“The machines are coming.”

What was once a cheesy line in sci-fi movies is now a regular headline on your LinkedIn feed.  

But could AI replace salespeople? Recruiters? Real-estate agents? etc?

Across the corporate board, reactions to this proposition may vary. Most CEOs and founders don’t want to pay margin-sucking sales teams that seem, at times, to lack value. And why should they? Most founders are happy to pay for incremental value–but only when it’s obvious.  

To prove their team’s value, your sales manager might read the latest sales-science book du jour and opt to “operationalize” your team’s customer interactions to “control the conversation.” Although this tactic adds predictability to the sales process, it bores and uninspires the customer (and, frankly, it hurts the already-skeptical view of a salesperson’s value).

The forces that make you essential to your company and customers are at stake. So, what do you do?

We encourage you to consider these 3 Steps to Increasing your Value:

Exercise your brain.  Get better.  Make yourself irreplaceable. Create such domain knowledge and insight that your customers run towards you, not away from you.   

Empathize.  Once you fully understand your domain and how its trends impact the challenges of your customers, you can accurately identify your customers needs.  As a human seller interacting with human customers, you have the innate ability to offer them the baselines of what any person wants: Connection. Debate. Encouragement. Conversational equity. Don’t lose sight of the importance of these values!

Storytell. Merge what you know about the industry with your customer’s pain, and, only when you have a mutual understanding of that pain, introduce your solution. Relate your product to your customer, and paint a picture of how it will solve their problems and benefit their bottom line. Your success, your customer’s success, and your company’s profits depend on the value you offer your customer.

By the way–scripts aren’t inherently bad. Salespeople use them to gather a baseline knowledge and for doing parts of our jobs that lack automation. Make sure, however, that you respect their limits. Where there are scripts, there is replaceability. Although your job is not immediately at risk if you run scripts today, it’s your responsibility to strengthen your industry expertise to the point where your company and customers clearly see your off-script value.

Remember, you offer more to your customer than something they can read on a website or in an email. If you follow the steps above, you’ll offer consistent value to your customer, so they’ll never have to question what you bring to the table.

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