Whether you’re a fan of Tom Brady or not, you’ve got to agree he’s a winner. In fact, if he and the Patriots win this week’s Super Bowl, he will break the tie with Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana of winning four Super Bowls. Tom Brady will have five, and he will be the best of the best.
There are lots of articles written about both Tom and coach Belichick, and the Patriots, and I read one last week that, yet again, provides a big lesson for all of us in sales.
The article talks about how, after a good practice, coach Belichick came down hard on Tom and admonished him to stop throwing so many times to his best receiver. Tom didn’t agree and pointed out that he was simply polishing his timing, but Belichick was adamant.
“Throw the ball to somebody else!” he said, in not so polite terms.
Just when Tom was about to object and let his ego take over, he stopped and took it in. “I’m the player and he is the coach,” was his attitude. And this is what makes Tom so great: He is willing to keep learning and keep growing.
The article said it best: “The Patriots’ best player likes to be coached the hardest.”
The reason this is such a good lesson for sales is that I coach and work with “players” – sales reps – all the time. And what I find is that the ones who make the most growth (and the most money) are the ones who are open to being coaching.
This contrasts sharply with those who insist on doing it their own way; those who remain stubborn and think they have it all figured out. While many of these sales reps are talented, smart, intuitive, and even motivated, what they lack is a willingness to take a step back and consider possibly better way.
Unfortunately, many professional football teams and elite athletes are resistant to coaching as well. In the article, coach Eric Mangini points this out by saying: “There is almost this stigma to being coached.” And:
“The head coach of another AFC club tried a similar tactic with his team this season, showing the entire team clips of mistakes by a handful of his best players. One recently paid veteran responded by standing up in front of the room and screaming at the coach.”
I used to be resistant to coaching as well. Years ago, I thought I knew it all and was resentful when my manager – who wasn’t on the phones and didn’t have to make the calls – tried to teach me a better way. It wasn’t until I became committed to performing better that I became willing to be coached.
But when I did, my sales and my career took off.
The lesson I hope you all take from this is that you can and will benefit from advice, suggestions, and coaching from other people who have been there and done that. It’s when you think you know it all that you stop growing.
Just like when Tony Robbins was starting out, he read and listened to and absorbed everyone else’s ideas in his field. He said that if he got just one good idea from them (and he got a lot more), that would help make his motivational training and career better.
And it worked out for Tony. And for Tom. And for me and countless other top professionals.
So my suggestion for you is: Who can you learn from today? What piece of advice or which technique, or which suggestion can you try to make yourself better? How open are you to being coached?
The moment you become willing, that is the moment you will begin improving.