Whether gearing up for an interview, call, client pitch, or just a Monday morning, we all need a little kick sometimes.
We’ve compiled 20 motivational videos for sales that are a healthy dose of social science, words of wisdom, and wisdom we can glean from Dwight Schrute being pranked.
Disclaimer: Some of these videos contain language you may not feel comfortable blasting to the whole office. Put on your headphones and proceed with caution (especially when you get to #7).
1. Oprah Winfrey: To remind you that intention is a driving force
Oprah Winfrey was born in rural Mississippi in 1954 and became the youngest news anchor at 19 years old and the first Black female news anchor for Nashville’s WLAC-TV, hinting at what was to come. Nowadays, she’s best known for the Oprah Winfrey Show, which ran for 25 years. In the speech below, she talks about the importance of intention on the path to success.
“What I’m putting out is what’s coming back…So let me get real clear about what it is I'm putting out.”
2. Amy Cuddy: To remind you nonverbal cues are crucial to your success
Bow down to the queen of keynotes. Amy Cuddy brought in an impressive seven million views for this TED Talk, placing it among the top 20 TED Talks of all time — and for good reason.
This video is full of interesting tidbits about the nonverbal cues you're giving every minute, every day. Her advice on "power posing" is invaluable when it comes to sales meetings. Remember: Your prospects are not only evaluating your pitch, but your confidence and how you carry yourself.
"If you feel like you shouldn't be somewhere: Fake it. Do it not until you make it, but until you become it."
3. "Hidden Figures": To highlight the importance of being first
"Hidden Figures" is the true story of Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer), and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe), three African-American women who serve at NASA as part of astronaut John Glenn's historic launch into orbit.
This clip highlights Jackson's fight to be allowed to attend classes that would further her work as a NASA engineer. Never underestimate the value of a well-worded, thoughtful speech in winning someone over.
"Out of all the cases you're going to hear today, which one is going to matter a hundred years from now? Which one is going to make you the first?"
4. Steve Jobs: To encourage you to love what you do
Steve Jobs. Arguably the best salesperson of our generation explains what really makes us salespeople tick: The love of what we do. Remind yourself of this, and you will succeed every time.
"If you look at the ones that ended up being successful in the eyes of society, oftentimes it's the ones that loved what they did, so they could persevere when it got really tough."
5. "Friday Night Lights": To motivate you to work as a team
It has been said that sales is the ultimate contact sport. Football or sales, you go out there and hustle your way to the top every day. Whether you're in the locker room or sitting at your desk, this one pulls on the heartstrings.
"Being perfect is not about that scoreboard out there. It's not about winning. It's about you and your relationship to yourself and your family and your friends. Being perfect is about being able to look your friends in the eye and know that you didn't let them down."
6. Motivational Montage: To give you a quick hit of all the motivational greats
A quick search for "motivational speech" will bring you 2,150,000 YouTube results, but when it comes to quality, Mateusz M is the king of catalyst. Mateusz has created an art of his own. "Dream" is a personal favorite. A montage made from the very best of "Into The Wild," "Rocky 4," "Seven Pounds," "Pursuit of Happyness," and "A Beautiful Mind," completes this piece of gold.
"Greatness is not this wonderful, esoteric, elusive, god-like feature that only the special among us will ever taste. It's something that truly exists — in all of us."
7. "Wolf of Wall Street": To get you fired up
This entire movie is full of outrageous monologues, but if you don't have hours to spare, here's a three-minute refresher. A quick recap of this blockbuster: Jordan Belfort (the real-life "Wolf of Wall Street") gets out of jail, writes a New York Times bestselling memoir, and sells the film rights to Red Granite Productions. The biopic grosses $392 million worldwide, and Leonardo DiCaprio lands a Golden Globe for Best Actor. Everybody's happy!
The (Only SFW) Inspiring Line:
"So you listen to me and you listen well. Are you behind on your credit card bills? Good -- pick up the phone and start dialing!"
8. The Young Guru: To make you cry a little
The youngest motivator to grace this list, this six-year-old superstar's words of wisdom are so moving they have been made into dozens of autotune remixes. A T-Pain in the making.
"Thumbs up everybody -- for rock and roll!"
9. Shonda Rhimes: To remind you to push past your comfort zone
For one year, Shonda Rhimes said "yes" to everything that scared her and got her out of her comfort zone. She's the powerful mind behind the hit shows Grey's Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away With Murder.
Rhimes is passionate about her work, and when she's in the zone, and deep in her work, she calls it a "hum." In her Ted Talk, she tells her story of how she lost her "hum" and what she did to get it back.
"And a crazy thing happened: the very act of doing the thing that scared me undid the fear, made it not scary. My fear of public speaking, my social anxiety, poof, gone. It's amazing, the power of one word. "Yes" changed my life."
10. "Erin Brockovich": To highlight why you should play the long game
Erin Brockovich is a legal clerk and environmental activist who was instrumental in building a case against the Pacific Gas and Electric Company of California in 1993 despite her lack of formal education.
Julia Roberts famously brought Brockovich to life in the eponymous film, showing just what planning, hard work, and grit can do to turn a meeting or a deal your way.
"By the way, we had that water brought in special for you folks."
