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Welcome to the “Savvy Seller” - Shadow Seller’s stories that spell out & simplify…

Welcome to Shadow Seller's blog, where we're all about ditching outdated sales methods for cutting-edge excellence. Here, we offer insights and strategies to boost the savvy of sales leaders, pros and CEOs. Dive into innovative sales tactics, bust myths, and discover hidden gems to streamline your workflow and enhance productivity. Our posts are packed with practical tips and real-world examples to shake up your sales approach. Whether you're a sales vet looking for an edge, a sales leader trying to finally overcome some of those repetitive problems or a CEO aiming for growth, you've found your resource. Join us on this journey to sales success and stay tuned for content on making sales simpler and more effective. Welcome aboard Shadow Seller's world


In the ever-evolving landscape of business, artificial intelligence (AI) has emerged as a game-changing force, reshaping industries and redefining the way we work. Lindsay Ellis reports in The Wall Street Journal, April 4, 2024, that business schools like the Kogod School of Business and the Wharton School integrate AI into their core curricula, they offer a crucial lesson for the modern workforce: the importance of embracing AI, not fearing it.


The Role of AI in Business Education

The decision to embed AI teaching in courses at these business schools reflects a growing recognition of AI's significance in the business world. For example, Wharton students are learning to automate parts of their jobs with AI, highlighting the technology's potential to streamline operations and enhance efficiency. This educational shift underscores a crucial message: AI is not a distant future concept but a present-day tool that is reshaping industries.


Embracing AI in the Workplace

The integration of AI in business education serves as a valuable reference point for professionals. It's a reminder that AI is not just a subject for academic study but a practical tool that can be leveraged in various job functions. By embracing AI, professionals can unlock new opportunities for innovation and productivity.

However, this embrace of AI comes with a caveat. While AI may not replace you, failing to adapt to its use can put you at a disadvantage. Professionals who actively incorporate AI into their work are likely to stay ahead of the curve, while those who resist may find themselves falling behind.

Navigating the AI Landscape

For those in the workforce, the message is clear: understanding and using AI is no longer optional but imperative. Here are some key takeaways:

  • Adapt and Innovate: Just as business schools are evolving their curricula, professionals must also adapt their skills and find innovative ways to apply AI in their roles.

  • Stay Informed: Keep abreast of AI developments and understand how they can impact your industry and job function.

  • Leverage AI Tools: Explore and utilize AI tools that can enhance your productivity and decision-making capabilities.

  • Develop AI Literacy: Invest in learning about AI, whether through formal education, online courses, or self-study.

Learning from Past Management Trends

Having said all of that, the history of success in management science is mixed at best. From Management by Objectives (MBO) to Total Quality Management (TQM) and Six Sigma, these concepts have shaped business practices in significant ways. However, they have also faced criticism for being overly bureaucratic, rigid, or failing to consider the human and cultural aspects of organizations. Sound familiar?

The lesson here is clear: it's not just about adopting a new technology, idea, tool or methodology, but how you use it. AI, like any other management trend, has the potential to revolutionize business practices. However, its success depends on thoughtful implementation, continuous learning, and a willingness to adapt.


The Shadow Savvy

The examples of AI integration in business education, as highlighted by Lindsay Ellis in The Wall Street Journal, serve as a wake-up call for professionals. Embracing AI is not just about keeping up with technological advancements; it's about staying competitive in a rapidly evolving job market. By recognizing the value of AI and actively incorporating it into their work, professionals can ensure they remain relevant and successful. Just as with past management trends, the key to leveraging AI effectively lies in understanding its potential and using it thoughtfully.

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The Importance of Questions: Understanding the modern buyer


In the adaptation of Isaac Asimov's "I, Robot," Detective Spooner, played by Will Smith, gets left a clue (breadcrumbs of a trail, so to speak) by Dr Lanning, who appears to have taken his own life. The breadcrumbs are in the form of a device that projects a hologram of Lanning that Detective Spooner struggles to engage with. "My responses are limited. You must ask the right questions." After a brief exchange Spooner asks, “why would you kill yourself?” Dr. Lanning’s hologram responds “That, detective, is the right question.” This scene underscores a universal truth: the value of asking precise, thoughtful questions. In sales, as in life, posing the right questions is not a mere tactic but a reflection of thoughtfulness and intention. It's a way to demonstrate one's understanding and to navigate conversations towards meaningful outcomes. It’s also a way to be more memorable and build preference.


The Role of Questions in Sales: 

Questions are the gateway to understanding a buyer's needs, challenges, and aspirations. But they're more than this. They allow salespeople to build rapport, demonstrate empathy & trustworthiness. But the impact of a question goes beyond the surface-level exchange of information. They should tap into the buyer's emotional and psychological landscape, revealing the underlying factors that drive their decision-making process. It’s these “underlying factors” that remain the most powerful.


Uncovering Buyer Motivations: All buyer's motivations are unique, influenced by a blend of personal and professional goals, emotional triggers, and perceived opportunities. By asking targeted and thoughtful questions, salespeople can peel back the layers of a buyer's motivations, gaining insights that can shape their sales approach and tailor their solutions to meet the buyer's needs.


