7 Sales Lessons from the Patriots’ Super Bowl Victory

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Patriots: 34 Falcons: 28

This one was a little difficult for me to write, mostly because I am an Atlanta Falcons fan. That being said, watching the Patriots win Super Bowl LI (Super Bowl 51) was something historic in the sports world. Never before had a team come from such a large deficit to win the game, and never before was the game won in overtime. If you are in to sports, it was one of the most exciting Super Bowl games in history. Congratulations to the New England Patriots for winning (again)!

I’d be remiss if we did not explore the sales and business lessons from the game itself. Even if you are not in to American football and did not watch the game, you may be surprised at how much the game (and the sport itself) can relate to the world of sales.

Here are the key takeaways from the 2017 Super Bowl in relation to sales, marketing, and business.

Ignore the haters

I don’t think anybody truly hates the New England Patriots. It really is a bizarre thing to hate. I also don’t think anybody honestly hates Tom Brady either. I do think, however, that people hate their success. It’s easy to get mad at others who are great. It’s human nature.

Regardless, if you are one of the top performers in your company or if you represent the best company in your industry, you might get some hate from your competition or  prospective clients. The best principle to remember is to simply ignore the haters and keep winning.

Never underestimate your competitors

Going in to the game, almost every analyst and casual fan predicted that the Patriots would win the game. It’s not that the Falcons were a bad team – on the contrary, their offense was among the best in the NFL with Matt Ryan (the quarterback) receiving the league MVP just a few days earlier. It’s just that the Patriots are so good and have literally zero weaknesses on the field. For many fans, the game would end in a massive Patriots victory.

Nobody expected the Falcons to come out and dominate the field for the first 3 quarters. Scoring 3 touchdowns one after another, the Patriots seemed to be shocked and stunned at what was happening. If you were watching the game, the commentators were equally as surprised.

In business, you might be part of the best company and have the best product. You might be the single best salesperson in the industry. Even if you are the best, you should never underestimate your competitors. Everyone is striving to be #1, which means that they are constantly innovating and trying new things to beat you. Don’t get complacent – treat every single sales call as an opportunity to gain market share and establish your dominance.

New England Patriots’ Tom Brady reacts after winning the NFL Super Bowl 51 football game against the Atlanta Falcons in overtime Sunday, Feb. 5, 2017, in Houston. The Patriots won 34-28. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

When things go wrong, don’t lose your cool

One of the most bizarre elements of the game was Tom Brady during the first half. In all previous games, Tom Brady was the epitome of composure. Nothing really rattled him and nothing seemed to slow him down.

After the interception where Atlanta ran the ball back the entire field for a touchdown, Tom Brady seemed to lose his cool. His signature composure was replaced with stress, panic, and a sense of deflation (had to put a joke in there somewhere!). Regardless, he was able to regain his composure and come back strong in the 4th quarter.

In sales, you’ll be told “no” more times than you can count. You’ll have loyal customers call you out of the blue and tell you that they are switching companies. You’ll miss your quotas and get yelled at by your boss. It’s a tough business working in sales. No matter what happens, you cannot lose your cool and  start to panic.

Teamwork makes the dream work

Yes, it’s a goofy and cliche’ phrase, but it’s the absolute truth. So far, I have only talked about Matt Ryan and Tom Brady, but let’s not forget that there is an entire fleet of people who worked together on that historic comeback. At any given moment, each team has 11 individual players who each have a wildly different responsibility, yet they are working towards the same goal. This even goes beyond the actual players – you have the coaches, the coordinators, the GM, the trainers, the medical staff, the nutritionist, etc. Without all of these people executing on all cylinders, you could make the argument that the Superbowl might be out of reach for any team.

Same principle applies to business – yes, you are one single salesperson. But you have a fleet of teammates who work with you who each have a wildly different responsibilities, yet are working towards the same goal. You have the marketing team, the accountants, the trainers, your bosses, the product development team, and even other salespeople. Use this to your advantage. Don’t be the lone wolf – run with the pack.

Take advantage of momentum

This is a huge component in any sporting event. Whichever team has the positive momentum (scoring goals, blocking shots, etc) usually ends up doing better. This is because the team morale is up and the opponents morale is being challenged. You hear commentators throw around that word all the time because it’s absolutely crucial to success on the field. At first, Atlanta had all the momentum. This is how they started with such an amazing lead. However, at halftime, the momentum seemed to shift in favor of the Patriots. They took advantage of this and rode the wave to success. Once something actually goes right, it’s easy to replicate it.

What happened to Atlanta’s momentum? Halftime. They took a break. Breaks kill momentum.

If you just completed a successful sales call, you might think that it’s time to relax and enjoy your success. Wrong. It’s time to go on another sales call. Use that positive momentum and keep rolling. You’ll be surprised at how well you can do simply by taking advantage of this.

Play to your strengths

The Patriots had a brilliant 4th quarter strategy. Rather than score as quickly as possible, they kept the Falcons defense on the field as long as they could. They wanted to play to their strengths, which was their offensive power. By tiring out the Falcons defense, they were able to easily score over and over again.

If your strength is the close, play to that. If you ask the best discovery questions, play to that. If your strength is your positive attitude, make that the main focus on your pitch. Whatever your particular strength actually is, take advantage of it.

Never give up

The obvious lesson here is to never give up. The Patriots were facing some pretty insane odds at the end. They literally had to score twice, get two two-point conversions, win the overtime coin toss, and score on the opening overtime drive. These odds are daunting – even for the Patriots. A lesser team may have simply given up at this point and just wrote the season off as a loss. Not the Patriots.

They did all of the above and won the game in a spectacular fashion. They did not give up, they worked harder to make their dream a reality. For that, they 100% deserve the Superbowl victory.

You might have some months where you are in a rut. You might be in the middle of a sales call that is going horribly wrong. You might even be on your last warning before losing your job. Regardless of the situation, the only way you will guarantee failure is by giving up. Keep trying and pushing as hard as you can. Believe the impossible.

Once again, congratulations to the New England Patriots for winning Super Bowl LI. As a salesperson, use the above lessons in the business world to help replicate the success that the Patriots have seen time and time again.

And no, before you say it, cheating is not an option. They did not cheat to win the game. They simply outworked and outplayed the Falcons.

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Author: Jason Karaman

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