Level Up Your Sales Game and Manifest Success

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "Way of the Wolf" by Jordan Belfort. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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Is it possible to manifest success to increase sales? What two methods does Jordan Belfort suggest to create a success mindset?

In his book Way of the Wolf, Jordan Belfort says that you can manifest success by using future pacing and state management. Future pacing is when you act as if you are already rich in order to manifest real success in the future. State management is a method of creating an empowered state of mind that will help you reach your goals.

Continue below to learn more about Belfort’s methods for controlling your mental state and increasing sales.

Create a Success Mindset

As critical as learning the Straight Line System is to increasing your sales success, there’s another necessary element as well: managing your mental state. To sell successfully, a salesperson needs to be in top form mentally, or in a confident, upbeat state of mind during every sales conversation. No one can be “on” all the time, so Belfort recommends two strategies to create a positive mental state at key moments in selling, such as when opening a sales conversation, presenting, or closing. The two strategies are:

  • Future pacing
  • State management

Future Pacing

When he took over Stratton Oakmont, Belfort knew that his sales staff would do a better job of selling if they acted and felt confident.

He regularly urged them to manifest success, or to act “as if” (as if they were rich, supremely confident, and knowledgeable) because when they acted that way, people would treat them that way—and eventually they’d achieve the status because their actions changed their state of mind to one conducive to success.

Then he took the idea a step further and taught his salespeople future pacing, not only as a sales technique (in which you paint a picture for the prospect of a better life with the product), but also as a personal visualization practice. Belfort said that within a few months, he could see a transformation in the way his salespeople dressed, carried themselves, and interacted with prospects. 

Visualization Has a Long History

Research generally supports the idea that visualization and other forms of mental rehearsal can lead to better performance or even health. (Taking a contrarian view, this Forbes article argues that visualization is actually “deflating” when the pressure to succeed is strongest.)Visualization has been advocated as a strategy for business success since the 1937 publication of Napoleon Hill’s positive-thinking classic Think and Grow Rich. Since Hill popularized the idea of turning thoughts into reality through visualization, affirmation, and other techniques, a multitude of self-help authors, coaches, psychologists, and motivational speakers have piggybacked on the idea of manifesting success. As an example of how visualization works, The Miracle Morning offers a simple daily visualization exercise with three steps:

1) Set the stage: Turn on instrumental music at low volume. Sit up straight, but comfortably. Breathe deeply, close your eyes and clear your mind.

2) Visualize the results you want and see yourself achieving them: Use your senses to see, hear, feel, touch, smell, taste every aspect of your dream. Envision yourself achieving your goals and imagine how good you’ll feel.

3) Visualize the person you need to be and what you need to do: With a clear mental image of what you want, imagine acting in ways that enable you to achieve your vision. Picture yourself looking confident or determined.

State Management

Belfort’s second strategy for creating a positive mindset for selling is state management, which he defines as creating an empowered state of mind by temporarily blocking negative emotions so you can tap the energy you need to achieve your goals.

The idea of state management (managing your mental state) comes from neuro-linguistic programming or NLP.

State management is based on the belief that you can:

  • Choose what to consciously focus on: Purposely focusing on the positive things in your life will make you feel more empowered than focusing on your problems. 
  • Control your physiological response: You can change your physiological state and thus your feelings or mental state by, for instance, acting the way you act when happy: Relax your breathing, smile, and move confidently.

A tenet of neuro-linguistic programming is that you can create an empowered or peak performance state when you need it by associating such a state with a trigger you can activate. This is similar to the idea of Pavlovian conditioning, where dogs were conditioned to salivate (expecting food) when they heard a bell.

Belfort gives several steps for creating a trigger or “anchor” you can call on when you need to be in top form mentally.

1) Choose the state of mind you want (for example, total certainty that you’ll make a sale). Recall an instance when you felt completely certain, and create a vivid mental picture of how that looked.

2) Choose your desired physical state. Envision and then match the physical state you have when you’re totally certain and confident: for instance, your posture, how you hold your head, facial expression, and so on.

3) Intensify this mental image of certainty by incorporating the five senses. Add color, sound, and so on as if you were creating a mental movie.

4) Set your anchor: When you’re in your peak state, link it to a strong and unusual word, mantra, sound, gesture, or movement that you’ll associate with that state in the future.

NLP Anchoring Steps

Similarly, the International NLP Center outlines five anchoring steps:

Determine how you want to feel—for example, more confident.Remember a time when you felt very confident. 

Choose an anchor that involves touch, such as touching your thumb and forefinger together or making a fist.

Put yourself inside the memory, reliving what you saw, heard, and felt. As you feel the same confidence, activate your anchoring—for example, touch your thumb and forefinger together as the confident feeling increases. Release your thumb and forefinger when the feeling begins to subside.

Touch your thumb and forefinger together the same way again to find out if you can access that confident state.

Don’t resist—let it happen. In the future, the INLP Center claims, you’ll feel confident whenever you touch your thumb and forefinger together. 

In contrast, Belfort argues that you need an unusually strong trigger—not just a “Yes!” or a finger snap—or it won’t work. (He uses a sharp smell from an inhaler.)
What Critics Say About NLP

Belfort believes that NLP works for him, enabling him to perform consistently with high energy despite a grueling schedule of speaking events. However, critics contend that despite anecdotal evidence from practitioners, there’s insufficient scientific evidence to back NLP as a therapy or practice.

Some key findings regarding NLP as a therapy are: NLP hasn’t been tested as rigorously as proven therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy. Research results have been mixed: More studies have concluded that NLP doesn’t work than that it does. NLP’s effectiveness hasn’t been studied in environments outside of therapy, such as coaching or business, where claims have been made. Advocates have a commercial incentive to push it. Supporters say it draws criticism because it challenges the scientific establishment. Further, its efficacy is difficult to prove because each individual applies it differently.

Tony Robbins’s Alternative to NLP: Author and motivational speaker Tony Robbins teaches a technique similar to NLP. He initially taught NLP but dropped it from his programs after an out-of-court settlement with the NLP co-founder over Robbins’s certifying people in use of the system. Robbins replaced it with a system of his own called neuro-associative conditioning or NAC, which is aimed at changing your thinking or neuro-associations in order to change something in your life. Robbins outline six steps to recondition yourself, explained in his book Awaken the Giant Within: Decide on your destination, and identify your obstacles. Create a sense of urgency to change. Disrupt your pattern. Create a positive pattern to replace the old, negative one. Reinforce your new pattern. Make sure your conditioning is successful. 
Level Up Your Sales Game and Manifest Success

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  • How to sell like Jordan Belfort, the Wolf of Wall Street
  • The 4 steps of the Straight Line selling method
  • The 3 types of certainty you have to create to make a successful sale

Hannah Aster

Hannah graduated summa cum laude with a degree in English and double minors in Professional Writing and Creative Writing. She grew up reading books like Harry Potter and His Dark Materials and has always carried a passion for fiction. However, Hannah transitioned to non-fiction writing when she started her travel website in 2018 and now enjoys sharing travel guides and trying to inspire others to see the world.

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