Way of the Wolf
PROLOGUE THE BIRTH OF A SALES SYSTEM
WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT ME is true.
I’m one of those natural born salesmen who can sell ice to an Eskimo, oil to an Arab, pork to a rabbi, or anything else you can think of.
But who really cares about that, right?
I mean, unless you want to hire me to sell one of your products, my ability to close is basically irrelevant to you.
Whatever the case, that’s my gift: the ability to sell anything to anyone, in massive quantities; and whether this gift comes from God or from nature, I really can’t say, although what I am able to say—with absolute certainty, in fact—is that I am not the only person who was born with it.
There are a handful of others who are sort of like me.
The reason they are only sort of like me has to do with another precious gift I possess, a gift that’s infinitely more rare and infinitely more valuable, and that offers a massive benefit to everyone. Including you.
What is this amazing gift?
Quite simply, it’s the ability to take people from all walks of life regardless of age, race, creed, color, socioeconomic background, educational status, and level of natural sales ability, and turn that person into a world-class closer almost instantly.
It’s a bold statement, I know, but let me put it to you this way: if I
were a superhero, then training salespeople would be my superpower, and there’s not a soul on the planet who does it better than me.
Now, that sounded totally awful, right?
I can only imagine what you’re thinking right now.
“What a cocky bastard this guy is! So conceited! So damn full of himself! Let’s throw the bastard to the wolves!
“Oh, wait! He already is a wolf, isn’t he?”
Actually, I’m an erstwhile wolf. But, either way, I think it’s time to formally introduce myself.
I’m the Wolf of Wall Street. Remember me? The one who Leonardo DiCaprio played on the silver screen, the one who took thousands of young kids, who could barely walk and chew gum at the same time, and turned them into world-class closers using a seemingly magical sales training system called the Straight Line? The one who tortured all those panic-stricken New Zealanders at the end of the movie because they couldn’t sell me a pen the right way? You remember.
On the heels of Black Monday, I took control of an irrelevant little brokerage firm named Stratton Oakmont and moved it out to Long Island to seek my fortune, and it was there, in the spring of 1988, that I cracked the code for human influence and developed that seemingly magical system for training salespeople.
Its name was the Straight Line System—or the Straight Line, for short—a system that proved to be so powerful and effective, and so easy to learn, that within days of inventing it, it brought massive wealth and success to anyone I taught it to. In consequence, thousands of young men and women began pouring into Stratton’s boardroom, looking to hop on the Straight Line gravy train and stake their claim in the American Dream.
For the most part, they were a decidedly average lot at best—basically the sad, forgotten spawn of America’s working-class families.
They were kids who had never been told by their parents that they were capable of greatness; any greatness that they naturally had in them had been literally conditioned out of them since the day they were born. By the time they made it into my boardroom, they were trying merely to survive, not to thrive.
But in a post–Straight Line world, none of that mattered anymore. Things like education and intellect and natural sales ability were mere trivialities that could be easily overcome. All you had to do was show up at my door, promise to work your ass off, and I would teach you
the Straight Line System and make you rich.
But, alas, there was also a dark side to all this precocious success. You see, the system turned out to be almost too effective. It created freshly minted millionaires at such a ferocious clip that they ended up skipping over the typical life struggles that most young men and women go through that serve to build their characters. The result was success without respect, wealth without restraint, and power without responsibility—and, just like that, things began to spiral out of control.
And so it was that, in the same way that a seemingly innocuous tropical storm uses the warm waters of the Atlantic to grow and build and strengthen and mutate until it reaches a point of such critical mass that it destroys everything in its path, the Straight Line System followed an eerily similar trajectory—destroying everything in its path as well, including me.
Indeed, by the time it was over I had lost everything: my money, my pride, my dignity, my self-respect, my children—for a time—and my freedom.
But the worst part of all was that I knew I had no one to blame but myself. I had taken a God-given gift and misused it, and I had taken an amazing discovery and bastardized it.
The Straight Line System had the ability to change people’s lives in a dramatic way—leveling the playing field for anyone who’d been held back from achieving greatness due to an inability to effectively communicate their thoughts and ideas in a way that connected with other people and moved them to take action.
And what did I do with it?
Well, besides breaking a fair number of records for the consumption of dangerous recreational drugs, I used my discovery of the world’s most powerful sales training system to live out every adolescent fantasy I’d ever had, while empowering thousands of others to do the same.
