Above is my biz partner Shiv with Jordan Belfort for his weekend mastermind, me & Shiv have personally been following the infamous Wolf of Wallstreet sales strategy of the Straight Line Persuasion for years, since 2015 to be exact.
I'm gonna talk about some of my biggest takeaways from it on this review.
Intro - Who we are... (& How long we've been studying Straight Line Persuasion)
Before we get into it.
Let me tell you a quick funny story, here's me and Shiv (my friend / biz partner)
He goes to Jordan's mastermind and somehow ends up getting into the photo by the legendary David Yarrow (he's on the far right)
By the end of the mastermind, Jordan offered Shiv an offer to work with him for $100K per month, but he declined. Now Jordan calls him personally just to chat. To read the full story of this mastermind go here.
Me and Shiv run a lead generation business, which allow us to not just sell products for other people and earn a measly commission, but use our sales skills to acquire small business clients that pay us recurring monthly fee for our marketing skills which turn into long-term passive income.
Hence why lead-gen is my top recommendation if you're looking to start your own business.
When you have sales skills PLUS marketing skills, you dominate.
Shiv and I, also run a sales team, so we talk about the Straight Line Persuasion often, even though its not the only sales system we use.
Like I said, I've been a fan of Jordan Belfort & SLP for a while, I even went and saw him live.
This was posted on October 2016 on my instagram, and we're still talking about Jordan Belfort's SLP if that gives you and indicator on how thoroughly I've studied his stuff.
So let's get to the nitty gritty.
My top take aways from each section of his flagship sales training, the same one that gave rise to the infamous Stratton Oakmont brokerage firm back in his Wolf of Wallstreet days.
Key Takeaways from Each Module
Module 1: Tenets Of Straight Line Persuasion
- Develop rapport quickly by appearing & sounding like an expert, also "active listening" which is making certain noises as your listen like "mhhmm" "ahhh" "yup" "gotcha" - this makes the prospect *feel* at the unconscious level that he is being heard & understood.
Gather intelligence by asking intelligent questions (what's their pain points?, why do they want it?, how long have they wanted this or had this problem?, etc)
Control the interaction, Keep them on the straight line
Essentially, the "straight line" allows you to visualize the sale, that you're always move that prospect closer and closer down the straight line to the sale.
You're always in control, if you feel the conversation slipping into Pluto, it's your job to bring that conversation gently back to the line, back to the pain points, back to the product.
Its all about doing this with elegance, not being pushy & without breaking rapport.
You do this with your tonality & body language, and knowing your product very well, which says that you're:
- Sharp as a tack
- You're an expert
Module 2: The Art and Science of Prospecting
This is the art of how to elegantly qualify buyers from non buyers, there's 3 categories
- People that are ready to buy
- People that are on the fence
- People that will never buy (they aren't even interested)
The second category of people is where the money is made as an expert salesman.
The SLP is all about persuading that category.
It is NOT about trying to convince non-buyers into buyers. They might be non-buyers because:
- Don't want or need your product
- Shouldn't be buying (because the product or service isn’t right for them)
- Can’t afford your product
The Art is all about identifying the non-buyers quickly and elegantly and weed them out of your potential prospects.
I can usually spot out a non-buyer within minutes, 10-15 min tops.
The untrained salesperson will stay on the call for an hour when all the signs were there that they were talking to someone that was never going to buy anyway.
This is the main point Jordan Belfort & Grant Cardone got into a fued for:
Grant Cardone really didn't make much sense through out this podcast.
He went into that room to disagree with Jordan and battle with him because in his scientology doctrine of what's called "ethics" says that you're not supposed to agree at all with anyone that has the background of the Wolf of Wallstreet.
I think Grant still has a lot of good things to learn from, but for me sales is not one of them.
Jordan's sales training has been much more practical and helpful for me.
Grant is all about banging out volume, not much strategy, just volume will solve all your problems. ("No interest is a level of interst" is not really helpful for anyone)
Jordan is all about efficiency & increasing your potency on every sales. How to make more money in less time.
