You Play to Win the Game! Sales Motivation from 10 Legendary NFL Coaches

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Has your sales team hit a wall? Or maybe your reps just need a little sales motivation to reach their end-of-year goals? Look no further than these 10 famous quips from some of the best motivators in the world — NFL coaches.

Let’s face it — we’re suckers for a great motivational speech, particularly in the context of sports or movies. Who doesn’t remember Al Pacino’s “game of inches” spiel in Any Given Sunday, Knute Rockne’s famous pre-game speech from Rudy, and Kurt Russell’s speech as Coach Brooks from the movie Miracle? If you don’t get goose bumps watching those clips, you may want to check your pulse.

It’s amazing what a few, simple words can do to light a fire under us, and no one understands that better than sales managers.

So, as your sales team preps for Q4 and you hone in on your end-of-year sales goals, we thought it might be helpful to share 10 incredible quotes from some of the NFL’s greatest coaches on the importance of teamwork, focus, perseverance, determination, and execution.

“Until you go out and prove that you are the best, you really don’t know.”

— John Madden

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“Setting a goal is not the main thing. It is deciding how you will go about achieving it and staying with that plan.”

— Tom Landry

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“Try not to do too many things at once. Know what you want, the number one thing today and tomorrow. Persevere and get it done.”

— George Allen

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“If you want to win, do the ordinary things better than anyone else does them day in and day out.”

— Chuck Noll

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“You’re never a loser until you quit trying.”

— Mike Ditka

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“It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up.”

— Vince Lombardi

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“You don’t get any medal for trying something, you get medals for results.”

— Bill Parcells

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“There is an old saying about the strength of the wolf is the pack.”

— Bill Belichick

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“Players get tired of listening to coaches. When the guy at the next locker verbally kicks a player in the butt, it makes an impression.”

— Marty  Schottenheimer

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“For me the starting point for everything — before strategy, tactics, theories, managing, organizing, philosophy, methodology, talent, or experience — is work ethic. Without one of significant magnitude, you’re dead in the water.”

— Bill Walsh

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Bonus Quote: Lou Holtz may be better known as one of the greatest college football coaches of all time, but this quote was just too good to leave off the list:

“Motivation is simple. Eliminate players who aren’t motivated.”

— Lou Holtz


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What are some of your favorite sales motivation quotes?

Photo by: Kate Ter Haar