Gordon Gekko - Wall Street

Many of the best lessons on life and sales can be learned…from watching movies, of course! Hollywood has always proven to be a wise old sage in dispensing life lessons that resonate with us, via memorable quotes from iconic characters. Every self-respecting capitalist or businessman knows about Gordon Gekko – portrayed by Michael Douglas in the Wall Street movie series – but Hollywood is full of other silver screen icons who have shared inspirational quotes. Here are 9 of our favorite inspirational sales quotes from Hollywood.

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1. “A-B-C. A-Always, B-Be, C-Closing. Always be closing, always be closing.” – Blake (Alec Baldwin), Glengarry Glen Ross – Click to Tweet

The mantra of every sales rep, and undoubtedly one of the two or three most famous sales quotes in Hollywood history. Blake’s repetition in uttering the line emphasizes that every sales rep should have the determined winning mindset of always looking to close any opportunity or deal.

2. “The most valuable commodity I know of is information.” – Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas), Wall Street – Click to Tweet

While undoubtedly true when the movie came out in 1987, this is even more critical for inbound sales today. The advent of the internet has seen an explosion of information that can help a sales rep be that much more prepared on what to expect from the prospective buyer before getting on a call. LinkedIn and other social selling tools have become essential weapons and commodities in a sales rep’s toolbox.

3. “There is no such thing as a no-sale call. A sale is made on every call you make. Either you sell the client some stock or he sells you a reason he can’t. Either way, a sale is made; the only question is who is gonna close? You or him?” – Jim Young (Ben Affleck), Boiler Room – Click to Tweet

This is the type of aggressive, determined mindset that sales coaches and sales managers are constantly trying to implement in their sales reps. This quote should be extended even further – sales are made, not only on every call you make but really in every interaction you have with any prospective customers, partners or peers. There is always opportunity to build a foundation.

4. “Listen, here’s the thing: If you can’t spot the sucker in the first half hour at the table, then you ARE the sucker.” – Mike McDermott (Matt Damon), Rounders – Click to Tweet 

While the above quote refers to a poker game, sales contains many similar elements. Namely, you have to know if you have spotted and are selling to the right prospective buyers. If not, even the best sales pitches might fall on deaf ears. Don’t be that sucker.

5. “Success is a menace. It fools smart people into thinking they can’t lose.” – Bill Gates (Anthony Michael Hall), Pirates of Silicon Valley – Click to Tweet

Even the best sales reps with the most refined selling skills and the most diligent work ethic will occasionally falter, or even go through cold streaks. As a sales manager, it is important to instill an even-keeled mindset among your reps – don’t get too high during times of great success, and don’t be discouraged during periods of struggle.

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6. “Money is not the prime asset in life. Time is.” – Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas), Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps – Click to Tweet

Time and urgency are critical factors in sales – after all, nothing kills a potential deal quicker than time. Talking to prospective customers at the right time, following-up in a timely fashion and generally operating with a sense of urgency and timeliness will help your reps succeed.

7. “The key to this business is personal relationships.” – Jerry Maguire (Tom Cruise), Jerry Maguire – Click to Tweet

We eschewed the most popular quote from this movie (all movies?) – “Show me the money!” – and opted for this more meaningful sales quote. The age of the impersonal sales rep playing a numbers game and simply talking to as many prospective customers as possible is over. The key to success in today’s Sales 2.0 world is to build a sense of mutual trust and build on personal relationships.

8. “The loudest one in the room is the weakest one in the room.” – Frank Lucas (Denzel Washington), American Gangster – Click to Tweet

Similarly, the loud rah-rah sales rep finds that his in-your-face tactics of yesteryear are not as successful today. Rather, sales reps are now being coached to ask probing questions and most importantly of all, just to listen. Listen to your prospective customers describe their pain points, their needs and how you can provide solutions for them.

9. “We’re trying to solve the problem here, Billy.” “Not like this you’re not. You’re not even looking at the problem.” – Billy Beane (Brad Pitt), Moneyball – Click to Tweet

The message behind this baseball movie is that thinking outside the box can sometimes provide the best and most innovative solutions to problems, whether in business or in baseball. Sales today requires such a data-minded approach – without looking at the numbers to identify and diagnose problems and areas of weakness, sales managers will be ineffective in driving real improvement.


What are some of your favorite inspirational sales quotes from Hollywood? Share your quotable gems from the silver screen below!

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