The key to identifying your buyers from non-buyers is to ask questions and LISTEN.
Module 3: Mastering Art of Tonality
This is one of the key lessons in SLP, especially those that are doing phone sales, because it is through changing the tones of your voice you can make an impression on someone at the subconscious level that you're an expert & empathetic, to convey to them that you can help solve their problems.
We are all naturally changing the tones of our voice depending on how you're feeling in the moment.
This is about consciously wielding different tonalities to effectively communicate to your prospect so that they feel good when talking to you like they're talking to a friend, not just another dead-pan salesperson that's bugging them.
You want to master these skills so that you can empower someone to overcome their limiting beliefs and buy something if that's really going to help them.
Its def hard to describe tonality by writing so...
Let's watch Leo do this beautifully in the following clip (FYI: he was trained for a year by Jordan and these tonalities that he's using are straight out of SLP)
His sale starts at 2:47 with "Hello John, How you doing today?"
The first few words out of your mouth is key, notice the tonality of "How you doing today?" is elevated, this displays that you're enthusiastic, like you're haivng a great day. People are immeidately drawn in to people that are exuding enthusiasm.
"You mailed in to my company a postcard a few weeks back, requesting information on penny stocks, that had huuuuge upside potential, with very little downside risk, does that ring a bell?"
ok so there's few different things going on here so let me break it down
- Orange = big emphasis on the word "huge" you can feel Leo's excitement. A good lesson here is notice how Leo squints his eyes and even makes a hand motion, yes in order to change your tonality, one of the most effective ways is to change your body language or act out with your body, even when your on the phone.
- Red = he said "Very little" with some force and authority which conveys a tonality of absolute certainty. You're almost saying "TRUST ME on this" with your tone.
- Blue = notice "does that ring a bell?" is higher pitch especially the the last word "bell" ends in a higher note. This communicates "Hey no big deal" Jordan loves to use this tonality with "got a minute?" like so: "Hey my name is John I want to talk to you about X product, got a minute?" When you raise your voice and end that "minute?" on a high note. It makes you disarming, if you end on a low note, its this stern voice that puts people's guard up like you're an interrogator. or if you stay mono-tone it comes across another miserable sales person that hates his job and just wants to sell me something...
"Ok the reason for the call today John, something just came across my desk today, it is perhaps the BEST thing I've seen in the last 6 months, if you have 60 seconds I'd like to share the idea with you, got a minute?"
- Purple = whisper or lowering your voice, it creates a feeling of scarcity, it causes the prospect to listen even harder, like you're sharing a secret, something very valuable. Jordan does this all the time.
- Red = back to the tonality of absolute certainty, Leo even slaps his hands together to put more emphasis, again this is exactly what Jordan does to create this tonality of absolute certainty.
- Blue = Again always ending the opener with the up beat, disarming tone to ensure that the prospects guards don't come up. At this stage, you're only asking for the permission from the prospect to be able to pitch to them. "got a minute?" in a upbeat tone is a good line because its like "sure why not? everyone has a minute..."
The rest of the pitch is Leo oscillating between the tonality of absolute certainty and the scarcity tonality of whispering. Now there might be some exageration on Leo's part because it is a movie but it is pretty spot on, he nails it. The tonality he is using is all taught in the SLP, and he's even using the very same lines & body motions taught in the course.
Module 4: Being a Leader and Visionary
The core lesson from this module is that people won't buy into your goals, but they will buy into a vision.
Most people out there don't have a vision for the future.
So when they find someone with a compelling vision, we want to do whatever it takes to be a part of that vision.
The entire world was sold on Steve Jobbs because he was a visionary.
Steve had a purpose to impact the world.
People that bought into his vision, didn't need to know about all the specs of a new product he released, they already had their credit card in hand ready to buy.
This is why it is important to build your why.
People wanna do business with people that are up to big things.
This becomes more important as you sell more higher ticket items.
