What It Takes To Be Great

I don’t care if you hate Tom Brady and everything about the Patriots, you have to respect them.

I don’t care if you hate Tom Brady and everything about the Patriots, you have to respect them. What they just did — coming back from the largest deficit in Super Bowl history and winning it in overtime — was awesome. I could go on for days about their greatness, but I know that’s not what people want to hear right now so I’ll focus on the lessons we can take away from the team and the game.

Good to Great

Have you read the book Good to Great yet? If not you should. It’s about how to become a great company instead of just a good company. Companies can be good, sometimes really good, for a short period of time if they have a strong leader or superstar on their team. But once that leader or superstar leaves, then what happens?

The example Good to Great uses is Lee Iacocca who took Chrysler to the top, but after he left they fell apart. Chrysler was a good company.

By comparison, Jack Welch was an incredible CEO for GE, but he wasn’t the only one. GE had a system in place to select the next CEO which kept GE going for years. When Jack left, GE continued strong and steady.

When Bill Belichick became the head coach of the Patriots, he implemented a similar system. Their success doesn’t rely on just one person. This is why they have been a great team for over 15 years. I’m confident that when he decides to leave the Patriots, he will have developed a system to make sure they don’t fall apart.

By comparison, the Carolina Panthers were a really good team last year. They almost got to the top, but it was not sustainable and they fell apart this year. Very few teams can be consistently great.

In sales, anyone can have a great month or quarter but the truly great sales professionals have a process. Following these systems ensure they consistently exceed their targets every month, quarter, and year.

Preparation And Practice Is Key

If you watched the Super Bowl, it was obvious that the Falcons had prepared well for the Patriots in the first half and even through to the third quarter. Everything the Patriots tried, the Falcons had an answer for. They were the better, more prepared team for 3.5 quarters. The problem was they weren’t prepared to make the necessary adjustments when things started to go south. Under pressure, the Falcons kept implementing the same game plan even though the Patriots had made adjustments.

The Patriots do their homework better than anyone in the league and they prepare for any scenario that might come up. Don’t believe me? Remember two years ago when Malcom Butler intercepted the pass at the goal line against the Seahawks? That was a terrible call by Pete Carroll right? Wrong. It was an incredible call by Bill Belichick. They literally practiced that exact play multiple times leading up to the Super Bowl so that when they saw the Seahawks’s formation they knew exactly what play to call. Go watch “Do Your Job” on NFL Network to see the details.

In sales, the more prepared you are the more you can make the necessary adjustments in real time. The more you practice, the better you’ll be when it’s game time.

Momentum Is Hard To Stop

The Falcons had all the momentum in the first half and it looked like they were going to roll right over the Patriots. By halftime I was just hoping the Pats would make it at least respectable and not get totally embarrassed. But, halftime was the Falcons’s worst enemy, especially the extended halftime of the Super Bowl. It stopped their momentum and allowed the Patriots to review the situation and to make adjustments. The momentum started to shift towards the Patriots later in the third quarter and into the fourth and you could almost feel it coming. When they won the coin toss and got the ball in overtime, you knew the game was over.

In sales, when things are going good, keep pushing. When things are going bad, we need to find a way to stop the negative momentum and start moving things in a more positive direction. I wrote a blog post on how to get out of a negative tailspin if you want to check it out.

Never Rest On Your Success

If you ever listen to interviews of Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, or with any of the Patriots you’ll always hear them talk about getting better every day. They never take success for granted.

At the press conference the day after the game Bill Belichick made a comment that the rest of the league had a five week head start on them for next season so they needed to get back to work. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? The guy just coached in the greatest Super Bowl in history and he’s already thinking about next year? During the parade in Boston he grabbed the microphone and started a chant “NO DAYS OFF! NO DAYS OFF! NO DAYS OFF!” and the rest of the team joined him with smiles on their faces. You’ll never hear a Patriots player complain about the work they have to put in and you know why? Because they have five rings to show the results of that hard work.

Great sales reps put in the extra work and they do it consistently. They are the ones who show up early and stay late. Sales isn’t a job to them, it’s a profession and they take it seriously by always working to find ways to improve.

Me and The GOAT, Patriots Foundation Fundraiser, Fall 2016


I completely understand why some of the country hates the Patriots. I would hate them too if I didn’t grow up in Boston and live here still. However, you can’t argue with their success. Love them or hate them we can all learn from their approach and what they have been able to accomplish. #MakeItHappen

P.S. No comments about cheating, please. I’ll give you Spygate but everything else is complete BS.

P.P.S.  Join me next Monday at 12:30pm EST on Facebook Live for Make It Happen Mondays. We’re answering your sales questions in real time. Last week was fun and big thanks to those who tuned in.