5 Things Our CEO Learned From Jordan Belfort – The Wolf Of Wall Street

By Rob Illidge, Founder & CEO

As you may know, Jordan Belfort is the inspiration behind Martin Scorsese’s Oscar nominated movie The Wolf Of Wall Street. In the early 1990s, Jordan, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, founds his own firm, Stratton Oakmont. This is where things start to spiral out of control and ultimately led to a 22-month prison sentence.

Jordan is smaller than you would imagine, not the six foot Leonardo we loved to hate in the movie. Wearing a suit and trainers (sneakers) he spoke quickly with a thick New York accent. Immediately he explained how he worked tirelessly with DiCaprio for him to be able to portray his mannerisms during stockbroking scenes and of course, when under the influence of narcotics. Looking back, this was time well spent.

On that note, if you’re here purely for the tales of debauchery, I’ll cover this at the end.

Jordan explained that he was “born an entrepreneur” and started working, like many of us, delivering newspapers. Jordan however went one further (you will notice this theme throughout and is exactly what sets him apart), by taking over additional routes ultimately building the largest paper round delivery network in his area.

A few years later he started selling ice-cream on the beaches of New York, the problem he identified – people relaxing on the beach didn’t want to have to get up to purchase said ice-creams, so he filled coolers and went directly to the people. A simple concept you may think, but how many people have the foresight and determination to actually build a business at that age.

1. JFDI – But Learn From Your Mistakes

On his next entrprenuerial adventure, aged 23, and this is where the first lesson is learned, Jordan began to sell meat door-to-door having noticed that a friend was struggling to barely make any sales. Within months, he invested in additional trucks, moving 5,000 pounds of beef and fish a week. But he expanded too quickly on too little capital. By the time he was 25, he filed for personal bankruptcy.

One of my favourite Jordan anecdotes came from a period not long after the bankruptcy. In 1984 he successfully completed an undergraduate degree and chose dentistry as his career.

But on his first day at the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery, the dean told his students “The golden age of dentistry is over. If you’re here simply because you’re looking to make a lot of money, you’re in the wrong place”.Jordan left the room immediately.

2. If You’re Not Selling, You’re Losing

It doesn’t matter if you have a sales role or not.

“We’re always selling, and should be, it’s just the way we do things.” Whether its in business or general life if you think about it we are always trying to sell something.

Twenty – thirty years ago it was knocking on doors, today it’s e-mails and Skype conferences. The difference between Jordan and his friends or colleagues is that he identified the weakness in the way they were selling and improved upon it.

3. The Straight Line System 

“A system isn’t as good as you know until you stress it until fracture.”

The Straight Line System is all about open and close, that’s it, you’re either in control or out of control.

If you’re selling on the phone or in person, take control of the conversation, it doesn’t mean you have to talk of the time, identify how they perceive you and your product/service and allow them to ask questions

There are three core elements to this which are set on a scale – 10 being that they love your product/service and 1 is no desire at all.

  1. Love for your product
  2. Trust and connect with you
  3. Trust and connect with the company

4. Fake It – Until You Make it

As seen in the movie, bluffing started on the first day at Stratton Oakmont where Jordan noticed that larger firms were not interested in buying penny stocks. So for example, instead of selling six million shares at $1, he sold one million at $6. The higher price interested the wealthier buyers.

The theme of ‘faking it, before you make it’ was present throughout. It highlighted the importance, for his business, to be seen by the smaller investors as experienced enough to invest their hard-earned dollars, and reputable to larger, smarter businesses.

5. Be Mindful Of What Can Come Back To Haunt You

During the Q&A session, Jordan was asked if he felt any guilt during the 22 months he spent in prison for ‘securities fraud and money laundering’.

His response:

“In the early stages yes, although it was more remorse, I don’t believe in guilt”.

The next question was unfortunately to be the last, when asked why he hadn’t paid back the victims of his ‘crimes’ he ended the Q&A session and left the room. From a legal perspective I can understand why the question was rejected, but having seen first-hand Jordan’s confidence and determination I was a little disappointed he chose the easy option and didn’t tackle the question head on.

Jordan’s Favourite Business Book – Think and Grow Rich! Napoleon Hill’s best-selling is the most widely acclaimed, influential book on success ever published. It includes essential material on how to thrive in challenging economic times that was taken out of later versions but is incredibly relevant today.

If you’re reading this, you have either read the article (which I thank you for) or want to read about the debauchery. The quaalude and hooker escapades are well documented in the movie, and from what Jordan told he told us, the movie is closer to his life than you can imagine, in fact it was worse. Unfortunately that’s all we got.

It’s safe to say that Jordan is the extreme entrepreneur, he’s succeeded and failed in the most extraordinary ways. A man that was “born to be rich”

As a thank you for making it this far I’d like to offer you a 24-minute video that shows you his “secret” to instantly ramping up confidence levels, so you’re at the top of your game when it matters most.

This can be yours for 3 easy payments of £97. I’m joking of course, but if you are interested please let me know and I’ll send you the link.