Hollywood is known for its dramatized portrayal of different character types. Salespeople in particular have been depicted as greedy con men with one motivation: money. On screen, we are accustomed to seeing salespeople wearing fancy suits, schmoozing with potential customers and toying with ethical boundaries. But that stereotype does not always hold true. Some of the best movies get it right and actually illustrate the qualities it takes to be an impactful leader.
In Moneyball, the Oakland A’s general manager, Billy Beane, is a leader who is willing to push the boundaries to prove you can do more with less money. With one of the smallest budgets in the league, he was able to assemble one of the most talented teams. A perfect example of a strategic business thinker, Billy leveraged data and analytics to gain a competitive advantage against his peers.
The main character in Jerry McGuire was a sports agent who also took on the role of a salesman. Jerry demonstrated incredible motivation to achieve his goals, acted with a sense of clear direction and made well thought-out and deliberate decisions. Even though Jerry was ousted from his agency, he was able to make a comeback; through dedication and hard work, he was able to build a successful business based on real relationships.
Both characters are prime examples of leaders who persevered and succeeded in spite of the odds against them. Other movies come loaded with valuable tips that real salespeople could benefit from. For example, the 1992 film Glengarry Glen Ross followed four real estate salesmen as they chased down leads and explored different sales tactics in an attempt to lock down the final deal. Some of their attempts are unscrupulous (or illegal), but others are genuinely meritable, from the finesse it takes to deliver a good sales pitch to motivational tactics that keep your reps focused on the right goals.
The infographic below features four movie quotes that showcase the core values of what it takes to separate good sales organizations from great ones.