The continued growth of AI and technology is drawing more and more customers to purchase online. Mix that with younger generations now hating the phone and preferring digital interactions, it’s no surprise that some sales people are starting to worry about their job.
After all, if future buyers don’t want to talk over the phone and prefer to live and buy online, what value could a sales person actually offer?
Let’s be honest here, technology/AI will replace sales jobs there’s no question there. How many jobs they replace, with what products and what industries is questionable. Facing this reality though I think it’s time to start asking….
Could YOU sell more than a robot?
If the day came and you had to compete with a technological alternative, would you be able to deliver more? Can you offer a better service than the often seamless experience that customers get online?
Let’s look at why people chose to buy online right now. It’s easier, it’s faster, it doesn’t involve human interaction, you’re in control and often is more reliable. You can log into Amazon right now, find a whole host of products, get the full spec, read reviews from previous buyers, buy it and arrange delivery in a matter of minutes. There is no real place in these forms of transactions for sales people anymore.
Artificial Intelligence is now able to understand the customer and make suggestions and recommendations based on their behaviour and previous buying activity. AI also shares relevant content and insight depending on the buyers online movements. What was seen as the main area that sales people can add value through is now done digitally.
Where can sales people compete?
The last area that sales people can use to their advantage is that right now people prefer to buy from people. Whilst this may not be the case any more for small value transactional items, it certainly remains for larger more complex sales. It will be quite a while yet before humans and digital engines build relationships to the same calibre that H2H (human to human). Although if a buyer/seller relationship is actually just based on trust, insight and value, could it really be that long before technology replaces that?
Would you rather purchase from the incentivised sales person, or from the neutral computer? Would you trust the computer to give you genuine recommendations as there is less incentive for them to do otherwise?
How do sales people remain competitive?
In my opinion it’s never been more important for sales people to up their game. Not only is there more human competition but if not already, you’ll soon be competing with technology as well. Now is the time to make sure you raise you standards and ensure that you deliver the best service possible to all of your customers. This includes:
Listening – Whilst AI may be able to look back at buyer behaviour and previous purchases this won’t compete with actually sitting and listening to someone. Listening to what they said, identifying real pain points and motivations will only be achievable through human to human interaction.
Interaction – A computer won’t be able to take a prospect out for a coffee, beer, meal or to a sports match. A computer won’t be able to attend a networking event or industry seminar. Whilst the digital world is creating more online conversations, to stay relative it’s crucial to take those offline and create human relationships.
Information – It will be hard to beat a computer at memory and information retention! Make sure you’re utilising your CRM or spreadsheets to record as much information as you can. This will help make sure you have it all as and when you need it and you don’t have to rely on what you can physically remember.
Trust & Reliability – The best sales relationships are the ones that last for years, ones that no competitor or computer could ever compete with. These relationships are built on an unbreakable level of trust and reliability that reaches the levels of friendship.
Value – It’s not just down to your product to provide the value, it’s up to you to make the difference. This comes in at every stage of the buyer journey, from providing valuable insight and expertise at the start, providing valuable solutions and valuable service.
I’ll put this question to you now……….could you sell more than a robot?
Type YES or NO in the comments box below!
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