11. "Glengarry Glen Ross": To make you feel like a closer
I'm just going to say it: This is the most iconic sales monologue of all time. Alec Baldwin completely demolishes this scene from 1992's "Glengarry Glen Ross." In terms of practical advice, you might be better off with Amy Cuddy, but Alec instills a bit of good old-fashioned grit. Who's a closer? You're a closer!
"A-B-C. A: always, B: be, C: closing. Always be closing!"
12. Amy Purdy: To challenge you to look at obstacles as opportunities
How do you respond to challenges? Amy Purdy, now a professional snowboarder, lost both her legs below the knee when she was 19 years old. She tells her inspiring story of recovery and how she drew inspiration despite facing a tremendous obstacle.
"So the thought that I would like to challenge you with today is that maybe instead of looking at our challenges and our limitations as something negative or bad, we can begin to look at them as blessings, magnificent gifts that can be used to ignite our imaginations and help us go further than we ever knew we could go. It's not about breaking down borders. It's about pushing off of them and seeing what amazing places they might bring us."
13. "Braveheart": To inspire your courage
Alright, so Mel isn't really talking about sales here but it's too epic to not make the list. Channel your inner William Wallace while you work through those cold calls.
"They may take our lives but they will never take our freedom!"
14. "Joy": To put a smile on your face
"Joy" is the true story of entrepreneur and QVC star Joy Mangano. During a tour of the QVC sound stage, executive Neil Walker (played by Bradley Cooper) explains what makes stars Joan Rivers and her co-host Cindy so great at selling.
He highlights their timing and the warmth they bring to their sales segments. It's more than just who they are and what they're pitching, it's that they're masters of knowing their audience and closing deals.
"The stars, they always make the mistake -- they think it's about the face but it's not. It's really about the hands and the eyes."
15. Eric Thomas: To remind you, you've got to want it
How bad do you want it? Perhaps one of the most underrated speeches on this list comes from Eric Thomas, a motivational speaker, and youth activist. While you're at it, download this as an MP3 and put it on your gym playlist. Get your elliptical on.
"Listen to me -- you will never be successful until I don't have to give you a dime to do what you do."
Bonus Inspiring Line (too great to leave out):
"When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, then you'll be successful."
16. Angela Lee Duckworth: To help you build your grit
It takes grit to succeed in sales. In her TED Talk, Angela Lee Duckworth speaks about the power of passion and perseverance. She also emphasizes the need for a growth mindset to build grit. The growth mindset is the idea that "the ability to learn is not fixed, that it can change with your effort" and it was introduced by psychologist Dr. Carol Dweck.
Bonus material: Here's Dweck's Ted Talk that provides more detail about the growth mindset.
"Grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. Grit is having stamina. Grit is sticking with your future, day in, day out, not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years, and working really hard to make that future a reality. Grit is living life like it's a marathon, not a sprint."
17. "Any Given Sunday": To stress no gain is too small
In this classic clip from "Any Given Sunday", Al Pacino's Coach Tony D'Amato fires up his players before a big game by explaining that life is a game of inches. We fight for what we want, inch by inch, to reach our goals. That's how we become successful. That's how we win.
"Life's this game of inches. In life or football, the margin for error is so small ... the inches we need are everywhere around us ... on this team, we fight for that inch ... That's what living is -- that six inches in front of your face."
18. "The Pursuit of Happyness": To remind you no one can tell you what you can or can't do
In the Pursuit of Happyness, Will Smith's character is a father on the brink of homelessness trying to make a better life for his son. In this scene, he encourages his son to fight for his dreams -- even in the face of being told he "can't" do something.
"Don't ever let someone tell you can't do something. Not even me, alright? You got a dream? You got to protect it."
19. "The Office": To show you the power of passion in creating a compelling message
If you're a fan of the office, you're likely familiar with this inspiring clip. Dwight's prank-prone coworker Jim, coaches a nervous Dwight before a big speech he must give to other paper salespeople at a Northwest conference. What Dwight doesn't know is that Jim has coached him with speech notes from infamous dictators. Dwight delivers the speech and puts so much heart into it, the room is inspired -- a reminder that when you're passionate about something, it's infectious (even if it's a little ridiculous).
"Some people will tell you salesman is a bad word. They'll conjure up images of used-car dealers and door-to-door charlatans. This is our duty to change their perception. I say salesmen and women of the world unite. We must never acquiesce, for it is together, together that we will prevail."
Bonus: My Locker Room Speech
If I'm ever asked to give a motivational speech to millions of salespeople (which I haven't been yet), I'm ready. Here, for the first time, my "locker room" speech:
Ahem. Sales isn't an easy career path. Sales isn't the career you choose if you're looking for the easy way out. After you're hung up on for the 10th call in a row, after your prospect said they would buy but changed their mind, after everyone has left for the night but you're still dialing -- you might question why you're even in sales at all. But never forget, you got into sales for a reason. [10-second break for suspense] Because you were born a hustler. Now set these 13 videos on loop and keep them close by! Listen to them at the gym, in the shower, on the bus, on your coffee break. Hung up on 10 times? Pick up the phone 11 times. You already have it in you. Now go close a deal.
I truly hope you've found this list inspiring. In sales, we face a lot of rejection (even more than I did at my first elementary school dance) but resilience trumps rejection every time.
Still need more motivation? Check out these motivational quotes to spark your sales drive next.