You can list all the benefits of a product, but the prospect will realize there's still some risks involved, so he's gonna have to pull the trigger on faith.
This is where you have to sell yourself.
So for my digital marketing lead generation business I might use a line like this.
It doesn't have to always be this huge vision about changing the world like Jobs. It can be about painting the vision of you wanting to be the best, like above.
You painting the vision about the client's future.
"Once we get this problem solved, you'll be on the beach of Cabo with your wife & kids, upset that you didn't find me sooner."
Module 5: Inner Game of Sales
One of the biggest lines I remember from his motivational coaching was this:
He is the ultimate emobiment of that line not just because he is someone that was able to turn his life around from a very bad place but because he has experience coaching what society would consider losers, the high school drop outs how to become closers through SLP and made them into millionaires.
Jordan has a gift in the way he speaks and the tonality he uses at the unconscious level, the same gift that allows him to persuade and sell at the highest level, is the same gift that he uses to convince you that you are capable of achieving greatness.
For me, Jordan as a motivational speaker is right up there with the likes of Tony Robins, however I resonate with Jordan more.
The way he enunciate his words and the tonality, grips you at the heart and lights a fire in you - very instrumental when I first started my entrepreneurial journey in 2014.
It got me out there cold calling or cold approaching business owners because Jordan convinced me I could be someone great if I worked on my sales skills.
& I did.
Outside of my mentor Dan from the lead generation coaching program, I would say Jordan Belfort had the biggest impact on my belief that I could be a successful entrepreneur.
I played module 5 on repeat for many hours to engrain that belief into my brain.
Module 6: The 5 key Elements of the Straight Line System
1. The art of sifting
- This is intelligence gathering, don't throw your best pitch right away - save that till the end, dig for all the possible reasons why the prospect might not buy, have they been trying to buy the product previously? what prevented them from buying?
2. The action threshold
- the threshhold at which the prospect will pull the trigger. Everyone has built up a certain threshold before they make a buying decision. If they have bad experience in the past, that threshold might be higher. The goal in SLP is to make an air tight logical case why they should buy, address their limiting beliefs & use language pattern and tonality to make an emotional case why they should buy RIGHT NOW.
3. Tipping the scales
Basically a good way to visualize the straight line sale, you're asking questions, digging for the person's limiting beliefs, digging for person's true motives, and you're basically making the case that the positives of if the product or service works, far out weigh the potential risk of the product or service not working.
There's people that look at the glass half empty versus half full. Prospects are weighing the risk reward of the decision during your pitch, some are naturally easy sales because they're optimists and they naturally paint the positive future outcomes.
The real skill is in persuading someone that may begin to look at all the possible negative outcomes and then you methodically nullify each of those qualms.
Before I even go for the close, I like saying things like "before I talk about how you can get started, is there anything else that's troubling you about this product?"
I want to handle objections before they even come up.
"Well, I'm not sure if I have the time to do this...."
Then you have to elegantly address that. So on and so force.
Let's the say you do all of this and their still not pulling the trigger, they're glass half empty type of folks, one of the lines I like to use:
"let's say I'm wrong, let's say my product doesn't work, and you lose $X amount of dollars, is that gonna put you in the poor house?..... But let's say I'm right. Let's say my product can solve X for you, and your quality of life goes up exponentially, you can spend more time with your family, go on more vacations, like you mentioned at the beginning of the call, you wanted to go to Cabo with your family. All I ask is this, you give me ONE shot, and if I'm half as right, you're gonna be very very impressed. Sound fair enough?"
4. The sales funnel
- Figure out your goals, if you want to make $200,000 per year and your commission is $2000 per sale, & you figure out your average closing %. You can begin to figure out how many phone calls you need to make per day.
5. Three things in 4 seconds
- Prospects will make a judgement on you within few seconds of the encounter. Make sure you start the conversation with not overly excited but with a firm tonality that says you're sharp as a tack, enthusiastic & the expert.
Module 7: The Art & Science of Qualifying
This is the ability to identify motivated buyers from non buyers.
