Well there is no question about it: the Internet is swallowing the universe. I just read yesterday that a group of scientists are warning that we need to begin planning on how to control artificial intelligence in weapons systems or the weapons may turn on us . . . can the Terminator or the Matrix be far behind? And will this brave new world even need salespeople . . . to buy real estate, cars or insurance?
Actually, I am sure they will, because I have never defined a salesperson as a “middleman” that can be eliminated by technology. I have always defined a salesperson as a “problem solver,” someone who adds value to a transaction by saving the participant time and money by bringing expertise and experience to the process. You see, even though we can now look just about anything up on Google, that does not give us instant expertise or the skill set to execute a solution as well as people with more experience and knowledge. It’s a little like cooking . . . you can look up a recipe for anything . . . but can you make the final dish as spectacular tasting as a renowned chef? No, because, beyond the recipe, the chef brings years of wisdom, experimentation, subtle variations and nuance to the process that add value beyond simply following the directions.
What I do see happening is the best salespeople continuing to master their specialties and, in some cases, morph their crafts in ways which will leverage, rather than conflict with, the digital movement.
The digital world provides opportunities for everyone, including salespeople, to generate ingenious ways to communicate with their prospects and clients and to add value by leveraging the power of the technology. Innovations like Skype and Webcasts help talented people reach more prospects and customers and can expand their markets vertically and geographically.
When you cut to the core, the digital world is just the latest platform for hard working and talented communicators to ply their trade. It will still come down to creativity, passion and drive . . . the same skills and traits that have always enabled the cream of the problem solving crop to rise to the top.
How has technology impacted your sales process? Share your experience in the comments below.