In The Wolf of Wall Street, Jordan Belfort asks his seminar audience to “sell me this pen.” They respond with an array of selling points that could bore the hind leg off a hot lead. The real Belfort calls it a trick question because, “before I’m even going to sell a pen to anyone, I want to know what their needs are.”


Belfort offers his leads far more than mere sales scripts: the element that makes him successful is unadulterated energy. He describes the atmosphere in his office as “mainlining adrenaline.” This is somebody who’s passionate about sales ideas, and passion sells.


Belfort’s first moments on a sales call are spent asking questions, but today’s sales force would call that lazy. In an age of big data, you should know all about your lead before you pick up the phone. Your database is no longer provided by a phonebook, but a marketing department that has already studied your buyer personas in detail.

Openings have become even more important today because attention spans have shrunk, giving you a mere five seconds to grab your lead’s attention, so how do you captivate? Humor has the power to convert, but wit is “hard to do well and easy to do badly,” according to Laura Vanderkam. Positivity that leaks through the airwaves, on the other hand, can be created by anyone. The true rainmakers of the sales world teach their reps to diffuse their personalities through a dynamic, high-energy filter. Sales might well be a scientific process, but connection and excitement can’t be faked. Your team must be thrilled with your product.

Eviscerate Your Enemies

Belfort advises you to ‘eviscerate your enemies’, a dramatic prospect in a Hollywood drama that doesn’t translate well into real world sales ideas. Spreading vitriol about your chief competitors comes with a karmic consequence: your clients will quickly lose trust in you and your brand. Instead, inform your reps of industry trends and product offerings, and they’ll close sales in a way that puts genuine value on the table.

Sales Force Automation

Sales force automation is a new buzzword in the industry for excellent reason: as IT tools evolve, sales becomes more of a science than an art. Cisco is famed for its superb web-based sales tools, and automation gave SAP Americas a $250,000 boost in sales within a quarter. Your tools should use comprehensive stages and methodical leads channeling to sales reps in a way that draws managers into each employee’s process.

Selective Emphasis

Putting an exclamation point on every sentence is akin to removing emphasis from everything you say. Nuance, pacing, and selective emphasis should be fed through a data-driven process. Your task force must be informed of your most efficient selling points. You don’t necessarily need to give reps a cookie cutter approach, though. By giving them tools to measure their own results, you can prevent them from reinventing the wheel every day they arrive at the office. Let them learn from their mistakes and develop their own cadence within the confines of your communication processes.

Like any management position, sales directing success relies on a concise, well-developed agenda, but it depends on emotion more heavily than any other department does. Involving your team in developing sales ideas drives higher engagement, which is why the world’s best corporations let their reps play a role in forming their own unique strategies. The greatest returns are won by substituting intuition with data, but it’s not products that make money; it’s energy. If your lead can’t feel your team’s enthusiasm, they’re not going to “feel” your product.