Anyone who works in the staffing industry has used a famous line from a sales movie at some point. Whether it’s telling a co-worker that, “coffee is for closers” or shouting, “show me the money” after closing a big deal, these movies have provided some great lines that have become part of pop culture. For a fun Friday post, I decided to rank my top five favorite sales related movies of all time.
Pick number five has an all-star cast, a dark mood, and some great lines. The premise of the movie is a bunch of salespeople in a small real estate firm battling each other for leads and deals. I’d probably rank this one higher if it didn’t remind me of an agency I once worked for in the past. My favorite byproduct of this film is that the character “Old Gil” from the Simpsons is based on Jack Lemmon’s Character, Shelley “The Machine” Levine.
Thomas “Tommy” Callahan III taught us that you don’t need slick looks or a perfectly-refined sales pitch to be successful in sales. Our hero, Tommy, may suffer from anxiety and hyperactivity, but his ability to read people and build personal relationships allow him to save the family business. His sales pitches are hilarious and absolutely make this one of the funniest movies of the 90s (and my personal favorite Chris Farley movie.)
My next pick is a newer flick based on the rise and fall of Jordan Belfort. Side note: If you are in sales, do yourself a favor and read Jordan’s first book. It is a long, but great read. This movie has some great scenes and a strong cast and you can’t help but caught up in the action. This movie eventually leaves you feeling just as if you are part of the Stratton Oakmont team. The office scenes, while over the top, show how proud all of the sales reps are working there and how the company rewards them their loyalty. This movie has also been the catalyst for many a LinkedIn memes… This being my personal favorite:
This has been one of my personal favorites for years, although I feel Wolf of Wall Street might overtake it eventually. Bud Fox is the definition of persistence, calling Gordon Gecko 59 days in a row to get an appointment until he finally breaks through with a box of rare Cuban cigars. Gordon Gecko is the epitome of the 80s greed, going so far as to say “greed is good." Overall, it’s a great movie. It doesn’t make the TV rotations frequently, but when it is on I always stop to watch.
For many of my Generation X colleagues and I, Boiler Room is “The Godfather” of sales movies. The telephone sales scenes are epic (even though it is strange to see Vin Diesel in a suit and not behind the wheel of a classic Dodge Charger), and Ben Affleck’s recruiting scene and training meetings are highly enjoyable. This movie also has a great score, with a lot of classic hip hop songs mixed in. Following Seth Davis, as he rises from a backdoor casino dealer in Queens to a fast-talking stockbroker is fun, and the company event and subsequent celebration in the hotel is an interesting watch. This movie came out around the same time that I started my career and launched a phrase I love: “act as if.”
DISCLAIMER: I am a proud member of Generation X. My rankings are probably skewed based on that… Do you have a favorite that didn’t make the list? Let us know in the comments below.
Jerry McGuire. Some great scenes, especially when Jerry and Bob Sugar are racing to lock down clients. But overall not enough to crack my top 5.
While these are some of our favorite movies that depict a career in sales, there’s no way to know what a “day in the life” of a salesperson is like without talking to someone who is already walking the proverbial walk. If you’re already considering a career in sales, great. We’d love to talk to you.
Not sure if sales would be a good fit? We’d still love to tell you a little bit more about what it’s like working in sales and recruiting at Black Diamond Networks. While we love the movie Boiler Room, we’re the farthest thing from it. If you’re a motivated individual looking to make a splash in your career, visit our careers page or give our Director of Talent Acquisition, Joe Bradley, a call at 978.289.9754.