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The One-Down salesperson uses an approach that causes their prospective client to recognize they aren't someone with the knowledge or experience to be a valuable partner. Asking "Is now a good time," or "Is now a bad time," or any other combination of words that are used to try to deceive the contact is the result of a lack of confidence. It also betrays the One-Down person's belief that they are going to fail to acquire the meeting they need.

The first problem for the One-Down salesperson is that the lack of being One-Up immediately projects the client is not speaking to a peer. Because there is never a reason to take a meeting—let alone take advice—from a person who knows less than you, the One-Down approaches create poor positioning, starting with the salesperson's first words.

The second problem for the One-Down salesperson is that their value proposition is too weak to compel their prospective client to agree to trade their time for a conversation they don't believe to be valuable. Because the salesperson believes their prospective clients will benefit by learning about their company and their "solutions," their offer for a meeting is easy to reject.

The One-Down salesperson believes the value they create is found in their solution alone. They don't recognize that there is no way to experience the value of their "solution" unless they create value for their prospective client inside the sales conversation. It's hard to explain how much this belief harms the One-Down salesperson results, starting with prospecting.

The One-Up Approach to Prospecting

The One-Up salesperson positions themselves as a peer, a person on the same level as their prospective clients. The One-Up salesperson has no need to obfuscate who they are or the reason for their call. Instead, they are transparent, as being a trusted advisor or a consultative salesperson requires candor. Confidence and candor does much to position the One-Up salesperson and their request for a meeting.

"Because the One-Up salesperson is One-Up, they have little trouble telling their prospective client who they are, why they are on their telephone, and how their contact will benefit from a meeting with them."

The reason the One-Up salesperson is confident the client will benefit from a meeting is that the salesperson doesn't believe talking about their company or what they sell is valuable, especially in a first meeting. Instead, they offer their clients the value proposition that is "I know something you don't know. May I share it with you." My preference is an executive briefing.

Good leaders and decision-makers recognize their ignorance. One of the factors that make for a good leader is the ability to recognize the areas where they lack knowledge and experience. To ensure they make the best decision possible, these leaders and decision-makers look for people who can cover their gaps and provide them with the education they need to improve their decision-making and their results.

The One-Up salesperson knows they know something that will benefit their prospective client—even if the prospect never buys from them.

Information Disparity, Insights, and Perspective

Though many argue that the internet removed any possibility of information disparity between the salesperson and their clients, it is only true when the salesperson is One-Down. Because the One-Down salesperson spills out thousands of words about their company and what they sell, they provide the same information the client can easily find themselves on the company's website.

The One-Up salesperson knows that there is no chance their prospective client can possibly know what they know, not because they are not smart people, but because they lack the insights and the perspective that comes from experience. When communicating with their prospective clients, they share their insights and their perspective, ensuring they create value for their contacts.

Should the One-Up salesperson decide to email their prospective client, the email they send will provide insights the client will find valuable and a hint that the One-Up salesperson is likely to provide even more help improving their results.  The One-Up are not afraid to share their insights with their prospective clients, recognizing it creates value for the client without making them any less One-Down.

Why Decision Makers Reject Your Meeting Request

The first factor that will cause a contact to reject your request for a meeting is an opening that positions you as something less than someone who can help the client in a meaningful way—evidence of being One-Down. Sounding like an unserious person or one that lacks the appropriate business acumen, you give your client every reason to reject a meeting.

The second factor that will cause your client to say "no" to a meeting is that you trade no real value for the time you are asking your contact to give you. Time is our only finite, nonrenewable resource, something people are unwilling to invest in a conversation that doesn't benefit them. The offer is rejected because it is inadequate. Your contact can easily identify a salesperson who believes value is a conversation about their company and their solutions.

All your clients and prospective clients need information, insight, and perspectives that are presently unknown to them. None of them, however, need a meeting with a One-Down salesperson who lacks information, insight, or a perspective, unless the purchase is transactional (a frequent decision with little risk of harm for making a poor decision). What they need is a salesperson who is One-Up.

Post by Anthony Iannarino on May 24, 2022

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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