What can you learn from breaking down cold calling examples in film and TV? Let’s find out!

How many times have you heard someone reference Glengarry Glenross? “Always Be Closing” was chiseled into the pantheon of great sales quotes. As salespeople, we love when a film accurately depicts the challenges of selling, especially to cold calling prospects.

We can do more than commiserate through film, though. We can learn from them, too. We’re going to break down a few cold calling examples, and see what we can learn from writers and actors who nail the right strategies (and one funny example of what not to do).

cold calling examples

5 Cold calling examples we can all learn from


1. Steve Jobs can’t find anyone to invest in Apple Computers.


You never thought you’d hear that, right? In this clip from Jobs, the scene dramatizes the infamous story of Steve Jobs calling 100 investors and receiving 100 rejections.

The take aways:

  • Make sure the client understands what you’re selling. No one knew what “home computers” were during these sales calls.
  • Don’t condescend to you listeners; educate them. Steve Jobs would’ve had a better experience if he put himself in the client’s shoes and better explained the value of his product.
  • Cold calling is a numbers game. Of course, we know Apple Computers eventually found an investor. But Steve Jobs had to work for it and take a lot of rejection.

2. Jordan Belfort makes a convincing argument for hard selling.


The Wolf of Wall Street is not “model behavior” for sales professionals. But, in this scene, Leo Dicaprio gives us one of the best cold calling examples in film. And he makes the “hard sell” look easy.

The take aways:

  • Pitch your product like it’s a brand-new opportunity. People listen to newsworthy pitches. They catch attention and stir interest.
  • Give them a sense of scarcity. Limited-time offers make the prospect want to buy before it’s too late and the opportunity passes.
  • Ask for sixty seconds. People are more willing to listen if they know the conversation won’t last forever.

3. Will Smith cold calls the boss and walks into a sale.


The clip from The Pursuit of Happyness might seem a little too easy, but there are lessons to learn here. Will Smith’s character takes a risk and it pays off nicely. We all deserve a break once in a while, don’t we?

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Take aways:

  • Time is money. The more time you have to call clients, the more potential you create for making sales. In this clip, Will Smith is automating the sales call process in a very old-fashioned way.
  • Go right to the decision-maker. Calling the CEO of the company might be risky, but what do you have to lose? Go for it.

4. The Boiler Room shows how to overcome a pesky objection.


You’ve heard it before:

“Oh, I’m actually not in the market for that right now.”


“Oh, I have to ask my wife/husband before I make a decision.”

They’re two of the most common objections of all time. In Boiler Room, the main character shows how to overcome these blockades with relative ease. Whether it’s one of the more realistic cold calling examples, well, that’s for you to decide. (We feel the prospect—in this case, Harry—is a little too easy)

Take aways:

  • Ask close-ended questions to steer the conversation: Are you married? Yes. Do you make decisions at work? Yes. So why not make a smart decision now? If you know the right questions to ask, then you can control the conversation.
  • Know what your prospect values and speak to his desires. Demonstrated in this clip: “Think about what your wife will say when you bring home a big, fat check because you had the foresight to see a good thing coming.”

5. The Office gets silly with phone sales training (and nails it!)


Let’s lighten the load a little bit, shall we? If you haven’t watched The Office yet and you’re a salesperson, it’s time to start. The writers know how to appeal to our experiences and make them hilarious.

Take aways:

  • Don’t be aggressive, hostile or difficult. Plain and simple (unless your prospect’s name is Bill Buttlicker).
  • Speak loud, but not too loud. Otherwise, you’ll yell at the customer and make a scene.
  • Don’t be afraid to fire your employees if there are million dollars on the table. (Just kidding!)

If you’re serious about phone sales and want to triple the number of sales calls you make in an hour, give Call Logic a try. Sign up for our free trial now!