The Ultimate List of Sales Movies & TV Shows
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The Ultimate List of Sales Movies & TV Shows
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Nothing pulls you out of a rut faster than an inspirational quote from your favorite movie.
From Vito Corleone’s “Great men are not born great, they grow great.” in Godfather, to Benjamin Button’s “Our lives are defined by opportunities, even the ones we miss.”
The same is true for sales slumps. There are dozens of movies and television programs that inspire salespeople to push their limits and reach for new heights.
We spoke with some of our clients, and the below list comprises their ten top sales movies and their five top sales tv shows.
Is there something missing from our list? Be sure to send us your favorite via chat.
The 10 Best Sales Movies of All Time
1. The Wolf of Wall Street
Since 2020, salespeople have been battling COVID related sales restrictions, such as limited travel, lower response rates, and reduced budgets. While Jordan Belfort may not have taken the best path to success, his ability to spot untapped opportunities, his limitless confidence, and his unique approach to cold calling is why he’s one of the most sought after sales coaches to this day. Be sure to watch Wolf of Wall Street to ignite your sales creativity, and if you’re interested in Jordan Belfort’s coaching, check out his Straight Line Persuasion.
Where to Watch The Wolf of Wall Street
2. Boiler Room
Similar to The Wolf of Wall Street, Boiler Room focuses on brokers at an investment firm. High-performing salespeople love these movies because they personify the competitive and intense nature of high stakes sales. This movie will not only give you new ways to overcome objections, but it is packed with outstanding sales quotes. When Ben Affleck’s character is managing his team’s poor cold calling efforts, he gets them to rethink what cold calling actually achieves. “Motion creates emotion.” This is a great way to remind cold callers to always be persistent while never settling for a “No“.
Where to Watch Boiler Room
3. Glengarry Glen Ross
Now we’re moving from stock brokers to real estate salespeople. “Always be closing.” is one of several memorable lines delivered by Alec Baldwin in one of his most pulverizing roles. The iconic scene (shared below) where Baldwin is sent into the office to boost sales morale has helped salespeople get “unstuck” for 30 years. In addition to ABC, Alec Baldwin also introduces viewers to AIDA, or Attention Interest Decision Action. Sales orgs have been using and writing about these two acronyms ever since. While his approach in this scene is harsh, it hammers home the “never settle for no” approach to high-performing sales.
Where to Watch Glengarry Glen Ross
Stream Glengarry Glen Ross on FuboTV, Showtime, Kanopy
All viewing options
4. Tommy Boy
The first three movies will encourage you to sell better under pressure. This next sales movie will help you relax and remind yourself that sales can be one of the most self-fulfilling and exciting jobs out there. When it comes to displacing competitors and overcoming objections, salespeople have to come up with an intuitive response in very little time. Chris Farley’s character in Tommy Boy excels at this capability, while also delivering comic relief in normally intense situations. Instead of stressing out that your sales training binder doesn’t have a perfect response for every unique customer objection, reassure yourself that you’re well equipped to come up with the perfect answer on the fly.
Where to Watch Tommy Boy
5. Pursuit of Happyness
Now it’s time to pull out the Kleenex box with the Pursuit of Happyness. Not all emotion tied to sales has to be bad. If you put in the hard work over a relentless period of time, you’re destined to enjoy an overwhelming sense of joy and accomplishment. No one fits this bill better than the real life inspirational story that is Chris Gardner. Sleeping in a public restroom and wearing a pair of shoes two sizes too small, Chris beat out the competition for a broker role at the prestigious Dean Witter stock brokerage and securities firm. After you watch this movie, will you have an excuse to not give it your all every day?
Where to Watch Pursuit of Happyness
6. Cedar Rapids
As sales professionals, we all remember our first trip to a seminar, convention, or tradeshow. You’re sent to an event to generate some leads and meet with customers, and it quickly turns into a hyper-social happy hour. While there’s not many inspirational quotes in Cedar Rapids, you will quickly find yourself comparing the characters’ antics to your very own travel stories. This film helps remind us that business trips may not be the best for lead generation, but they are the best for team and relationship building.
Where to Watch Cedar Rapids
7. The Founder
Entrepreneurship is one of the most interesting similarities amongst the list of favorite sales movies and shows. And for good reason. All high-performing salespeople have the makeup of a successful entrepreneur. Risk-taking, passion, professionalism, social skills. But the most important characteristic is the “whatever it takes” mindset. No one personified this sales mindset more than McDonald’s founder, Ray Kroc. However, the best motivational sales scene in The Founder didn’t come from the former milkshake machine salesman. It came from Harry Sonneborn, who helped Ray Kroc revolutionize franchising and eventually became the first CEO of McDonald’s.
