A Sales Growth Company Logo


Gap Selling Lessons From Wolf of Wall Street

December 28, 2022

Gap Selling Lessons From Wolf of Wall Street: At this point most, if not all, of us have seen this scene from Wolf of Wall Street. It’s cheesy, sleazy, gross, manipulative, pick an adjective. But, there is actually some good stuff to learn from this sales call.


It’s a pretty cheesy call. He’s lying, he’s manipulating the buyer, he’s overbearing and he cares very little for whether or not his buyer actually makes money. So, yeah it’s not  “good” sales. But, in this traditional, used car salesman, cheesy pitch are some intriguing lessons.




Lesson 1: It’s not about you, it’s about them


Don’t make it about you, make it about them. DiCaprio starts the call by anchoring the buyer in the fact that HE sent in a card and HE wanted to know more about penny stocks that; “had HUGE upside potential with very little downside risk.”  By doing this he’s able to position himself as a consultant NOT as a salesperson, almost as if he’s doing they buyer a favor.  DiCaprio wastes no time taking the role of consultant and the holder of valuable information the client asked for. He positions it as the buyers call, not his.


In the real sales world that’s our job. It’s not about us, it’s about our clients and their needs. It’s our job to position ourselves as consultants or harbingers of quality information and killer solutions. If we make it about us, we aren’t doing our job and DiCaprio got to that part right away. He was quick to point out the buyer asked to be contacted.


Lesson 2: Create Urgency


It took DiCaprio just seconds to drive home the point that this was an fleeting opportunity that needed to be acted on immediately. He was quick to point out that Aerotyne International was on the cusp of “imminent patent approval.”  Yup, this opportunity is about to go and you don’t want to miss it.


In the real world fabricating urgency is just plain stupid, BUT finding real, tangible urgency, that’s another story. Great salespeople are very good at identifying urgency buyers may not see or miss. They are able to highlight real, valid opportunity costs to waiting. They are able to demonstrate real first mover advantages when they exist. Killer salespeople have noses like truffle pigs when it comes to digging out real, measurable, demonstrable urgency.


DiCaprio created a tremendous sense of urgency and maintained it through the entire call. Urgency matters.


Lesson 3: What’s the Future State?


Nothing is sold without a vision AND acceptance of a future state, change. Inherent in sales is a willingness or desire to move from the current state to a future state and DiCaprio’s pitch wasted no time making sure the buyer had  a solid vision of how his life could change, what his future would hold, if he made this decision. He could stand to make “upwards of $60,000.”


Not to miss a gimme, DiCaprio was quick to validate the buyers observation that he COULD pay off his mortgage with that kind of money. DiCaprio anchors him in the vision of a paid off home, debt free life. This future state in contrast with the current state is critical in selling.


In the real world, anchoring customers in what they get, how their world will change is critical. In the real world of selling helping clients see how their world will improve, how they can increase revenue, be more competitive, save money, win market share, reduce costs, etc is where the win is.  It’s not in the features or the products, but what the products deliver. The greater value the future state a product or service can provide, the greater the probability the buyer will buy. You want make more sales, create bigger and better change.


Paying off your mortgage, that’s big change.


Lesson 4: Credibility


We knew DiCaprio was full of shit and so did he. Because he knew that, he tried to fabricate as much credibility as possible. He mentions his analysts, he mentions patents pending, he even cops to the fact that he “loses” deals once in a while — so few losers however. With little to work with, DiCaprio does his best to weave in as much credibility building as he can. He understands the importance of trust and comfort when it comes to the sale. He does such a good job, the buyer is actually thanking HIM at the end of the call. The buyer is thanking him with exuberance.


In the real world of sales, credibility is everything. With credibility comes trust. However,  unlike the sleazy, lying approach DiCaprio takes, killer salespeople build credibility through knowledge and expertise. The key to gaining credibility in the real world of selling is to be know more than your clients. It’s to know what’s happening in the industry. It’s to know how your solution impacts your clients business. It’s being aware of the trends, the alternatives and more. In the real world of selling credibility is earned by being your clients go to person when they need to solve a problem and actually solving them.


Cred is key to selling and DiCaprio knew it, established it, and maintained throughout the call.


Lesson 5: Passion and Conviction


Listen to DiCaprio’s voice as he sells this man on Aerotyne. Look at his face. The passion and conviction are undeniable. Listen for his inflection. He softens his voice at the right time, then raises his voice to create excitement at just the right time. You can’t help believe that DiCaprio, for the fleeting moments he’s talking, believes what he’s saying. The passion and conviction for the Aerotyne opportunity can be felt in his words, his body language and his tone. It’s infectious.


Yeah, yeah, I know, he’s a con. But in the real world of sales if you don’t believe what you’re selling, if you don’t have conviction for your offer or solution, you’re fucked. I was working with a client on a big channel push and we were going over the presentation. It lacked conviction and authority and we fixed it. We knew there was no way the channel partner was going to get behind the new initiative if we didn’t demonstrate conviction for it too.


Conviction and passion are the grease to a good sale and DiCaprio greased his way into a $4000 dollar sale.


No doubt, DiCaprio conned this poor guy out of $4000. What he did and how he did it was unscrupulous. So, before anyone gets their panties in a wad, I’m not condoning how he sold. What I am doing condoning is the underlying methods of how he sold. They were good. DiCaprio understood what it took to influence someone and he executed to a tee.


As a salesperson, are you this good?  Do you incorporate all 5 of these lessons into your sale? You should, you just might get a few more deals.


I loved this scene, it was one of my favorites. It offered salespeople so much, if they were looking. Do you/did you see it?


Oh  yeah, there is on more lesson…Lesson 6: Don’t be sleazy!


Nuff said!


If you or your organization want to start changing the sales culture, click here to schedule a call with our sales team.



Some Related Content for Ya’
Sales Discovery: The 1 Mistake You’re All Making

Sales Discovery: The 1 Mistake You’re All Making

A sales discovery call is a pivotal, make or break moment in a sales journey. Sellers have a storied history of making one giant mistake – failing to define every piece of information given, comprehensively. Instead, they collect superficial information that does not...


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *