Home Articles Top 3 Lessons From Glengarry Glen Ross For Business

Top 3 Lessons From Glengarry Glen Ross For Business

This movie was a bomb in the box office. It earned a measly US$10million whereas its budget was $12.5 million. It still could not break even despite its plethora of movie stars.

With that said however,  this movie is a cult classic. A masterpiece in the words of some.

And the movie also earned an Academy Award nomination.

It has added memorable quotes to pop culture such as “Coffee is for closers only.”

That famous line has been used in other television shows and movies paying homage to this wonderful piece of screenplay.

The article might contain spoilers so be prepared if you have yet to watch the movie. If you have not, i suggest you do. You will not regret it.

The movie is about a group of real estate salesman unable to sell two pieces of property which are called Glengarry Highlands and Glen Ross Farms and the the ensuing drama that unfolds.

It is a spectacle about the life of a salesman and the movie throws many vulgarities admittedly. So much so that the actors themselves called the movie “The death of a F*ing Salesman”.

But the question is, what can we take away from the movie that can be applied to our life? Especially in business and in being and entrepreneur.

1. Focus and Hard work Breeds Success

One of the most memorable lines in the movie is

“A-B-C. A, Always. B, Be. C,Closing. Always be closing. ALWAYS BE CLOSING!”

It is somewhere near the opening scene where a successful salesman played by Alec Baldwin was lecturing the employees from the firm on how to sell.

Now in the context of the movie, it was meant to inspire the salesmen to concentrate only on getting the sale done. Everything that they do must only lead to closing a sale. Every minute of their time should be focused on getting a sale closed.

This applies to life. We have goals. All of us who want to succeed in life that is.

Goals give us a direction in life. Something to achieve. Everything that we do must only be to the accomplishment of that goal.

So to rephrase the line, “A-B-W. Always Be Working.”

Most of us have 9-5 jobs but let me ask you this, how many of you are satisfied working that 9-5 job for the rest of your life? Unless you’re already lucky enough to be working your dream job, you better start hustling.

If you are not happy with your life, then you do the important things to make yourself happy. Don’t Whine. Don’t complain. When you want something, set a goal and work towards it.

Do not get stuck in your complacent state.

Just as money never sleeps, your goals are the same. That 9-5 job is just for survival. The other 16 hours of the day is where your real job starts. It is what should only matter to you.

Do not be lazy or complacent in life. As the great Alec Baldwin said to the group of salesmen in their failure,

“Get mad you son of a bitch. Get MAD!”

2. Be Creative And Find The Best Route To Success

In the movie, the salesman were given leads for their sales. In other words, cold calling prospects to set up an appointment for them to close the sale.

The problem is that the leads were old, reused and unreliable. So the salesman kept complaining that it was impossible to make a sale with those leads. This problem is actually a major theme in the movie because it sparked the whole chain of events that happen later on.

But while all the other salesman were complaining about the leads and how they couldn’t make any sales, one of them went out instead to find prospects.

We see this in the opening scene when Al Pacino’s character sat down in a bar for a drink and started talking out loud about random thoughts in his head. This sparked a conversation with another patron nearby who became interested in what he was saying.

Eventually, this led to a sale.

In life, things might not always go our way. We may hit a brick wall and get stuck.

But instead of feeling frustrated and upset, we can use our energy to find a solution.

Human beings are motivated by two forces. The need to avoid pain and the desire to gain pleasure. Lets be realistic here, everyone will experience different forms of pain at any point of their life. Pain, just like failure, is necessary for success.

Without pain, there is no desire to change. It is only when we experience pain that we consciously decide that something must change. That pain inspires decisions and actions.

So find a solution. Get creative with the solution. Find new and unique ways to solve the problem. Instead of feeling sorry for yourself and getting upset at things that we cannot control, you can decide to find a solution and act on it. You can control what you do and what you focus on. So go do it.

3. Without Integrity, You Will Not Succeed

So the movie shows the down-on-luck salesman trying to make sales with the weak leads.

What it also showed was when you sink into desperation, how it can affect your integrity and cause you to make a decision that is dishonest and deceitful.

One of the major plot in the story is how they were discussing on selling the new legitimate leads from their company to a rival; The leads that were trustworthy and had a better chance of success.

Since the company was not going to give them the new leads, which they solely depend on for their sales, they could steal them and sell it to a rival who would pay a huge sum of money. Of course this is a crime and they know that. But they were desperate.

In the end, the person who stole it ended up getting caught and arrested.

When i watched the movie, I felt pity for the man. Because his daughter was in the hospital and needed money for treatment but he was not making any money at all.

But what we can learn from this is that being dishonest has a price to pay. You will never succeed in life or maintain your success if you are dishonest. Think about it. If you have been dishonest the whole time and you got found out, will anyone ever trust you again?

Trust is a huge factor in success. Without trust, you cannot develop or start any relationship.

Without trust, you will not have anyone to do business with.

You must always build trust whether it be with a client, a partner or whoever you meet.

This will severely affect your business and your life if you are labelled as a dishonest person.


Remember the three main things to pick up from the movie. I remember watching it repeatedly partly because of how i liked the dialogues that were so witty and intelligent. The other part was because there is much to learn from the story.

You can only succeed in life if you work hard and focus all  your energy into obtaining your goals. If you ever come across challenges, you must find a solution. Get creative with the solution and think outside of the box.

You may never know how effective or brilliant the solution is if you have a narrow mind and aren’t open to new ideas and methods.

Most importantly, always have integrity in your work and in your life. Be somebody who is seen as trustworthy. That is the way great brands are made. If people trust you, then you will find more doors open for you.