don’t solve their pains right away, or you will transform your buyer from a pain buyer to a buyer in heat. Ask questions that amplify their pain instead!
The benefits of using sales scripts boils down to not saying stupid shit, whilst figuring out which tonality to use. Since you no longer think about what to say, you can focus on other stuff.
According to Way of the Wolf, some key patterns must appear in your script to be efficient. Your script must not be front-loaded: it means you shouldn’t blow your best ammunitions right at the beginning. You convince people bit by bit, so spread your golden nuggets all over your script. It should also have stopping-off points: for a powerful statement to stand, it cannot be drowned in other powerful statements. After you made a statement, ask a simple yes or no question, such as: “does it make sense”? This enables you to keep people engaged, and to say “yes” to you. This also enables you to build rapport, and to let the statement have its effect. Keep in mind that a Straight Line Script is part of a series of scripts: you won’t use the same script the first time you are calling someone than the second or third time. As such, you need to create and use different scripts.
Way of the Wolf is the best book on sales that I have read so far. As far as the content is concerned, Jordan Belfort’s system is well articulated and structured. Every aspect of the system is detailed out with examples. Along with these numerous real life examples, there are plenty of dos and don’ts. The presentation of this content is also brilliant. Jordan’s writing draws you and keeps you engaged throughout. The liberal use of his stories also adds to this feeling of engagement.
Overall, this is a great read and you can definitely learn a lot from this book.
After reading the Way of the Wolf by Jordan Belfort, the book pointed out things that I’ve never thought about before. Having read the book, I am now more self-aware of my tonality, body language, and how I present myself. It was a shocking realization to me that we live our lives on auto-pilot most of the time and don’t realize how much we communicate our state non-verbally to the people around us.
Every technique, every strategy, and every tip mentioned in the book has been tried to tested to work in real-life situations.
Way Of The Wolf by Jordan Belfort is a great book if you are in any type of sales job! And as the book says, even if you are not in sales, you are still always trying to sell something. Jordan breaks down his state of art, Straight Line sales system and shows you how to get a client from the opening to the close down the straight line. Every day we are trying to convince and persuade people and we promise this book will only help.
Stay strong and be relentless. Success is at your doorstep; it’s knocking!
I hope you enjoyed this article on the Way of The Wolf book review by Jordan Belfort. Get a copy of this book, master it and implement it into your life and one day, you too we become the wolf of sales! Are there more lessons to be learned from the Way of The Wolf? If you have any of your own, please let me know in the comments section below.
Digital Dandy. Hacker From Heart. Workaholic. Coding Artist. Self-made.