Where to Watch The Founder
8. Jerry Maguire
Salespeople love watching Jerry Maguire. The scenes where he personifies what it means to build and sustain client relationships with Cuba Gooding Jr.’s character are not only exciting, but they were Oscar winning. However, the sales advice that is written on more post-it notes doesn’t come from either of the lead actors. It comes from Jerry’s random memories of his mentor Dicky Fox giving him advice. “The key to this business is personal relationships.” This quote not only was the thesis for Maguire’s manifesto, but it was the key to sustaining his foundational clients, growing his future business, and helping prospective clients rethink what’s most important in hiring a sports agent.
Where to Watch Jerry Maguire
9. The Internship
If you ever find yourself out of a job, do you think you could win an employment competition at Google? Of course you do, you’re a salesperson! You’re tenacious, you think outside of the box, and you’re the kind of person that people would want to get stuck at an airport with for six hours. These are a few reasons why the characters played by Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson applied to an internship at Google. The two video clips shared below are the pre-hire and post-hire conversations with the hiring manager at Google. Perhaps you can relate to the drastic shift in perception by the manager. While salesmen might not be great programmers, they similarly are great problem solvers.
Where to Watch The Internship
10. Door to Door
Here’s another legendary acting performance coupled with strong emotions. William H. Macy, also one of my favorite actors, delivers an award-winning portrayal of a salesman with cerebral palsy in Door to Door. I’ve shared two videos again, the first is a series of clips from the movie, and the second is a 20/20 interview of the inspiration-to-us-all, Bill Porter. If you’re familiar with the movie, you likely adore the scene where he stops off for lunch after experiencing some door to door rejections. On the top of his sandwich is written ‘PATIENCE’, AND ‘PERSISTENCE’ is written on the bottom. A kind reminder to all salespeople on just how necessary those characteristics are in the profession (even more so for Bill Porter).
Where to Watch Door to Door
The 5 Best Sales TV Shows of All Time
1. Mad Men
Don Draper. Not only is that name synonymous with advertising ingenuity, it’s also compatible with being a closer. But Don Draper wasn’t your ordinary closer. He was always brimming with the utmost confidence that his answer was always the right and best answer. What salesman doesn’t need that form of courage when presenting to leads and customers? “You’re a non-believer.” This line is one of Draper’s most infamous from the show. He was willing to lose a client because they were willing to stick with what wasn’t working for what Don was confident would work. This kind of confidence isn’t just bold, it’s rare.
Where to Watch Mad Men
2. Million Dollar Listings New York & Los Angeles
Tell me. Who doesn’t like dreaming of something bigger and better? Similar to other home shows, Million Dollar Listings will not only have you imagining yourself in one of New York City’s or Los Angeles’ prized homes, but it will also teach you how to close better against competing salespeople. As you’ll observe in the episode below, the salesman doesn’t change who he is based on the drastically different buyer persona the competing sales rep sells to. This show, while it doesn’t look like it, is also jam-packed with hilarious clips and outtakes.
Where to Watch Million Dollar Listings
3. The Office
Whether you prefer the British version or the American version, The Office will deliver endless laughs across dozens of relatable episodes. What other department at a company has a more diverse set of personalities than sales? In the below clip, the character Michael Scott perfects the art of interruption and pivoting, especially after a customer says “No.” The last thing a salesperson needs is an awkward silence and confirmation bias to set in after a “No.” By interrupting and pivoting, Michael was able to circle-back later after better relating to the customer, thereby closing the deal.
Where to Watch The Office
4. Shark Tank
If you’re confident in your sales skills, try selling an idea to venture capitalists. When you come up with an idea, your initial belief in the idea is unwaivable. That is until you share the idea with people who have started multiple businesses, both successful and unsuccessful, and have reached the millionaire or billionaire status. Yes, confidence is huge here, but let’s not forget another great sales attribute—knowledge. When faced with questioning, you need one of two things without hesitation—answers or honesty. As you will see in this video, known as one of the most successful Shark Tank pitches ever, Wen Muenyi consistently overcomes criticism, financial questions, and skepticism with upbeat tenacity and lighthearted humor. And don’t miss out on the UK version known as Dragons’ Den.
Where to Watch Shark Tank
5. The Profit
Similar to Shark Tank and Dragons’ Den, The Profit follows a single businessman, Camping World CEO Marcus Lemonis, as he visits and invests in struggling businesses while also offering to make them more profitable. The below episode clip follows Marcus to Gander Outdoors, where he meets the founder of Smithfly. As employees take turns attempting to sell a $1,500 raft that doubles as a tent, the real sales challenge turns out to be Marcus and his colleagues selling the founder on the idea of repositioning the brand away from what it was originally found on, which is not easy to do.
Where to Watch The Profit
Start Watching. Start Selling!
There are dozens of movies about sales. Which ones are your favorite?
Be sure to share your favorite sales movie and tv show with us on social media. That way we can update this post with your feedback.
Also, let us know what you think are the best sales quotes from movies, too. We’re planning on writing a separate blog post on sales quotes from movies later this year.