Top 5 Sales Movies To Watch During Quarantine

COVID-19 has changed just about every aspect of our lives, including how we entertain ourselves. With much of the world in quarantine, people are streaming their favorite movies more than ever. Total internet hits have surged between 50 and 70 percent, with 12 percent of that increase coming from streaming services. Compare that with a five percent increase in e-commerce. In a nutshell, we’re watching online more than we’re buying online. 

How are your sales teams passing the time? Is it possible to combine professional development with entertainment? Absolutely. Vendor Neutral’s own Dan Cilley recently suggested movies in this LinkedIn post that will keep you entertained, as well as teach you a thing or two about sales. Here are our top five picks from his list and suggestions from his network. 

1. The Pursuit of Happiness

This one was first on Dan’s list. Who didn’t shed a few tears at the true story of Chris Gardner (Will Smith) in The Pursuit of Happiness?  If you think your financial situation is desperate right now, Will Smith just might be what you need to push forward. Smith plays a single father who finds himself homeless and jobless. He eventually lands a position at a prestigious brokerage firm, but as an unpaid intern. Unwilling to give up, he is determined to be successful. In addition to life lessons, Gardner teaches us that successful salespeople always remain optimistic. That cheerful, positive disposition reflects in our speech and helps land sales.

Two other key sales lessons we learn from Gardner is to be creative and flexible. He goes against the norm, steps out of his comfort zone and finds success. Gardner goes out of his way to be flexible and helps a client that ends up thrusting him to the top. In this unprecedented time, salespeople must think out of the box, developing new ways to provide value. 

2. The Wolf of Wall Street

Dan suggested The Wolf of Wall Street to show that we can learn lessons even from bad examples. Leonardo DiCaprio plays Jordan Belfort, a real life Wall Street “wolf,” who rose to success in the late 1980s by defrauding wealthy investors through his corrupt brokerage company, Stratton Oakmont. His quick rise to millionaire status caught the attention of the FBI, which ultimately resulted in him going to prison. However, he emerged a new man and now travels the world teaching sales training seminars.  The movie teaches us just how much sales has evolved since the late eighties, but we also learn three key lessons. 

  • He knew his prospects. Belfort knew his target audience, and he positioned his firm as an irresistible commodity. His message, personal style and language centered around what he knew would appeal to his prospects. 
  • He was a motivator. Sales managers can take a cue from the way Belfort interacted with his team. He regularly joined them on the sales floor, showing personal interest and offering valuable tips. He showed he was committed to their individual success, as well as the company’s bottom line. His attitude fostered loyalty. 
  • Be passionate about what you do. Belfort was fired following the 1987 stock market crash. His passion for selling moved him to take a job selling penny stocks, even though it was a demotion. He viewed the position as an opportunity to refine his selling and negotiating skills, eventually paving the way for him to start his own firm. 

3. 12 Angry Men

Robert Peterson, Ph.D. went really old-school. This professor of sales gives his students a list of movies to watch that includes the 1957 film 12 Angry Men. He stands by its key lessons for both sales team members and managers. Successful leadership centers around gaining trust, credibility and respect from your peers. Learning how to effectively influence others helps managers develop hard-working teams, and helps team members to successfully land sales. 

The story centers around a jury’s deliberations in the capital murder case of an 18-year-old boy accused of stabbing his father. In the beginning, the story seems cut and dry – guilty. However, there is one juror who is not convinced beyond a reasonable doubt. The movie follows how he slowly influences the thinking of his fellow jurors, taking into account their complex personalities, prejudices and backgrounds. 

Read a detailed breakdown of the lessons on negotiation we learn from this decades-old firm. 

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4. Jerry Maguire 

This 1990s romantic comedy also made Peterson’s homework assignment list for his pupils. The film teaches us many lessons, but the most important is, recognize that your customer’s success and your success are intricately linked. Jerry Maguire (Tom Cruise) is a cut-throat sports agent who does some soul-searching, leading to a moral epiphany. He expresses his new philosophy in a company-wide memo, and gets fired for it. His solution is to go out on his own, starting a management firm that hinges on the success of his sole client, football player Rod Tidwell (Cube Gooding Jr). 

“Help me help you,” is one of Maguire’s most famous quotes. Those words certainly ring true in the “COVID B2B era.” As Tidwell and Maguire strengthen their relationship, their joint success strengthens too. Today, sales teams must focus on helping instead of selling as a way to establish relationships that will pay off long-term.  Read more about Lessons from Jerry Maguire in this LinkedIn article

5. The Greatest Showman

Christopher Capon, sales director at Indirect Channel at Toshiba, added this 2017 blockbuster to the list. It tells the story of Phineas Taylor Barnum (Hugh Jackman), founder of Barnum and Bailey’s Circus. Even though he started out a penniless orphan, Barnum is an ambitious innovator. His hunger for success turns into one of the most noteworthy success stories. Barnum teaches us not to let rejection derail our plans. When one opportunity dries up, just look at another angle. 

Most importantly, we learn that we must add value based on what our customers view as valuable. When Barnum wanted a dwarf to join his circus, he was refused because the young man did not want to be laughed at. Barnum reasoned that people were already laughing at him, so why not get paid. That was value based on Barnum’s view. Eventually, Barnum realized the dwarf wanted to be respected and admired. He won over the young man when he offered him the position of leading the circus on horseback, dressed as a soldier. Barnum offered him what he valued, respect. Find out what matters most to your customers. 

Vendor Neutral is committed to being a valuable resource to sales teams turning this challenging time. Leverage our SalesTech and training resources.  Contact us to find out how your organization can benefit from our expert sales guidance tools.