Asking questions, ask permission first: "Just so that I can better serve, may I ask some questions?" or "Just so that I understand bit more about you to see if this product is right fit for you, I'm gonna ask few questions, is that cool with you?"
What I like to do first and foremost is ask why they are seeking for this product?
What problems are they trying to resolve?
Dig a little deeper, get into their feelings. "Man I totally understand (empathetic tone), lets say we're able to resolve that problem for you, what would that feel like?"
"how would your life look like?"
The bigger the problem they're facing the more leverage I will have.
If the prospect is not telling me anything, they seem totally unenthused and is like "whatever" for them, I'm going to qualify them right then and there.
and you just wait.
If the prospect is giving me plenty of signs of interest.
Then I like to dig bit deeper into their financials but in a more elegant way then "Hey are you broke right now? or do you think you have the money to afford this?"
You have to be much more elegant & disarming than that because money is a touchy subject, what I like to do is simply dig into what their career is, how that's going... and usually the prospect will tell you all about it, if they're living pay check to pay check or if they are able to put some money into savings each year.
I just keep asking questions in a non-threatening tone, just like a friend that's empathetic and curious and wants to really get to know the prospect.
Some lines you could use if you're sitll unclear or suspecting that the prospect might be broke
- Is this product something you're ready to invest in right now? or is this something that you have to go raise funds for?
- Just for suitability purposes, how would you say your current financial situation is right now?
Module 8: Presentation
Jordan covers SLP principles during a more corporate setting sales, where you're going through presentation.
Keep in mind, these types of setting may require much longer sales cycle.
It may be a huge purchase of a CRM or new equipment for a factory, it will require substantial education to the buyer.
The key here is to make a super solid logical case why the purchase of your product can benefit them.
But Jordan makes it a point to drive home the fact that you still need to lead the conversation in a straight line and handle objections as they come up using the loop. More on this soon...
Module 9: Power of Language
Word choices are sometimes everything when it comes to persuading somebody at the subconscious level without getting their guard up.
In this section, Jordan goes over some of his favorite words that allow you to get away with murder (as a salesperson)...
Just by adding these words into a sentence it makes a dramatic difference on how the prospect feels about your pitch....
Let's go over some of my favorites...
- "Everyone suceeds with this program that can follow directions"
- "Virtually everyone succeeds with this program that can follow directions."
The only thing that changed from above 2 sentence is the addition of the word "virtually" at the beginning of the sentence, yet it makes a huge difference.
First sentence sounds too good to be true. The second sentence now somehow feels believable even though you're pretty much conveying the same message.
- "Huge upside with little downside"
People play the positive future paced story in their mind versus the negative future, everyone weighs the pros and cons...
If the product does everything promised versus it doesn't and I lose $X.
By throwing in verbage like this, you do this part of their buying decision thinking for them. The upside is enormous and if the product doesn't work, well the downside really isn't that bad!
- "We hold your hand step-by-step"
People these days want things done for them, because lets face it most people are lazy.
- "Please don't misunderstand my passion for pressure"
When you're really pushing for the close but you want the prospect to not get their guard up.
- "I'm here to build a longterm relationship"
Some people think that all salesperson cares about is getting the close, this sentence presupposes that you're going to close but also you care about the prospect and the results he/she gets.
Jordan's signature close
All I ask is you give ONE shot, and if I'm half as right... believe me... you're gonna be very very impressed....
Sound fair enough?
- Red = Tonality of absolute certainty & some force
- Purple = Lowering tonality to almost a whisper, giving the feeling of scarcity, making the prospect lean in and listen closely
- Blue = Up beat tonality, the reasonable man tonality, subconsciouly communicating "Hey that's reasonable right?"
Here's sneak peak of hearing this from the master himself
Module 10: Becoming a Person of Influence
There is a certain self-confidence you gain when you learn the skills of persuasion and closing.
You begin to move through the world differently because you have this underlying feeling that you will always be okay financially because when you know how to close.
Money will always flow to you.
