The balancing act: Traditional and digitalized forms of selling
Nowadays artificial intelligence (AI), chatbots, automation, robots and all kinds of technological innovations have joined us human beings in the working life. There seems to be an endless list of tasks that high-tech solutions can take care of much more efficiently than humans ever did. Less errors, more accuracy, no problem working 24/7, no labour strikes…
Business professionals – both buyers and sellers – seem to be looking for a new balance. Although technology can help us achieve amazing things, there seems to be a limit to what extent business professionals want to outsource their working life.
What are the specific competences and contents of our daily work that we do not want hand over to technology?
What is so complex, fragile, innovative, risky or framed with the need for emotional intelligence that it can only be left with us people?
When human beings meet in the same time and place, shake hands and discuss with each other, something unique and magical happens. In comparison, it is quite different to physically meet with a robot or to communicate with a chatbot. The new balance business professionals are looking for is about choosing the right kind of hybrid out of the available human and non-human options.
We should enjoy the easy efficiency technology offers us and, at the same time, cherish our humane capabilities.
Future sales talents will thrive when they develop their interactional competences to the fullest. Especially in solution sales, face-to-face business discussions are still needed at the end of the selling process. These meetings are so pivotal for the customers that they prefer to handle the issues in person with a salesperson instead of using a technological form of communication. At the same time, customers place high expectations on these face-to-face meetings which are only arranged after careful consideration.
Customers want clear value for the time spent with the salesperson.
Although the number of face-to-face meetings has declined, their importance has become underlined as a crucial element affecting the customer experience in business settings. This scenario highlights the importance of successful interaction skills that all business professionals should embrace.
Link to author’s dissertation (2014) titled: “Once again I gained so much” – Understanding the Value of Business-to-Business Sales Interactions From An Individual Viewpoint. http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-952-249-365-1