There are many movies that focus on selling that can both inspire salespeople as well as give them some tips on how to be better at selling. In an interview, Michael Douglas revealed that strangers had told him how his character Gordon Gekko from Wall Street helped them get a job. Similarly, Alec Baldwin also stated that people tell him that it was his Glengarry Glen Ross scene that made them chose a career in sales.
Check out the top movies for salespeople that every salesperson should watch to keep on inspiring us to grab sales and crush quotas.
Used Cars (1980)
Kurt Russell appears as a used car hustler, dreaming of running for state senator in Robert Zemeckis’s sales satire. Russell’s effortless charisma and quick-talking charm give this comedy the energy that is as effective now as it was then. Russell turns the catchphrase “Trust me!” into a slogan that every salesperson should use to excel.
Death of a Salesman (1985)
The Emmy winning movie, an adaptation of a classic play by Arthur Miller, Death of a Salesman, is a tragic story made for the small screen. Dustin Hoffman’s characterisation of the ill-fated Willy Loman brings Arthur Miller’s grim lesson to life. Positioning door-to-door sales as a metaphor for American dream failure, the movie is a story of a salesman who is in crisis and about to lose his job. He is unable to pay his bills, and his sons Happy and Biff don’t respect him. Willy wonders what went wrong for him and how he can make things right for his family.
Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)
Sales professionals often refer to one of the movie’s popular acronyms: ABC that stands for “Always Be Closing.” David Mamet’s intense masterpiece highlights the real story behind the sales industry. Based on a true story, the movie focuses on four salesmen working in a real-estate company and how they implement various tactics to bring in more sales from the leads they are given. This movie is the origin of the statement Always Be Closing, and the movie’s theme explains precisely that a salesman should always strive to get new prospects, introduce the products/services, and aim to close the deal. Glengarry Glen Ross portrays how tough, and often brutal the life of a salesperson can be.
The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
This popular movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio is a biopic of Jordan Belfort. The movie portrays the rise of Jordan Belfort as a name to reckon with, in the stockbroking industry, to his downfall, involving illicit financial practices, drugs, crime, and the Federal government. The movie perfectly illustrates the American dream of an extravagant life that a normal person can only dream of, and how Jordan uses various sales tactics to make money from the rich to establish his own brokerage firm – Stratton Oakmont. The scene “sell me this pen” is about creating a sense of urgency in your prospects’ minds and give a call to action.
The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)
This movie from 2006 is based on the real-life story of an entrepreneur, Chris Gardner. The movie flawlessly outlines the “rags to riches” story. It is all about the struggling, homeless salesperson and his son. Gardener land an internship in a brokerage firm after a series of distressing experiences. From there, he becomes a broker and goes on to establish his firm, Gardner Rich & Co. The movie is a perfect example of how a salesman can battle all odds in the Pursuit of Happiness.
Boiler Room (2000)
It is a story about a college dropout who attempts to live up to his father’s standards, getting a job as a stockbroker in a suburban investment firm. He gets into the fast-track to success, money, and fame, only to find out that the job is not as legitimate as it appeared to be. Even after two decades, the inspiring speech by Ben Affleck in the movie is one of the most optimistic mantras in sales training. A popular quote from the movie that every salesman should value is “Sale is made on every call you make … who is going to close? You or him?”.
Wall Street (1987)
Even though the movie is more than three decades old, the movie’s lines never get old. Without a doubt, greed is not good, and hyper-materialism is unethical. The speech “Greed is Good” by Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas) is one thing that every salesman should listen to and remember to be successful.
Tommy Boy (1995)
The hilarious duo of David Spade and Chris Farley is a real entertainer with a perfect mix of story and humor. After the death of his father, Tommy Boy has a responsibility to save the family factory. Under pressure to keep the old customers happy and generate new customers to keep the factory running, Tommy Boy raises as a successful salesman. The movie shows how connecting with customers is more than just handshakes and slogans. To be a successful salesperson, one needs to listen and respond to their needs with humanity and truth.
Remember, watching these movies won’t help you become a superstar salesman. Only learning the important sales fundamentals like using the latest productivity tools, focusing on the long term, and closing better at sales will help you increase your sales and make you a great salesman. However, taking a few tips from Jordan Belfort, Willy Loman, Gordon Gekko, or Chris Gardner won’t hurt.