James Carbary

Founder at Sweet Fish Media

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This Mike Ditka Mantra Positioned Our Sales Team For Success

James Carbary

Founder at Sweet Fish Media

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Company culture makes all the difference whether your sales team is only successful in the short-term or they’re in it for the long haul.

Steve Dines, VP of Business Development for ARCCA, has developed a culture for his sales team around a mantra he picked up from legendary pro-football coach, Mike Ditka:

Attitude – Preparation – Execution

These three pillars form the basis of a culture that encourages positivity, sets up your team for success, and puts the customer first.

Whether your sales reps are all on the same level or at varying stages of their careers, using this mindset can take the team from short-term goals to long-term achievement. You don’t just want to win one game, you want to dominate the season.


Positive thinking goes a long way toward improving morale and keeping excitement up for the sales reps. Prospects can tell when reps aren’t excited to talk about the product, or even worse, when they’re not excited to talk to them.

You should be excited every time the phone rings, because it means that either you or someone on the sales team did something right. Everyone has choices in the competitive marketplace, so a phone call from a client should always feel like a small victory, even if no deal is made during that conversation.

Genuine happiness and gratitude also go a long way. People like to feel appreciated, so if your attitude reflects true appreciation for their patronage, they will be more inclined to work with you.

We all know that it can be a struggle to keep spirits up, particularly if the sales team is experiencing a slow period or an overall slump, so keeping the right attitude is essential to making it through these periods.


Often people think of sales in terms of gaining commission, but it’s more useful to think of it like a game of chess. Strategy and preparation are paramount. People think of sales in terms of dollars, but it’s better to think of it like a game of chess.


The focus should be more on building long-term relationships rather than trying to snag as many new clients as you can before the end of the quarter. High numbers look great, but retention is equally important, and without the proper foundation those new clients can easily slip away.

One way to shift the focus towards relationship building is to measure the number of quality contacts made rather than the number of deals closed. Those quality contacts have a high potential for becoming customers down the line, so building them up now is how you lay the foundation for future success.

Relationships are based on communication, and the biggest part of that is listening. Your goal is to help the client succeed through using your product, but if you just focus on trying to sell, you won’t hear what the client actually needs.

The best preparation for your new relationship is to let them tell you what they want, and then see how your product helps them achieve their goals.


So, you’ve got the can-do attitude, and you’ve laid the foundation for a number of new relationships that will continue to blossom. It’s a great start, but there’s one more step in building a culture that leads to long-term success.

Execution revolves around recognizing that your existing clients are your greatest assets, and you need to let them know they’re valued.

This step actually expands beyond the sales team to encompass the whole company. Every individual your client comes into contact with should reinforce that working with you is a rewarding experience.

The receptionist, project manager, accounts receivable reps– anyone that speaks to the client is an influence on whether they stick around or start looking elsewhere.

This is why it’s so important that everyone keeps a positive attitude. It’s more expensive to go out and find a new client than to keep your current ones happy and coming back.


By encouraging your team to have the right attitude, prepare the proper foundations, and execute exquisite customer service, you can move the focus of your sales team from short-term goals to long-term achievement.

This article is based on an interview with Steve Dines. You can find this interview, and many more, by subscribing to the B2B Growth Show on iTunes. If you don’t use iTunes, you can listen to every episode by clicking here.