The sales rep of tomorrow – a connected object or a dialectical subject?

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A little look ahead at the role of the “GAFA” (the Google-Apple-Facebook-Amazon big four which is currently taking over our lives) version of the sales rep:

2020, connected glasses and facial recognition will flash up the LinkedIn profile of the stranger who invites themselves to the presentation…

2025, the decoding of the prospect’s non-verbal communication will at last allow us to seriously gauge the chances of winning and, above all, to up-date SalesForce.com in real time…

2030, sales reps will be simple yet indispensable physical trackers for financial analysts…

2035, holograms guided by artificial intelligence will at last do a good job… There is no more need for a sales rep… An end to the unpredictability of the human being, phew… Share prices rise…

So that leaves us roughly 20 years.

There is no cause for panic right now; we are only just beginning to ask metaphysical questions such as: “Should we equip sales reps with tablets?” What about cyber risk when little Johnny falls on Mummy’s tablet just as she is trying to close a €2 million sales proposal? Will connected watches boost productivity or just really annoy clients?

Most of all, there is still time to ask THE right question: at the end of the day, what is the added value of sending a human being (the rep) to meet another human being (the prospect)?

Persuasion.

It is the only reason.

Persuasion, from the Latin persuasio, is the action of leading someone to believe, do or want something. The paths to this are those of reason and emotion. The tools are eloquence, seduction and rhetoric. Take a look at this excellent French video which takes us back to Aristotle.

In the end, persuasion, “the only sovereign for mankind” (Hecuba, 424 BC), is all that is left to the sales rep. And so much the better because it is no small thing. What a sublime joy to be able, through the sole force of our words and our ideas during a face-to-face, to change even by billionth of a degree, the course of history. What a wonderful opportunity to be able to concentrate on the essential and delegate the rest of our work to technology.

All that is conditional, of course, on having something to say, a value to offer and a story to tell.

François Drillon, EXECUTIVE SELLING (www.executive-selling.com)

THE THREE

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