24 best sales movies for reps that need a boost in 2023
For many sales professionals, each year is a gamble. And while we can't change the state of the economy or move markets—at least we can change ourselves.
That's why we've created this list of the best sales movies to watch if you need a little booster, or at least take the edge off things for a few moments.
Without further adieu, here are some movies for salespeople where you could almost justify the movie tickets as a company expense.
1 Jerry Maguire
You all know it and love it. "Show me the moneeyyyyyy!"
This movie is about belief. When it comes to sales, there will be a lot of ups and downs in your personal life that will affect your sales quota.
However, when someone believes in you (we're looking at you Cuba Gooding, Jr.) it changes the entire sales game. With belief comes confidence. With confidence comes determination. And with determination, you can do anything.
2 Wolf of Wall Street
Martin Scorsese directs the story of New York stockbroker Jordan Belfort who goes from penny stocks and righteousness to IPOs and a life of corruption in the late 1980s.
There are some core sales concepts to glean from this movie:
- Enlist proper, comprehensive training. By focusing on sales training and effective sales coaching, Jordan helped his team (of nonsales people) crush their sales goals by role-playing on live customer calls with effective cold call scripts and elevator pitches to use.
- Demonstrate value. Show your prospect how your product or service aligns with their needs. In order to do that, you have to know and understand your customer - (your ideal customer profile helps here).
- Create a sense of urgency. Take it from Jordan selling penny stocks, he’d constantly stress the sense of urgency. He’d say, “This is the last one left,” and “I have another buyer waiting!”
Billy Beane, general manager of the Oakland A's, one day has an epiphany: baseball's conventional wisdom is all wrong. Faced with a tight budget, Beane must reinvent his team by outsmarting the richer ball clubs.
So what's the Moneyball strategy? Our take on it is to leverage the power of data. Much like major league baseball, businesses should leverage the power of data to make decisions for sales forecasting and pipeline management.
Secondly, find new ways to solve old problems. Encourage your team to bring new perspectives into the sales process, and you’ll see challenges in a new way.
This popular quote from the movie, “You’re not solving the problem. You’re not even looking at the problem!” should drive all sales decisions because until you figure out what’s wrong, you can't do anything about it.
4 The Pursuit of Happyness
Chris Gardner is a bright and talented, but marginally employed salesman. Struggling to make ends meet, Gardner finds himself and his five-year-old son evicted from their San Francisco apartment with nowhere to go.
When Gardner lands an internship at a prestigious stock brokerage firm, he and his son endure many hardships, including living in shelters, in pursuit of his dream of a better life for the two of them.
The key takeaways from this film are:
- Attitude is everything. Use resiliency as a sales superpower.
- Dare to be different with your sales approach.
- Quality over quantity when it comes to building a sales foundation.
(Get an extra dose of motivation to pursue your goals when you sign up for your daily sales motivation quote.)
Loosely based on the life of inventor and entrepreneur Joy Mangano, this moving film shows what it's like to push back against all odds and succeed through persistence and creativity.
Joy is a self-made millionaire who created her own business empire. Some sales concepts to take away from this film are:
- Make your sales connections count. Rely on your support system if needed.
- Perseverance is key, especially for women in business.
- Sales success isn't achieved singularly, it takes a village, as they say.
6 Rogue Trader
This drama, based on a true story, follows a young British man working at Barings, a major investment bank. Sent to Singapore and placed in a position of authority at the bank's branch there, he takes advantage of the thriving Asian market to make risky trades.
Before long, he's in over his head and tries to hide the losses. If you ever wonder how some people seem to be able to handle high stakes so self-assured and confidently, watch this...
The Leeson lesson? Leeson’s story makes for a great lesson in risk management and financial oversight.
7 Love and Other Drugs
Love and Other Drugs is an unconventional love story that focuses on the life of a pharmaceutical salesman and shines an interesting spotlight on the world of medical sales. We follow a charming salesman who rises to be one of the top reps at Pfizer (who doesn't want to be included in this film).
The moral of the story is: don't risk love for success. The goal is to balance the two. Don't work too hard that your relationships suffer. Work hard to make your relationships last.
8 Glengarry Glen Ross
When an office full of New York City real estate salesmen are given the news that all but the top two will be fired at the end of the week, the atmosphere begins to heat up. Shelley Levene, who has a sick daughter, does everything in his power to get better leads from his boss, John Williamson, but to no avail.
When his coworker Dave Moss comes up with a plan to steal the leads, things get complicated for the tough-talking salesmen. You'll be glad to not work in that office.
So, what are the sales lessons to learn here?
- Always Be Closing (ABC) is still a valuable sales mindset. It’s all the little steps that lead up to closing a deal.
- Talk less and listen more. Let the buyer do the talking, and give them clear and concise answers.
- Remember why you do your job. That “why” can be your motivator when times get rough.
And, most importantly, when times are tough-keep going.
9 Tommy Boy
After his beloved father dies, dimwitted Tommy Callahan inherits a near-bankrupt automobile parts factory in Sandusky, Ohio. Tommy strives to make one last-ditch effort to find someone who will buy their products. With his father's tightly wound assistant in tow, Tommy hits the road to scare up some new clients.
Here's what you can learn from Tommy:
- To succeed in sales today, you need to get inside your customer's heads.
- Use a variety of innovative methods to do this, like predictive analytics and social selling.
- Take the time to "relate" to your customer. (Queue the beloved quote, "Let me tell you why I suck at sales."
10 Boiler Room
Welcome to the infamous "boiler room", where twenty-something millionaires are made overnight.
Here, in the inner sanctum of a fly-by-night brokerage firm, hyper-aggressive young stock jocks peddle to unsuspecting buyers over the phone—and are rewarded with mansions, Ferraris, and more luxury toys than they know what to do with. In this unassuming Long Island enclave, Gen Xers chase the green at breakneck speeds, sometimes one step ahead of the law.
