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Pete Carroll and the Seahawks: Your sales team's secret to success

It’s Super Bowl time again folks, and this year’s big game between the Seahawks and Patriots looks like it’s gonna be a doozy. Both teams have a lot going for them, but (full disclosure here) I’ll be rooting for the Seahawks. As a diehard fan and a Seattleite, I’m honor bound to support our local team as we take on the Pats in search of our second consecutive Super Bowl win. And, as fellow Seahawks fan Annie Reneau recently pointed out, it isn’t just the guys in jerseys that make the Seahawks great.

Head coach Pete Carroll’s leadership strategy is a big part of the team’s continuing success. Reneau likens Coach Carroll and the Seahawks to a well-run family, and that got me thinking about another group of folks that might gain from Coach Carroll’s leadership style. Here, with thanks to Reneau, are 10 ways you and your sales team can learn from the Seahawks.

1. Have a clear philosophy. There are a lot of different sales strategies out there, but the best way to get the most out of your team is to make sure everyone is operating with the same goal in mind. This goes beyond simply making the sale. A solid sales philosophy establishes trust and understanding between you and your customers, and strengthens your brand identity as well. It’s the first step to creating a Super Bowl–worthy team of your own.

2. Build confidence, gain trust. Everybody performs better when they know you’ve got their back. For your sales team, this means hands-on management that won’t throw them under the bus. For the customer, it means fair service and a kind ear. Walking the line that straddles both of these interests can be tough, but if you stay in bounds you’ll reap the rewards of customer satisfaction and team loyalty, both of which will show up as increased sales over the long term.

3. No whining, no complaining, no excuses. From time to time, things inevitably go wrong. During the NFC championship game, Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas were injured. Both stayed in the game and both plan to play in the Super Bowl. When times get tough, sales teams willing to go the extra customer service mile have a real chance to gain ground with their customers. If you stand tall, take your lumps, and find a way to brighten their day, you just might convert your critics into advocates.

4. Everything counts. Sometimes it’s the little things that change a loss into a win. At one point in the NFC Championship, the Seahawks had a horrifying 1 percent chance to win. By staying focused and forgetting the odds, two minutes later that faint glimmer of a hope shot straight to 91.2 percent. Keep an eye on every little way you can better your customer experience. Knowledge is the key, and every little bit of it can help turn today’s losses into tomorrow’s wins. Read more on how to do it here.

5. Make room for silliness. No matter how much you love what you do, work is still work. Bringing a little levity into the workplace can do wonders for morale and productivity. Suddenly, all those very important details that everyone’s focusing on can seem like a walk in the park. Customers will notice the happier faces, too.

6. Take joy in triumph. A win is a win is a win. Be the Pete Carroll of your sales team and celebrate loudly and often. Don’t play favorites, and celebrate small sales just like you would the bigger ones. In the long run, every satisfied customer could mean return business and word-of-mouth recommendations. If that’s not worth celebrating Beast Quake style, I don’t know what is.

7. Let them be themselves. There are certainly a lot of personalities on the Seahawks team, but as Reneau points out in her blog, Pete Carroll doesn’t try to change who his players are. He embraces their unique characteristics and you should view your sales team the same way. There will always be different personalities and levels of performance on a sales team, but by playing to the strengths of the individuals and applying the best practices of your “A” players across the organization, you’ll be able to maximize each opportunity that comes your way.

8. Take the long view, but focus on “now.” Much of what I’ve suggested so far has been the sort of thing that pays long-term dividends. Ensuring your legacy is all well and good, but that rewarding future can only become reality if you take the right steps today. The day-to-day hustle of nurturing relationships and creating new contacts can feel as stressful as beating the blitz. Our advice: use the best tools you have at your disposal to keep tabs on every one of your customers. That way, when it’s time to close the deal, you’ll know.

9. Relentless positivity. It’s not over until the final whistle blows, so if you’ve got a customer who’s on the fence, keep looking for your way to win that sale. We live in a world where we’ve got multi-sourced, time-sensitive data knocking down our figurative doors on a daily basis. Sift through that data, find new info that will help your customer make a decision, and share it with them. As long as you don’t overdo it, your advice and attention can help keep you at the top of the list when the customer does make a decision.

10. Winning is the means and the end. The success of the Seahawks over the last two seasons hasn’t been miraculous, it’s the product of a man with a plan and his winning system. Just as you celebrate each successful sale, it’s important to recognize that those sales didn’t just appear out of thin air. Having a well-oiled system in place, made up of specialized individuals and flexible technology, is a win in and of itself.

Just remember that, like Pete Carroll, your job is never done. Keep learning, keep improving on that system of yours, and you’ll be fielding an all-star team for years to come. If you’re looking for a good platform to base that future on, view our suggestion below. Oh, and go Hawks!

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Inspired by Annie Reneau’s blog: 12th Man Mom: How the Seahawks Are Making Me a Better Parent