by LISA MACNAMARA The Australian 31/10/12 5:47 PM
GOOD public relations is essential for any new business launch. And it doesn’t get any better than this: Martin Scorsese directing a film about your life and Leonardo DiCaprio portraying you. “The whole thing is surreal,” Jordan Belfort says. “I wrote this book and before it was even published Leonardo got wind of it and Brad Pitt and there was a bidding war between them. I couldn’t believe it.”
The Wolf of Wall Street, Belfort’s autobiographical account of his drug-and sex-fuelled days as a multimillionaire stockbroker during the 1990s, is the stuff of movies. His knack for hardwiring his young traders with a do-or-die attitude of selling and the Gecko “greed is good” mentality delivered him the rock-star lifestyle.
But like any decent Hollywood plot, it all came crashing down after Belfort was found to have swindled $100 million from his clients, for which he spent 22 months in prison.
After being ordered to repay the money taken he found himself advising major banks and insurance companies and giving lectures on ethics in the wake of the GFC.
“The thing that was wrong with my business was that I was so good at creating salesmen that I wasn’t concerned at what they were selling,” Belfort says.
His latest sales pitch involves a new partnership with Australian behavioural profiling firm Acuity Consulting. Launching next year, Sales Acuity will offer a new sales training program, based on Belfort’s Straight Line selling system.
Stephen Chow, of behavioural profiling firm Acuity Consulting, and ‘wolf’ Jordan Belfort will launch a sales training program.
Picture: Dan Himbrechts Source: The Australian
“We’re integrating behavioural psychology with Jordan’s Straight Line technique,”Acuity’s founder Stephen Chow said. “We know this thing works, as a business my company has been doing this for 10 years.” At the most basic level selling is the transference of emotion, Belfort explains.
“The emotion you’re transferring is certainty: my certainty in my product that it makes sense for you and my certainty that I should be in your life as a person who can help you and the certainty is the right company.”
Acuity’s clients include BHP, Australia Post and ANZ, and Belfort and Chow have been holding meetings about their new offering. “They’re all saying the same thing: as technology has evolved it’s become so much about the product these days that something is lost — our salesforce gets too caught up trying to explain the product and the client starts tuning out,” he says.
Belfort believes Wall Street ethics have improved but says compensation structures still need to be changed away from rewarding short-term profits and that the mantra of doing the right things needs repeating.
“(The mantra) should be that the client has to come first and you can’t look to put trades and transactions out there that are going to blow up in three years, just so you can make a commission today.”