Retail Sales Training Lessons: 25 Movie Scenes To Learn From

Friends watching movie on the video projector in the backyard garden

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Movies provide some of the best training and reminders for retailers of all sizes. Here are 25 of the best sales movie scenes ever released.

Together, they showcase over 30 lessons you can draw on to reinforce good retail management and retail sales practices.

See how many you remember…


The Truman Show

The Truman Show with Jim Carrey. The scene where Laura Linney starts selling her product in the middle of an argument.

Lesson: Timing and the context of your retail sales training are as important as the content.

Groundhog Day

Groundhog Day with Bill Murray. Bill Murray revisits the town where he grew up as a middle-aged adult. A forgotten classmate Ned tries to sell him insurance daily, in the middle of the road.

Lesson: Never try too hard. People smell it on you.


Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. The Weasley twins open up their new shop Wizard Wheezes.


  • Be proud and passionate about your product.
  • Enthusiasm is contagious.

Glengarry Glen Ross

Glengarry Glen Ross with Alec Baldwin. The scene where Baldwin comes into the room and introduces himself to his sales reps with a pushy speech.

Lesson: Coming off like a pit bull may feed your ego but often demoralizes your employees.

See also: Learn how to give feedback to employees.

Julie & Julia

Julie & Julia with Meryl Streep and Amy Adams. If you have a great product and get turned down, keep trying to sell it.


  • You never know when someone will take you up on your retail sales pitch.
  • Keep believing in yourself.

Boiler Room

Boiler Room with Giovanni Ribisi. A telemarketer calls to sell the Daily News. His pitch is apathetic and weak. The customer (Ribisi) goes so far as to correct the telemarketer’s retail sales pitch.

Lesson: If you don't care and know about your product, you won't interest your customer. Model your interest in the product, and customers will pick up on it.

The Shop Around the Corner

The Shop Around the Corner with James Stewart and Margaret Sullivan. Two employees at a gift shop who can barely stand each other fall in love.

In the scene where Margaret is selling the music box, even though she was brand new and it was not on sale, she made the sale and came up with compelling reasons to buy it.

Lesson: When good salespeople don’t carry all the baggage about why something won’t sell, they can often sell it full price.

Customer Service

Analyze That

Analyze That with Robert De Niro. Foul-mouthed De Niro tries to sell a car to a married couple in his showroom. De Niro is rude, which guarantees they won't buy the car.


  • Respect and be patient with your customers.
  • Customers won't return to a store when they've been treated badly.

Ferris Bueller's Day Off

Ferris Bueller's Day Off with Matthew Broderick. Ferris enters a posh restaurant and impersonates Abe Froman, the Sausage King of Chicago. Apparently, this is the only way for him to gain entrance.

Lesson: Treat ALL customers with respect, not just some.

Cemetery Junction

Cemetery Junction with Christian Cooke and Matthew Goode. Two salesmen visit a home to sell insurance to a middle-aged couple.

Cooke reads from a textbook encouraging the couple to express their want of a vacation instead. Goode has a compelling retail sales pitch that wins over the couple.

Lesson: Connect with customers.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding

My Big Fat Greek Wedding with Nia Vardalos. In the Greek restaurant, Vardalos freezes and pours the customers’ coffee into the wrong cup because she is distracted by her new crush.

Lesson: Stay focused on the customer in front of you.

Pretty Woman

Pretty Woman with Julia Roberts. The legendary scene when she enters the dress shop. They won't assist her because of her appearance, but she returns the next day with the famous line, Big mistake. HUGE.”

Lesson: Customers never forget how you make them feel.

Work Hard

Pursuit of Happiness

Pursuit of Happiness with Will Smith. In the cold calling scene, Smith competes with all the other telemarketers to sell the most. He ends up with the opportunity to meet with a CEO.

Lesson: Hard work pays off and leads to better opportunities.


Angel with Romola Garai. In this farce, Garai is a snobby and lazy aspiring novelist. However, a publishing contract falls into her lap, even though she did nothing to acquire it.


  • Work hard for your money. Introduce yourself to customers and ask if they need anything.
  • Sales opportunities won't pursue you.


Legally Blonde

Legally Blonde with Reese Witherspoon. The scene where Reese is shopping with her girlfriends and the clerk tries to pass off last year's item as brand new.

The clerk makes assumptions about the customer, ultimately showing the customer knew more than the clerk thought.

Lesson: Making assumptions can cost you the sale.

Back to the Future

Back to the Future with Michael J Fox. When Fox first shows up in the 1950s downtown, then enters the cafe. He asks for a 'Pepsi Free.' The chef/cashier pesters him.


  • Not everyone talks the same way.
  • Ask customers to explain when you don’t understand them so that you can meet their needs.

Tommy Boy

Tommy Boy with Chris Farley: The restaurant scene where Farley shows his flamboyant retail sales technique by using a food prop to demonstrate a model/example customer.

Lesson: If you're new and nervous, don't say that to a customer. Ask for help.

Bride and Prejudice

Bride and Prejudice with Aishwarya Rai and Martin Henderson. He wants to invest in India but decides he won't because of his argument with Rai at the pool.

Lesson: Don't be ignorant; everyone's money is good.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. A pizza dude has to deliver a pizza to an unknown address. It is pouring rain, and the address is a sewer grate. He complains.

Lesson: If you can accommodate a customer's unique request, do so gladly.


Boiler Room (yes, again)

Boiler Room with Ben Affleck. In a conference room, Affleck gives a speech to potential employees about how to make money at the business.


  • Managers and trainers should set expectations.
  • Set concise, clear goals.

Working Girl

Working Girl with Harrison Ford and Melanie Griffith. His secretary hits on him in his office.

Lesson: Keep a line between work and personal life.

Miracle on 34th Street

Miracle on 34th Street with Maureen O’Hara and Edmund Gwenn. Macy’s hires a nice old man who claims to be Santa Claus, and a young lawyer decides to defend him by arguing in court that he is Santa.

The scene shows how Macy’s and Gimbel’s worked together to cross-promote each other.

Lesson: Growing the whole pie helped everyone.


You’ve Got Mail

You’ve Got Mail with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. A big box store opening threatens a neighboring small children’s bookstore.

Lesson: Pulling out the pity party with PR did nothing to turn the shop around; you want to stay open and give customers more reasons to return.


Ruthless People

Ruthless People with Danny DeVito and Bette Midler. A businessman has his wife kidnapped, so when he doesn’t pay the ransom, he can knock her off.

The scene where DeVito is explaining what poor salespeople do and the kidnappers call to offer a discounted ransom.

Lesson: Giving in to haggling makes you look weak.


Little Shop of Horrors

Little Shop of Horrors with Jack Nicholson. A geeky florist finds his chance for success with the help of a big man-eating plant that demands to be fed human beings.

Lesson: Having the wrong merchandise can come back and eat you.

What can the best sales movie scenes teach you?

When learning about retail sales training, look to retail movies, real life, and your own experiences. Try to crystalize what both good - and bad - behaviors look like.

What movie scenes would you include, and what would the lesson be?