9 Lessons from Hollywood on Being Successful in Sales

March 24, 2016 Jiordan Castle

successful in sales

  1. Tommy Boy
  2. Making the effort to rekindle the flame with former and current clients helps keep you on their radar and them in your corner. Like Richard tells Tommy in the diner, people are buying you — not just the products or services you’re selling.

    Lesson: Prioritize your existing customers. Be genuine. They’ll sing your praises and new leads will follow.

  3. Glengarry Glen Ross
  4. Alec Baldwin’s “the leads are weak” speech would make even the most lax HR department send out an interoffice memo. And there’s a lesson to be learned from that…

    Lesson: You can’t insult people into being successful. (Granted, the leads were weak. Calling your salespeople that won’t do anything but beat them down.)

  5. The Wolf of Wall Street
  6. WOW

    In The Wolf of Wall Street, Belfort hands his friend a pen and asks him to sell it back to him. But how? His friend asks him to write his name down, but Belfort can’t; no pen. Voila! That’s supply and demand.

    Lesson: Supply doesn’t matter if you can’t articulate the demand. Find your opening (the demand) and provide the solution (the supply).

  7. American Beauty
  8. sellhouse

    There’s talking something up, and then there’s lying. By describing an in-ground pool surrounded by shrubs as “lagoon-like,” real estate mogul hopeful Carolyn shoots herself in the foot.

    Lesson: Work with what you’ve got. Be truthful and you’ll attract the right people.

  9. Planes, Trains & Automobiles
  10. When Del and Neal need cash to fund the next leg of their trip, Del repurposes his shower curtain rings and sells them as jewelry, as collectibles, as art… Not exactly duping people (they all still get something they want); Del shows great ingenuity in a bind.

    Lesson: Give the people what they want. Every customer is unique, and playing to their specific wants will get you much further than treating them as a collective entity.

  11. You’ve Got Mail
  12. Unfortunately for Kathleen Kelly, good publicity only goes so far. Fox Books offered discounts, cappuccinos, and — in case you’ve forgotten — an entire section dedicated to writers who’ve lived on the Upper West Side! The Shop Around the Corner, a one-off children’s bookstore, couldn’t compete… no matter how beloved it was by the neighborhood.

    Lesson: Love and good PR don’t pay the rent. You’ve got to be selling something of substance; that requires a superior product and a great way to market it.

  13. Pretty Woman
  14. When Vivian returns to the store where she’d been insulted the day before, and announces that the salesperson has made a “big, huge” mistake, every one of us watching secretly cheers… except, of course, for the salesperson.

    Lesson: Treat everyone well. Just because someone fits your typical mold doesn’t mean they’re an easy sell, just as someone who doesn’t fit your typical mold could turn out to be a big fish worth reeling in.

  15. The Truman Show
  16. Meryl offers to fix Truman a “new Mococoa drink” in their kitchen after a hard day, even going so far as to recite the product description from memory — mainly because product placement is a necessary evil on The Truman Show. (That, and because Meryl isn’t a particularly subtle actress.) Like any functional human being would be, Truman is understandably unnerved (and incensed) by her phony delivery.

    Lesson: Don’t hit clients over the head with information. A little subtlety goes a long way.

  17. Moonstruck
  18. Though his customers balk at the price tag of copper pipes, Cosmo can explain why they should opt for the best possible solution. He gives one of the greatest sales pitches in the history of film: “It costs money. It costs money because it saves money.”

    Lesson: Why is your product/service the answer? Why should they pick you over the other guys? Tell your clients what’s what by painting them a full picture of the competitive landscape.


Previous Article
An Insider Look at Working Abroad in London
An Insider Look at Working Abroad in London

There are some stark differences between living in San Francisco and living in London, and it’s certainly n...

Next Article
Why Tech Companies Should Look to the Arts for their Next Hires
Why Tech Companies Should Look to the Arts for their Next Hires

If you Google “famous scientists” you will see the faces of great minds like Albert Einstein, Galileo, and ...