This movie was more fun than attending an AVN show with Charlie Sheen.
The 3-hour intoxicating ride down Wall Street was not only full of guilty pleasures and excessive debauchery, it also provided a couple of educational lessons for hopeful business owners.
I know, I know, why would anyone want to learn from such an egotistical maniac who got filthy rich off of weaseling money out of innocent people then using their money to party like a fucking rockstar? Well, that is precisely why you would want to learn from him. He was a genius salesperson who simply used his talents in the wrong way. The basic premise of sales is always the same and I promise you if he would’ve chosen an honest route to employ his genius abilities he probably would’ve been just as successful. And with less diseases…
Lesson #1: In order to sell something, you MUST create a need for it.
There was a scene in the movie where Leonardo DiCaprio’s character was sitting in a diner with his friends. He handed a pen to one of his buddies and proceeded to ask him to “sell it to him.” The friend then tossed him a napkin and nonchalantly said: “Sign your name on this.”
DiCaprio said: “I can’t. I don’t have a pen.”
The friend then said: “Exactly. You need this fucking pen.”(or something like that)
Later in the movie DiCaprio tries the same stunt with a group of wannabe salespeople. Every person he hands the pen to proceeds to uncomfortably rattle off a broken list of generic benefits of pen ownership, but none are witty enough to actually take the pen away from him like the aforementioned friend in the diner did.
The point? In order to sell something you must have utmost confidence and the ability tofill a need. Whether or not the person truly needs the item at the beginning of the conversation is pointless. You must create the need, and then they will buy.
Lesson #2: Never, ever, ever think you are invincible.
I was going to make lesson #2 be about practicing good business ethics in order to manifest good karma, but that is too obvious. I think the real lesson here is that the higher your ego, the easier it is to fall (and the harder the fall will be). Maintaining humility amongst a wave of insane good fortune and financial success can prove to be quite difficult, but the moment you start to believe that everything you touch turns to gold, it is sure to stop. Just ask Donald Trump. And MC Hammer. And Mortimer and Randolph…
The good news is that you can always rise to the top again, especially once you’ve experienced it and know how to attain it, but it’s a dark and dismal trek that you don’t necessarily have to experience if you just remember one thing: your shit DOES stink.