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There Is Nothing Sexy About Being Dispassionate

Anthony Iannarino
Post by Anthony Iannarino
December 8, 2010

Lately, I have noticed that salespeople are trying to be more and more “professional.” I put professional in quotes because the way that I am using the word here connotes something negative. I am not writing about their business acumen, their professional skill sets, or their ability to deal with a complex sale.

What I am writing about here is their dispassion.

You Are Not a Doctor

Doctors aren’t easily affected by their work. Even thought they very much want a positive outcome for their patients, they aren’t often emotionally or personally attached to them.

Things are clean. They are white. They are sterile. They are dispassionate.

I imagine that the distance from their patient is part of what allows them to continue to do their job after they fail to get the outcome that wanted for their patient.

In sales, dispassion isn’t necessary and it isn’t effective. Your dream clients want to give their business to someone who is as passionate about helping them achieve the outcome that they need as they are—or more so.

Your dream client isn’t looking for a clinical treatment. They don’t need an impartial diagnosis and recommendation; they need a fire-breathing, passionate, true believer who is going to do all that is necessary—and then a little more—to get them to a better place.

You Are Not a Trusted Advisor (If It Means Impartial)

I know you want to be a trusted advisor. Many of you are trusted advisors now. The role of sales requires that you both have your dream client’s trust, as well as the business acumen and situational knowledge to advise them on how to generate the results that they seek.

Being a trusted advisor has nothing whatsoever to do with giving your dream client unbiased, impartial recommendations. I can already hear some of you screaming at your screen that if your product or service isn’t right for the prospect, you will advise them to buy from someone else, including your competitor. This is called disqualifying the prospect. Doing so politely and in way that retains the relationship is the certainly the right course of action, and it will certainly serve you well in the future.

But a clinical approach isn’t necessary.

Being in sales means that you are extraordinarily partial to you and your ability to help your dream clients over all others. You are as biased as is humanly possible because you so strongly believe. It means that you are personally and emotionally attached to what you do for your clients, and that you care deeply about making sure that they get the outcome that they need.

A boring, clinical, dispassionate needs analysis is an indication of ambivalence, and ambivalence is anything but sexy. A detached and dispassionate presentation about your company’s history, all of your office locations, and your solutions isn’t going to excite your dream client about their future with you, and it doesn’t build the confidence that wins deals; it doesn’t give your dream client the certainty that when the bullets start raining down on them that they will find you next to them in the same foxhole. Your passion is what does that.

Dispassion isn’t professional. It’s anti-professional.

You owe your dream client your best, passionate self. You owe your company your passionate engagement, too. More than that, you owe it to yourself to be passionate about all that you do, including all that you do in sales.

Being passionate means that you have to drop the cynicism and buy the whole act . . . lock, stock, and barrel. It means you have to take off the clinician’s white jacket and get close enough to get a little dirt on you. Passion means you run the risk of being so emotional involved that you are overjoyed by your successes, and downright miserable and distraught over your failures.

Pat Riley tells a story of Magic Johnson’s first professional basketball game. After winning, he was jumping up and down, jumping on other players back, and way over the top overjoyed with their first victory. The rest of the team thought he had either lost his mind, or that he had no idea that they still had over 80 games to play. But over time, his passion infected the whole team . . . a team that went on to win the national championship behind the rookie who won the NBA finals most valuable player award.

Passion is magic.


Would other people describe you as passionate about what you do? How would they describe the actions that you take to win your dream client opportunities and then to succeed for them?

In your attempt to be professional, are you sacrificing your passion? What makes you think that your dream client wants clinical?

Is your professionalism or being a trusted advisor somehow conflicted with your being passionate? Are these concepts mutually exclusive?

You are buying something that requires a complex change process. It’s going to shake things up, but it’s going to make a major improvement when it takes hold and succeeds. Is a detached, dispassionate demeanor the kind of person that you want with you as you go through what is sure to be a bumpy ride? Or would you rather have someone whose passion is going to spur their resourcefulness and determination to make sure that goal is achieved?

For more on increasing your sales effectiveness, subscribe to the RSS Feed for The Sales Blog and my Email Newsletter. Follow me on Twitter, connect to me on LinkedIn, or friend me on Facebook. If I can help you or your sales organization, check out my coaching and consulting firm, B2B Sales Coach & Consultancy, email me, or call me at (614) 212-4729.

Read my interview with Tom Peters (Part One and Part Two).

Read my monthly post on Sales Bloggers Union.

Sales 2010
Post by Anthony Iannarino on December 8, 2010

Written and edited by human brains and human hands.

Anthony Iannarino

Anthony Iannarino is an American writer. He has published daily at thesalesblog.com for more than 14 years, amassing over 5,300 articles and making this platform a destination for salespeople and sales leaders. Anthony is also the author of four best-selling books documenting modern sales methodologies and a fifth book for sales leaders seeking revenue growth. His latest book for an even wider audience is titled, The Negativity Fast: Proven Techniques to Increase Positivity, Reduce Fear, and Boost Success.

Anthony speaks to sales organizations worldwide, delivering cutting-edge sales strategies and tactics that work in this ever-evolving B2B landscape. He also provides workshops and seminars. You can reach Anthony at thesalesblog.com or email Beth@b2bsalescoach.com.

Connect with Anthony on LinkedIn, X or Youtube. You can email Anthony at iannarino@gmail.com

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