Thursday, July 22, 2010

Top 5 Movies About Selling

Ever wonder why people have preconceived notions that salespeople are losers, unethical, pushy, unreliable and down-right "used-car?"  Maybe part of this impression is placed upon the general public by Hollywood.  As a salesperson, I love to see movies about how people sell.  If I was a cop, I'd love to watch detective films.  Doctors always joke about the newest medical mystery picture.  If you're looking for the "dirt" on the coolest (yet mostly made-up) movies about selling, look no further:

5.  Jerry Maguire.  OK, I know it's a chick-flick, but come-on:  "Help me, to help you!"  It's a classic that never gets old and shows the trials of a one-man sales organization (not dissimilar to us all).  I love the part where he promises the guy on the phone that he just needs a little more time to pay for the Ferrari's.

4.  Boiler Room.  Greed run amok.  This difficult-to-watch film shows the gritty underside of inside salespeople doing whatever it takes to con people out of their money.  Many of the tactics shown in this film are a little to close to home.  Research shows that much of the sales content is right on track in the high-dealing world of investment selling.  Favorite scene is when he's giving sales advice to the newspaper salesman on the phone while he's eating breakfast.

3.  Tin Men.  Barry Levinson's classic tale of aluminum siding salespeople from the 1950's and 60's.  Richard Dreyfuss and Danny DeVito are spectacular as they bilk the poor home-owners out of their money.  My dad (who's been in sales forever) tells me it's  all true.  I think I believe him.  The line of Cadillacs and the flowing booze round out a classic.

2.  Glengarry Glen Ross.  Yes, I am purposefully leaving out Wall Street here because I think it's just too over the top.  Back to Glengarry Glen Ross.  This is a MUST SEE film for every salesperson on the planet.  Don't expect to watch it and feel good inside, though.  It's about as raw a sales film as you'll get, and this is what makes it so spectacular.  The cast they assembled for this film are uncompromising stars, including Jack Lemon, Al Pacino, Alec Baldwin, Kevin Spacy and more.  Favorite Scene:  the whole damn picture.  Just go rent it.

3.  Tommy Boy.  OK, I know what you're thinking already - "that guy's a goofball - how could he put Tommy Boy ahead of Glengarry Glen Ross?"  You're right.  It was a difficult decision, but I love Chris Farley and it's just so funny.  The sales engagements in this movie will make you laugh every time you see it.  I think I've seen this film about 22 times and it just keeps getting funnier. 

You've seen the rest, now go check out the best.  Till next time.  Happy viewing.


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