Everybody’s talking about the latest blockbuster The Wolf of Wall Street because it covers some pretty poignant topics. A fundamental theme running throughout, which we can all learn from, is that of getting a sale right by offering the customer exactly what they need. The film is a true ‘rags to riches’ story based on the life of Jordan Belfort (Wikipedia) and his rise to a wealthy stockbroker, living the high life. What’s interesting about his success is the speed at which he learns how to progress in the industry. How does he do it? Through his simple, yet accurate, focus on ‘supply and demand.

Jordan Belfort
Jordan Belfort

This concept is at the heart of successful sales because it is defined and reactive to the current market by providing a product or service that consumers want and, more importantly, need. Belfort had a natural flair for sales from the start, operating his own company as a young man in the 1980s, before moving on to selling stocks in 1987. By 1989 he was running his own investment operation and making millions.

Evidently the man knows how to sell, and it just so happens that his strategy is embodied by the sale of something so simple as a pen! When recruiting for his sales team in order to proceed with his own business, he hits the nail on the head by suggesting that you can sell absolutely anything with the right approach. ‘If you can sell anything, then sell me this pen right here.’

This iconic scene illustrates ‘supply and demand’ to a T. When asked by Jordan to ‘sell this pen’ Brad creates the demand by asking, ‘Why don’t you do me a favour and write down your name on that napkin right there. Jordan doesn’t possess a pen and therefore cannot complete the task that he wishes to do.

Warning: this following scene from the movie ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ contains strong adult language:

And there it is. You must think of the situation in which your customer will require the product or service that you have to offer. And as Belfort explains, ‘Supply and demand my friend. It’s about creating urgency. Then they want to buy the stock because it’s something that they need.’

Having defined the demand for your offering, then next up is the ‘supply’ part. You have something great and now you just need to get that message out there.

Business to consumer communication is key in ensuring your success and Belfort can also teach us a thing or two in this respect. First and foremost he emphasises the necessity to create trust when addressing your prospects, which can be directly translated into businesses and their brands. Being honest, reliable and consistent with branding encourages awareness and trust in your prospects. Secondly, by using as many channels as possible to make this connection means you’re more likely to make an impact and be remembered.

And being remembered is something Belfort can definitely identify with! Despite his life’s events, to which much criticism can be placed, he continues to be a sought after motivational speaker – helping those starting out learn how to reach the right people at the right time, and with the right message.

This is captivated in the final scene of the film, in which the ‘sale of a pen’ is repeated. Pivotal to the whole story, this illustrates the importance of the ‘supply & demand’ concept and also demonstrates that, despite all intervening events, the strategy remains unflawed and should be passed on to others.

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