The 8 Films all Sales people MUST watch

Image By Jay Ludgrove Business, Sales Comments Off on The 8 Films all Sales people MUST watch


The hardest thing about sales is motivation in the face of rejection, essentially your job is to keep positive in one of the most negative environments in the office. Let’s be honest movies can be a great motivator and can get you pumped so below is a list to get you all fired up about sales, even when you have had the hardest of sales days.

Watching these movies will give you a view in to some sales environments that you have never been in (and will never want too) and give you a taste of the highs and an experience of some of the lows that our chosen profession throws at us every day. However!!! These are not training videos! Don’t watch the Wolf of Wall Street and convince yourself that a steady drug habit is the best solution for success in sales or think that you should partake in illegal trading a la Gordon Gekko just to be a big shot. There are a lot of terrible stereotypes in sales, so use these movies to see which ones you DON’T want to be like and then go out and smash your target.

8) The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard

“Used-car liquidator Don Ready is hired by a flailing auto dealership to turn their Fourth of July sale into a majorly profitable event.”

I love all the wonderful sales stereotypes in this film and how it pokes fun at the motivational speeches that all sales managers think that they give. Sometimes you just aren’t as good as you think you are.

7) Jerry Maguire

“When a sports agent has a moral epiphany, and is fired for expressing it, he decides to put his new philosophy to the test as an independent agent with the only athlete who stays with him and his former secretary.”

This movie really shows some of the highs and lows and how fickle clients can be if you don’t treat them with the respect they deserve. I love the scene when Jerry is trying to call all his clients to try and secure their business but is stuck on the phone with one of his “smaller” clients. It shows that every sales person needs to treat every client with the same level of attention and care and not just todays big spenders.

6) Wall Street

“A young and impatient stockbroker is willing to do anything to get to the top, including trading on illegal inside information taken through a ruthless and greedy corporate raider who takes the youth under his wing.”

A classic full of great performances and responsible for quote “Greed Is Good”. This film is dripping in 80’s power suits, power lunches, power handshakes. This movie bred a whole generation of sales people who wanted to be just like Gordon even though he ends up in prison!

5) Two for the Money

“After suffering a career-ending knee injury, a former college football star aligns himself with one of the most renowned touts in the sports-gambling business.”

No one I talk too seems to know this movie, but it has fantastic understated performances from all of the cast and is a great representation of how good it feels to be the new heavy hitter in a sales team. It also shows sales managers how dangerous it can be to neglect the rest of your sales team when the new guy starts performing!

3) The Wolf of Wall Street

“Based on the true story of Jordan Belfort, from his rise to a wealthy stock-broker living the high life to his fall involving crime, corruption and the federal government.”

I love this film but hate how many young sales people think that this is what sales is like, it shows the worst of the worst sales environments. In the past, I have worked in places very similar to the sales teams that Jordon creates, and I have to admit that yes, they are successful, but they are also ripe with burnt out sales people and ripped off customers. Watching this movie always makes me think “just because you can sell to someone – should you??”

3) Tommy Boy

“An incompetent, immature, and dim-witted heir to an auto parts factory must save the business to keep it out of the hands of his new, con-artist relatives and big business.”

I think this may be the movie that made me want to be a salesman long before I knew I wanted to work in sales. Tommy Boy Snr dies and leaves the company is dire need of some big sales. Tommy Boy Jnr must learn quickly how to sell and realise that this can’t be done by selling like his dad but can only be done by selling using his own personality and his own charm. It’s also one of Chris Farley’s funniest performances.

2) The Pursuit of Happiness

“A struggling salesman takes custody of his son as he’s poised to begin a life-changing professional career.”

So first off, this movie makes me cry, every damn time I watch it…there I said it.

It also has some of the best sales lessons there are, as Chris Gardner works an internship he shows that making more calls, working harder, being more genuine and believing in yourself and the product you are trying to sell is the most effective way of being a success in sales.

1) Boiler Room

“A college dropout, attempting to win back his father’s high standards he gets a job as a broker for a suburban investment firm, which puts him on the fast track to success, but the job might not be as legitimate as it once appeared to be.”

By far my favourite sales movie of all time, I watch this film at least once a year when I need motivation or when I need to just chillout and remind myself why I love sales. There are some excellent lessons to be learned here; from Vin Diesel’s pregnant pause to Ben Affleck’s sales training speeches. My favourite scene is when the Giovanni Ribisi’s Seth Davis takes a newspaper telesales caller go through his whole pitch just to show them how to sell. I have done this a bunch of times when people have called me trying to sell to me and it is a brilliant technique to teach yourself to listen for buying signals as well as learn other people’s ways of objection handling.

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