Strategic Questioning Techniques: 

To effectively uncover buyer motivations, everybody knows salespeople can employ strategic questioning techniques (like good old SPIN.) This includes open-ended questions that encourage detailed responses, probing questions that delve deeper into specific areas, and reflective questions that help buyers articulate their thoughts and feelings. The goal is to create a dialogue that is natural and engaging, rather than an interrogation. And it’s a two-way street. The responses can tell a seller whether to stay in a deal or politely vacate the premises. That’s called qualification.


The Impact of Understanding Buyer Motivations: 

When salespeople have a better understanding of their buyer's motivations, they can assess their fit (or otherwise), align their sales pitch more effectively, address objections proactively, and build a stronger case for their solution. They can also assess the likelihood of the prospect of doing anything at all. This not only promotes the odds of a successful sales pursuit, but also fosters a sense of trust and loyalty, paving the way for long-term relationships.


What’s the Shadow Savvy on all this?  

In the intricate dance of sales, the questions a salesperson asks can make all the difference. By mastering the psychology of questions and delving into buyer motivations, sales professionals can unlock new levels of success. It's not just about selling a product or service; it's about connecting with the buyer on a deeper level and providing solutions that truly resonate.


Being good at it is demanding, and who has the time to ponder these questions? Within reason, you can’t overlay a templated set of questions on every prospect, that’s the antithesis of customer centricity and empathy. By the same token you can't spend hours or days aching over “just the right” questions. A well-considered, AI-powered sales tool reflects this level of appreciation. Such tools shouldn’t just throw answers at you when you’re looking for insights and advice. And by the same token YOU must take the time to craft the contextually relevant questions that helps the AI return the most insightful responses. Be prepared to have a conversation with such an AI sales sidekick or mentor! In order to get help figuring out the most meaningful questions to ask your prospect, YOU you must ask the AI sales mentor the right questions as well. Like Dr Lanning says “Now that, detective is the right question.”   

 

 

 


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The AI GPT market is dynamic and rapidly evolving. It often gets likened to the “wild west” due to its rapid growth, innovation, and lack of clear regulation in the field. Much like the untamed frontiers of the Wild West, the AI landscape is characterized by a sense of lawlessness, with new technologies emerging at a breakneck pace, and established rules and standards struggling to keep up. Carpet baggers, new religions, the good, the bad & the ugly. It’s exciting, but uncertain. Searching for gold and adventure, people are venturing into uncharted territory.


With this amount of noise and chaos, it’s hard to make sense of things. While GPTs can transform the way we interact with data and information, it is difficult to find the right area to explore given your specific needs. These choices won’t become much clearer anytime soon, so we say “take the plunge” – so let’s explain why.


GPTs are deep learning models that learn from vast data across domains like language and images. They can generate new data and perform tasks like text generation, image captioning, and speech recognition with high accuracy. GPTs can profoundly enhance the capabilities and productivity of those working with data and information, and as such cannot be ignored and adoption needs to be  explored with some urgency.


Chat GPT is a good place to start, but it’s not a good place to end. Some companies are actively encouraging their teams to “have at it” with chat GPT, adopting a kind of “let’s see where we go” attitude. Others turn a blind eye to it (with the same intent BTW) and some actively discourage it.


In using Chat GPT sales teams, for example, should realize some timesaving and improvement in effectiveness. Once you’ve seen that, it’s time to get serious. Using ChatGPT anymore than a “suck it and see” approach will put you behind the curve longer term. In order to understand why this is, don't just rely on us...this is what Chat GPT had to say about itself when we asked that question...


1.      Lack of Domain-Specific Knowledge: ChatGPT does not have the depth of domain-specific knowledge and expertise that a specialized sales GPT would have. This impacts the quality and relevance of the responses in a sales context.

2.      Limited Customization: ChatGPT is not designed to be customized to the specific needs, processes, and the language of a particular sales team. A specialized GPT, on the other hand, can be fine-tuned to align with the unique requirements of a sales organization.

3.      Data Privacy and Security: Using ChatGPT for sales tasks might raise concerns about data privacy and security, as sensitive customer information could be exposed. A specialized GPT can be designed with robust security measures to protect sensitive data.

4.      Integration Challenges: ChatGPT may not integrate seamlessly with existing sales tools and CRM systems, which can limit its effectiveness in streamlining sales processes. A specialized GPT can be built to integrate smoothly with the sales team's tech stack.

5.      Contextual Understanding: ChatGPT will struggle to understand the context of complex sales scenarios or customer interactions. A specialized GPT is better equipped to handle the contextual nuances of sales-related conversations.

6.      Continuous Learning: While ChatGPT can learn from a wide range of sources, it may not be optimized for continuous learning from sales-specific interactions. A specialized GPT can be designed to learn and adapt from sales interactions, improving its responses over time.

 

So what’s the Shadow “savvy” on all this?


ChatGPT and specialized GPTs have different strengths and weaknesses when it comes to sales use. ChatGPT can offer “some” timesaving and effectiveness benefits, but as it freely admits itself, it lacks domain-specific knowledge, offers limited customization, has data privacy and security issues, integration challenges, contextual understanding problems, and continuous learning limitations. It’s not a bad place to start, but like we said, it's a bad place to finish (you know, like peaking in high school!).


A specialized GPT overcomes these drawbacks. Yes, It will require some more time and resources to set up and maintain, and so as not to disappoint with no promotional thoughts – that’s where we come in!

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