Imagine the scene: Interviewing for a sales job with no prior experience, and the CEO of the company asks you to sell him a pair of fictional headphones. Most people would have tried all different things, such as describing every feature about the headphones or why they are so good. Honestly, I’m pretty sure the CEO was expecting the same from me, but thankfully I had watched a little movie called The Wolf Of Wall Street.
A movie I enjoyed so much that I watched a talk from the main man of the film, Jordan Belfort (played by Leonardo DiCaprio in the film). In this talk, he discussed one of the key components to selling anything; questions. Asking questions such as how long they’ve been looking for this item, what they plan to use it for, and so on, can help identify the product they need and help you upsell the right product, thus solving their problem. It was these techniques I used in the moment and just like that, I had a new horizon ahead for me.
But whilst I was looking forward, let’s look back at this outstanding 2013 biopic and the remarkable story of Jordan Belfort. A young, slightly naive Belfort sees his career as a stockbroker on Wall Street come to an abrupt end following Black Monday in 1987, the largest one day market drop in history. After starting again at a specialist penny stock boiler room brokerage firm and taking it by storm with his outlandish selling style, Belfort begins a firm of his own with new ambitious Donnie Azoff (Jonah Hill).
Bringing in several of Donnie’s acquaintances, Jordan trains them in his hard selling techniques as part of a pump and dump scheme. This entailed making exaggerated statements on stock prices, before the client is eventually left with virtually worthless stock whilst the brokers take home a big paycheck. With his slowly growing business and the attraction of many young brokers, Stratton Oakmont was born.
But like many individuals who make it big, Jordan’s lifestyle takes a drastic change and starts to put him on thin ice. After leaving his wife following an affair with Naomi Lapaglia (Margot Robbie), Jordan finds himself in trouble when he is tracked by the FBI after making $22m in one day thanks to the IPO of Steve Madden. With A Swiss bank account opened, a worsening drug addiction, the FBI on his tail, his colleagues being arrested and eventually his wife leaving him, Jordan’s world starts to crumble.
Despite all his issues, he can’t let the company go and with the evidence against him piling up, Jordan is left with no choice but to turn on his former partners by wearing a wire, and even this goes wrong when he tries to inform Donnie of the recording. With the FBI made aware of his betrayal, the final nail is firmly banged into the coffin.
And with that, Stratton Oakmont dies a quick death following an FBI raid. Although he had the world at his feet, his illegal methods meant Jordan’s success was built on borrowed time, and eventually was forced to serve 36 months in jail. In spite of this, this film inspired memes galore, one of the wildest multi million businesses you’ll ever see and for me personally, inspiration which has got me where I am today.