The Wolf of Wall Street Provides 3 Sales Management Lessons

Jordan Belfort The Wolf of Wall Street The Movie with Leonardo DiCaprio.

The Martin Scorsese movie “The Wolf of Wall Street” staring Leonardo DiCaprio is more than just a wild ride about greed, corruption, sex, drugs and prolific language.  If we can look past the lifestyle and focus on what actually made Jordon Belfort’s Stratton Oakmont grow so fast, we can learn some powerful business and sales lessons. 

How did Mr. Belfort start, operate and build the largest over the counter brokerage house in the United States with over 1,000 brokers while still in his twenties and thirties?  To find the underlying success factors that drove the company’s growth we need to look at what Jordon Belfort did right.  Don’t get me wrong, he did plenty wrong and broke many laws, which there are no excuses or room for in business.  But we can learn from both his successes and failures.

The following sales management lessons are hidden within the movie:

Lesson 1 – Call Scripts:

Early in the movie when Jordan Belfort was starting Stratton Oakmont we are introduced to his ragtag team of brokers who were childhood friends.  Their primary sales experience was selling drugs on the streets.  The movie shows how Jordan used cold call scripts to get them to sell well beyond their skill set and experience.

Salespeople are generally more successful when they are given cold call scripts and elevator speeches to present, rather than being left to their own devices.  You want to make sure your salespeople have the proper balance of presenting themselves and the company while really focusing the message on what is important to the prospect.  Always remember the station Zig Ziglar would talk about, “WIIFM”.  Your prospects want to know “What’s In It For Me”.  If you make a cold call too much about your company, product or service without clearly showing what’s in it for them, they will feel like you are just trying to sell them something and your chances for getting a meeting are greatly reduced.

Lesson 2 – Sales Training:

In addition to the cold call scripts Jordan Belfort used with his brokers, he followed that up with extensive sales training.  The movie showed his salespeople role playing on live customer calls with the rest of the team listening.  In a recent Jordan Belfort interview he stated he was a natural born salesperson and felt the driving factor to the company’s success was the sales training he provided for his salespeople.

The importance of sales training cannot be overstated.  Every sales manager should include regular sales training into their management process.  Training is best absorbed by salespeople when it is provided on a regular ongoing basis rather than a one or two day training session.  

Lesson 3 Patience’s and Ethics:

The movie clearly shows how Jordan Belfort cut ethical corners in an attempt to get rich quicker.  If he would have followed the rules and kept his customers best interests at heart, he still would have been a huge success.  To drive this point home, during a recent Piers Morgan’s with Jordan Belfort, Piers made the comment that he has spoken to many people who personally knew Jordan Belfort while he owned Stratton Oakmont and they all said “if he would have stayed ethical, he would be a billionaire right now.”  To that Jordan Belfort stated “Yes, I’ve estimated I would be worth 10 to 20 billion dollars right now.” 

Mr. Belfort literally left billions on the table because he got caught up in greed and lost focus on what was right.  Sales managers also have to make sure they and their sales teams are growing their business ethically.  Always remain patient and make sure what you are doing is right for your company and your customers.   

Though the movie is outrageous, some national publications have checked the facts of the story and have found that there are no large discrepancies between what happened in the movie and what happened to Jordan Belfort in real life.  We should all focus on what Stratton Oakmont did right and make sure we avoid anything that is not ethical.

I look forward to reading your thoughts about the movie, Jordan Belfort and the messages hidden within the movie.


Click here to get a free MP3 “How to Grow Your Business using Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Youtube”


David Domos developed to provide content to help small businesses develop their branding, marketing and sales systems. In the past he held key leadership positions for a fortune 500 company. That company led the market in both sales and brand awareness and David was a significant contributor to its growth. David has been on the best seller list in their Direct Marketing, Communications and Entrepreneurship categories. He is a student of sales, marketing, branding & small business growth, continually focusing on the reasons people buy. Follow him on Twitter @WhyBuyFromYou or visit

Posted in Ethics, Movies About Business, Movies About Sales, Sales, Sales Management, Sales Skills
Practical Branding Do It Yourself Tools and Techniques For Building A Powerful Brand Image By David Domos
David Domos Best Selling Author



Bad Behavior has blocked 215 access attempts in the last 7 days.