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Message to Account Based Sales Teams: Your Humanity Is a Competitive Advantage

Is sales an art or a science? The Sales Hunter answers that question.

I’m not a robot. You’re not a robot. Neither are account based sales teams.  When they’re asking for referrals, they should never ask on social media or in any other digital format. If you want referrals, you need to bring your good old human self to the table.

Most of my clients tell me they’re pissed (their words, not mine) when an account based sales rep sends a digital referral request and just assumes they’ll provide one. Many times, they barely know the salesperson, let alone have a clue about the business reason for the connection.

Some things never change. People do business with people they know and trust. If you want to do business like a robot, go ahead. Just don’t expect referral introductions. For that, salespeople need to pick up the damn phone and have an actual conversation.

The Human Advantage in Account Based Selling

Mark Hunter, in his post “Why Sales Will Never Be the ‘Science of Selling,’” explains why we need human interaction more than ever. He also questions the sales intelligence of his dog. As always, Mark challenges us—but with his cool sense of humor. He writes:

Newsflash: Artificial intelligence and a bot will not take your sales job from you, unless you let it.

Sales is the “art of selling.” It always has been and it always will be for one very simple reason—sales is about a transaction between two human beings.  You’re reading this post as a human and newsflash — I wrote it! This blog post was not written by “Watson.” 

In my book “High-Profit Prospecting,” I go deep into the subject of how our own mind and attitude drive not only the results we achieve in prospecting, but also what we achieve in sales overall. 

Call me skeptical, but I suspect my dog will have far more personality for many years to come than any form of artificial intelligence. Despite the level of personality my dog Kramer has, I don’t see him ever being smart enough to buy anything. The most advanced selling skills he’s come up with is the art of begging for food. I admit he’s pretty good at that, but it still falls far short of a typical buying/selling transaction.

Why do humans still have the competitive advantage in account based sales? Read the rest of Mark’s article to find out.

Take Technology Off the Pedestal—Salespeople Belong There

Technology is cool, but when it crashes, our work lives and personal lives are upended. But the telephone doesn’t crash, and we all know how to use it. Humans don’t crash either, yet we over-rely on technology to do our jobs. The best advice I received from my CPA when I started my business was to learn how to keep the books and read financial statements. Only then would he allow me to hire a bookkeeper. (Yes, “allow.”)

Many tasks can be automated, but unless account based sales reps know how to survive without technology and have face-to-face (or at least voice-to-voice) conversations, they’ll never succeed at asking for referrals.

Even in the digital age, nothing replaces the power of personal connections in account based selling—not phones, not tablets, not computers, not email, not social media, and not text messages.

Maybe a day will come when people stop talking to each other directly and communicate solely through technology. I won’t be around then, but the thought saddens me. If you’re constantly looking at a screen, you’re missing out on your life. And that’s a real shame. Because while few people would say their devices are more important than the people around them, too many of us act like that’s the case.

Learn more about what technology can and can’t do for salespeople in my book, Pick Up the Damn Phone!: How People, Not Technology, Seal the Deal.

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