Nick Saban: Head Coach or a Salesman?
With college football and the NFL starting I want to speak on Obsession and Commitment. Speaking at the American Football Coaches Association convention two years ago, Nick Saban, head coach of Alabama—the 2016 National Champions—said, “Every car dealer I know wants to be a coach. I always wanted to be a car dealer.” You have to go where you have an obsession, where you believe 100% in the product and you are fully committed to winning.
After graduating from Kent State in 1973, Saban actually wanted to be a car salesman but was offered a coaching job. He took the head coach job, but he never gave up on being a salesman. Saban is the head coach of a team and he has to constantly recruit new athletes. It’s the same as being a CEO of a company and recruiting new employees. Every year he gets the best athletes in the country to come to his program. What does he do? Why is it that Nick Saban is such a great recruiter?
The secret is that while people think of Nick Saban as a great football coach, he is also a great salesman. He gets people to buy into his program—you must do the same to succeed in your life and business.
Lesson 1: Success is something that you have to maintain.
Saban asks, “How good do you want to be?” And notes, “Success is never final and failure is never final.” He knows you have to be able to keep success—not just get it. After all, you can cut your grass once and be successful in doing it, but it’s going to grow back at some point. You will have to constantly maintain the yard in order for it to continue to be defined as successful. It is a myth to believe that the successful get to “kick back” and stop making the very efforts that brought them fulfillment in the first place.
Lesson 2: Dominate.
Coach Saban tells his team, “Every time you think of winning the national championship—stop. Instead, think of what you have to do to dominate your opponent for 60 minutes.” In the business world, you always want to be in a position to dominate—not just compete. If the old saying is, “Competition is healthy,” the new saying is, “If competition is healthy, then domination is immunity!” The best way to dominate is to do what others refuse to do. Apple doesn’t compete in the market; it dominates!
Lesson 3: Invest, don’t spend.
Coach Saban says to invest your time, don’t spend it. Successful people invest time, energy, and money in improving themselves. Most people don’t have any idea what their money is being spent on. A couple that complains about the cost of gas goes and spends money every day to get 1000 TV channels delivered to their home that they don’t even watch. Invest time and money, your future depends on it.
Lesson 4: Be relentless.
Bill Belichick, coach of the New England Patriots, says, “Nick uses the word relentless when stressing to his team the necessary approach to the game.” In your business do you relentlessly attack activities? Do you have a relentless mindset to burst through obscurity and let the world know what you can offer it? When I sit down to use the phone, I do it with enough tenacity and massive quantity that I’m guaranteed to get something in return from my relentless actions.
Lesson 5: Have the right priorities.
Coach Saban says, “Don’t worry about mouse droppings when you’re up to your ears in elephant manure.” An example of this is what many businesses call “customer satisfaction”. Customer satisfaction is the wrong target; increasing customers is the right target. This doesn’t mean customer satisfaction isn’t important, but it does mean to make your primary focus commanding attention and generating customers before you worry about making them happy. I don’t even talk about customer satisfaction in my office. I do talk a lot about how to get more customers because attracting customers to our program is the only way to increase customer satisfaction. Do you get it? Get your priorities in order!
Nick Saban doesn’t accept mediocrity. That’s why his teams are extraordinary year after year. A lot of coaches might have certain strengths in different areas, but Coach Saban seems strong in every aspect of the game. You too can have massive levels of success in every area of your business if you become OBSESSED with it.