• James Purvis

3 Sales Tips Matthew McConaughey Taught Me

"Alright, alright, alright." Did you know those were Matthew McConaughey's first words on the big screen? I didn't know that either until I read his critically acclaimed book, Greenlights which is an ever so entertaining biography of the first 50 years of this Hollywood legend's life.



A few days after I finished the book, the company I work for (Rubrik) ironically hired Mr. McConaughey for an interview with one of our top and most respected executives, Mike Tornincasa. Couldn't have been happier as the timing was impeccable and Matthew happens to be one of my favorite actors like many of us. Mr. Tornincasa said it best as he kicked off the interview with Matthew, "You're the person every guy wants to be and who every girl wants to be with."


Although Matthew is known worldwide for his acting ability, he is also an amazing sales talent. The guy just gets it. He knows that everyone is in sales and that selling skills and "story telling" are crucial for all of us to learn, no matter the profession.


To help demonstrate this, here is a 4 minute video McConaughey put together for students at the University of Texas on Crafting a Personal Story to Sell Your Product.


Here are the key points from the video that all of us sellers should be reminded of:

  • You got to get out in front of a product but your product should always precede you.

  • Your product, your idea - you must own it and be the master of it.

  • Know your audience. Sell it the best way THEY understand it.

Example: Matt states how he pitches his movies different to his family than he does to a studio.

  • The Why. This is the most important element of any sales pitch. It's about supply and demand. How do you make their life better. If you answer the why, you have purpose.

If you create all the above, you have a story.


"To get to the head, you have to go through the heart." - Matthew McConaughey

Matthew's final three key points:


1. Know what you know. Know what you don't.

2. There is more than one way to be right.

3. Amendments are not always improvements.


"Create and build a story that you love to tell. If you believe in your product, you will sell it."


These were all great reminders for me as I watched his short video on selling but the majority of his pearls of sales wisdom come from his book and interview. In fact, there were too many to put into one post so I narrowed it down to the three that stuck out the most which I'm sharing below:


1. Never Say "I Can't." Don't Lie. Don't Hate.


Matthew's parents taught their kids at a very young age not to lie, never say the words "I can't, and to remove feelings of hatred. These principles have been distilled within him and are fundamentals he's passed onto his own family. Matthew's parents didn't hope that he would follow these principles, they expected it. Like his parents, he demands the same respect and trust within his household.


I Can't


Those two words get you into "big trouble" Matthew exclaims in the interview. Instead, he teaches his kids to have the mindset that they will "always try." In the book, he defines that "words are momentary; intent is momentous." How true is that in selling?


Your customers, partners, peers, superiors and everyone in between don't want to hear the words, "I can't." For example, you think your customer wants to hear tha