Even when it comes to selling your vision to other people, perhaps you're starting a new business and you need venture capitals, mastering SLP will ensure you're maximizing your success rate.
Jordan stresses the importance of having ethics with SLP, and to shift your entire way of thinking about sales.
It's really there to empower people to make a great decision. Not to manipulate someone into doing something that can hurt them.
If you don't work for a great company with a great product, great leave that company and go work for a company that's reputable and that's got a great product you believe in.
It's that simple.
The Art of Looping
Perhaps the most important aspect of SLP is the concept of looping.
Jordan famously says "The sales doesn't start until you get your first No."
To turn a "No" into a "Yes" is where the true art of persuasion lies and you do this looping.
When Jordan asked his team at Stratton Oakmont, what kind of objections they get...
It was only 12...
and most of them were derivatives of one another so really...the main 2 objections the people get are:
2 Main Objections
The problem is prospects often life.
They don't tell you the real truth of why they're not pulling the trigger, it boils down to this.
Main Reasons Why Prospects Don't Buy
Looping Example 1: They Don't Trust Your Product Yet
Prospect: "I don't know let me think about it"
You: "Hey I totally understand, but let me ask you a question, does this idea make sense to you?"
Prospect: "Yeah it totally makes sense...but I might be too old for this..."
With the first rebudle you were able to find out that the prospect has further concerns about the product that you must address.
Looping Example 2: They Don't Trust You Yet
Prospect: "I don't know let me think about it"
You: "Hey I totally understand, but let me ask you a question, does this idea make sense to you?"
Prospect: "Yeah it totally makes sense. I just don't like to make rash decisions."
You: "Alright I totally get it, I wouldn't want you to either. It seems like you really understand & love the product though, so let me re-introduce myself, my name is Ippei, and I plan on becoming the top difference maker for my company. I know I will only get there through referals. At the end of the day, my livliehood depends on my reputation and producing results for my clients. I already have a track record of 5 years producing results and I don't planning on stoping, let me be honest here, I'm not gonna make much money for this initial sign up, what I'm interested in is buildling a long-term relationship with you where we can both win big, and that's where I make money, I'll only profit when you win. Please don't misconstrue my enthusiasm for pressure. I'm here talking to you today, because I've talked to pepole that are in your exact same situation and I've been able to turn virtually all of them intno winners. So all I ask is this. You give me ONE shot, and even if I'm half right, believe me... you're going to be very very impressed. Sounds fair enough?
Ok so in this example you will notice that the objection is almost identical to example 1. However, you have to understand that the prospect will never tell you straight to your face that they don't trust you.
So looping is like picking a lock, you have to sort of make your rounds and make sure that all those potential doubts that's holding them back is addressed individually.
In this example, I made this entire logical and emotional case why the prospect should trust me.
Now sometimes one or two loops and BOOM the you've picked the lock and the vault opens but in most cases you will need to loop more to get deeper and deeper into the prospects true underlying fears.
Looping Example 3: They Don't Trust My Company
Prospect: "I don't know let me think about it"
You: "Hey I totally understand, but let me ask you a question, does this idea make sense to you?"
Prospect: "Yeah it totally makes sense. Ippei you seem like a very trust worthy guy but I just don't make rash decisions"
You: "Alright no worries, I had similar concern as well like what happens if the product doesn't work, are there warranties? how do I know if this company will not disappear over night? All the different questions to arrises when you've never heard of this company before, am I right? For example, if we were a very well known brand to you like Nike, I'm sure you'd already tell me, let's get started! ...I know exactly how that feels, so I wanted to bring up a story of the president of this company and why I decided to align with them and their purpose..."
This is very similar to example 2, instead of making a logical and emotional case about yourself, you're now looping back around and telling the prospect all the reasons why they should trust your company. What is the mission & purpose of the company? What's their track record? What sort of policies do they have? etc
Common SLP Complaints
Some people believe the SLP is dated.
Here’s my take on it.
