Salesmen and pop culture often portrayed as slick-haired money-grabbing opportunists will say anything to make an extra buck. Some of our favorite sales roles in movies perpetuate that stereotype. Why do we love those rousing speeches in boiler-room? The abuses showered in Wolf of Wall Street where 100s of sales agents in bullpen are being rallied to lie through their teeth to close their next deal? Here's a few spoiler quotes from the same movie.
"Don’t pitch the b***h" – Greg Weinstein 🔹 "Fine, fine. I’m gonna take you off my list of successful people today" – Seth Davis 🔹 "And there is no such thing as a no sale call. ... Either way a sale is made, the only question is who is gonna close?" Jim Young.
Let's take a look at the approach these fictional sales leaders used to thrill us into submission. Today we're going to analyze Ben Affleck's famous sales speech in 2000 Movie "Boiler Room" and learn about the core differences between persuasion and manipulation in sales.
In the beginning of the scene Affleck walks into the room and immediately establishes himself as a governing personality by laying claim to a chair at head of the table. Considering he's a partner at the firm, our favorite part about this movie is that he doesn't even sit in the chair, and before he even gets started he immediately sends two candidates home!
"Dumb a**. Get outta here! You are FIRED"
An engaged audience is easier to persuade than a distracted one. He sends the first guy home for insulting a fellow applicant. He sends the second one home by claiming that the position is a training program. From the audience's perspective sending 2 people out of the room when he first walks in, takes care of persuasive principles authority his actions.
Command the undivided attention from everyone in the room. Scarcity increases the value of those who stand remaining in the line. Anyone who didn't get sent home will now be cautious to be on the winning side of the selective process. So here's a bucket list of traits.,
— Establish social debt, a need to pay back in some way.
— Established as a person of power.
— Secure the attention of his audience.
— Reinforce these concepts.
— Evoke an emotional response to underlying motivator.
— Use of influence.
— Hit people with a harsh reality.
And, here's where the speech moves away from persuasion and into manipulation
"You will make your 1 Mn within 3 years from now" -> Hook!
Everyone is so charmed about the idea of becoming a millionaire that no one is thinking about who will actually survive long enough to get there, nor are they thinking about the tough sacrifices they'll have to endure to reach such a desired status.
"Now y'all look money hungry and that's good. "
In this is tremendous in the world of sales how can someone look money hungry? What he's doing here is taking advantage of their new emotional state by telling them exactly who they are so they don't need to think for themselves their focus is distracted by his bold statement.
"I drive a Ferrari"
He proceeds to vividly describe the extent of his wealth in order to allow his audience to picture themselves in his shoes. This is the sizzle! In the phrase selling the sizzle, his embellishments are exciting but more importantly he makes them feel within a hand's reach.
"I am a millionaire. I guess how old I am 27 "
It's worth is a weird thing, and puts him on their level sharing his own wonder and delight in his success. Everyone in the room is thinking to themselves - He now has his prospect fantasizing about their new potential future, and he can now establish what he wants.
"Now you know what's possible. Lemme tell what's required"
This is the part of his opening line that introduces the reality of what it takes to actually secure their desired goal.
"You're required to work your ass off here... Work hard"
He starts with a very logical and completely obvious requirement of becoming a millionaire in his firm. He reinforces the necessity of hard work by creating an "us versus everyone" else perspective.
"We want winners here not pickers."
He's polarizing the room to position his next statements to be accepted quickly and without much consideration. When asked how much time you get in the first year, this gets registered by the candidates. And, closure statement – "I don't want to be a picker so I guess I don't really need a vacation" makes sense what commitment means working in their firm.
"You make $150 a week. Your team leader will open 40 accounts. Start working for yourself. Sky's the limit. 3 months of committing full-time work for less than half a typical minimum wage. After that, you have the privilege of working for yourself."
It's a pretty crazy setup and he knows it which is why he has to sell it and it's why his speech is so interesting. But he's not done the high of becoming a millionaire, and is slowly fading with the serious commitment.
He reinforced a group mentality of "How to become a Millionare" to prepare the team to expect and then rejected any outside influences that may stand between their shared goals. He uses elitism, exclusivity and emotional exploits to sell a dream to new recruits.
These new hires will work themselves to the bone for this firm and isolate themselves from their loved ones because of a carefully crafted speech. We as an audience might be energized and enchanted by the confidence in his manipulation and the speech work is intended.
Okay, that's it folks. We all got sold to want to learn more about sales theory and pop culture, perhaps? Be sure to subscribe to get notified of our next post.
Keep hustling folks.