What You Can Learn About Sales from the Super Bowl

Football provides a wonderful metaphor for sales.

Whether the team you follow was in the Super Bowl last night, whether you are a New York Giants fan, or whether you are a Patriots fan, there are lessons about competing and winning that easily apply to sales.

Both Teams Were Packed with Talent

Both of the teams that make it to the big game are packed with talent. Each side has exceptional players on offense, defense, and special teams.

Like sales organizations, football teams have budget, and they have a limited number of positions that they are allowed to fill. Unlike many of us in sales organizations, football teams focus a great deal of their effort and energy in acquiring the best talent they can afford. They invest the rest of their energy in training and developing their people, and rehearsing the plays that they believe that will allow them to win.

You don’t make it to the big game without having the talent, without developing that talent, and without continually rehearsing their game plan.

We in sales could learn a lot from this model. We could spend more time working on identifying, recruiting, and hiring the right talent. And we could absolutely learn about training, development, and rehearsing our plays. Instead, we are so busy working that we spend too little time working on improving our only assets.

Both Teams Can Win

The spread on last night’s game was 3.5 points. Both teams were capable of winning, and no one would have been surprised had the outcome been different.

For those of us in sales, we often find ourselves up against competitors that have an ability to win that is equal—or greater—than our own. Teams that play at the highest level don’t underestimate their competitors. They know that they have the ability to win, and they know that they are going to have to bring their A-game and leave everything on the field if they are to win.

Both Teams Know How the Other Team Competes

Both teams have studied the other team’s films. They have watched all of their games, they have studied them, and they know how they are likely to compete.

There are no secrets. They understand the other team’s strategy, and they adjust their own strategy to take advantage of the weaknesses they perceive in their opponent’s strategy.

Occasionally a team can run a trick play and succeed, but no team counts on winning by running novelty plays. They play their game. We should do the same.

Winning Means Executing Your Game Plan, Making Fewer Mistakes, and Putting Up Points

To win the big game, both teams rely on executing their game plan and preventing their competitor from executing theirs. Both teams run the plays that they have developed, studied, and run over and over again throughout the season.

Executing these plays well and preventing your competitor from disrupting your strategy leads to victory. Failing to execute leads to a loss. Mental errors, missing your block, missing your tackle, or dropping the ball that hits you in the hands all lead to loss.

It’s often the team that makes the fewest mistakes that wins the game.

The team that wins puts up more points than their competitor. When they have opportunities, they capitalize on those opportunities. They keep moving the chains and, when they are in the red zone, they score.

Execute your game plan. Minimize your mistakes by rehearsing until what you do is second nature. And capitalize on the opportunities that  present themselves. This is how you win the big game in sales.


How much of a role does talent play in competing and winning?

How much does talent count for in your ability to execute your strategy?

Do you compete as if your competitor is just as likely to win as you are? How does this help you compete?

Do you know how your competitors compete and win? Do you know that they know how you intend to compete?

Can you execute on your game plan, minimize your mistakes, and capitalize on opportunities? Can you put points up when you are in the red zone?

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Filed under: Sales

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