Some salespeople resist buying the company line. They resist buying the hype. They are too cool for school, pointing out that nothing is as good as it is made out to be. They question motives. These salespeople are cynical and are typically smartasses.

Their cynicism is a recipe for mediocrity. And it’s contagious.

If You Don’t Believe

We humans work very hard to act in ways consistent with our public statements. If you don’t believe me, read Cialdini.

To be exceptionally effective in sales, you have to believe. You have to believe that you have a greater ability to help your dream client than your competitors. You have to believe that your company is the better choice for your dream client.

You have to believe that what you do is good, it is important, it is remarkable, and it is special.

Cynicism undermines your ability to believe. By undermining your belief, you can go through the motions of selling, but you won’t sell much. Because you don’t believe, you won’t convince others to believe. You won’t be able to bring others to buy what you yourself won’t buy. Your results will be mediocre (at best).

You may believe you are too cool to drink the Kool-Aid, but by not drinking it you are cheating yourself, you are cheating your company, and you are cheating their dream clients. Either drink the Kool-Aid or go find some Kool-Aid that you will drink.

But, if there is nothing you can believe in, then you may want to take some time to be a little more introspective; it isn’t only your sales results that will be mediocre because you lack belief and because you lack passion.

Cynicism: It’s Contagious

Cynicism is a dangerous form of negativity. It is usually expressed through sarcasm or funny, smart-ass comments designed to elevate the person making the comments at someone else’s expense. They use the cynicism to demean others, to demean their efforts, and to show their superiority by not buying the hype.

When the cynics talks down their own company, their management, their initiatives, and their products or services, it can destroy the ability and the willingness of others to believe. It kills their passion to be something more, to do something more, to be exceptional.

Cynicism is negativity, and negativity is the only cancer that spreads by contact.

Instead of being only mediocre themselves, cynics create a toxic environment where no one believes and where passionless mediocrity can flourish. If everyone is mediocre, then they don’t have to feel so bad about themselves.

Kill the cynicism. Drink the Kool-Aid. Believe. Sell it.


What is the difference between cynicism and someone who points out the company’s shortcomings? How much of it has to do with intentions, and how much of it has to do with their willingness to change things for the better?

Why is it critical that you believe in your company, your product, your service, your solutions, and yourself to succeed in sales?

How do immunize yourself from virulent disease that is cynicism? What do you say when the cynics works on you to commiserate?

Have you drunk the Kool-Aid?

Sales 2011
Post by Anthony Iannarino on May 10, 2011
Anthony Iannarino
Anthony Iannarino is a writer, an author of four books on the modern sales approach, an international speaker, and an entrepreneur. Anthony posts here daily.
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