Sales gems to take away from Boiler Room:
- Phone sales are a high-stakes, and high-rewards skill that should be practiced around experts in your field.
- Don't waste time with people who can’t or won’t make a decision.
- Ask for the sale, at the right time.
11 Thank You For Smoking
Nick Naylor, a lobbyist for big tobacco, finds it difficult to balance his duties defending the dangerous substance with those of being a good role model for his young son. Nick's life gets even more complicated when a liberal senator mounts an anti-smoking campaign that he must counter.
Nick teaches us these imperative sales lessons:
- You don’t have to believe in the cause you represent.
- Selling with logic over emotion is the way to go.
- Create and use value for both sides of the sale to provide transparency to the customer.
12 Used Cars
This 1980's movie comes with all the ridiculousness you'd expect from a black comedy about a used car sales lot starring Kurt Russel.
The executive producer of this movie is none other than Steven Spielberg—although that's not apparent when watching this movie. When you consider that this entire sales movie was shot in just 29 days, it all makes more sense. If comic relief is what you're going after, and you've already exhausted our best sales memes, this is worth a watch.
13 Catch Me If You Can
While not technically a sales movie, the true story of legendary conman Frank Abagnale Jr. can teach some incredible lessons in having confidence, dressing the part, and ultimately closing the deal.
The ultimate lesson is, to dress the role if you want the part.
14 Tin Men
Door-to-door aluminum-siding salesmen Bill "B.B." Babowsky and Ernest Tilley are professional rivals in an industry known for shady dealings and high-pressure sales. But their rivalry goes from professional to personal after a minor car accident and neither is willing to take the blame.
This movie addresses corrupt sales practices, how they infiltrated teams and relationships - and at the end of it all, you can drive off into uncertainty (and it's okay).
15 The Founder
Based on the true story of Ray Kroc, this movie details how a master salesman turned an innovative eatery into one of the most famous fast-food restaurant chains in the world through persistence.
16 The Big Kahuna
Three salesmen for a foundering industrial lubricant manufacturer hang out in their company's hospitality suite at a major convention, waiting for the arrival of a prospective customer they've privately dubbed "The Big Kahuna," whose potential sales would turn the struggling company around.
Phil plays peacemaker between the cynical, argumentative huckster, Larry, and Bob, the company's newest hire, whose religious sanctimony irritates Larry.
This sales documentary from Albert and David Maysles follows the bitter rivalry of four door-to-door salesmen working for the Mid-American Bible Company: Paul "The Badger" Brennan, Charles "The Gipper" McDevitt, James "The Rabbit" Baker, and Raymond "The Bull" Martos.
This movie highlights the strive for door-to-door sales gusto and how it takes determination and grit to survive the sale.
18 The Goods
Don Ready is many things, but he is best-known as an extraordinary salesman. When a car dealership in Temecula teeters on the brink of bankruptcy, he and his ragtag team dive in to save the day. But what Ready doesn't count on is falling in love and finding his soul.
The Goods motto: schmoozing isn't dead. You just have to perfect it.
19 Cadillac Man
Car dealer Joey O'Brien is spread as thin financially as he is in his love life. He's dating more women than he can remember, and the local toughs he's borrowed money from want it back.
In a last-ditch effort to get out of debt, Joey struggles to sell a dozen cars in two days—a task that becomes difficult when the husband of Joey's secretary barges into the dealership with a semi-automatic weapon and takes everyone hostage.
Moral of the Cadillac Man story? A sense of urgency works for sales.
20 Two For The Money
Matthew McConaughey and Al Pacino star in this gambling madness of a movie.
After suffering a career-ending injury, Brandon Lang, a former college football star finds himself connected with one of the most renowned names in the sports-gambling business.
Al Pacino teaches us a lot about sales here. Lang's in-depth knowledge of the game, leagues, and players brings in big winnings and bigger clients.
The bottom line for sales (even though gambling is frowned upon): have an in-depth knowledge of your product or service.
21 Trading Places
Starring Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd, this film sees the lives of two strangers swapped - rags to riches style. It shows how street smarts and a natural gift for reading people can lead to success in sales.
Sales is about connecting with people. Learn from Eddie and Dan on how they used their ability to adapt to move through the entire "scam" from start to finish.
22 The Story of Sales
The Story of Sales is a documentary that explores the role this profession has played from a historical and societal point of view in eight chapters. This movie was funded by Salesforce and released in 2018.
This movie highlights the real heroes: salespeople. Scholars share the ways sales grew in lockstep with the growth of societies and innovation.
23 Wall Street
On Wall Street in the 1980s, Bud Fox is a stockbroker full of ambition, doing whatever he can to make his way to the top. Admiring the power of the unsparing corporate raider Gordon Gekko, Fox entices Gekko into mentoring him by providing insider trading.
As Fox becomes embroiled in greed and underhanded schemes, his decisions eventually threaten the livelihood of his scrupulous father. Faced with this dilemma, Fox questions his loyalties.
And last but not least, the "Italian mafia boss" close isn't probably something you want to try:
24 Door to Door
Based on the real-life story of legendary door-to-door salesman, Bill Porter, this classic explores how persistence and a refusal to give up can win deals for salespeople, no matter the troubles that hold them back.
Looking for more motivation to boost your sales game today? Get your daily dose of sales confidence with Daily Sales Motivation:
Best sales movies for your team
Are you sharing these sales movies with your team? Why not!
The Close team is always expanding the ways we train and educate our team. Movies are a great way to learn new tactics and techniques in the sales and marketing industry - just be sure to follow the good guys, not the bad guys.
Got a sales movie you'd like to share with us? Let's go!
*Updated: April,25 2022