How to sell online like the Wolf of Wallstreet. Part 1.
In the movie “Wolf of Wall Street” we see Leonardo DiCaprio in the larger than life story of Jordan Belfort, a New York stockbroker who runs a firm that engages in securities fraud and corruption on Wall Street in the 1990s. The movie centers to a large part around Jordan Belfort’s (The Wolf’s) reputed, and effective beyond measure sales-technique called the “straight-line”, depicted in the movie through the example of selling someone ones pen, and is explained in various more or less entertaining examples. Disregarding mr. Belfort’s obviously deceitful ways of conducting business à la 80s, the impact of his communication strategy is beyond denial, and in this five-part article series we’ll have a look at what digital advertisers can learn from Jordan Belfort’s “straight-line” technique.
If we have a look at the simplified sales-funnel in digital we see that it resembles Belfort’s technique in many ways and in both online and offline, also depends on selling an mindset, rather than a thing.
Awareness → Consideration → Purchase
The wolf makes people aware, consider, and buy. What’s remarkable however is not what he does, but how he does it, and how his technique differs from under-performing salesmen as well as online campaigns.
1. For how long have you been in the market for a pen?
“Before I’m even going to sell a pen to anybody, I need to know about the person, I want to know what their needs are, what kind of pens do they use, do they even use a pen? How often do they use it? Do they like to use a pen formally, to sign things, or use it in their everyday life? […] Most average or newbie salespeople think that they’re supposed to sell you the pen, when a really seasoned salesperson will actually turn it into a qualifying session to find out what you need.” Jordan Belfort
Research, research, research. Both sales and advertising fail when they don’t “get” their audiences and say the wrong thing. Asking the right questions through research provides the understanding of attitudes, beliefs and aspirations of audiences. The way the Wolf does this is by asking qualifying questions not only to find the right target, but also to gather information upon which to craft a compelling story that subsequently will sell the right mindset (of which the pen is a central part) to a customer. Under-performing salesmen - as well as ad campaigns - talk about features and practical benefits when they rather should be listening attentively.
Once a thorough understanding has been formed, it’s time to use perception, imagination and empathy to bring attention to a very particular pen - through a story.
More of that next week.
Nicolas Makelberge [Strategic Planner]