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What Vince Lombardi Can Tell You About Coaching Sales Teams

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Even if your knowledge of football is just a casual thing, odds are you probably know who Vince Lombardi is. Lombardi achieved fame as one of the most successful, one of the best, coaches in the National Football League, ever. So impressive was his tenure that the NFL’s Championship Trophy bears his name. That’s quite an impressive accomplishment.

The honor is well-deserved. Lombardi is best known for coaching the Green Bay Packers to five NFL championships, which included the first two Super Bowls. He never had a losing season.

What Vince Lombardi Can Tell You About Coaching Sales Teams

Football and sales have more in common than you may think

So, what does this have to do with coaching sales teams?

There Are Similarities

Sports analogies fly thick and heavy in the world of corporate sales. It helps that groups of salespeople are called “teams”. But if you step back and take a good look, the two worlds have more than just that term in common. In the world of sales as well as sports, there is teamwork, goals to be reached, and competition to be overcome.

Is it any wonder that the company I work for has on separate occasions brought in former Boston Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon and New England Patriots tight end Rob “Gronk” Gronkowski for certain corporate sales gatherings?

Sales and sports. They’re tied together.

The Lombardi Method

When Vince Lombardi took over the coaching duties for the Packers in 1959, they were a losing team with shattered morale. In 1960, just one season into Lombardi’s tenure, the Packers went from worst to NFL Western Conference winners, before losing the championship to the Philadelphia Eagles. Next season, however, they beat the New York Giants for the title. How did Lombardi manage such a dramatic turnaround?

The article “Vince Lombardi Overcame Obstacles to Find A Winning Combination” points out that Lombardi understood the importance of commitment and dedication. In fact, in Lombardi’s perspective, if you were 15 minutes early you were on time, and if you were on time, you were late. This is known as “Lombardi time” and is still followed by many football coaches to this day. It says that you’re dedicated and committed to such a point that showing up early is a routine thing, all in a day’s work.

Being A Good Leader

A team is nothing without a strong leader, and Lombardi certainly fit the role. His high expectations went beyond simply showing up on his version of “on time”. Lombardi had a goal in mind (winning championships), and he never let his team take their eyes off that goal. Everyone knew what was expected of them, and he asked a lot of them. But then again, he also made sure he trained his team hard so that they were capable of meeting his standards and goals.

And that’s just what a good sales coach needs to do. An effective team leader shows dedication and commitment and expects the same from everyone on the team. A good leader trains his team so that everyone knows their jobs and keeps everyone focused on the goal, the eyes on the prize. And finally, a good leader expects nothing but the best, and that’s what Lombardi did. We all know where it got him!

You can have the same things as well if you use Lombardi as your role model. You may not get a trophy named after you, but you, your team, and ultimately your business, will be winners.

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