“The Wolf of Wall Street” Jordan Belfort energizes audience at TMT Producers Club
By Ben Liebing
It’s Friday, July 14, at the TMT Producers Club meeting at the Cool Springs Marriott in Franklin, Tennessee, just a half-hour south of Nashville, and the crowd sits in anticipation of the Wolf.
Jordan Belfort, better known by his infamous movie nickname, “The Wolf of Wall Street,” is Friday’s keynote speaker at MSP marketing guru and CEO Robin Robins’ quarterly TMT Producers Club event. As the lights go low, a hype video plays on the screen. It’s Jordan at speaking events around the world, where he appears to be motivating, captivating and energizing global audiences. The music plays and lights flash on-screen, and then it all fades to black. The name “Jordan Belfort” appears on a black-and-white screen, and the sound of Matthew McConaughey humming and thumping his chest from the hilariously famous scene from the Martin Scorsese film The Wolf of Wall Street comes rumbling through the speakers.
“Hmmm-hmmm-hmm-hm. Thump, thump. Hmmm-hmmm-hmm-hm. Thump, thump.”
The audience of several hundred MSPs sits in anticipation. The lights go up.
“Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome…”
And just like that, Jordan Belfort, a man immortalized on-screen by Leonardo DiCaprio himself, bounds onstage.
“It’s great to be here!” he says. He speaks with a thick New York accent, full of so much energy and pacing, you can see the whole crowd lean forward in an automatic response: they know they must keep up.
It’s hard to believe in this room right now that Belfort was in prison not too long ago. He went from a quick-talking stock salesman making a million dollars a day in the 1990s on Wall Street to careening out of control and ending up behind bars for stock-market manipulation crimes. But today, he’s a mythologized sales expert and world-touring public speaker with 2.1 million Instagram followers.
“I just got out of a cold plunge!” Belfort exclaims. “I had them bring like 15 to 20 bags of ice up – anybody here do ice baths? Anyway, I am wired and ready to go!”
He speaks with such pacing, smashing three separate thoughts together in hyphenated, sonic sentences, that it seems half the audience would appreciate subtitles. But off he goes.
Jordan’s talk, officially titled “The 5 Elements To Becoming A World-Class Closer,” is off to a breakneck start, until he suddenly stops. He takes a sip of Red Bull.
“I don’t do cocaine anymore,” he jokes. “Twenty-five years sober – all I’ve got is Red Bull now.” He looks at the can and smiles at the audience. “This stuff isn’t quite as strong.”
“Wait – where was I?”
Someone shouts out something about sales.
“That’s right. Well, wait – before we get to that. It might help to know a little bit about me.”
The story of Jordan Belfort begins with a paper route in Queens, New York, at eight years old. If ever there was a definition of “born salesman,” Belfort is so clearly it that it’s almost comical – as if he’s a larger-than-life caricature of himself.
But what Belfort really is, at least here on this stage, is a storyteller. He weaves his childhood tales with captivating ease, as he leads us from a boyhood paper route, to shoveling snow, where, he quips with a New York wink, he was successful until “Al Gore came along and fucked me by inventing this thing called climate change…and suddenly it didn’t snow anymore!” He goes on to talk about how he walked out of dental school on the first day of orientation because he realized it was not the place to get rich, and then ended up on Wall Street – where he both triumphed and fell.
His story is as captivating as the hype with which he tells it, casting himself as both hero and villain, all while making you forget his past and feel like you’re standing with him in a corner deli in the Bronx on a hot afternoon, listening to one hell of a hilarious story while you’re waiting for your Reuben on rye.
“Holy shit, I only have fifteen minutes left?” Belfort looks at the teleprompter in confusion, cutting himself off mid-story. “We better speed this up.
“Okay, so let me tell you about the straight-line sales method,” he redirects, bringing the audience forward in time to a building somewhere off Wall Street, somewhere in the early 1990s, where he’s standing before 12 “barely post-adolescent” salesmen, trying to coach them on how to do Sales 101: Overcoming Objections.
“And that’s when it hit me,” he says. “In sales, there aren’t a thousand objections. There are really only a few. And when you know how to overcome those – when you know how to operate on a straight line, and from a position of power – the whole thing gets really, really simple.”
And to listen to him, you’d think it is. More than that, you might think the whole sales process can be so darn enjoyable you might like to try it yourself. Or hire the right salesforce. But that was the topic of another talk.
As Jordan exits the stage after a Q&A with Robins – which mostly focused on the stranger-than-fiction true tales behind the movie (to everyone’s delight) – the Producers Club meeting comes to an end. But the feeling Belfort leaves is arguably better than advice, insofar as emotion produces action. And the feeling is high. Attainably high, it seems, and measurably so. And you get the sense that the several hundred MSPs in the room – whether small, medium, big or independent in size and scale – believe that all things are indeed possible, that the sky is indeed the limit and that business growth is real, achievable, honest and measurable.
But above all…
It starts with a sale.
TMT’s quarterly Producers Club was held July 12–14, 2023, at the Cool Springs Marriott Conference Center in Cool Springs, Tennessee. Speakers included Paul Cissel, Sitima Fowler, Ray Green, Matt Mailloux, Bruce McCully, Robin Robins, Daniel Wang, Jon Marino, Adam Spencer, David Rendall, Navy SEAL Joel Lambert, Jordan Belfort and more.
To get more information about TMT, head to www.technologymarketingtoolkit.com.
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Producers Club is part of TMT, which is owned by Robin Robins. TMT is also the parent company of MSP Success.