Now that the nachos are put away and the tears have been shed, it’s safe to look a little closer at the lessons learned from Super Bowl XLIX. As reigning champions Seattle Seahawks took on the old vanguard of the New England Patriots, who was to know that it would mean one of the most exciting, shocking, and educational games of all time?
Whether you’re a Pats fan or you were rooting for the rise of the Legion of Boom, there were some great lessons that can apply to the sales field. From overcoming customer obstacles to making sure that you’ve got the right guy running the sales ball, this Super Bowl taught us a few things about how to play the game and win.
You Can Overcome a Bad Reputation with a Good Product
One of the biggest concerns going into the 49th Super Bowl was the possibility that the Patriots quarterback, Tom Brady, had deliberately deflated footballs in the qualifying game against the Indianapolis Colts. Fortunately for the Pats, their on-field presentation was still so stellar (45-7) that #Deflategate didn’t keep them from going on to win the Super Bowl championship.
In sales, this same lesson holds true. Good customer service management isn’t impossible, even if your client has had a bad experience with your company in the past. Show the results of your product, and how it can personally benefit your client. You can even ask for a trial period to prove how good your product can be. Then, knock them out of the water with incredible service and transparency.
Don’t Underestimate the Power of the Rookie
Although most seasoned sales reps already know that new guys have a zeal to sell, there was no better example in Sunday’s game than Malcolm Butler’s game-winning interception. As an undrafted free agent, there were some who doubted that Butler could play the game at the NFL level. Yet, with half a minute to go, Butler intercepted the Seahawks last chance at glory and won the game for the Patriots.
Not all new sales professionals are prepared to be successful, but there are some things that they have that are incomparable. Like Butler, new sales professionals who show drive, commitment, and a willingness to take risks can be valuable parts of your sales strategy. Just make sure you’re using them where their unique skills can shine.
One of the biggest media storms that broke out during the game had nothing to do with football. Although advertisers paid around $4.4 million per 30-second commercial, some of them were more successful than others. Social media buzzed with positive responses to pro-family commercials from organizations like Coca-Cola, Nissan Maxima, and McDonald’s. On the other hand, there was a huge backlash to a Nationwide commercial that had a ghost child explaining the things he would miss because he died in a household accident.
Although your sales tactics may not always be as warm and fuzzy as having clients pay in hugs, fear-mongering may not be the best way to seal a deal. Clients want to know that the product you are selling will help them succeed. Sales reps who sell through fear run the risk of turning off their clients completely, as Nationwide can now attest.
Everyone Loves a Dancing Shark
As sales professionals, it’s really easy to take ourselves too seriously. From the special-ordered business cards to the imported shoes, every sales rep wants to look like they can be trusted with a huge investment.
Still, if there is one thing that Katy Perry’s halftime show taught America, it’s that people love a dancing shark.
So, the next time you go into a sales presentation, remember that you are the dancing shark. You need to be honest and dependable, sure. But also, you need to not take yourself or your product too seriously. Humanizing yourself and your company makes you much more trustworthy than a $2,000 suit.
Believe in the Miracle Pass
Lost in the fantastic final 30-second struggle between the Patriots and the Seahawks was one miraculous catch. Touted by the New York Post as the “second-best catch in NFL history,” Seahawks Jermaine Kearse completed a 33-yard pass by catching the ball after he fell and it bounced twice off his prone body.
Although it didn’t lead to a victory for the Seahawks, the tenacity and will to win in that catch was a lesson to every sales professional. It’s possible that any other player might have fallen and given up on his chance for success. Kearse fell and managed to be successful from the ground. For sales professionals that believe in a miracle pass, falling is not failure – it’s an opportunity for a comeback.
Unsportsmanlike Conduct Makes Everyone a Loser
Who could have predicted that Super Bowl XLIX would have ended in a brawl? Following the final Seahawks play, which ended in the interception by rookie Malcolm Butler, refs gave a 5-yard penalty to the Seahawks for a lunge at the opposition. What ensued next was an on-field fight, with punches thrown by Ron Gronkowski (among others) and ending in Bruce Irwin’s ejection from the game.
Just because you’ve lost a sale to a competitor doesn’t mean you have to make yourself look like a poor loser. Attack marketing, slander, and underhanded or illegal retribution may make you feel better in the short-term, but it can lead to backlash from your clients and permanent long-term legal consequences.
Go Beast or Go Home
Finally, in the epic play fail that will haunt Pete Carroll for history as we know it, Seahawks QB Russell Wilson threw the ball for a touchdown at the ½ yard line. This would make sense, if they didn’t have the biggest, scariest running back in the history of the NFL. Instead of going “Beast Mode,” an aggressive nickname for an aggressive Lynch rush, they pulled the punch and it lost them the game.
Aggressive is the name of the sales game. When it comes time to make those big decisions, acting with passion and vigor is just as vital as acting on prior experiences. There is nothing more successful than intelligent, aggressive leaders who cultivate a sales team that believes they can win.
What Do You Think?
Whether you rooted for the Patriots or the Seahawks, we want to know what you thought about the big game. Were there other lessons you learned about selling from the successes and failures of Super Bowl 49? Share you ideas with us in the comment section below!