The Millionaire “Skill”
Jordan Belfort’s story, complete with Quaaludes and $50 million-a-year paydays, jail, and media superstardom, is the sort of epic drama that most of us can only ever dream about.
Long before he became the bad guy on Wall Street, long before he went to prison and had to pay back $200 million in restitution for the investors whom his company defrauded of millions, Jordan Belfort was just a kid who wanted to be a doctor.
That’s about as regular as it gets though.
Growing up in the Bronx, Jordan quickly discovered his almost uncanny ability to conjure money seemingly out of thin air. He spent one summer making thousands of dollars selling Italian ices to tourists at a local beach.
Ever on the eye for a good buck, Jordan Belfort thought he’d attend the University of Maryland School of Dentistry, after all, dentists made great money.
Then the Dean announced, “The golden age of dentistry is over. If you’re here simply because you’re looking to make a lot of money, you’re in the wrong place.”
And Jordan Belfort scooted out of there, on to greener pastures.
Drugs, Wall Street, and the Dark Side
Armed with his salesmanship skill and gift of the gab, Jordan drifted on to Wall Street and the easy money lure of the 80s.
Eventually, he wound up at a boiler room, a brokerage that pushed penny stocks hard to customers on the phone.
Shortly afterwards, Belfort’s sales ability led to him opening his own brokerage, Stratton Oakmont. It was here where things would unravel in the most spectacular fashion.
At Stratton Oakmont, Jordan Belfort pioneered his brilliant sales system: the Straight Line Sales System. This was a system that turned any old buffoon into an irresistible closer on the phone.
Just like that, the money came pouring in: Jordan and his team were earning millions per year.
Jordan also pioneered the use of “qaaludes,” a type of drug that made salesmen ever more confident and high. Seeing the boss use this stuff made it the “in” thing to do. Soon, the whole office followed, and Stratton Oakmont descended into sheer anarchy, complete with hookers and wild parties and other insane sheenanigans that have now been chronicled in the movie “The Wolf Of Wall Street.”
But underneath all the glitz, Stratton Oakmont was run pretty much as a “pump and dump” scheme. Soon, investors, fleeced of their money, were demanding action from the authorities.
Jail, And The Price Of Freedom
Unable to clear his name, Belfort, as the ring leader of the scheme, was convicted and thrown in prison. It was here, amidst the doom and gloom of jail, that he rediscovered a different Jordan: the good guy who just wanted to be a father to his kids and do something positive in the world.
Jordan began writing his memoirs.
The book, which became “The Wolf Of Wall Street,” became a smash hit, leading to Hollywood optioning it for a movie.
With Leonardo DiCaprio playing Jordan Belfort, “The Wolf Of Wall Street” romped to iconic status almost overnight.
“Bigger Than Ever Before”
Jordan’s story spread further than ever before, and he was soon in high demand all around the world to speak and train businesses on his Straight Line Sales system.
He might still have millions left to pay in restitution, but Jordan has now accomplished an impact bigger than he might ever have imagined.
A few years back, I decided to join Jordan Belfort’s online sales training program, one of the many thousands, if not millions, of people he has trained. The videos he sends out have been really fun and, as much as you learn powerful sales techniques, a lighter side of Jordan Belfort emerges. He often jokes around and likes using shocking language to put a point across.
Talking about sales techniques, I learned more about sales from him in a few videos than probably the majority of sales books can teach you. In my view, he’s gotta be one of the top 1-3 salesmen in the world, period.
Watching Jordan Belfort’s crazy fall and comeback is super inspiring. I feel that all of us can learn a lesson or two about changing tack and trying something different. Another thing I’ve learned from Jordan Belfort is to put ethics and values, particularly honesty, ahead of business profits.
Never, at any point, must your ethics be sacrificed in favor of profits. But, and if you should fail, realize that you must come clean. Failure is an opportunity to do it over, better next time.