Full access to Entrepreneur for $5

4 movies with basic lessons to sell more and be a successful entrepreneur

"The Godfather" teaches about negotiation; "The Wizard of Oz", about leadership. Learn about these Hollywood strategies that will help you increase your sales.

This article was translated from our Spanish edition. Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Cinema is art, entertainment and popular culture . But it can also fulfill a didactic teaching function, because it stimulates the mind through its arguments, content, phrases, characters and images.

Paramount Pictures

The best thing is that you can not only learn lessons in history or values, but also in marketing, human resources and management , among other business topics.

With these ideas in mind, we invite you to dim the lights, put “play” on your player, have the popcorn, paper and pen ready, and sit back and enjoy and learn some sales lessons that Hollywood has for you.

1. Corleone-style negotiation

There is no doubt that Vito Corleone, the main character in The Godfather (1972) , is one of the most famous negotiators on the big screen. All you need to do is sit back, remain silent, and wait for the counterpart to make a better offer before he accepts anything. But for this to happen, there are many strategies behind.

For example, spend time preparing and investigating the other person to find out their strengths and weaknesses, as well as to gather useful information that can be used when making a deal. On the other hand, confidence and security in themselves and patience are flags with which "the family" navigates during the process to reach an agreement. Although they are not afraid to take the initiative and take things in the direction they want.

Another lesson that this film teaches is, in the voice of Michael Corleone, that "it's nothing personal, it's just business." And he is right. When establishing an agreement, emotions, luck or magic have no place. You must disassociate yourself and cut off any feelings - negative or positive - that you have towards the other person, as it can create controversies and get in the way.

Remember that professional negotiators, like The Godfather , dominate their business and do not allow irrational personality and behavior to interfere with their mission.

To do this, a heart of steel is required, to do the homework, to have experience and discipline without respite, because only in this way will you be able to adequately analyze the offer that is presented to you and obtain the best possible agreement. If it is difficult for you to control how you feel, the recommendation is to turn the negotiation to a colleague or partner who has an open mind and an objective point of view.

And as the plot of this film shows, all the time you have to keep your eyes fixed on the final result you want to achieve, because that is what business is about.

Other suggestions of the same style:

  • An unseemly proposal
  • Wall street
  • Twelve men in conflict
  • The Firm

2. Training and motivation of Los Titanes

In the city of Alexandria, American football is an institution loved and respected by all. And although there is already a process of ethnic integration, the tensions and fights caused by this are something daily. So when you put together a multiracial college team called Los Titanes, it creates an atmosphere of wonder in the community.

Their coaches - a white coach (who was the main instructor before the races were mixed) and an African-American (who takes the new command) - teach the young people to overcome their prejudices. This in order to form a real team with a common goal: to win the state championship.

Perhaps the best way to represent teamwork is through sports. And although the main theme of Duel of the Titans (2000) is American football, the argument goes much further. This film - inspired by real events - delves into the process of change and integration of students as a true group, no matter how different they are from each other.

As a phrase from the film says: "the attitude of the team reflects the leadership style." And in order to lead someone, you have to know how to motivate them. Denzel Washington and Will Patton - who play the coaches - continuously develop actions to encourage athletes, who thanks to this improve their performance.

Among the strategies they implement, the following stand out:

  1. They listen to them and take their opinions into account, both on the court and on a personal level. In this way, they feel supported and valued.
  2. Play the best player. That is, they select the most suitable candidate for a position based on their results, without involving sentimentality or, in this case, the color of their skin.
  3. They recognize the achievements of each of the members and motivate them by offering them more participation in the games.
  4. They monitor and control the plays individually to avoid later problems on the playing field.
  5. Young people are constantly being reminded of the importance of earning and the benefits it can bring to their future college entrance.
  6. Not only do they define the strategy of each party, but little by little they solidify the union, camaraderie and the sense of belonging to the team.

Other Suggestions:

  • Gladiator
  • Hossiers
  • Any given sunday
  • The sellers' war

3. The Yellow Path of Leadership

Dorothy is a young orphan living in Kansas who is transported by a tornado to a fantastic land. Eager to return home, she begins a journey in search of Oz, a wizard who can help her return home. Along the way, he befriends a scarecrow, a tin man, and a lion. The three decide to accompany her to meet the magician in the hope of each obtaining her wishes: a brain, a heart, and courage, respectively.

You've probably seen The Wizard of Oz (1939) at least once in your life. It was voted one of the 10 best movies of all time. But beyond its cinematic value, the film represents one of the most outstanding leadership stories ever made.

On the one hand, to be a good leader you need to know not only what to do, but also what not to do. And also, learn to get the best out of the people around you. This is the case Dorothy, who took a character without a brain, one without a heart and one without courage, and integrated an effective team that helped her successfully achieve the mission of returning home.

This story shows, on the other hand, that leaders can come in different shapes and sizes. They are not always strong and determined, but can be small and seemingly helpless (like the protagonist).

Likewise, through its main characters, this feature film leaves four leadership lessons:

  • Like the scarecrow, you must use intelligence, cunning, and strategic thinking to overcome obstacles presented to the group.
  • You must not lack heart, in the sense of will and passion to do things. And remembering the tin man, the idea is that you keep your goal "well oiled" so it never rusts.
  • It is not enough to possess skills like assertiveness and confidence (like the lion) if you do not have the courage to act. It's okay to be afraid, but it's not good to let it stop you from taking action.
  • A true leader remains focused on his mission and true to his values (or his red shoes) and does not rest until he achieves his goals and objectives. This is demonstrated by Dorothy in her desire to return to Kansas with her family. And after passing several tests, he succeeds.

Other Suggestions:

  • The Godfather I and II
  • Apollo 13
  • Twelve to the gallows
  • Brave Heart

4. Always be prepared

Truman Burbank has lived in front of the cameras his entire life, although he is not aware of it. His life is filmed through thousands of hidden cameras, 24 hours a day and is broadcast live worldwide. Everything in his environment is simulated: his parents are fictitious, since he is adopted; his friends are contract actors; the city in which he lives is a constructed set; and even, the climate is regulated by an operator. This allows the production to control every aspect of the protagonist's life.

Although Truman - played by Jim Carrey in The Truman Show (1998) - suspects that something is wrong, by detecting events that seem out of place, the film crew and actors are always vigilant for any contingency or threat that may arise. . They are prepared and trained to react if things go wrong; they know what to do, what to say and how to act when the protagonist has any doubts, misgivings or mistrust.

How do they do it? First, the production knows the character perfectly, understands what his needs are, and uses this information to anticipate his actions. For example, they know that one of their deepest desires is to travel and explore the world. So when he packs his bags and is ready to go, they act to prevent him from leaving town - canceling plane flights, causing a bus breakdown, traffic jams and even an apparent nuclear meltdown.

In another scene, Truman confesses to his best friend that he has many questions about his existence. Realizing that he is dissatisfied and as a strategy to win him back, the production surprises him by causing his father (who was believed to be dead) to return. And they monitor that their spirits do not falter again.

Of course, it is not recommended to apply the techniques used in this feature film, because in the end they are actions that only deceive the consumer, something that you never have to do. However, this story demonstrates the importance of knowing the client, learning to listen, being prepared to handle objections, meeting needs, exceeding expectations, and following up on each case. Actions that every good seller must take into account and, above all, execute.

Other Suggestions:

  • A night at the museum
  • The big scam
  • Women perfume
  • Robin Hood