Opinion

We’re only human: Vulnerability, machines set to disrupt sales jobs

Automation, and more specifically, robots, are coming for your sales job.

And it’s not for any of the reasons you may have read or heard about.

No way you say?

Big league way.

The intangible benefit of being human may no longer be an advantage regarding relationship building skills. These human capabilities have been primary considerations for giving the nod over robots in any potential sales role—tech-related or otherwise.

It could be argued that the benefit of being human, is no longer a benefit at all.

People in sales get and keep customers. It’s what they do. If you’ve known successful sales people, you will have heard of the importance of building and fostering good relationships with clients.

Hell, this is also what I do, but with the understanding it’s nothing more than doublespeak for getting someone to like you.

Getting a prospective customer to like you is 90% of being successful in sales. There is a problem in getting there, though.

With the advent of the digital age and global economy, humans are increasingly not building or fostering relationships particularly well. This is ironic on any number of levels that are not lost upon me. The ability to engender consistent, quality communications with the assistance of unprecedented technology has resulted in the unexpected failure to do so.

This is largely due in part because humans do not take rejection well. And we have increased our exposure to individual rejection exponentially as a result of the unrivaled numbers of potential new sales leads existing to pursue.

It stands to reason that if you have a problem with rejection, it could quite possibly be a hindrance for success in sales. If you are in sales now, your levels of rejection are soaring through the roof.

How much rejection does a sales person need to endure before making the sale that provides momentum to keep going? Or, even reason to decide that sales may not be their thing?

Humans are emotional repositories of flesh, bone, water and blood, fearing and despising rejection at every turn.

Robots are not prey to their emotions as first of all they have none. Secondly, if they ever develop the capacity for emotion even remotely similar to what we humans have, this will potentially somewhat level the playing field. Rejection and feeling rejected is baggage detrimental to optimal sales forecasts.

The customer as other side of the coin

Let’s say you’re a potential customer and you don’t want to end up doing business with a data storage solution’s sales person who’s pitching hard. You don’t want to hurt their feelings, especially when they’ve given you Broncos tickets or taken you out to Elway’s for dinner.

They’re trying to close the deal, speaking almost matter-of-factly and you realize they don’t have a clue you’re going to lower the boom (of rejection).

As a customer who has choices, dealing with a robot would take the emotion out of it. It would also probably not make you feel guilty for taking in the football game and fine dining. The robot, on the other hand, would not care at all. More critically, it wouldn’t affect ability to function at high levels moving forward.

Essentially, the robot knows the new art of the deal is emotion-free selling. Rejection is a word that will not exist in any sales robot’s vocabulary.

Relationship building is poised to take on a whole new meaning. Getting a customer to like you will not be nearly as important.

Good sales ability should return to being about a company’s ability to get hardware, software and/or products and services into the hands of the clients who need them. It should not matter so much whether a customer personally likes the bit of A.I. or machine learning that is facilitating the sale. It should only matter the machine executes the sale faithfully and correctly each and every time.

I don’t know about you, but I’ll take the exceptionally performing, ugly machine over the attractive, albeit incompetent-yet-likeable sales person (who is out sick sometimes), on every business occasion.

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