I’ve had more than a few people come up to me recently during my trainings asking me if I’ve seen Wolf of Wall Street and talking about what a great Sales movie it is. I haven’t even seen it but I already know it’s not. It might be a great movie but I know it’s a terrible Sales movie in the way it depicts Sales as a profession. It’s like Boiler Room on crack. Boiler Room was a cool movie but a terrible Sales movie. Oh, and I can’t forget the greatest sales movie of all time – Glenngary Glenn Ross. Nope. Again, it might be a great movie with some incredible scenes but it’s a terrible Sales movie.
The reason these are all terrible Sales movies in my opinion is because they depict Sales in all the wrong ways. In all three of those movies the “salesmen” are selling stuff they don’t believe in. They are taking money from people with no intention of giving them anything of value in return. All they care about is their commission and they could care less about the client. These movies feed into the negative perception of Sales by the general public and give this profession a bad name.
If you want to see a great Sales movie go see Pursuit of Happyness. That is Sales done right and is one of the best examples of what hard work, optimism and persistence can do for you. (Check out my previous post about hard work). Another great Sales movie (and my personal favorite) is Tommy Boy. It’s a fantastic movie about a big dumb idiot getting into Sales with no experience, trying to be like his dad, failing miserably, figuring out that Sales is about relating to people and being yourself and then turning into a great Salesman for all the right reasons (see my previous post about ‘Catching Your Sales Groove’).
Do me and the profession of Sales a favor and if you ever meet anyone who doesn’t care about what they’re selling and are just looking for a commission check tell them to get out. And when someone tells you that Wolf of Wall Street, Boiler Room or Glenngary Glen Ross are great Sales movies tell them to go watch Pursuit of Happyness or Tommy Boy. Sales is the best profession in the world when done right. It’s the worst when done wrong. Let’s elevate the game and do it right.