10 of the Best Sales Films Recruiters Should Watch

We all know how tough it can be to get back into the swing of things after the holidays, but remember that January is a really important month in recruitment.

You’re relying on the business you pull in now to carry you through Q1 and beyond, so get yourself geared up for building a strong pipeline by watching some motivational sales movies!

Here’s a list of the best sales films that will inspire you and get you fired up to make 2021 your best year to date.

1. The Pursuit of Happyness

the pursuit of happynessThe Pursuit of Happyness is the true rags-to-riches story of Chris Gardner, a struggling single parent who undertakes a competitive internship as a stockbroker whilst battling homelessness. Gardner’s self-determination and clever tactics result in him winning a permanent position at the company and ultimately, free himself from poverty.

Why this film will help you sell:

This film is a testament to the idea that if you work hard and smart enough, you can achieve the unthinkable.

It’s also a stark reminder that when working in sales, you have to create your own luck, or as Gardner puts it, "The cavalry ain't coming, you got to do this yourself."

It’s an absolute must-see if you feel there’s not enough hours in your workday. Gardner’s productivity hacks make his sales calls so efficient that he’s able to claw back hours in his day - an invaluable lesson for any busy recruiter!  

2. Jerry Maguire

Jerry MaguireSports agent Jerry Maguire is fired from his job after he publishes a manifesto criticising the unethical practices in his firm. He decides to set up his own agency, without the bullsh*t, recognising that if his clients succeed, he will too. Or in his words: “help me, help you!”.

Why this film will help you sell:

Jerry Maguire reminds us that helping instead of selling not only drives sales, it also cements stronger relationships with our clients and candidates and wins us repeat business.

Genuine actions show you’re credible and sincere, and people will always do business with people they like and respect. This is especially important in the recruitment industry which is plagued by a reputation of pushy, greedy recruiters.

3. Wolf of Wall Street 

wolf of wall streetWolf of Wall Street is based on the true story of Jason Bedford, an infamous Wall Street broker who set up his own firm in the 1980s, scrambled his way up to becoming a multimillionaire but fell into a world of debauchery, crime and corruption.

Why this film will help you sell:

Whilst the story doesn’t end well for Bedford, there are loads of great scenes in this film that will light a fire under any self-respecting salesperson. The most famous is of these is the ‘pick up the phone’ scene, were Bedford declares:

“Are you behind on your credit card bills? Good, pick up the phone and start dialling... I want you to deal with your problems by becoming rich!”

This reminds us that sales is one of the few professions in the world where we have the power to change our circumstances if we simply pick up the phone and win some business.

So if you’ve been a bit spend-happy this Christmas, remember you’re only one call away from your next commission check!

4. Glengarry Glen Ross

glengarry glenrossGlengarry Glen Ross follows four real estate salesmen whose work ethic gets shaken up by a sales trainer who threatens to fire everyone but the top two billers in the team.  

Why this film will help you sell:

This film is packed with valuable lessons about sales, whether it’s learning how to take control of a situation or simply how to stay disciplined or motivated.

In one uncomfortable scene, sales trainer Blake (played by Alec Baldwin) famously berates one of his salesmen, shouting: “Put that coffee down! Coffee’s for closers!”.

This film will fire you up to face the tough moments in recruitment sales and remind you that often it’s these difficult situations that indirectly mould us into great salespeople.

Watch this film and you’ll stride into 2021 remembering to ABC (‘always be closing’), to learn from your prospects, sell with confidence and be relentless with your goals.

5. Love and Other Drugs

love and other drugsLove and Other Drugs is a rom-com about Jamie Randall, an ambitious pharmaceutical sales rep who struggles to balance an exciting new relationship with a massive career boom.

Why this film will help you sell:

Jamie (played by Jake Gyllenhaal) shows you how a bit of charm can go a long way in sales. His effortless swag gets him past every gatekeeper and straight to the decision maker without question.

At the same time, he reminds you that positive personal relationships are just as valuable as a commission check. It’s a bit of a cliché, but with the recruitment industry’s massive burnout rate, it’s a lesson many of us could benefit from listening to.

6. The Big Short

The_Big_Short_(2015_film_poster)The Big Short tells the story of a group of US finance professionals who predicted – and ultimately bet upon – the US housing market crash in 2012.  

Why this film will help you sell:

Like the housing market, the job market is always changing, and this presents us recruiters with new opportunities to exploit.

The characters in this film remind us that the only way you can predict new opportunities is to thoroughly research your field, keep your finger on the pulse and become an expert in your niche.

And if you still think self-development is boring and not worth the effort, the huge payoff at the end of this film is guaranteed to change your mind!  

7. Tommy Boy

tommy boyWhen his father dies, Tommy Calahan inherits an unsuccessful auto parts company, forcing him to go on the road to win new buyers to save the business. Along the way, he learns that a personal approach to sales is a lot more effective than a generic pitch.

Why this film will help you sell:

This film is a great example of why you need to know your story and how to execute it before you try to sell to prospects. If your clients aren’t bought into you, they’re not buying – even if you have the best candidates in the world!

This lesson is especially true in recruitment as our clients are often loyal to the recruiter, not the agency.

So cut the jargon, speak your clients’ language and educate, don’t show off. This way, you’ll see your business relationships grow – along with your commission!

8. A Family Man

a family manA Family Man is one of the few films out there that’s about recruitment! It follows Dane Jensen, a successful headhunter, whose ambitions to become a top manager at his agency are put under strain when his young son is diagnosed with a serious illness.

Why this film will help you sell:

Recruitment sales is a competitive job, and A Family Man won’t let you forget it. You’re always competing with other agencies, other teams, your colleagues and even yourself – and you can’t beat the feeling of being top biller.

That said, this film also provides a stark reminder that there’s more to life than recruitment – no matter how addictive the success is.

9. Joy

joyJoy is another sales film based on true events. It follows Joy Mangano (Jennifer Lawrence), an inventor who started her own company in the early 1990s. The film traces her journey in growing her company from the ground up to become a multimillion-dollar business, despite the many knock-backs that come her way.

Why this film will help you sell:

Resilience is one of the most important competencies for any recruiter, and in this film, Joy serves resilience by the spade!

If you’re having a tough month, this story will inspire you to keep going and remind you that setbacks make us stronger and ultimately, help us find success.    

Read: What to do when you’re behind on your recruitment targets

10. Moneyball

moneyballBilly Bean (played by Brad Pitt) is the manager of a failing baseball team. He uses ditches traditional sports management strategies in favour of statistical modelling to turn his team’s fortunes around and win a record twenty consecutive games in a row.

Why this film will help you sell:

You might be wondering what baseball and statistics have to do with recruitment sales – and I get it, this choice seems like a curve ball!

However, this film shows how important data is to succeed in any profession and will really get you excited about statistics. I promise!

In recruitment, we have a bad habit of fussing over particular KPIs just because we’ve always done it that way – even when they don’t mean much.

Smart recruiters track the data they’ve identified leads to business to see what’s working and what’s not, adjusting their strategy based on their results. So be like Billy and work smarter, not harder!  

Are you tracking the KPIs that actually make you money? Download the eBook below to find out how to create personal recruitment KPIs that are tailored to how you recruit.

Recruitment KPIs

Joanne Causer

Joanne is a Senior Growth Specialist at Firefish. She loves bringing on board new recruiters who are looking to recruit smarter.

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