Anthony Iannarino is an international speaker, bestselling author, sales leader, and entrepreneur. He posts daily sales tips and insights to The Sales Blog.

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GPS and Losing Your Sense of Direction

a man lost in the woods

Most of us can no longer find our way to the places that we go to without using a GPS. We’ve become totally reliant on our smartphones to help guide us from where we are to where are going. GPS is an enormous improvement over a map, and it is a far better experience to hear the directions being spoken aloud.

But, this comes with a cost. In leveraging the technology, we have become dependent on it. It’s so easy, and so good, that we rely on it, sometimes completely. In doing so, we have lost our sense of direction and the ability to find our way without using global positioning satellites.

Now, a lot of people are working on trying to apply artificial intelligence to sales. Some of the solutions I have seen lately are attempting to provide guidance, a few of them literally providing the salesperson with the words to use in a live sales conversation, and others using a sort of Cyrano de Bergerac-like technique to allow the sales manager to provide the talk tracks to the rep through their headset in real time.

While there is nothing wrong with teaching salespeople how to have good and effective sales conversations, doing so can’t come at the expense of them learning to understand how to have these conversations without relying on technology to do so—or worse, relying on someone to feed them their lines in real time. You only need two things to be a trusted advisor: trust and advice. Without the advice, without actually knowing things, it’s impossible to be a peer or a consultative salesperson.

It isn’t enough to help salespeople by providing them the words and the talk tracks that help them have better sales conversations. That outcome is too transactional. The development of a sales professional requires that one also teach them how to understand their client’s business, to understand how to create value for those clients, and to develop the business acumen and situational knowledge that allows them to serve their clients—as well as create and win opportunities.

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