Jordan’s training is more hardcore focused on the actual strategy of a sales call or meeting. Big emphasis on direct communication, which is ultimately where most of you will get the final close.
He devised the SLP in the 90’s and his system of handling objections & using tonality to increase your credibility will stand the test of time.
Now in 2020, the landscape is a bit different in the sense that we have the wide-scale use of the internet, so there’s a lot more one can do in terms of positioning yourself in the market as the go-to expert so that your positioning can sometimes do most of the selling for you.
Dan Lok teaches a lot more about this. What is called Attraction Marketing, when your clients come to you, then who has all the power?
Don’t get me wrong, thanks to Jordan I’ve become a lot better closer & his teachings have no doubt helped me land some of my biggest deals.
But understanding the importance of positioning has also done wonders for my business & my close rate.
All in all, SLP is one of the best sales training out there and if you're serious about entrepreneurship, I view this as essential.
I am a big fan of Jordan Belfort, not for the crazy stories of the past, but because he really knows his shit when it comes to sales.
For me, I put his material above some of the more "known" guru's out there like Grant Cardone.
Here's core elements of Jordan's training that I love.
Key Lessons I learned from Jordan Belfort's Sales Training
Jordan is what you call a natural closer.
He’s been excelling at sales since he was a kid, selling popsicles & fudge on the beach during hot summer days, and killing the game or when he tasted his first massive success of selling meats with door to door sales, when you listen to this man doing his SLP presentations, he has this strange ability to have you hanging onto every word he utters.
It becomes very clear, very quick that he has some god-given abilities in communication.
Even if you already feel that you’re already good at sales, Jordan is someone worth paying attention to, because chances are Jordans got at least few things that he’s doing at a very high level that you could take away & make yourself better.
Imo, a lot of people put too much weight on his past.
I’m in favor for someone that can learn from their past & change, those people may have something bit more to teach us than the squeaky clean.
For me, Jordan’s Straight Line Persuasion had a big impact for me when I first became an entrepreneur & the SLP has become part of my sales game at this point.
Imo, the movies didn’t do him justice in showing just how good the real Jordan Belfort is in sales training & motivational coach.
Hell yeah I recommend SLP.
It has worked beautifully with my local lead generation business.
I’ve been able to close small business owners over the phone, whom I’ve never talked to before or met in person.
All thanks to my enhanced ability to take control of the sale by being able to handle objections & get to the close.
This brings me to my next point and my only critique of the program if you're really trying to make money out there.
What's Missing with Straight Line Persuasion System
Sales is just 1 part of the equation in running your own successful business.
Even with great sales skills, you really need something to sell.
If you just have sales skills then your only option is to work for somebody else.
But if your goal is to become your own boss and live life on your own term then you really need to create a product or service that solves a big problem for people for a good price.
This is where the lead generation business model comes into play.
Where you get small business owner clients that pay you month after month for generating leads (customers) for them using high-level online marketing skills that allows you to rank websites at the top of Google.
Like this one, that's been paying me $2000 since 2015.
Now I run a multiple six figure business from my laptop with over 45 clients across the US.
Because I know how to build these lead generation machines online:
These sites that I own deliver customers to my clients day in and day out.
This is what allows me to earn passive income.
Sales is a high-income skill but you're still trading time for dollars.
You can only go so far...
To be a real business owner, you also need systems in place that allows you to earn income while you're not working.
For me, online marketing skills was the other piece I needed to become a successful entrepreneur.
SLP is great for your sales skills.
But sales skills + online marketing skills is where the real money & freedom is at.
Our coaching program, is great for learning the other piece which is local lead generation skill, a highly lucrative business model because there's so many business owners out there that need help acquiring more customers from the internet.
This lead generation skill allows you to directly deliver value to the marketplace, aka sell something that's going to help small business owner with the number 1 issue they're facing today which is online obscurity.
Once you have this skill, you don't have to work for anyone else again.
Turn your closing ability to long-term passive income streams...
Because these small business owners that you close, will pay you month after month for years to come to continue getting the leads from you.
See ya on the flip side.