Jordan Belfort was sentenced to the slammer with a $110 million fine. Not exactly a shining example of best practices. But that doesn’t mean his story is short on lessons. You just have to read between the lines… and securities fraud… and money laundering. Here are 5 sales leadership principles, as told through Wolf of Wall Street gifs:
1. Harmonize managers and reps
“Meet your quota” is nails on a chalkboard to the struggling rep. He knows that from his job description. What he really needs is guidance, and that takes two-way communication. If your people are coming up short, don’t wait until the deadline to notify them. Establish clear expectations then follow through with routine feedback. Likewise, reps should express concerns well before they miss their target. When communication slips through the cracks, so do leads. Remember: synchronization isn’t something teams agree to—it’s something they do.
2. Establish best practices
Cliché but essential. You can start with the big picture, but don’t stop there. Your goal without tactics (a.k.a. best practices) is just fluff. The first is the what, the second is the how. Aspirations without roadmaps make for excellent bullet points and poor results. In other words, best practices are not best philosophies. Build your list, saturate your team, and review in perpetuity.
3. Know your limits
Pushy sales tactics are a relic of the 80s. Consumers, especially younger generations, don’t want to be sold to anymore. They prefer to discover. Google churns out thousands of search results with the press of a button, rendering reps’ monopoly on product info obsolete. Sales forces, however, are as important than ever. They just need to redefine their role in the buyer’s journey. Recognizing limits is the first step toward adapting to these new realities. It does not mean admitting failure. Only when managers and reps put aside their egos can they assess where to improve.
4. Inspire loyalty
Managers tell employees what to do. Leaders inspire them. Don’t mistake going the extra mile for altruism, though. It’s smart business. Hesitant to launch a new cohesion-building initiative? You’re in luck. The number one way to inspire loyalty is to live by the same expectations you set for your employees. They will notice, and they will follow. True leaders understand they’re the clap that starts the avalanche. A few motivated reps will snowball into a galvanized sales force. And inspired employees don’t leave.
5. Have fun
The wall we’ve built around our workday often leaves pleasure on the other side of 6pm. If we’re hitting snooze rather than launching out of bed, it’s time to inject some fun into the workplace. Hook new recruits with onboarding celebrations, forge friendships with events outside the office, and create social rituals that benchmark your week. Contrary to common wisdom, you can put a price on happiness: motivated reps are productive reps. Let them eat cake, not each other.