So, yes, I deserved exactly what I got: completely wiped out.
But, of course, the story doesn’t end there; and how could it, after all? I mean, how could a system that created such massive wealth and success for anyone who learned it simply fade away into obscurity?
It couldn’t. And, of course, it didn’t.
It started with the thousands of ex-Strattonites who, after leaving the firm, began spreading the system around—bringing a watered-down version of it to a dozen different industries. Yet, no matter where they went or how watered down the version was, learning even a fraction of the Straight Line System was enough to take a struggling salesperson and turn them into a solid producer.
Then I got involved.
On the heels of two bestselling memoirs and a blockbuster Scorsese movie, I spread an undiluted version across the entire world, to virtually every business and industry. From banking to brokerage to telco to the auto industry to real estate to insurance to financial planning, to plumbers to doctors to lawyers to dentists to online marketers to offline marketers—and basically everyone in between. As amazing as the results had been the last time around, this time they were even better.
You see, before I began teaching the system again, I spent two full years going line by line through its code—taking every last nuance and pushing it to an even higher level of operational proficiency, while ensuring that every last bit was grounded at the highest level of ethics and integrity.
Gone were any high-pressure sales tactics, questionable language patterns, or even the slightest reference to closing a sale at all costs to simply earn a commission; all of these were purged from the system in favor of more elegant strategies. It was a painstaking process, where no expense was spared and no stone left unturned.
World-class experts were brought in to review every aspect of the system—from occupational psychologists to experts in content creation, best adult-learning practices, and neuro-linguistic programming. And what emerged in its place was something truly incredible: a system that was so powerful and effective, and that maintained such a high level of ethics and integrity, that I knew in my heart that the Straight Line System had finally evolved into what I always knew it could be:
A money-making force for good.
What I offer you on the following pages is a turnkey solution for applying the Straight Line System to any business or industry.
For those of you in sales, or if you own your own business, this book will be a total game-changer for you. It will show you how to shorten your sales cycle, increase your closing rate, develop a steady stream of customer referrals, and create customers for life. In addition, it will also offer you a paint-by-number formula for building and maintaining a world-class sales force.
And, for those of you who are not in sales, this book will be equally as valuable to you. You see, one of the costliest mistakes that “civilians” make is that they tend to think of sales and persuasion in traditional
terms only, where there’s a salesperson closing a deal. So, they ask themselves, “Since I’m not in sales, what’s the point of learning how to sell?”
Meanwhile, nothing could be further from the truth.
Even if you’re not in “sales,” you still need to become at least reasonably proficient at sales and persuasion. Otherwise, you’re going to find yourself living a severely disempowered life.
Selling is everything in life.
In fact, either you’re selling or you’re failing.
You’re selling people that your ideas make sense, your concepts make sense, your products make sense: you could be a parent selling your kids on the importance of taking a bath or doing their homework; you could be a teacher selling your students on the value of education; a lawyer selling a jury on the innocence of your client; a pastor selling your congregation on the existence of God or Jesus of Mohammad or Buddha; a politician selling your constituency on the benefits of voting for a certain referendum—in short, selling applies to all people, and all aspects of life, both business and personal. After all, at some point in our lives, we’ll all have to sell ourselves to someone: a prospective partner, a future employer, a future employee, a future first date, and on and on.
Then you have all the day-to-day business scenarios that fall outside of what we normally consider sales—an entrepreneur trying to raise venture capital or secure a line of credit at a bank; selling your employees, or someone you’re courting to become an employee, on the power and righteousness of your vision for the future; negotiating a new lease for office space; securing a better interest rate on your merchant account or negotiating better payment terms with a vendor.
Again, it doesn’t matter what line of work you’re in or if it’s business or personal. We’re always trying to convey our thoughts and ideas and
hopes and dreams in a way that not only moves people to take action but that also gets us what we want in life too.
That’s what ethical persuasion is all about; and without that one, linchpin skill, it is very difficult to achieve success, at any reasonable level, or live an empowered life.
In fact, at the end of the day, that’s what this book is really all about. By providing you with a simple, proven way to master the art of communication, you’ll be able to move through life with far greater personal power and live a far more empowered life.
Just always remember the words of Spider-Man’s uncle, from the first Spider-Man movie. “With great power,” he warned, “comes great responsibility.”
This book will grant you that power.
I urge you to please use it responsibly.