Be Less Professional, Get More Sales: Why Passion Trumps Polish

Learn how acting overly professional can flatten your passion and authenticity—and your sales.

November 1, 2016

  • passion-trumps-polish

Many salespeople simply put too much time and effort on appearing “professional.” Sure, you want to act appropriately and earn the respect of your peers and prospects—but it can also backfire. At a certain point, your starched shirt, perfect grammar, and ultra-precise pitch stop seeming professional and start feeling robotic.

If you lose your looseness, enthusiasm, and heart, there’s a good chance that you’ll also lose the sale. Being too stiff stifles your personality and passion, both of which are vital to sales. Instead of delivering watered down messages and stories, don’t be afraid to let your true self show through.

How Too Much Professionalism Hurts

Sales consultant Jim Keenan feels strongly that professionalism is shackling the sales profession. “We’ve been indoctrinated by this hollow concept we call professionalism, and it’s sucking the life out of us,” he writes. It has “killed” passion, which is “one of the most important requirements for sales. “

It can not only shackle us on sales calls and in emails, but also on interviews. Keenan has seen candidates who let their personality shine through over the phone all of a sudden try to present themselves in person by using big words, an abundance of caution, and no enthusiasm. As a result, they fail to connect with their audience – something essential to both landing a job and succeeding in modern social selling.

Authenticity in Social Selling

It’s easy to see examples of this over-professionalism when some salespeople engage online. If you’re spending fifteen minutes thinking of the perfect tweet or LinkedIn update that would appeal to everyone and anyone, you’ve probably watered down your message.

Instead, the key to authentic social selling is to act like a real person would (since you are one). Before approaching a prospect, instead of researching how one writes an email to a prospect, first write it from the heart. When thinking of what to write, think: What I am aiming for in this message and why do I believe in my product or service? You can edit it later.

Your prospective client wants to work with someone she can relate to as a human being. If she doesn’t feel like she’s getting a real human response from you, why would she be comfortable working with you?

Why Passion Is Key

The most important thing in sales is to maintain your passion and excitement, energy and personality, and that still applies in the era of social selling.

As you know, social selling is a two-way conversation between you and a buyer. It’s about building a relationship – just like you would over the phone or in-person. You want to come across like the person you are. If authenticity comes across in your social activity and engagement, the buyers you are targeting will see that you’re not just interested in making a quick sale. Rather, you’re a trusted source for good advice with their interest in mind.  

So instead of waking up thinking about how you can fit in to this “professional” world, think about how you can be more yourself.

For more expert advice on how to cultivate relationships with prospects and engage with gusto, download our free eBook: How Personalized Selling Unlocks Competitive Advantage