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Human vs Synthetic Intelligence: Who Wins at Gross sales?



“Promote me this pen.”
That’s the well-known quote from Martin Scorsese’s movie, “The Wolf of Wall Road,” based mostly on the debaucherous lifetime of Jordan Belfort, a penny stockbroker. Belfort made an enormous fortune earlier than he was jailed for his shady enterprise practices. Within the movie, Leonardo DiCaprio performs Jordan Belfort who challenges his colleagues to promote him a pen. With human vs. synthetic intelligence, who wins at gross sales?
Can AI step as much as the problem and do higher than people in promoting an on a regular basis object like a pen? Whereas it might not appear to be a troublesome activity, it really takes skilled salesperson years of follow to promote something to anybody. Who wants one other pen anyway? With the development of AI and its ever-expanding position in gross sales, some individuals assume AI can do higher than people in gross sales.
The jury continues to be out, so let’s examine AI and people over 5 essential abilities that separate a profitable salesperson from the remainder of the pact: empathy, listening, agility, essential pondering, and persistence.
Empathy
Empathy is outlined because the “capacity to stroll a mile in one other individual’s sneakers.” My favourite instance is from Barter King, a TV present the place individuals commerce stuff with out utilizing money.
In an episode, skilled dealer, Antonio, is buying and selling a $200 purse for fishing gear value $1000. Regardless of the massive worth distinction, the lady actually needs the purse and has little use for the fishing gear. However she hesitates due to her sentimental attachment to the fishing gear, which belonged to her grandfather who handed away. 
Antonio empathizes along with her and tells her that he used to fish together with his dad and assures her the fishing gear goes to an excellent house the place it’s going to get used to catching fish as an alternative of gathering mud in her storage. By strolling in her sneakers, Antonio efficiently closes the deal. 
AI emotion detection.Emotion AI – emotional intelligence – has improved tremendously at detecting human feelings via facial expressions, tone or quantity of voice, and so forth. Shockingly, AI can inform if an individual is a prison just by taking a look at their facial options, with an accuracy of as much as 90%. Whereas machines might detect human feelings, they may at all times be unable to stroll a mile in one other individual’s sneakers.
Winner: Human
Energetic Listening
Nice salespeople are like journalists: they actively ask inquiries to discern what’s on a buyer’s thoughts. 
In one other episode of Barter King, Antonio is buying and selling a $100 therapeutic massage desk for a $500 set of golf golf equipment. The proprietor of the golf golf equipment is reluctant to make the commerce, once more due to the greenback worth hole. When Antonio probes her on why she’s searching for a therapeutic massage desk, she explains that she needs to begin a house therapeutic massage enterprise and that the golf golf equipment belongs to her ex-husband. Antonio discerns her wants and convinces her that the therapeutic massage desk will carry her pleasure and make her cash whereas the golf membership will function a reminder of her ex and failed marriage.
Can AI be a greater listener? You guess, Disaster Textual content Line, an AI that makes use of pure language processing to assist individuals affected by anxiousness or suicidal ideas, has exchanged greater than 83 million textual content messages to this point. What’s shocking is that 86% of those that exchanged textual content messages reported feeling higher afterward even though they knew that they weren’t even interacting with one other human being! Plus, AI is at all times there to hear, by no means zones out, and doesn’t need to sleep, and has tens of millions of knowledge factors to know when and easy methods to ask the suitable query. 
Winner: Machine
Agility
Agility is about pondering rapidly in your toes and outdoors the field. In “The Wolf of Wall Road,” when a salesman boasts that he can promote something, Belfort pulls out a pen and challenges him to promote the pen. He takes the pen and tells Belfort to write down his identify on a serviette. Belfort can’t as a result of he doesn’t have a pen! “Precisely, provide and demand my good friend,” the salesperson says to Belfort.
Nonetheless not satisfied that people are higher at pondering outdoors the field? In 2016, Google’s AlphaGo performed in opposition to the world’s undefeated Go champion, Lee Sedol, within the historical and enormously complicated Chinese language recreation. AlphaGo, an AI system educated via tens of millions of simulations, gained the primary three video games. However in recreation 4, Lee made a transcendent and exquisite transfer (dubbed as God’s Contact) that was fully outdoors the field and allowed a human to strike again.
Winner: Human
Vital Considering 
Gross sales is changing into extra science than artwork, and one of the best salespeople leverage knowledge to maneuver the needle. 
Whereas people can analyze tons of or 1000’s of knowledge factors, machines can rapidly analyze and discover patterns via tens of millions of knowledge. Need proof? It’s throughout us in our on a regular basis lives. Google Maps calculates the quickest route. Amazon recommends one of the best merchandise. Netflix suggests one of the best content material. And Babylon, an AI physician, diagnoses illnesses extra precisely than human medical doctors. 
Winner: Machine
Persistence
Our human facet items us to be empathetic, however that additionally makes us prone to the unfavourable results of rejections. At Birdnest, we work with wonderful actual property brokers and have seen even essentially the most persistent ones get dejected after rejections. As a founder, I’ve tasted the bitterness of rejection from tons of of traders and it may possibly take an emotional toll.
However machines have the ability to reject rejections. They don’t have to bounce again. They don’t want a psychological well being day. They don’t want a pep speak. They simply maintain going at it relentlessly with out ever giving up or feeling dejected. E-mail automation instruments at all times observe up with prospects and by no means takes any e-mail full of profanity personally. Chatbots are at all times on, desperate to greet and chat irrespective of how late it’s and the way impolite you might be. 
Winner: Machine
Conclusion
So the subsequent time you get the, “Promote me this pen” problem at that powerful job interview, make the interviewer’s jaw drop with this good reply as an alternative of fumbling over phrases attempting to promote a pen. In line with Jordan Belfort, the right reply is to ask a query. Perhaps one thing like this: “So inform me, how lengthy have you ever been available in the market for a pen?”  You’ll be able to then establish the shopper’s wants and what they’re searching for so you possibly can flip it round on them. 
The jury should still be out on whether or not AI or people are higher at promoting, however based mostly on the 5 essential traits of a profitable salesperson, appears to be like just like the machine has a slight edge over people three:2 on this greatest of 5.

Nick Jiang

Nick is the Cofounder & CEO @ Birdnest, a curated, visible place for startups to search out their dream workplace. Previous to Birdnest, Nick had grown venture-funded startup Pictures to over 10M lively customers. Duke MBA, Princeton Engineering.