Movies are not really an accurate representation of life, and when it comes to salespeople, even less so. But there is one thing that movies can help salespeople tremendously in a huge dose of motivation for when it seems difficult to carry on at a tough job. A sale is a tough job, and there will be times when you need an extra dose of motivation to achieve your goals. Not just that, movies can sometimes remind us of the basics of selling that they show: persuasion tactics, listening skills, or even inspirational pep talk.
So here is the ultimate list of 10 inspirational movies that you can count on to give you that extra bit of motivation:
1. Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)
A salesman’s ABC: Always be closing
Alec Baldwin is not the protagonist of this movie. But his scene in this movie is surely on the list of the greatest “pep talks” ever! The story is about four salesmen who are forced to compete against each other to save their jobs. The movie becomes too dark, often going to great lengths to show just how toxic and competitive workplaces can often become, driving people incessantly.
But this speech in the middle of the movie lays out that, “Coffee is for closers only”. Those few minutes are absolutely intense of what it means to be a salesman. Though laced with profanity, and the language may seem unnecessarily aggressive, there is no lying about a salesman’s job and its requirements. If you ever feel that you need to be reminded about it, give this movie a watch!
2. Jerry Maguire (1996)
Mary Kay Ash has this quote in the movie, “ Pretend that every single person you meet has a sign around his or her neck that says, ‘Make me feel important.’ Not only will you succeed in sales, but you will also succeed in life.”
The real lesson from the movie is that real success is usually way beyond your comfort zone. There will be a lot of opposition, the establishment attacks against unconventional strategies, trials and tribulations, and failures. However, the message is that you should truly stick to your principles and commit to your beliefs to make success happen.
3. The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard
The movie is about a brilliant and resourceful salesperson who has to save his bankrupt company by selling used cars. This movie is all about how the sales team uses the fundamentals of sales – being smart on your feet, ingenuity, even tricks, and subtle psychology to get the sale done. A fun movie to remember the simple joys of selling. They show you how to pull off a wildly successful Fourth of July sales campaign.
4. Boiler Room (2000)
Considered one of the best sales movies of all time, the Boiler room is unapologetically about the hard sell. It mainly shows aggressive brokers who sell junk stocks with lies to get huge commissions. It is supposedly about earning big money from scratch, but the movie takes the time to explore the price at which these huge paychecks are earned. Sure, this is not exactly a motivational talk for being inspired in sales, but there are enough reminders here on what it takes to be great at your job. After all, the sale is a job. The better you are at it, the more people make more money. So give this movie a shot, and be inspired by the young and aggressive cast about what it takes to succeed.
5. Pirates of Silicon Valley (1999)
Based on the true stories of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, this movie was one of the first to recognize the geniuses who had changed the world. In a lot of ways, Apple and Microsoft represent the beginning of our time. This movie is about how these two visionaries are able to turn their not entirely possible ideas into realities, the struggles that took them there, and the sheer understanding of what it means to be an achiever in the computer era, and how they worked towards building their own goals, desires, and aspirations.
6. The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
This is a black comedy crime drama from Martin Scorsese is considered one of the best films about business, success, and finance, though it is not exactly a story of glory. Though, it really is a very good movie about making deals, the confidence, and charisma of salespeople, their ambition, their hunger for more, etc. Still, salespeople can always learn from people like Jordan Belfort, the millionaire American broker who made his money by mastering the hard sell. Really, the movie shows exactly how a salesperson like Jordan approaches a sale, how he employs his persuasive abilities and his persistence in convincing his audience about his schemes which only make him rich. Take the right lessons, and this movie can be a wonderful teacher for your sales pep talk!
7. The Social Network
As a salesperson, you are a part of a network of professionals, investors, businessmen, regulatory authorities, competitors, creditors, etc. Yet, who you are as a person is central to the rest of the equation. The genius director David Fincher and the rat-a-tat dialogue of Aaron Sorkin combine to deliver a movie that is solely dedicated to understanding the origins of a business that has forever changed the world.
8. The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)
There are a lot of movies about circumstances, but then there are some about how an individual can react to them. This genuinely feel-good movie is about Will Smith’s character, Chris Gardner, in the midst of utter poverty and running out of any options at all. There is a truth in this true story: that it is not a single step but a long, arduous journey to success. There are obstacles, often seeming insurmountable, but the only job that is required of us is the pursuit of happiness without ever giving up. This heartbreaking story of Chris Gardner is truly an inspiration not only for sales but for life.
9. The Big Kahuna (1999)
One of the most underrated sales movies of all time, The Big Kahuna has a simple premise. Two experienced and toughened salesmen are trying out a sales pitch to an important client by running it through their novice in a hotel room. The discussion moves from industrial lubricant sales and marketing to philosophy to religion to relationship, and especially on the art of sales. ‘
This is not a conventional movie by any means but is excellent in exploring the wide range of dilemmas that salespeople sometimes have to go through. The superb cast and acting rounds off this brilliant movie on sales, and even on life itself.
10. There will be Blood (2007)
The protagonist of this movie, Daniel Plainview is not an easy character to side with. An intensely focused man, who raises himself from being a lowly ditch-digging oil prospector to a resourceful entrepreneur to an astoundingly successful business tycoon with his keen insights into how human beings work. Though easily a misanthrope, every interaction with the public is a study in how businessmen should mold their salesmanship.
Movies are not really a great testament to how we live our lives, our motivations, and our struggles. But they can and usually do play a huge role in how we can leverage the success stories of others in our own growth as a professional. Then there are lessons for those who can recognize different tactics for engaging prospects, building relationships, and insights into becoming a stronger salesperson.