Most of us fall into one of two camps: Upsellers or Downsellers.
Upsellers are always going to give you the bright side — the pitch on why you should do x, y, or z. They are perceived by many as positive.
Downsellers, on the other hand, are always going to offer up both the strengths and weaknesses of doing that same x, y, or z. They may or may not be invested in enrolling you in the experience. Still, they — or shall I say we – are often perceived as being critical.
Our “spiritually” over-saturated culture has done much to create an unwritten code of positivity. An allegiance to being “positive” throughout every interaction has become ubiquitous. Upsellers are rewarded for their limitless positivity, while Downsellers are thought to be “downers.”
Clearly, it triggers something in me because as a life long Downseller, I think it’s disingenuous to put a positive spin on experiences or products simply to avoid being thought of as “negative.“ When did critical thinking translate to bad mojo? I see it less as a view on someone’s disposition and more a difference in filters.
But here’s the problem.
A Downseller can’t unsee what she sees (I’ve tried.) I can walk into a freshly cleaned kitchen and see tomato sauce on a floorboard before I acknowledge the sparkling counters. It also means I can open a design presentation or read a headline and identify why it doesn’t (yet) work. I don’t particularly like the burden of the ‘gift’ at times, but an engaged and critical mind serves me well at work and adds a lens to how I see the world that creates value for my clients.
The reason Downsellers make great consultants is that they have a very high “negativity bias,” which in simple terms means, they see what’s missing naturally and quickly. Whether creatively, operationally, or managerially, this ability acts like X-Ray vision, and is precisely what allows them to improve what others may think is finished – unearthing blind spots that can be game-changing for a business.
Downsellers may appear to see the glass half empty, but the reality is, we just see the glass for what it is; clean, dirty, soap spots, lipstick rims. The thoughts presented by a Downseller may be harder to swallow, but in certain circumstances, could prove to be more potent.
But if I’m being really honest, we sometimes come off as continuously unsatisfied, with standards that can’t be met. And that’s not really useful, for any reason.
A challenge to Downsellers: We need to use our powers for good, and position whatever feedback we have with a solution in mind. We can present our ‘truth’ with enthusiasm, support and genuine intention. And there is no harm in turning off the filter when it no longer serves the mission.
And to Upsellers: Please know that we do what we do because we care. We may have an opinion about everything, which admittedly gets tiring, but know that because of us, there is probably less mediocrity in the world. #yourewelcome