The recent success of Leonardo DiCaprio vehicle The Wolf of Wall Street showed that modern day cinema-goers are happy to reach into their wallet for the privilege of spending almost 3 hours watching a film inextricably connected with sales. No doubt some viewers came away with an overwhelming desire to cash in their current job and make some serious bank within the stock market.
Being motivated to try to improve your career prospects is a great thing for sure – but the cinematic glamour of the successful salesman’s high life can mislead people into thinking that they’re only a job offer and a few months away from caviar receptions and sabbaticals in St Tropez.
Hopefully film enthusiasts from the younger generation will seek out some other sales films, each of which will offer food for thought and key points to be integrated into any recruiter’s performance.
Here are three of my favourites…
1/ The Pursuit of Happyness
The film based on the real-life story of the now-millionaire but formerly-homeless Chris Gardner is an incredibly well scripted, well acted and moving look at the struggle one man has to go through in order to get his life from where he doesn’t want it to be to where he does.
Think you’re facing adversity with an unappealing commute, longish hours and a mediocre basic salary?
Watch this film and get a little perspective.
2/ Boiler Room
Any scene in this film involving Ben Affleck is worth its weight in learning & development gold. The scenes with Vin Diesel aren’t too shabby either.
Overall, it’s a decent film but the scenes where Affleck and Diesel show you how it’s done will motivate, inspire and kick the ass of anybody who is behaving like a “piker” (their words, not mine!)
3/ Glengarry Glen Ross
Pacino. Spacey. Harris. Arkin. Pryce. Baldwin (the good one). Lemmon.
Among the best casts ever assembled, this supremely acted story is simple and honest – rather than overemphasizing the glamour of success (as many sales films do), Glengarry Glen Ross focuses on the fear of failure and the mistakes that this causes people to make.
Both inspiring and cautionary, this is well worth a watch, particularly for those who are newer to sales and could do with seeing how it “used to be” back in the 80s and 90s pre-mobile phones and internet immediacy.
How about you? What are the best sales films you’ve enjoyed – and learned from?
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