Sales Training and Lessons Learned from Tom Brady

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I read an article about Tom, coach Belichick, and the Patriots this week that, once again, had a valuable lesson for everyone working in sales to take away from it.

You can’t deny Tom Brady’s success, regardless of whether or not you like him as a player. If he leads the Patriots to victory in this year’s Super Bowl, he will become only the third player in Super Bowl history, after Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana, to accomplish that feat. Tom Brady, the finest there is, will have five.

After a successful practice, coach Belichick is said to have scolded Tom harshly for overusing his greatest receiver. Tom disagreed and pointed out that he was merely practicing his timing, but Belichick remained unmoved.

In not-so-polite tones, he said, “Throw the ball to somebody else!”

At the very moment when Tom was about to let his pride get the best of him, he paused to take it all in. His mindset was, essentially, “I’m the player and he’s the coach.” What really sets Tom apart, though, is his eagerness to learn and develop more.

The writer summed it up perfectly: “The Patriots’ top player loves to be trained the hardest.”

Being a coach and working with “players” (sales reps) on a regular basis is why I find this to be such a useful lesson for the sales industry. I’ve found that those who are willing to be coached are the ones who benefit the most in terms of development (and financial success).

This stands in stark contrast to individuals who refuse to budge from their established ways of doing things, who refuse to admit they do not know what they are doing. Many of these salespeople have talent, intelligence, intuition, and motivation, but they lack the willingness to stand back and evaluate alternate approaches.

Sadly, many NFL teams and star athletes are also resistive to coaching. Eric Mangini, a coach, says as much in the article: “There is almost this stigma to being coached.” And:

“Another AFC head coach this season tried showing his team video of their finest players making blunders. In response, a freshly compensated veteran stormed to the front of the room and yelled at the coach.”

Coaching is something I first resisted as well. I used to think I knew it all and resented it when my boss, who never had to make phone calls herself, tried to educate me how to do it more efficiently. I wasn’t willing to be coached until I made the decision to improve my performance.

The moment I did, though, my sales and career skyrocketed.

It is my sincere wish that you all learn from this that it is always helpful to seek out and implement tips, guidance, and coaching from those who have gone before you. When you reach the point where you believe you know everything, you reach a plateau in your development.

In the same way that young Tony Robbins soaked up the wisdom of seasoned professionals, this guy did the same thing. He claimed that even if he only took away one useful tip from them (and he did take away many), it would improve his motivating instruction and professional trajectory significantly.

As a result, Tony was successful. Also, Tom. For me, and the countless other accomplished people like me.

So, let me offer this advice: Think about who you can gain insight from today and model yourself after them. In what way can you better yourself? What piece of advice, what method, what suggestion can you try? Just how receptive are you to advice and instruction?

If you decide you want to get better, then you will.

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