Despite what you have heard, all salespeople are not going to disappear due to artificial intelligence. That concept is being thrown around a lot right now – often by people afraid of selling or totally ignorant of what sales really is. It doesn’t matter how much they throw it around, it is still an untruth.
Disintermediation means the reduction in the use of intermediaries between producers and consumers. There is no doubt that this has happened at a rapid pace over the last two decades in many economic sectors. There is such a thing as the coming onslaught of AI, but before you cower or revel in the notion of a world where there is no need for salespeople, you must understand our economy.
We have an hourglass economy. It has a big top, a narrow middle, and a wide bottom. The internet is disintermediating anything it can. If you’re a book seller or retailer, Amazon’s ease of use has already impacted or erased you. Amazon Prime or Prime Now means that you can get things you want quickly with less hassle.
If you’re a salesperson and the internet creates the same value as you do, by talking about features and benefits and lower pricing, you are going to be disintermediated. If, on the other hand, you move into the higher part of sales where there is more money, you will be where people want high trust, high value, and high caring. You will be disintermediation-proof, because people making high dollar purchases want a trusted advisor, they want council, and they want insights; the internet cannot provide all of these.
In the higher realm of sales, relationships are important and you are more than a salesperson, you are a business partner. In this realm what you do is so intertwined with your client that they have to know, like, and trust you. You must provide the right advice and the next initiative. That is a different arena, and there is already a dearth of salespeople with the business acumen to do the job well.
If you have the ability to act as council and the ability to manage change and be strategic, you are untouchable. The grey matrix of AI will not obliterate all sales people. The question is, are you creating enough value for you to avoid being disintermediated?
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Filed under: Sales