Well, as far as I can tell from what I am hearing, I guess it’s time for all salespeople to start looking for work, because AI is about to replace us all, right?
I am not worried about being replaced by an AI and neither should you be. Anyone telling you that AI is about to replace all salespeople is missing one of the fundamental truths about sales.
All sales, I repeat, ALL sales are ultimately done at a human to human level. Yes, computers, AI, scripts, automation play a greater and greater role in the overall sales interaction between salespeople and their clients. There is no doubt about that. But buying is primarily powered by trust and understanding, and as long as humans do the buying, then humans ultimately are needed to do the selling. The day all BUYERS are replaced by AI, then you can start worrying about losing your sales job to an AI.
This doesn’t mean you can or should ignore AI and what it can do. Salespeople who ignore AI capabilities will likely be replaced with salespeople who leverage it. However, the creation of new tools always creates opportunities in their wake, often unintended ones.
For example, most of the prospecting messaging aimed at me has historically been human based (and most it has also been awful). Nowadays, I would venture to guess that easily 50% of the messages I get on Linkedin are AI generated (you can spot the pattern if you know what you are looking for). Ironically, this has made the human ones stand out more, even the bad ones. I got one last week that was so clumsy and fumbly that it clearly was from a human. I actually responded to it, likely because my “rescue” reflex kicked in at the poor rep’s obvious struggles.
You know what really stands out now? A good phone call. A well written short message with an obvious human touch to it. A human to human connection.
Between the pandemic and the recent leap forward of AI, many people are thirsty for a good human connection. Data is showing a huge rise in email fatigue, social media fatigue, depression, feelings of isolation and other emotional trauma. That is something you can and should completely take advantage of right now. I spoke with a potential client last week who was shocked that I would be willing to fly in and do an in person training for her team, partially because all the other parties bidding on the project were offering zoom training only.
Connect with your customers. That fancy device that does 1000 things in your hand also has a TELEPHONE built into it. Call people! If you can, make in person calls. Schedule lunch and coffee meetings if you can. Write emails that show some personality! This is not a directive to try to be every prospect’s friend. You can keep a professional, inquisitive, qualifying demeanor, and also be friendly, human, playful, nice.
The more your prospects are bombarded by non-human connections, the more valuable a connection with the human touch becomes.