The Problem at Hand

What I have to say may be controversial, and it’s not for the faint of heart. I’m diverging from my usual newsletter topics to tackle a critical issue. As a sales trainer, I have an immense amount of respect for those who treat sales as an art form, an intricate dance between customer needs and meaningful solutions. Yet, the term “salesperson” often suffers from a debilitating stigma—a cloud of skepticism and distrust that hovers over the profession. This negative perception highlights an urgent need for ethical change, especially as artificial intelligence and automated sales systems continue to revolutionize the industry.

My LinkedIn Experience

Let’s dive straight into a real-world example that brings this issue into sharp focus: my recent experience on LinkedIn. Over six months, 32 messages landed in my inbox, each sender professing admiration for my website. The kicker? This website of mine never existed. These messages, designed to mimic personal interest and rapport, were glaringly disingenuous. When I confronted each sender, asking them where they had encountered this fictional website, the ensuing silence was both damning and deafening. No one had the integrity to respond, revealing an alarming lack of genuine interest and honest communication.

The Yin and Yang of Salesmanship

We’ve all been subjected to these kinds of disingenuous sales tactics, some so bad they would make even seasoned salespeople cringe. Amid this unfortunate landscape, however, are true professionals genuinely committed to customer service and integrity. They’re the real artists in the field, whose sterling reputations are persistently undermined by the deceptive few.

Automation, But With Caution

This brings me to an imperative point for those deploying AI or automated sales tools. While I’m fully in support of AI and targeted sales campaigns, it’s crucial to test your systems thoroughly before going live. A numbers-driven, one-size-fits-all approach tarnishes the essence of honest salesmanship. Such indiscriminate use of technology doesn’t just squander people’s time; it actively erodes the foundational integrity upon which enduring sales careers are built.

A Call for Collective Responsibility

For those on the fence about automation ethics, consider this a gentle nudge toward responsibility. Your choices subtly influence a community striving for integrity, and now’s a good time for thoughtful course correction. By being vigilant and taking continuous, measured action, we can create an environment where integrity and honesty are standard practice, nurturing a more esteemed and respected sales profession.